Every night when Lisa lay down, she put her light in a jar by the side of the bed.

After a long day of running and reading, of climbing and eating, of arguing and laughing, of flipping and thinking, Lisa had generated quite a glow.  Her face was bright and her fingertips shone and sparks flew at her every step.  It took some time to get every last bit into the jar, but when it was done she could lie on her side, peaceful and still, and gaze at the light until she slipped into dreams (which could never be dark with such radiance to watch over her).

Lisa wasn’t the only one comforted by her glow.  Nearly every night, her brother and sister would creep in and make little nests near the jar, snuggling up close with the light on their sleepy smiles.  The dog settled in nearby where one soft ray showed his ears perked up for any night sounds.  Even the owls, hunting in the outside night, came now and then and perched on the window frame to warm themselves before returning to their work.

How horrible, then, was the day that the jar disappeared!

In the morning, no one noticed.  With so many people to soak up the light, the jar was always quite dim when the sun rose up.  Lisa thought nothing of it.  She knew another long day of life would fill the jar to the brim by the time the sun’s light was gone.  That day was no exception.  It was only when she slipped into her pajamas, glittering from head to toe, that she realized there was no jar to hold her glow.

A frantic search produced no results.  Every member of the household was questioned carefully, including the dog (who thumped his tail in agitation, offended that he should be suspected and ashamed that he had not caught the thief himself).  No one had seen a thing.  Other jars were tried (and cups and bowls and even a teapot) but none of them could hold the light.  It always slipped right out and found its way back to Lisa.  At last there was nothing to do but try to sleep.  Lisa lay down, still aglow.

It was a long night.  Lisa’s radiance burned within her, the sparkle of it itching her skin.  She tossed and turned, too bright to sleep.  She was still awake at midnight when her sister came in and snuggled up against her side.  With someone else to draw some of the light, Lisa felt a bit better, but it was still another hour before exhaustion carried her away.  In the morning, the light had dimmed, and Lisa felt awful.

A long day followed that long night.  Lisa was too tired to run.  Her head hurt when she read.  It was hard to argue and harder to laugh.  Flips were out of the question.  Thinking was blurry at best.  It was no surprise that when night fell, her glow was not nearly as bright as usual.  She dreaded another night without the jar.

At the top of the stairs, the dog sat, tail held up at a jaunty angle.  His face radiated pride.  Lisa absently scratched his head as she went sadly into her room.  He followed with a bark and a nudge of her leg.  There by the bed was a jar.  This jar was much bigger than the old one, but just the same shape.  Lisa laughed and yelled, and all the family came running, and the dog wagged his tail, and everyone watched happily as Lisa put all her light into the jar.

Lisa’s sister said it must have been fairies.  Her brother thought it was Santa.  Her father suggested mice.  Her mother said some mysteries weren’t meant to be explained.  She was right.  No one in the family ever found out the truth of the old jar had gone or why or who had brought a new jar.  No one, that is, except the dog, and he wasn’t telling.


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