Glitter and Ouch!

Glitter and Ouch!

 They carefully tiptoed into the kitchen to fetch some cookies. It was dark and the trees outside were whistling wisha wisha woo woo.

Suddenly, through the kitchen window Naps spied something glowing flitting about. They quickly stuffed a handful of cookies into a bag and crept out into the staircase and  ran into the garden to check out the mysterious light.

There, hovering above the dark trees, they spotted the glow, blinking on and off! What was that? they wondered. It was still all around, and everybody in the cottage where they lived had gone off to bed. They followed the glow as it moved towards the swing in the garden. Then, it settled itself on a little leaf. The children ran after it, and, all of a sudden, it turned towards them.

“Hi ha ho! What’s up kids? Why aren’t you in bed?’ it said in between bursts of laughter. Terrified, Naps and Nips tried running away.

“Hi ha ho! Wait a minute, children. Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Glitter, and I'm a glow worm. I come here every day to play chess with my friend Ouch, the owl. Come join us,” it went on.  “Goodness gracious! We used to read about glow worms in books, and now we see a real one!” squealed the kids in glee.  “Come, I'll take you to meet Ouch,” offered Glitter helpfully.

Close to the swing on the branch of a towering oak tree sat Ouch, his eyes half-opened and looking very wise. Glitter introduced him to the children. Ouch blinked his heavy eye-lids twice. That was his way to say hello.  “You seem to me to be really naughty children, staying awake so late,” said Ouch, pretending to sound serious. 'I teach at the local night school for little owls. We can stay awake late, but not you kids. You've got school tomorrow,” he Ouch very authoritatively. “Go get back to bed,” he hooted. And then he let out a cry, 'Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!' 

“Shhh! Ouch, you will wake up whole of Oakwood! These kids are really sweet and want to be friends with us. After all, we are just two of us playing chess, and this sometimes gets tiresome after a while. It will be fun to have the kinds as friends to play cards with. But first things first. Let’s get to know each other,” said Glitter switching on her tail-lamp a little brighter to put Ouch, the grouchy little owl, in a better mood.
 “Ouch? That’s a cute name. How did you get it?” asked Naps.

“Ouch! To cut a long story short, I was a very naughty baby. Ouch! Whenever my mother would fetch insects for me for lunch,  instead of eating them up, I would play hide and seek with them and count… 1, 2, Ouch!, 3, 4, and then I would scream "Ouch!" because I never remembered what came after that!  Ouch! That's how I was given this silly name. Hee hee! Hoo Hoo! Ouch!' replied the owl, unable to muffle his laughter.

Ouch was now in a better mood and he thought he'd pass on some of his proverbial owl-like wisdom to the children. 'I'm a strange creature, but I think I'm sort of cute. Ouch! I can rotate my head and neck almost fully so that I can see all around me. Bet you kinds can't beat me at that,' he said, turning his head round and round, and shouting out 'Ouch!' as he did so, which drove the kids into peals of laughter.  'I would have invited you home, but, alas! We owls do not build nests of our own. Ouch! We're kind of lazy, you see, and prefer the easy way out, living in other birds' nests in trees, or underground burrows, or even in buildings, barns and caves. We have strange sleeping hours, staying awake all night and snoring through the day,' Ouch went on, occasionally interrupting his lecture with a loud 'Ouch!'.

All of a sudden Ouch shut his eyes and bent his head low. A little tear-drop rolled down his feathery cheek. “You know Nips and Naps, some of your fellow humans believe that if they see or hear an owl hoot, it will bring them bad luck. But this is not true at all. It's just a silly tale,” he said turning his head this way and that. Then, he spread out his little wings and, with a giant leap, gently landed on Naps' shoulder. He put his beak near Nap’s ear and whispered, “Naps my dear, do tell your friends that we owls are good creatures and that we bring no harm to anyone. Will you, please?”

And then, even before Nops could answer, Ouch bounced onto Nips’ shoulder. Looking deep into her eyes (which made her more than a little nervous), he asked her, “Hey kiddo! Can I quiz you? What is a group of owls called?”
Nips shook her head.

“Ouch! Little girl! It's called a Parliament! Be sure to ask quiz your friends in school about this tomorrow, okay?” said Ouch, giving Nips a friendly wink.

Nips and Naps held out a cookie crumbs for Ouch, and he happily nibbled away at it.
“Tell us about yourself Glitter. What's with you that you keep that torch of yours on always?” said the kids, turning to the glow-worm, who had fallen silent for a while.

“We glow-worms start off as little eggs, and then we turn into worms, like myself, and finally, into little flying creatures. The torch that I carry is actually a little light that glows from my tail. How and why this happens you will probably learn at school sometime, maybe in your Biology class. I must confess that it's a bit complicated--all about chemicals and what-not, which I myself don't quite understand!' Glitter explained to the wonder-struck children as she flashed her lighted tail about to their great amusement.

Ding Dong! The clock struck midnight! “Ouch! Kids, its midnight, so now off you go to bed,' interrupted Ouch. 'I have to go to the night school now. Ouch! And Glitter has promised to spend the night with Spelly the spider, who is building her web and needs Glitter’s glow while weaving  in the dark.'

Nips and Naps bid farewell to their new-found friends, promising to join them the next day for a game of cards by the swing.

The next morning they related their delightful adventure to their mother. And helpfully they added that if the lights went off in their cottage at night, she could bank on Glitter, who would come armed with her blinking torch, perhaps for a  sleep-over in their house, along with Ouch, who, they said, could keep them all merrily entertained with his constant friendly blabber.

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