© Dave Brett 2015 All rights reserved
Once upon a time, a long way away, a family of stars lived alone in the darkness of space. Their nearest neighbours were a long way off amid the glossy brightness of the Milky Way. The family lived their lives in the normal way of stars giving their life-bearing light to all the planets near them. One day a new star was born at the outer edge of the family home. This little star was very curious and asked the rest of the family many questions.
“Why was their so much space? Who made all the stars? What was the reason for giving out so much of their light? Where did their light go? When could she travel to see their neighbours?”
At first, the rest of her star family just laughed and replied as best they could. However, after many years, they became weary of her constant questioning and, in their various ways, tried to persuade her to stop asking so many questions.
Some older stars just smiled at her questions. Others replied softly “Wait and see little one. All will become clear as you grow.” The rest either ignored her or replied so sharply that the little star felt like crying.
One day the little star asked the old red star at the centre of the family, “Why do the other stars live so close together in the Milky Way while we must journey out here?”
In exasperation, the old red star replied, “Do you expect that we should know everything? Go and ask them why they choose to live as they do. Now stop asking such silly questions and leave us all in peace.”
So the little star decided to journey to the Milky Way to see if any star there could answer her questions. With a luminous glow, she said farewell to her family and, in a huge spurt of light, she thrust herself towards the Milky Way.
At the same time, on a planet far away, another little girl, a little human girl, whose name was Charlotte, was looking up into the star-filled sky. “Look Daddy”, she cried, “A star is moving across the sky”. “It must be a special star to do that,” replied her daddy. “We shall call her Charlotte’s Star for you were the first to see her. When we come to look at the night sky, we must try to follow her. Now it is getting cold and Mummy will be waiting for us.” They then went inside their warm and cosy house. Once inside the little girl excitedly told her mummy and brother about the star. “It was moving Thomas and Daddy said that it could be called Charlotte’s Star because I saw it first. You can come and see it with me tomorrow if you want to.”
Meanwhile the little star continued her journey. On and on she went without meeting anything, not even the smallest rock. After many days, she came close to a strange object floating all alone in the empty space between the Milky Way and the little star’s family. It was a huge piece of rock covered in ice. The little star thought of moving closer but remembered some advice given to her by the old red star.
“If we come too close to the other dwellers of space we can cause them great harm. For our light that creates life can also destroy life should it grow too powerful.”
Therefore, the little star decided to pass by without speaking to the ice-bound rock when she heard a faint cry.
“Help me please. Please help me.”
The little star searched the dark space around her but all she could see was the ice-bound rock floating in space. Carefully the little star sent out a slender stream of light towards the ice-bound rock. As her light touched its icy surface, a strange thing happened. A bright cloud rose from its surface and the ice-bound rock began to move very slowly away from the little star. The little star heard the voice again, only this time it was stronger.
“Oh thank you for giving me hope. I have been stuck here for such a long time I thought that I would never again find a star to shine on me. If you could just give me a little more of your light then I will be on my way.”
The little star gasped in amazement. "But who are you?” she gasped. “What are you? I have never seen anything like you before and why do you want more of my light?”
The ice-bound rock wobbled slowly away from the little star, gradually building up speed and losing its wobble as its journey restarted.
“I am a comet of course. My father said that it was time for me to journey to my destiny star so I set out but somehow I became stuck. He warned me not to visit the long dark places but I wanted to travel further than any of my friends had so I tried to skirt its fringes. Somehow, I was turned aside and found myself alone without a star to help me. So I slowed down then finally I stopped”.
The little star was puzzled. No one had ever told her of such things as comets, or why they needed the light of a star. As he thought about it, the little star began to glow much brighter.
Suddenly the little star heard the excited cries of the comet.
“Oh thank you little star for I can now continue on my journey.”
The little star looked for the little ice-bound rock. It was nowhere to be seen but in its place was a splendid arc of beautiful light that was moving swiftly away from the spot where the ice-bound rock had once floated. No longer a small body floating unseen, the comet now brightened up the heavens with a rainbow of colour. It was the most beautiful sight the little star had ever seen.
“But how did it happen?” the little star called after the rapidly vanishing comet.
“Your light,” replied the comet. “It gives me energy and causes my coat of ice to boil. This pushes me away from you and, by curving my tail of gas, I can send myself where I want to go. Goodbye and thank you for the gift of light.”
With that, the comet grew even brighter and, with a flourish of its trailing stream of coloured gas, it sped away from the little star. Soon it was no more than a distant speck in space and, with much sadness, the little star sent a narrow beam of light as a message of farewell and its last help to its newfound friend.
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