Friday, January 19, 2007

The Barndingle

It was a dark and stormy night. The thunder exploded in the air outside. The rain pelted the flowers in the fields until nearly all their petals fell off. Tiny rivers of rushing water cut grooves through the earth. A tiny boat made of leaves and twigs coursed through brush and grass. Its pilot strained to keep the boat aright, but he was at the mercy of Nature’s power tonight.

The boat’s pilot was Boohoff, a Barndingle, a creature of the fields and pastures that is well known to farmers and young children. Boohoff had spent all day and most of the evening building his leaf-boat in preparation of the storm he knew would come. A Barndingle’s large, nostrilly nose is especially sensitive to changes in the moisture in the air, and Boohoff’s large elf-like ears allowed him to hear the distant rumble of thunder, miles and miles away, slowly getting closer and louder.

These are the traits that farmers know well and appreciate enough to let Barndingles live in barns and under porches without any bother. Knowing the weather has always been of great importance to farmers, and few regular folks know of this special relationship they have with the Barndingles.

Boohoff knew the approaching storm would bring no mild rain shower. As soon as he had awakened that morning, he could feel the tingle through the ground of powerful lightning strikes, and sense the vibrations in the air of heavy rains. By mid-afternoon, deer were running through fields, looking for higher ground. Birds he didn’t recognize flew by, stopping to rest on the old wooden fence and ask for directions. Farmer McMurphry had come out to the side of the porch where Boohoff kept his simple home, a concerned look on his face. They had talked for awhile and Boohoff told him about the thunder and the deer and the birds. Farmer McMurphry said it looked like a fine boat that Boohoff was building. They wished each other luck and went about their preparations for the storm.

Now night had come and the storm was upon them.

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