I wrote this for Korah and Kelsey, my grandaughters–but it is fun for all.
The Bead People Garden, a short story
Korah and Kelsey were sad. It was raining outside and the sky was gray and dreary. Even in their bedroom all of their stuffed animals had sad faces. They tried to dance and sing to make them smile, but all the animals just burrowed their heads into one another or closed their felt and button eyes—which is a difficult thing for a stuffed animal to do.
Korah looked at Kelsey and said, “This will never do. We simply can’t live in such a gray and dreary world.”
Kelsey didn’t even feel like smiling. “But what can we do about it?”
Korah reached under her bed and brought out her pencil box which was filled almost to overflowing with beads. “I have an idea.”
“What? What are you going to do?” asked Kelsey.
Korah smiled a sneaky smile and said, “Magic. We need some magic right now.”
Kelsey was getting just a little bit interested. “Bead magic?”
The two girls often helped their mom at her Bead People booth at Jazz in June and the Farmer’s Market.” Mom was always begging them to create more Bead People. So many people wanted Bead People that they could never quite keep up. Their mom said it was a world peace project and it was important to spread them as far and as wide as they could. The Bead People even came with a story about celebrating all people.
Korah opened the bead box and right on top of the mound of beads was a flat yellow bead with a smiley face on it. It looked like a tiny sun. She picked the bead up and held it high up in the air. She made a poem.
Oh dear sun so high in the sky
Will you tell me why, why, why
You have hidden your warm light
Until we feel it is the middle of the night.
Kelsey laughed. “That was pretty good. My turn.” She took the yellow disk and stood up and began turning in a very slow circle. She chanted
You are the one, our dear, dear Sun
You are the one who carries the fun
Please, oh please will you come
And shine and shine until the world is one?
All of a sudden their bedroom window began to glow with a bright, yellow light. It had been days and days since they had seen the sun.
Korah squealed. “We did it, Kelsey. We did the magic words and the sun has come out.”
It didn’t take long for Korah and Kelsey to put their shoes on and head out to the backyard. Kelsey grabbed the bead box on her way out. She had a funny feeling about this day—and it was only morning.
Outside the ground was wet with the new spring rain. Korah and Kelsey looked up, and the sky seemed to shimmer with rainbows. There was not just one thin rainbow—it was as if the whole sky was one giant rainbow and they were standing in the center.
“Wow,” said Kelsey.
“Wow,” said Korah.
They smiled and together they said, “Double wow” and hooked their pinkies. After all, they were identical twins.
Korah said, “Come on. To the tree.”
The summer before they had transformed the backyard into a carnival complete with rides and games. It didn’t look so great now after lying under the mucky leaves and snow all winter.
“Yuck,” said Kelsey. “It’s kind of a mess back here.”
Korah laughed and said, “Never mind. We will make it beautiful again.”
Little did she know that the same magic that had allowed a single bead to bring back the sun was still at work in the world on that particular Saturday morning.
In the backyard was a big tree. The previous summer they had finally gotten tall enough to climb it. Now they had just turned ten and it was even easier. Korah went first. She turned to offer a hand to her sister. Just as Kelsey got to the highest branch, her foot slipped. The bead box that she had been keeping safely tucked under her arm went flying.
It was like watching a weird 3-D movie in slow motion. Thousands and thousands of beads came flying out of the box and into the air at one time. The sparkle was amazing. Each bead seemed to grab the sunlight and tuck it into its center. The beads seemed to be suspended in air, alive and shining. And then a single strong gust of wind grabbed the beads and, in a single instant, scattered them across the entire backyard.
Both Korah and Kelsey were speechless for a whole minute—which hardly ever happens. Then Kelsey giggled. “Whoops,” she said in a tiny voice.
Korah busted out laughing. She laughed so hard she almost fell to the ground. When she could catch her breath again she said, “Whoops.”
The two sisters grinned at each other and said, “Double whoops.”
