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Maryanne Raphael

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By Maryanne Raphael
Posted: Monday, June 30, 2003
Last edited: Sunday, March 11, 2007
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.
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A little girl longs to fly, travels the world in search of a teacher, learns many things, and finally flys away.

First you Jump. Then you get your WINGS A Fairy Tale for children of all ages By Maryanne Raphael

 Once there was a little girl who lived on a farm in southern Ohio. She was the farmer's oldest daughter and her name was Moria. Moria loved living on a farm because it was full of lively creatures. She especially loved anything that could fly. Whenever she saw a bird she would leave whatever she was doing to come and watch it. She watched every move the bird made. She would imitate its posture, its sounds, its attitude. Any animal with wings fascinated Moria, even those that did not know how to use them. She enjoyed watching the rooster and the geese as the spread their wings and took off on a run. A piece of paper blowing in the wind caught her attention. She examined it. What could it teach her? Moria had developed a whole series of "flying exercises" that she did each day. She continued to add to them each time she met another flying creature. Her parents found Moria's fascination with flying animals fine so long as she managed to get all her chores done. She was to milk the cows, feed the pigs, water and weed her share of the garden, and help care for her younger sisters and brothers. It was many a time when her chores suffered because she got carried away watching a bird or other flying creature. Whenever a helicopter or a plane flew over, Moira would imitate their sound and stiffen her body to match their form. She was determined to fly one day and she didn't know which creature was going to teach her but she was open to all of them and she knew some day some how she would fly. Her parents had been certain Moira would outgrow her passion for flying, but if anything, her desire grew and she became even more determined. When her friends began dating, Moria had a few dates but she stopped accepting invitations to go out because the young men made fun of her when she would see a flying being and insist they stop the car so shand examine it. "Surely you're joking," young Bill Hicks said when she would not stop nagging until he parked the car so she could follow a flock of geese. One day, Moria told her parents, "I feel the time has come for me to go seek my fortune. Somewhere my teacher waits and once I find him or her I will learn to fly. I know it in my soon-to-be wings." Moria felt sad as she kissed her mother and father goodbye but there was an excitement in her stomach, a certainty in her head. She knew she was doing the right thing. Once outside of her father's gate, Moria felt her first faint doubt about her mission. She didn't even know where she was going. But she knew why. She was answering a call, a call that came from deep inside her. It was a clear loud definite call that said, "Follow your dreams and they will come true . Trust in your own inspiration and it will lead you where you need to go." A tiny yellow bird caught her eye and her doubts disappeared. She knew the bird would lead her in the direction she was supposed to go. She followed the bird down the dusty road until they arrived at the little village where Moria had gone to school. It seemed very different now that she was out on her own. A large crowd of sparrows had gathered in the little town. "It's an air show!" Moria said aloud. And the birds did perform for her. They created all sorts of formations and flew in and out of them. She watched every movement, memorized every muscle change. It was getting dark when the show ended. Moria realized she was the only spectator and felt highly favored. Two small sparrows led Moria to an empty barn where she found some clean hay and made herself a bed for her first night out on her own. But she wasn't alone for the two little birds watched over her all during the night. The next morning the birds were gone but in all directions Moira could see beautiful Mammoth butterflies. They moved their wings effortlessly and floated everywhere. "It's a sign that I'm doing the right thing," Moria said aloud to herself. As she walked down the country lane, Moira rejoiced at the wealth of flying fowl that brightened her path. How wonderful to be able to spend as much time as she wished with her precious birds! If only she could fly she would join a flo go wherever they went. She watched as a formation of swallows performed a perfect ballet in the clouds. All too soon they were out of sight and she felt she had lost a whole group of friends. She was lonely for a few minutes but as soon as she looked around she saw that the world was full of tiny insects, many of them with wings. They could handle themselves in the air quite as well as any bird. Moria remembered that her science teacher had told her there were thousands of insects for every star in the sky. They were of every color and shade. They moved across the ground at their own speed, some with quick jumpy movements, some gracefully, some slowly. Moria admired the many flying insects, moving her arms as they moved their wings. As she walked along, Moria saw a sign, "Learn to Fly."She memorized the address and headed in that direction. After a long difficult walk, she arrived at the address, disappointed to see that the only flying was being done in small planes. She studied the planes and learned their secrets, hoping to apply them to her own flight work. When she had incorporated this new information into her daily program, she turned around and left the airport. That evening as she continued down the little country road, she was delighted to see that lightning bugs lit her way."Some people call them fire flies," she said to herself. "They seem so different when you call them that." "Wooooo