Stephanie the fairly had a problem getting lost.  Actually, she didn’t have any problem at all getting lost; she did that really well.  I guess her problem was getting found—or rather, not getting found…..well, I hope you’re smart enough to know what I’m trying to say.

Stephanie got lost a lot.  When she wandered over to the farmer’s field to get a bucket of milkweed, she ended up in the horse barn, where she got hoarse for a week yelling for her mother.

Once she got lost on the way from her room to the front door, and she had to spend a whole day inside reading American Girls books instead of doing her chores outside—or at least, that’s what she told her mother.  Then there was the time Stephanie said she couldn’t find her way to the time-out seat and her mother made her practice sitting in it for 20 minutes to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

The funny thing was that Stephanie never got lost going to her friends’ houses.  Whether she was visiting Fallon the Fairy, or Betty the Brownie, or Emilie the Girl Guide, or Penny the Pigeon, or any of her other playmates, she could always get to their homes—she just couldn’t find her way back.  It was almost like her brain got too full of fun to remember anything else.  My brain gets like that, sometimes; does yours?

One day, Stephanie’s mother called her into the kitchen of their home under the maple tree and told her that her father’s birthday was coming up. She said, “Stephanie, I think your father would like some four-leaf clovers.  They are green, which is his favorite color, and the four leaves would remind him of the four of us:  Dad, and you, and your brother Winston, and me.  Would you help me out by looking around and seeing if you can find any nearby?”

So Stephanie went outside and began to look for clover plants.  In about ten minutes, she returned.  (Of course, along the way she took a wrong turn and ended up at the back window instead of the front door.)

“Mom, I think we need to kick someone out of the family,” Stephanie said once she had found her way inside.

Her mother stopped what she was doing and asked, “What are you talking about?”

“I can only find clovers with three leaves, so Dad will only be able to remember three of us.  He and Winston are already there, and I am too cute to forget, so I guess that means…well, I don’t think you actually have to move away or anything, but unless we find a better plant, we may have to leave you out.”

“Oh, no—you’re stuck with me,” said her mother, hugging Stephanie fairly hard.  “I happen to know that in the front yard of that biggins house just west of here there is a patch of clover that always has lots and lots of leaves.  I’ve even seen six- and eight-leaf clovers there.  I think some angel must have put Miracle-grow on them.”  Then she frowned.  “But I’m afraid you’re going to have to go get them.  I told old Mrs. Rabbit that I’d take her for a hair cut today.”

“Couldn’t you hop over and change her appointment?”

“No, I gave her my word, so I have to keep it.”

“But Mom—you know I always get lost!”  Stephanie protested.  (She had once been in a protest contest, to see who could whine the loudest.  Billy the Banshee won and Mr. Grumpyface came in second, but Stephanie came in a close third.  Dawson might have won, but he was busy at home playing with his Legos that day.) 

“Well, you will just have to concentrate, and pay attention, and NOT get lost,” said her mother firmly.

Stephanie stomped out of the house, muttering to herself, “I DO concentrate, and I DO pay attention, and I DO get lost.”  She stomped some more, and she muttered some more, and pretty soon she didn’t know where she was.  She sat down on a stump and cried.  That did not solve the problem.

“It’s too late to pay attention, and I don’t have any money anyway, but maybe it will help if I concentrate,” she said, taking out her pirate spyglass and scanning the woods around her.  Off in the distance, she could see a wisp of smoke trailing into the sky.

“I bet that’s the biggins house where I’m supposed to look for the clover,” she said, thinking out loud.  And it didn’t take her long to get there, find the special patch of clover, and pick a whole bunch of 4-leaf presents for her father.  But then, she had to find her way back home.  And she remembered that she was lost.

“Maybe if I talk to myself, I can tell me where to go,” she said, fairly convincingly.

“All right,” she answered herself.  “I’m standing in front of the biggins house.  The house is in front of me, and the woods are behind me.  Which way should I go?”

“Toward the forest, I would,” said the Stephanie inside her head.  So she went that way.

Once she got into the trees, she remembered that her house was under a maple tree, with oak trees nearby.  “I need to look for oak and maple trees,” she said.  “But first, I need to learn how to figure out the difference between an oak tree and a maple tree.  I know it has something to do with their bark, but they all sound the same to me.”  (It’s a good thing she didn’t have to try to figure out dogwood.  A Manchester Terrier would sound different than a Rottweiler would.)

She saw a chipmunk and thought he could tell her how to find her tree house.  But even though she was leaning English, and a little French, and some Tlingit (in case she ever visited the Yukon), she hadn’t learned how to speak chipmunk yet.  She tried asking him directions in French, but he just looked at her, so she gave up.  If Joshua had been there, he could have helped her, because he knows a lot about tree houses.  (But he doesn’t speak French either, so she would have had to ask him in English.)

“It should be easy to get home,” she decided, and walked downhill because that was the easiest way.  When she came to a brook, she was fairly puzzled.

“Is my house on this side of the brook, or on the other side?” she wondered.  She couldn’t find a toad stool, so she sat on a frog stool to figure out her situation.

“If I’m on the other side of the brook, then that would mean that I crossed it already, and my feet would be wet,” she decided, and looked at them.  They were dry.  “I think I’m being pretty smart for a fairly.”

“Don’t start bragging.  You’re still lost, you know,” she scolded herself.

“Don’t remind me,” she said.  Then she thought for another moment and realized that, when she was lost, it was actually hard to get home, so she should go uphill, since that was hard.

So she went uphill, and when she came to a deer trail she turned right, which was good, because right was right and left was wrong.  And soon the trail became very dear to her as it led her back to the sugar bush, where she could see her maple tree.  She even got out her pirate spyglass and concentrated herself right up to her front porch.

Her mother arrived home just as Stephanie stepped up to the door, and spoke to her with a smile in her voice.  “Oh, you found the four-leaf clovers, and found your way back!  I’m so proud of you!”  And she gave her a big hug.  Stephanie was going to tell her that she had really gotten lost, but then the Stephanie in her head told her to shut up and just be proud of herself.  And so she was.

 

And as long as the drum doesn’t beat it and the trees don’t leave, then next time I’ll tell you about Stephanie and the Fisherman.

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