Sebastian didn’t like to leave his sock. It was warm and soft inside, and always good for hiding. One day his friend, a tiny white sheep named Isabelle, was bored with the room they shared and wanted to go outside and play.
“Come on, Sebastian,” she urged, tugging with her teeth at his long wooly sock. “Let’s explore the forest, or splash in the stream! There’s lots to do on a lovely day like this.”
Sebastian peeked his head out, first his floppy round ears, then his sad, brown eyes. “I don’t feel like going outside today,” he sighed. “I just want to stay here where it’s safe.”
“But you always hide in there,” she protested, not easily deterred. “Don’t you want to do something else sometimes?”
“No,” he frowned, casting his gaze toward the ground. “I’m too afraid.”
Isabelle wrinkled her sheep nose. “What’s there to be afraid of?”
“There are big things that will squash me, and mean things that will chase me, and things that will tease me for hiding in a sock.”
Isabelle shook her head. “No there aren’t,” she laughed. “Sure there are things that are bigger than you, but that doesn’t mean they’ll squash you. Trust me, I know.” Sebastian studied his minuscule friend and agreed that a sheep who’s only slightly larger than he is a tiny sheep indeed. She must know something about being small, he reasoned.
“Well, ok,” he nodded. “But aren’t you also afraid of being eaten?”
Isabelle giggled. “Of course not! There are plenty of delicious delectables out there to be eaten instead. A pint-sized sheep is at the bottom of the list. And besides, I can run really fast. If something tries to get me I can just run away!”
Sebastian’s face grew even foggier. “But I can’t run fast. If something chases me I can only hop inside my sock, slower than a snail. Then I’ll be made fun of because I’m not fast like you.”
Isabelle rubbed her tiny chin introspectively. “Hmm… well, I’ll be right beside you, and I won’t run too fast. We can go at the same speed, you and I, together. After all, the only way to get somewhere is to start moving. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, it only matters that you keep going forward.”
“But when others see me they’ll tease me for being in a sock!” he moaned.
“No they won’t,” she reassured him. “And even if they do, who cares. It’s a nice sock anyway, very pretty. And let’s face it, you can always come out of it if you want to.”
Sebastian was on the fence about the whole thing, but he knew that Isabelle was right. The room they were in was horribly predictable, and there were so many beautiful things to see, so many adventures to have. And the best part was that he knew Isabelle would never abandon him.
Despite all of this, however, he was still afraid.
“But I don’t want to leave my sock,” he replied, quivering. “It’s the only sock I’ve got.”
“You don’t have to leave your sock if you don’t want to,” she said reassuringly. “But even from inside the sock you can still make progress. Go ahead,” she prodded, nudging him with her nose. “Just try one hop.”
So Sebastian gathered up all his strength and made the best hop that he could. The sock was very big and fluffy, and Sebastian was very small, but despite those differences the mouse and the sock inched ever so slightly forward toward the door.
Isabelle applauded. “Nice job Sebastian, you’re one hop closer to the world of possibilities! Now try again, I’ll be right here beside you to help.”
Mustering up another hop, he lunged upward, this time slightly higher and farther than before. A grin formed around his lips, his whiskers turning upward and tickling his ears. With each try he got a little farther and a little faster and a little stronger. And true to her word, Isabelle stayed by his side, cheering him on. Before they knew it they’d reached the door to the outside and were bounding out.
And oh, what a world Sebastian saw! He gazed with wonder at the puffy clouds rolling around in the deep blue sky and the emerald trees dancing in the warm breeze. He marveled at a bumble bee floating lazily from flower to flower, drinking its fill then ambling off with a swollen belly. The golden sun stroked his fur and he turned his eyes upward, squinting as the rays hugged him close.
“Sebastian, come and play over here!” shouted the little white sheep, leaping and spinning joyfully as she tumbled through the tall grass. Sebastian squealed with glee, gathering up his sock and bounding toward his friend to join in her impromptu romp.
When Sebastian realized that nothing was trying to eat him or chase him or tease him for hiding in a sock, he decided he and Isabelle should indeed go off exploring.
So the two friends journeyed together out into the world that day, at their own pace, one hop at a time.
I like to write short stories! The Philosopher’s Stoned is a collection of some of my favorites.