POOKIE'S CHRISTMAS PRESENT
by Mama Mimi
POOKIE wriggled his little black nose, taking in all the delightful smells coming from the kitchen. He could feel the air of excitement that filled the whole house. Everybody was whispering and looking very mysterious, as if they had wonderful secrets. That is, everybody except POOKIE. He curled up on his little bed and moped, looking very forlorn.
Ordinarily Linda, his favorite person, would have noticed and tried to coax him into feeling better, but the plain truth was that everyone, including Linda, was just too busy. Everywhere POOKIE went, especially the kitchen, he was shooed out. Christmas cookies take a lot of time and work, and a little brown dog underfoot is a bother.
Nobody paid any attention to him. Everybody was busy preparing gifts for those they loved. And POOKIE had no gifts to give. Not to Linda, his little mistress, or Mama, his big mistress, or Daddy, his walking companion.That was what was bothering POOKIE. His little heart was so full of love for his family, but he didn't have a gift for anybody. Not even for Cuddles, his furry little cat companion. He felt left out and sad.
The more he remembered all the oohs and aahs that filled the room last Christmas, the sadder he became. In his little dog mind he went over and over his list of special things. A bone would not do for people, even though it was a very good bone. He couldn't give Linda his red ball because she gave it to him last Christmas. Besides, it was all chewed up from the games of tug-of-war the two of them liked to play. The harder POOKIE thought, the worse he felt. He just couldn't think of a single thing to give anybody!
At last the house rustled into quietness and all the family was asleep. POOKIE climbed on the soft pillow in his little bed. With a mournful sigh he went to sleep. Suddenly he heard his name spoken in a clear, sweet voice. It didn't sound like anyone in his family. He sat up with a start.
"Pookie, even a little puppy's heart is open to us. Your thoughts have been heard. The wish of your heart is a good one, a very unselfish one. Therefore, I have been given permission to come and speak to you."
The strange thing was that POOKIE understood every word, even though the lady never moved her mouth the way people talk! It just seemed as if the words floated into his mind.
The shining lady continued: "Little Pookie, you have wondered all day what gifts you could bring to the Christmas celebration for those you love. And you have felt so sad because you thought you had no gift to give anyone. Ah, but you are wrong, Pookie. You can give the greatest gift of all."
POOKIE's eyes blinked in surprise, and he tilted his little brown head with its long brown ears. I can? What gift is that?
The beautiful stranger smiled. "Think hard, Pookie. What makes you the happiest? What makes you wiggle all over with joy, from your little black nose to the tip of your little brown tail?"
POOKIE thought hard. He tried to remember just what it was that made him wiggle for joy. All of a sudden he remembered! It was the love somebody showed him. When one of the family, especially Linda, talked gently to him. Or told him what a good dog he was. Or if they did something special, a special treat of some kind to show him how much they loved him.
The lady's smile grew brighter. "Yes, Pookie. You are right. Love is the greatest gift anyone can give. And it must be given. No one, not even the richest man on earth, can buy it. It is truly a gift."
POOKIE nodded his head thoughtfully.
"So you see, Pookie, you do have a gift to give. The greatest gift of all. And there is no end to it. It can be given to everyone. Everyone you love can receive it from you. And you can never run out of this gift because the more you give, the more you will have to give. And if you wrap your gift with a loving touch and a thoughtful act, it will be the most beautiful gift of all. It is a gift that is always in season. You do not have to wait for any special time. You can give this gift all year round, and it will always be just right for the occasion."
With that --- POOF! The lady was gone. POOKIE blinked again, staring at the corner where the lady had been standing. It seemed there was still a special light, but the room was empty. He felt suddenly lonesome. He liked her. She made him feel warm and happy. And she was fun to talk to. Well, actually he couldn't call it "talking." All he did was think something and she knew it.
POOKIE lay down again on his little pillow. But this time there was no sad little sigh. It had certainly been a surprising night. How many puppies, or even people for that matter, ever saw someone all glowing and beautiful? Especially if that someone was standing in a corner of their everyday living room? ? Much less "talk" to this someone!
He remembered everything the beautiful lady had said to him. It gave him a special peaceful feeling. It started with his little black nose and crept all the long way to the tip of his little brown tail.
Most of all, he was happy again. He did have something to give. Not only that, it was something he could give every day, over and over. A gift that would never wear out like his play sock. Never get chewed up like his rubber ball. Or broken like his toy bone.
He decided that the very next day he would make sure he shared this wonderful secret with his family. He couldn't tell them about the lady, for much as he loved them, they wouldn't understand him the way she did.
But if he showed them by the way he behaved, he could share the magical secret. No more chewing up anybody's slippers. No more digging in the flowerbeds. And, definitely, no piddling in the house! Oh, there were lots of ways a little brown dog could show his love by not doing things he knew they didn't like. And he was sure they would understand. After all, love is something everybody needs and is happy to receive.
With this happy thought, POOKIE curled up warm and snug in his little bed. In a minute he felt a soft little body snuggle up to him. He heard Cuddles purr softly. Soon they were both fast asleep.
Maybe POOKIE saw the beautiful lady again in his dreams and heard again her wonderful secret.
Who do you think she was?
* * *
Author's Note: I selected the name POOKIE based on Pooka from old Celtic Mythology meaning: "A fairy or guardian spirit in animal form."
Copyright (c) 2007 Anne Forrest Elmore
(a.k.a. Mama Mimi)