The girls knew without anybody saying it that there was no way they would be able to pick up all those beads again. They had gone to the earth.
Kelsey said, “Mommy is going to be mad.”
Korah nodded. “Ya think?”
They climbed down the tree. Their mom was at work until 3:00. Together they decided to write a note of apology and explain what had happened. And they decided it might not hurt to do a few extra chores
They spent the next two hours cleaning and putting stuff away. Kelsey ran the vacuum and Korah mopped the kitchen floor. When they finished they were tired and decided to have a little nap.
When they went to their bedroom they saw the strangest thing. Every single one of their stuffed animals were staring at them—and smiling.
“What?” said Korah.
“Double what?” said Kelsey.
It was almost spooky.
Korah looked at Kelsey.
Kelsey looked at Korah.
At the same time they said, “The magic.”
No one can ever say what exactly happens in the minds of twins, but all of a sudden they were both heading out of the bedroom, down the stairs, and out the back door. When they got outside, Korah (she was born three minutes earlier) stopped so suddenly that Kelsey ran right into her.
“Korah . . . .”
The two girls stopped and looked. Under the giant tree the spilled beads were sprouting. Tiny leaves and stems were grabbing at sunshine. Right before their eyes, the beads began growing. An inch. Another. Five inches. Every place a bead had fallen to earth there were bead sprouts.
But this was not at all like the time Grandma had come to visit and they had planted strawberries by the back door and zucchini plants by the front door. Those plants had taken forever. These bead sprouts were growing at super jet speed.
Korah and Kelsey sat down on the little step to watch them. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The plants were now knee-high and tiny blooms were forming. Each bloom was the shape and color of the beads that had scattered. All they could do was sit and watch the magic grow.
Korah was the first to find her voice. She leaned forward and said, “Do you see what I see?”
“I see beads that are blooming,” whispered Kelsey.
Korah got up on her knees and moved closer. She pointed to a single deep purple bead bloom. “Look!”
Kelsey crawled over next to her to get a closer look. The bead was changing. It wiggled and wobbled like a purple water drop. Then the bead split into two beads and then three. It wiggled again and small arms and legs began protruding from the bead body.
Suddenly, hanging from the plant was a little Bead Person.
Kelsey sighed. “I can’t believe it.”
The girls listened and heard a humming sound—like bees—and then a splash, a plop, a pop. They watched as dozens and dozens of little Bead People burst from the bead blooms. It was beautiful—the colors and shapes and sizes. Some were fingernail polish red and black and white. Others were mixtures of purple, green, sunny yellow, pumpkin orange, watermelon pink.
Kelsey reached out a finger to touch one, and its tiny feet seemed to dance atop her finger. “I really don’t believe it. We have grown a garden of Bead People.”
Korah laughed. She couldn’t remember ever being this happy. “The magic did it—it can change the whole world! Or maybe we are still upstairs taking a nap and we are only dreaming this.”
Kelsey looked at her sister. “No. This is real. They are real. Oh, look, there must be hundreds and hundreds. Wait until Mommy sees this—she is going to croak.” She reached out her hand again and plucked the Bead Person from the bush. It practically hopped into her hand.
Soon Korah and Kelsey were filling a basket full of Bead People. When they were so tired they could hardly wiggle, they both flopped down on the still wet grass and lay on their backs. They stared at the shimmering sky. “Magic is cool,” said Kelsey.
“Yeah. It sure is,” Korah agreed.
They were quiet for a long, long time and then Korah said, “I have the perfect idea . . . .”
It only took an hour or so to seed the entire neighborhood with beads. And what a site it was to see the Bead People sprouting from cracks in sidewalks, under porches, beneath giant trees, lining the driveways. Korah and Kelsey could hardly wait to see what would happen when everywhere you looked, all you could see was Bead People.
Little did they know that that very same wind of a thousand years that had mixed us all up was the very same wind that would now carry the Bead People and their message of peace around the world.
Share on Facebook