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'The Little Island'; Editor's note: Using one of her many pseudonyms, Margaret Wise Brown, author of the children's classic "Goodnight Moon," wrote this story about an island and its secret.


Boats sailed to the little Island from far away and herring and mackerel leaped out of the water all silver in the moonlight. The seaweed squeaked at low tide and little green pears grew on the pear tree. A black crow flew over.

And a little kitten came to the Island with some people on a picnic. The kitten prowled around the Island and saw that it was all surrounded by water.

"What a little land," said the kitten. "This little Island is as little as Big is Big."

"So are you," said the Island. "Maybe I am a little Island too," said the kitten -- "a little fur Island in the air." And he left the ground and jumped in the air. "That is just what you are," said the little Island.

"But I am part of big world," said the little kitten. "My feet are on it." "So am I," said the little Island. "No, you're not," said the kitten. "Water is all around you and cuts you off from the land." "Ask any fish," said the Island.

So the kitten caught a fish. "Answer me this or I'll eat you up," said the kitten. "How is an Island a part of the land?" "Come with me," said the fish, "down into the dark secret places of the sea and I will show you." "I can't swim," said the cat. "Show me another way or I'll eat you up."

"Then you must take it on faith what I tell you," said the fish. "What's that?" said the cat -- "Faith." "To believe what I tell you about what you don't know," said the fish.

And the fish told the kitten how all land is one land under the sea. The cat's eyes were shining with the secret of it. And because he loved secrets he believed. And he let the fish go.

And he got on his boat and sailed away into the setting sun.

Then came the storm. The wind blew from the South East. Waves as big as glassy mountains came before it and lightning and thunder and always the howling, moaning, whistling wind. And then the storm passed and left the little Island where it found it in the summer sea.

Nights and days came and passed and summer and winter and the sun and the wind and the rain. And it was good to be a little Island. A part of the world and a world of its own all surrounded by the bright blue sea.

From THE LITTLE ISLAND by Golden MacDonald. Illustrated by Leonard Weisgard. Copyright 1946 by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. Copyright renewed 1973 by Roberta B. Rauch as executrix. Published by arrangement with Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Pub Date: 02/07/99

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