May 2, 2017

In the Valley of Soot the bleak town of Scraps sprawled in the mud next to the sludge stream.  In the worst of the huts Little Scratch crawled under the splintered beam to breakfast.

‘Here now finally, are ye?’ said Little Scratch’s mother. ‘ Eat your scrape of tar and hurry up about it before I throw it on the rancid heap.’

Little Scratch barely managed to swallow the scrape of tar and hurried to the pit to visit her grandfather, the only grown person in the whole wide world she loved who loved her back.

When she squeezed under the barbed wire and crawled down into the pit and saw her grandfather sitting there, she said, ‘Grump, won’t ye please tell me again about the Fountain of Wonder and Glory?’

‘Ah yes, my little heart, ye know, I do believe ye have enough length on ye now to seek for yourself the Fountain of Wonder and Glory,’ said the grandfather.

Little Scratch shivered in thrill and crouched low to her grandfather’s side to listen. Not fifteen minutes later, carrying a pouch of gravel seeds tucked in her least ripped shirt, she swam the sludge stream and trudged over the hill of thistle prickles and broken boulders. In the distance she saw Left Mountain and Right Mountain. Following her grandfather’s instructions, she headed for Left Mountain, which was the mountain on the right.

A month later, standing atop the cliff marking the summit of Left Mountain, she turned her pouch inside out and pincered out the last of the gravel seeds with thumb and forefinger.

There, that’s done it for that, she thought. Now I follow Grump’s final instruction.

Without hesitation, she flung herself off the cliff. A sound of wind. A rush of cool. She fell. And awoke on silver sands at the edge of a lake. She gazed at the miracle. The Fountain of Wonder and Glory lifted its many-colored arms in spray as if to celebrate Little Scrape’s arrival. Little Scrape shuddered in bliss. Her shirt was soft and had nary a rip.

‘Thank ye, Grump,’ she whispered.

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