Read by Anita Rodgers
Twilight was a magical time on Breakers Island. The sun released the day to the light of the moon. As the daylight faded behind the tall mountains, the sky glowed in colors of blue, pink, and purple.
Night was a time of rest and sleep for some animals. For others, night was the time to wake.
Ryan, the gray squirrel, was on his way home. He saw flashing lights in the meadow. His family met him when he returned to Fire Fall Woods. He said, “Sunny, the fireflies are back.”
Sunny smiled. She said to her husband, “I think the kits would like to hear the legend of the fireflies.”
They cried, “Yes, oh yes! Daddy, please tell us the story.”
The animals of Breakers Island had many stories to tell. Everyone loved to hear a good story. In spring, a favorite was the legend of the firefly.
The baby squirrels moved close to Ryan.
Ryan said, “There is only time for one story tonight.” He asked, “Do you remember the lightning you saw in the sky?”
They nodded and said, “Yes,” as they moved even closer to Ryan.
Ryan said, “The flying beetles are small bugs. No one thought much of them.”
Ryan continued, “Fire from a lightning strike can burn everything in its path. One day, lightning watched the humble beetles. Lightning gave them a special gift. It was a small spark of fire. It would light their way and protect them in the night. The light burned cold, not hot. Sometimes the fireflies are called lightning bugs. With one small spark, the lives of fireflies were changed forever.”
Now, the baby squirrels wanted to see the fireflies. They asked, “Can we go look for them in the meadow?”
Ryan said, “Not tonight. You can see them when you are older.”
Some animals rested during the cold winter and returned in the spring. The fireflies rested during the winter under the bark of trees. In spring, they came to life. Their flashing lights could be seen at night in the woods and meadows.
The fireflies moved slowly through the meadow. Laura, a young firefly, was making a beautiful pattern of flashes in the air. She looked down and saw something in the soft grass. She wondered, “What is this?”
She flew closer and saw a beautiful face with yellow hair. Laura thought, “He looks like a lost lamb. This child is deep in sleep. He is so out of place in the night. Somewhere there is a bed missing a young sleeper.”
Laura flashed a signal to the other fireflies. They formed a cloud around the child.
Laura said to them, “We must wake him before he is found by others.”
Laura landed on his cheek. She flashed light in his face. He didn’t wake. She flew and landed on his eyelashes. He felt her and swatted the air with his hand.
Laura flew up and landed on his eyelashes again. This time, he rubbed his eyes and sat up.
He opened his eyes and smiled at the flashing light. He looked at all the lights around him. He found himself in the center of a cloud of fireflies. He held out his small hand and Laura landed there. He stared at the bright light in his hand.
Laura flew to his ear. She said, “Come. Follow us home.”
It began with small steps. The sleepy child followed the bright lights through the flowers. They led him on a path through the meadow. The glow of the fireflies lit his way so he wouldn’t stumble or fall.
Under the bright glow of the fireflies, no one came near the small child.
Now, they were close to the farmlands. “Michael!” echoed in the air.
The child stopped when he heard his name. He called back, “Daddy!”
The flashing cloud of fireflies moved toward the voices in the night. They formed a path for Michael to follow.
Michael walked faster until he was running out of the meadow.
He called again, “Daddy!”
The light of lanterns broke through the darkness.
Michael ran into the arms of his father, safe and sound.
The fireflies scattered in the wind across the meadow.
Michael found himself in the center of a cloud of fireflies.