The Mistake Phil Sunbeam made…………………….
By Graham Bishop 1973
The mistake Phil Sunbeam made was that he doubted the power of words.
Phil Sunbeam was spending his holidays at his Grandpa’s farm this summer. He had arrived two days earlier and had fitted in nicely with the routine about the place.
It was a lazy afternoon, one of those afternoons where the elm trees drooped down close to the warm grass, the cows dozed on the tired earth, and even the flies had stopped their wild racing games.
Phil was riding his Grandpa’s old mare; she was now plodding her way back to the barn. Soon they arrived and Phil rolled off the old mares back and then took off the saddle.
He was hot. There was a trough at the end of the barn and a tap. Phil led the horse over to there and proceeded to refresh himself. He looked up for a moment and he thought he saw something dark in the corner. He walked over there and a small ray of light that filtered through one of the boards in the barn allowed him to see what it was – a book! Ancient – looking and dusty.
Phil thought that the ideal thing to do on such a lazy afternoon was to read the book. He picked up the book and went over to the old tired elm tree that that cast its ample shadow over the green grass and opened the book. He began to read.
It was an ancient story about a strange land. As Phil was reading he came across a strange word. It made him feel as light as a feather – even lighter. He repeated the word to himself, and then he said it aloud. Phil closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them he was drifting on the warm breeze, far above the farm. He was going higher and higher.
Now the lazy countryside lay before him like a model landscape he had once seen at a show. What a glorious view. The sea sparkled on the distant horizon. The sky seemed endless. Phil was moving faster and faster.
He looked above only to see the blackness of space and he then glanced below him to the earth hanging in the endless sky of space – sparkling like a precious jewel. Phil was now racing past the stars and other worlds.
He wondered if this journey was to go on forever.
Then ahead of Phil was a new spectacle. Hanging in the sky many times larger than any of the stars or worlds he had seen was the book he had been reading. He was moving closer and closer to it. The book was open at the page he had been reading and that felt so long ago. Again Phil read the strange word but now he could understand its meaning. He felt as if he knew something normally beyond human comprehension.
Suddenly Phil noticed he was going to hit the word on the page in the book. He closed his eyes. He felt very dizzy; he was falling towards the book. A flash of light penetrated his closed eyes. Opening his eyes he now saw the farm a little way down below him.
He was now floating, on a gentle breeze, down, down…. toward the old elm tree.
As he landed on the ground another very strange thing happened. The ancient tree picked the ancient book Phil had been reading and whispered “Farewell Phil Sunbeam, one day you will remember all that you learned and understand. This book belongs to another world but one day it will return for you” The elm tree seemed to wave a farewell.
Phil now wasn’t quite sure if it had all happened. He was happy and he felt he could still remember all of the strange adventure and of the old elm tree speaking to him – but what the strange word taught him – all of that understanding – well he just couldn’t seem to remember it.
After such an amazing day Phil was now feeling sleepy and he settled down again under the old elm tree, and was soon asleep, dreaming – about a strange adventure and the power of words.
Phil Sunbeam was to never doubt the power of words.
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