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  • A bedtime story for children, in English.

  • "TINY MITE"

  • Once upon a time there was a little boy who was so small that his parents named him Tiny.

  • When he raced around the house with his tiny legs whirring and his tiny hands waving, he

  • was so much fun to watch that his grandfather nicknamed him Mite. That is how he became

  • known as Tiny Mite. He was only a few inches tall.

  • His father bought a toy house for Tiny Mite and furnished it with a tiny bed, table, closet,

  • and everything else to make it cozy and comfortable. His mother sewed him a down blanket for his

  • bed and glued a beautiful carpet onto his floor. The shelves were filled with toys and

  • a violin for Tiny Mite to play in the evening. He loved his home and felt safe there. But,

  • being a mischievous and cheerful boy, he often left his little toy house and ran around the

  • big house, waving his hands comically. The grownups were so deathly frightened of stepping

  • on him that they found a shiny silver bell for him to wear around his neck.

  • In Tiny Mite's eyes, everything looked enormous and mysterious -- at times downright intimidating.

  • Imagine a cat that looks like a fierce tiger and a dog the size of a monster! The cat and

  • the dog both loved Tiny Mite and were super-careful when touching him. Tiny Mite knew they would

  • never deliberately do anything to hurt him. Still, whenever they came near, his heart

  • started pounding and he ran back into his house as fast as his little legs could move.

  • At suppertime he would stroll around the table top as though it were a huge magic carpet,

  • covered with all the treats his heart could imagine. He enjoyed gathering cookie crumbs

  • and licking up drops of spilled milk. His mother scolded him, but he still loved to

  • get into mischief like any little boy.

  • His mother sewed him two suits, an ordinary gray suit for everyday use and a second one

  • for special occasions. The special one had a blue jacket with silver buttons, and Tiny

  • stored it in a chest in his little toy house. On holidays and when company came, he wore

  • the special suit and put on his shiny boots and spurs. He looked like a fairy-tale prince.

  • Tiny was surrounded with love, and he had everything his heart could desire. But then

  • one day his world changed completely.

  • On that particular day, he felt curious about the outside world. He put on his festive jacket

  • with the silver buttons, his shiny boots with the spurs, and he checked to make sure the

  • silver bell was hanging around his neck. He ran over to the door and slipped through the

  • opening made for the dog to run in and out. He squinted at the bright light. Everything

  • to him was new and a bit scary. He could have surrendered to his fear and gone back inside,

  • but instead he walked ahead into the unknown, watching every step he took. Finally he reached

  • the main road. As he looked up at the trees lining the street, he was awestruck. People

  • were scurrying about in all directions, and any one of them could have easily crushed

  • Tiny Mite underfoot like a bug.

  • Tiny raced down the sidewalk and right into the open door of the first shop he came to.

  • He quickly hid under a counter. It was a toy store.

  • Looking out, he could see huge shoes and boots promenading around the store. Some of the

  • shoes were much smaller than the others. The owners of the smaller shoes were whining and

  • pleading for some toy or another. Even the small shoes seemed like giants to Tiny Mite,

  • and he decided to wait until they all left.

  • When evening came, the store closed and became so silent you could hear a pin drop. Tiny

  • cautiously came out and walked from room to room. He had to catch his breath when he saw

  • how many toys there were. Almost every toy was much, much too big for him. Only two attracted

  • him: a small wind-up frog that began to jump about when Tiny saw it, and a small mouse

  • toy. At first he backed away from the mouse in fright. Then he laughed out loud. Who ever

  • heard of someone being afraid of a toy!

  • Right before the store opened in the morning, Tiny scurried back to his hiding place. He

  • was very, very hungry. He missed his little house. Fortunately, a careless salesgirl had

  • spilled some cookie crumbs onto the floor. He ate them and was almost sound asleep, when

  • suddenly two pairs of shoes appeared next to the counter. Two were big and very stylish.

  • The other two were smaller and not so fancy. Tiny guessed correctly that they belonged

  • to a mother and daughter, in the store to look at the toys.

  • Suddenly something rolled right toward him. It was an enormous silver-colored wheel. Tiny

  • was barely able to lurch to one side in time to escape. Immediately a small hand in a glove

  • began to sweep the area under the counter and happened to bump into Tiny Mite.

  • "Oh, wow," a shrill voice exclaimed. "There's something down here!"

  • A second later Tiny found himself parked in the middle of the palm of a gigantic hand.

  • A pair of enormous sparkling eyes with shaggy eyelashes was staring right at him.

  • "Mom, take a look!" said the girl, holding out her hand for her mother to see. "See

  • how cute and funny he is! Let's take this miraculous little creature home."

  • And that is how Tiny Mite ended up in Sonya's house.

  • Sonya's father bought a toy house with furniture for Tiny Mite. Sonya's mother sewed him

  • a little blanket and laid down a beautiful carpet for him. And everything was just perfect,

  • except that he didn't have the violin he had loved to play in the evening.

