A light breeze blew through the tall grass in the meadow. The poppies had just begun to bloom and the smell of lilacs was heavy in the air. Lilies of the valley bloomed along the bank of a small brook that bubbled merrily. The dew from the morning had just begun to dry as the sun moved higher in the sky. The birds chirped cheerfully in the trees and the smaller animals hurried along about their various tasks.
This picturesque scene was soon interrupted by the arrival of three children. A small intelligent looking boy with a mop of dark black hair and misty blue eyes came first. A tall girl with curly dark brown hair and large brown eyes who carried a small toddler on her back followed him. The little girl had short curly hair like her sister’s and her brother’s grey-blue eyes. They were all dressed in what looked like once fine clothes but that were now in tatters. The sight of the brook seemed to cheer them all. The boy ran to it and placed his bare feet in it and sighed.
“This feels so good Sybil.” He said to the eldest girl, “Come try.” Sybil set down the little girl and slipped her feet in as well.
“Mm, you are right, that does feel good,” she sighed. “ Come here Ada,” she yelled to the small girl who had wandered off in pursuit of a colorful butterfly.
“When are we going to get something to eat?” Ada asked as she wandered over.
“I don’t know.” Sybil said as she splashed her feet in the brook.
“Hey, You got me all wet!” The boy yelled looking down at his wet shirt.
Sybil giggled, “Sorry Liam.”
Liam frowned but then smiled mischievously and splashed Sybil who gasped at the cold water. She glared at Liam with mock severity and then scooped up a big handful of water and splashed him back. A small water fight ensued between the two while Ada jumped up and down excitedly on the bank as she cheered them on. After a couple minutes Sybil called a truce and after a few more splashes, Liam stopped and lay back on the bank with a sigh of contentment. His siblings soon followed his example and stared up at the almost cloudless sky.
“If only we could stay here,” Liam said. “We could build a little hut out of sticks and eat berries and fruit all day. We would never have to wash dishes or do laundry.”
“We could play all day and no one would make me go to bed when I did not want to,” Ada piped in.
“Like Peter Pan and the lost boys,” Sybil said dreamily.
Liam smiled at the comparison. “I would be Peter. I would make friends with all the animals and have clothes made of cobwebs and leaves. Sybil would be Wendy because she takes care of all of us and is like our mother. ”
“Who would I be?” Ada asked, “I don’t want to be a lost boy. Boys are stinky,” she said wrinkling her nose.
“You would be Tinkerbell because you are my little fairy!” Sybil said with a smile. Her smile soon faded though. “We should get going,” she said sadly.
Liam nodded wearily and stood up, he offered Sybil a hand up. She took it and lifted Ada up on her back. They headed off in the direction of the woods. After an hour or two Liam looked up from the ground, squinted, and ran ahead. “Smoke!” He yelled, “Maybe there is a house up ahead.” Sybil quickly hoisted Ada back on her back and hurried after Liam.