Wooooo!" came a cry from the trees above her. She raised her eyes and saw a huge owl staring at her. The huge bird stared at her for hours and she returned his stare silently begging him to teach her to fly. But he refused to move. When a family of bats came into view Moira left the unmoving owl to see what she could learn from her newly arrived teachers. Moira remembered that her science teacher had told her that bats were the only mammals that could fly on their own. And she remembered that he had told her people are mammals too. That made her very happy. If bats are mammals and they can fly, then surely we can fly too if we just put our minds to it. As she examined the bat's wings, she noticed that the skeleton that supported the wings was made up of the animals's finger bones. Her own arms resembled the bat's wings. She waved her arms until they were sore. ng on the limbs of an oak tree, Moria decided it was her bedtime too. She made herself a bed of hay in a nearby barn where she was entertained by the lightening bugs as she fell asleep. She dreamed she was inside a huge up-side-down cone learning to use her arms the way the bats used their wings. She felt her body thrill at the first taste of complete freedom from gravity. With her arm movements she could control her entire body, going as high and as low as fast and as slow as she wished. She had never felt such bliss. If only this could go on forever. When she woke up the next morning, Moria immediately tried the movements that had worked so well in her dreams. She was greatly disappointed to see that she could fly only in her dreams. But she would never stop trying. One day Moria met Lupe, a young girl from the south of Mexico. They were at the zoo, watching the rare birds fly from branch to branch. Moria confided in Lupe that she wanted to learn to fly and Lupe said, "Oh, I know a Mexican man who can fly. He turns himself into a giant crow and flies for miles." "I must meet him!" Moria said. "Please tell me how I can find him." Lupe drew a map of Mexico, carefully making the place where the flying Mexican lived. "It's a tiny town in the mountains of Chiapas," the little girl said. "Once you arrive in the neighborhood, ask anyone for Don Carlos, the man who flies, and they will point your way." It was a long way to Chiapas, Mexico, and Moria had many obstacles to overcome, but finally she arrived. It was a beautiful land with tall mountains everywhere. Lupe had been right. Everyone knew where Don Carlos was. The only problem was none of them agreed. So Moria followed many paths until one dayshe discovered a huge crow sitting on an armchair. "I hear you've been looking for me," a voice said. And when Moria looked again, an old Mexican man was sitting where the crow had been. "I'm Don Carlos," he said. "How can I help you?" "All my life I've wanted to fly," Moria said. "It isn't as easy as it looks," Don Carlos told her. "You have to discipline yourself. Forget everything else. Just concentrate on flying. Do irce and you'll fly." The old man taught Moria how to concentrate. He taught her to watch birds and flying insects in such a way as to share their feelings and thoughts. "You must feel their sensations so strongly you become one of them. When people looking at you see a flying creature you will be able to fly." Moria made flying her top priority. She focused on flying objects every day. She flew in her dreams. She felt she had become one with the birds, but no one could see her as a bird and she was never able to fly when she was awake. When she left Chiapas, Moria was able to go into deep meditation, and she had even been seen levitating, or floating up in the air, but she never learned to become a bird or to fly.After many years of trying, Moria was becoming discouraged when she heard of a woman in India who could fly without changing her human form. "That's the way I always thought it would be," she said. She thanked Don Carlos for his patience and understanding."When you learn how, fly back to celebrate with me," he asked.She promised she would. Moria found the flying woman, Karis, in Darjeeling, a mountain town in India. Moria never saw Karis flying but she saw Karis disappear and later on reappear next to her. It was said that while she was invisible she flew from place to place. "That wasn't the way I imagined it," Moria said, "but if only I could fly.." Karis taught her to do a sacred Hindu dance, using her hands and arms as much as she used her legs and feet. The music inspired her and she felt great promise as she began. She did meditations similar to the ones she'd done in Chiapas. She learned chants and visualizations but as the months went by she became disillusioned. After several years, she heard of a man in China who could fly from Provence to Provence. She bade goodbye to Karis and set off for China. Mr. Wu, her Chinese flying instructor, taught her Ti Chi, Karateer martial art forms. Although Moria was as good as any of the students in any of the classes she never learned how to fly. Years passed and Moria became a beautiful woman but her mind was focused on learning to fly and she never married and never had any children. Whenever she heard persistent rumors of a human being who could fly she made a pilgrimage to find the person and each time she would study with that person but she never saw anyone flying and she never learned to fly. Moria became a middle aged woman, and an old old woman but she never gave up hope and each day she practiced her flying exercises, keeping her arms in shape. One evening, when Moria was very old, she was lying in her bed when she saw a beautiful shining human being with huge brilliant wings. "I've come to take you home, Moira," the glorious person said. "Follow me." He spread his wings and took to the air. Moria began moving her arms, imitating the flying man. She felt herself rising and she imagined she had wings just like his. At last she was flying. "I always knew I could do it." the end 


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