  • Sitting with his back propped up against a warm soup tureen one evening, Tiny Mite thought

  • back to his own mother and father. He remembered the violin that had been more precious to

  • him than anything. His eyes filled with tears. Sonya wept with him. Her father took Tiny

  • into his broad hands and ran his fingers gingerly though the boy's curly hair.

  • "Tell me what's the matter, big guy... Don't you like living here with us?"

  • "No, it's not that." Tiny Mite answered. "It's just that I miss my violin. You

  • see, I'm a violinist."

  • "You're one violin player that's going to have a violin," he said. "There, there,

  • don't you cry. It really makes me sad to see you cry."

  • Tiny Mite wiped his eyes and sighed. Sonya also stopped crying and caressed the boy gently.

  • Days passed with no sign of a violin. Sonya's father kept looking for someone able to build

  • a miniature violin, but one by one, all the instrument makers turned down the order. Who

  • can blame them!

  • One evening, Sonya's father came home in the evening after work and told everyone,

  • rubbing his hands eagerly: "Well, Tiny, it looks like I have found the right craftsman.

  • He makes amazing things, so tiny you can hardly believe. He promised to make you a violin."

  • Quite a few days passed and finally Sonya's father brought home a tiny violin in a silver

  • case. There it was: a genuine violin, with strings and a bow -- only everything was

  • much, much smaller!

  • "Tiny, dear Tiny," said Sonya. "Play something for us!"

  • Tiny Mite stood up in the middle of the table, took hold of the violin, tossed back his golden

  • curls, and began to play. He became so absorbed in his inspired playing that the adults had

  • tears in their eyes, and Sonya kissed his pink little cheek.

  • From that time on, Tiny Mite did not cry any more. He spent his days playing the violin,

  • warming himself by the soup tureen, and fleeing from the cat. He felt at ease in his new family

  • and he began to spend less time remembering his parents and his grandfather, who had nicknamed

  • him Mite.

  • One day Sonya's father announced that the family was going to their summer cottage.

  • Tiny Mite loved adventures and rushed to pack his trunk. He packed his little silver violin-case

  • with the violin inside, his blue jacket, his shiny boots, and a wind-up toy frog that Sonya's

  • father had given him.

  • The cottage turned out to be a large house with enormous windows and a terrace. Tiny

  • Mite was a little afraid of going out into the garden. Flaming red roses straddled the

  • garden fence and the garden itself was full of broad flowerbeds of phlox and iris.

  • Sonya took a small basket, put Tiny Mite inside and set out on a walk. Tiny Mite squeezed

  • his eyes shut.

  • "Open your eyes and don't be afraid," said Sonya, laughing. "Take a look at how

  • beautiful everything is."

  • Tiny gradually got used to these walks. One day he decided to venture into the garden

  • by himself.

  • Tiny could barely make his way through the stalks of grass. They towered so high above

  • him that they were like trees in a rain forest. He walked on and on with no thought of where

  • he was going. All of a sudden, something he saw made him stop dead in his tracks. In front

  • of him stood a small insect, leaning for support on its little legs. The insect was even smaller

  • than Tiny Mite.

  • "Who are you?" he asked, taking one step backward to be play it safe.

  • "My name is Bug," answered the insect. She blew her nose. "Sorry, I have hay fever

  • today. I must have sniffed too many flowers."

  • "Do you really have to go around sniffing flowers?" asked Tiny Mite.

  • "Of course," answered Bug, and blew her nose again.

  • "So how do you get up so high?"

  • "It's really very simple. I crawl up the stem of the plant and then sniff until I get

  • dizzy. I just overdid it."

  • "What kind of a smell do they have?"

  • "They smell divine," answered Bug. "The scent cannot be compared with anything else

  • in this world."

  • "Excuse me," said Tiny Mite. "But why is your name Bug? My grandfather called me

  • a mite because I jump around so fast." Hearing this, Bug commented with a certain

  • amount of family pride, "I inherited my name from my ancestors.

  • My Mom and Dad, my grandfather, grandmother, and my brothers and sisters... All of my relatives

  • are bugs. There are millions of bugs out there."

  • But Tiny Mite only knew how to count up to ten and didn't know what a million was,

  • so that didn't impress him.

  • "Is that a lot?" he asked courteously.

  • "Well, it is ..." Bug didn't know how to explain and said, waving the little legs

  • on her hind legs like a fan, "It's this many!"

  • "That's a whole lot of relatives," said, Tiny Mite, a bit overwhelmed.

  • "Don't get upset. We're good folks, and we'll take you into our family."

  • "I don't want to join your family. I have a family of my own," said Tiny proudly.

  • "Well, have it your way, then," said Bug. "We'll have to decide if we really want

  • you... You don't even know how to climb up stems."

  • Bug was just about to leave, when Tiny Mite quietly remarked, "But -- I do know how

  • to play the violin."

  • Bug stopped in her tracks. She stood still for a moment and turned back to face Tiny.

  • Her eyes were wide open like two little saucers. "What did you say? Did you say you play

  • the violin?"

  • "I do."

  • "Do you also know how to conduct an orchestra?" asked Bug, her voice quavering.

  • "Hmm... I don't know. I never tried... Anyway, I have nobody to conduct. I'm all

  • alone."

