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A Child’s Star

by Nancy Willard

One night a little girl looked out of her win­dow and saw a new star in the sky.

The little girl, who was very lonely, thought to herself, “How nice it would be to play with the star!” So she wished on the star and asked it to come down and see her. And the star twinkled so brightly that she felt sure it said, “Yes.” Stars just love to be wished on, you know.child's star 1

The very next night she looked for the star but she could not find it. She knew it must be on the way.

Her mother asked her, “What are you looking for?” “I’m looking for my star,” answered the little girl. “It promised me it would come.”

And her mother laughed and said, “Stars hardly ever come to earth, and when they do, why, they don’t look like stars a bit. They are just big pieces of rock called meteors.”

But the little girl only smiled. Her star was a fairy star, and she did not even expect it to look like other stars. Wishing stars that understand children-talk are different, you know.

The little girl decided not to look for the star right away. Even a wishing star can’t make such a long trip in only one night. It would probably have to say good­bye to all its friends and relatives and that would take a very long time. And the moon, who is mother to every star in the sky, would never let one of her stars go until she had washed the stardust from behind its ears. Mothers are like that, you know.

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At last the little girl thought she had waited long enough. But it is not easy to go out looking for a star when you have no idea where it has fallen. She remem­bered how often the stars shone in her garden and she looked in all the flower beds, but she did not find her star.

The next day she hunted in the woods. She remem­bered how often she had seen the stars shine through the trees.

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“You funny little birds,” she said to her friends, “Have you seen my star? ” “Of course not,” twittered a robin. “I never heard anything so silly.”

“Really,” chirped a chickadee, “a star! What next! ” She looked in the meadow but all she found was a field mouse who looked very wise. Summer passed into autumn and autumn into win­ter. Still the little girl did not see her star. She looked in the river where, beneath its cap of blue ice, shone a thousand glittering stars, but her star was not among them.

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When Christmas arrived the little girl began to think that perhaps her mother was right and she would never find it. All night she wondered about the star, and very early while Mamma and Papa were still sleep­ing she crept downstairs.

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And there was the star, just as it had promised!

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From the December 1954 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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