  • "That's not true!! You will have an orchestra. But first I've got to teach you to climb

  • up flower stems and even tree trunks."

  • Tiny Mite felt queasy from just thinking about it. Even the stalk of a flower was huge to

  • him. And now Bug wanted him to climb a tree, one of those skyscrapers reaching halfway

  • to the stars, with its branches rocking in the wind!

  • "There's nothing to be afraid of," Bug said, and laughed. "I was also afraid at

  • first."

  • Then Tiny Mite remembered that he had never had any friends. He had once had a mother,

  • father, and a grandfather. Then Sonya had found him in the toy store... But he had never

  • had any real friends.

  • "So would you like to be my friend?" he asked.

  • "You have to earn that privilege... I can't even count the number of my friends. So having

  • one friend more or less won't make any difference."

  • "No... I don't want to be the kind of friend that can't be counted. I want to

  • be someone's best friend."

  • Bug paused for a while. The she said sadly, "You know, I used to have a friend. He and

  • I used to climb up and down the stems and trees together. We swam in the drops of dew.

  • But he's gone now..."

  • "What happened to him?"

  • "A little boy caught him, put him in a box and took him home. Losing a friend is a real

  • hard thing..." She sighed again.

  • "I'm sorry to hear that," said Tiny. "I lost my mother and father."

  • "You know what," Bug said, smiling through her tears. "I think I'll invite you home."

  • "Really! I've never been invited to someone's home."

  • "Come tomorrow. You see that tree over there? The door to our house is at the bottom of

  • the tree."

  • "I'll be there for sure!" said Tiny, waving to her as he walked away.

  • The next morning, remembering his date with Bug, he waited impatiently for everyone in

  • the summer cottage to go their separate ways.

  • Finally, Sonya's father left for town to take care of some work, driving a car that

  • looked and sounded to Tiny Mite like a booming dinosaur. Sonya's mother went to have tea

  • with a neighbor. Sonya herself went scampering off to a nearby creek with some of her girlfriends.

  • Tiny Mite went back into his little toy house, combed his hair, put on his favorite blue

  • jacket and boots, and took his silver violin case. He then cautiously made his way down

  • the leg of the table onto the floor. The door to the porch was open. Tiny crossed the threshold

  • and stepped onto the smooth boards. He waded through mounds of lilac flowers that had fallen

  • onto the porch. Finally his legs reached the ground and he was in the garden.

  • The tree where his friend lived was a short walk from the porch, but it was long and tiresome

  • for Tiny, who had to fight his way through a dense and shady jungle.... Drenched in sweat,

  • he eventually arrived at Bug's house.

  • Catching his breath, Tiny Mite knocked uncertainly on the door. It swung open a second later,

  • and Tiny saw his friend from the day before. She had on a fluffy blouse made of iris petals;

  • on her head she wore a small, light-colored hat.

  • "What a beautiful hat you have," said Tiny, knowing that ladies love compliments.

  • "Thank you," said Bug, smiling. "My grandmother sewed it from silver thread."

  • "And where did she ever find silver thread?" asked Tiny.

  • "From Uncle Spider. He lives nearby and sometimes drops by in the evening to spend

  • time playing cards with Grandpa."

  • "What? You're friends with spiders?" said Tiny, surprised.

  • "They're nice," said Bug, laughing. "It's just that they aren't very good-looking...

  • So come in, won't you! We're glad to see you," she said and opened the door wider.

  • He walked in and let out a big "Aah." In front of him stood the entire Bug family.

  • "These are my brothers and sisters. And they all play different instruments," said

  • Bug. "By the way, did you bring your violin along?"

  • "I have it here," said Tiny, smiling. He was glad that he would now have musicians

  • to perform with.

  • Bug's mother invited everyone to the table. They drank strawberry leaf tea with wild honey.

  • It was a lively affair, as the little bugs laughed and jostled one another. The youngest

  • bug, named Bashy, walked up to Tiny Mite and asked, lisping:

  • "Are you going to be staying with us?"

  • "No, I am just here for a visit. I have my own home."

  • "And will you invite me to your place?"

  • "Of course. I just have to ask Sonya about it first."

  • "And who is Sonya?" asked Bashy.

  • "My sister," answered Tiny.

  • "So you only have one sister?"

  • "Only one," sighed Tiny.

  • "Why so few?" said Bashy insistently. "I have so, so many..."

  • "Now, you children go ahead and play. I have chores to do," said Bug's mother

  • and left.

  • Finally the insect musicians took their seats, holding their instruments at the ready. Binky,

  • the oldest, had glasses hanging over her nose. Sitting at the piano, she was looking over

  • the rim of her glasses at her younger brothers and sisters with a stern expression on her

  • face.

  • Tiny seized the conductor's baton and waved it. What came next was the most amazingly

  • unharmonious screeching sound! Everyone was playing something different, like runners

  • running off in dozens of different directions! There was no melody, no harmony....

  • "So you see," said Bug, approaching Tiny. "We really need a conductor. Without one

  • we're lost. All our hopes are on you."

  • "But I've never conducted," said Tiny Mite uncertainly.