The stars could sense that The Moon was not in the best of moods before they even had a chance to see his glowing face appear before them. Several bolder stars drew on their vast experience, claiming that they just knew it wasn’t going to be a great night while the shyer stars silently cradled their nerves. Among the quietest of them, a newly born star, Stellar, listened to the conversations with particular interest, observing how the older stars behaved in these high-pressure moments while admiring how brightly all of the other stars shone. Stellar’s response to stress was to continue looking into how to become a better star. Unfortunately, Stellar was the dullest star in the night sky and everybody knew it, including The Moon. So, over the months, some of the more supportive stars worked tirelessly with Stellar, attempting to match her eagerness about learning the art of being a star with the ever-present problem and of a lack of space and a lack of time. There were only so many times The Moon was going to ignore her lack of light before replacing her with another, brighter star.
The stars’ had invented their motto several years earlier and it was something that Stellar repeated to herself before commencing each shift. Tonight, as The Sun’s light was replaced with darkness from once end of the sky to the other, Stellar repeated this motto until it was the only thing she could think about. ’Shine bright, shine all night’. Even without the sense that The Moon might be in a particularly awful mood, Stellar struggled to maintain a decent brightness for any significant length of time. Occasionally, The Moon would make herself known to the other stars well before their shifts were due to begin. These surprise visits didn’t happen often, but when they did, The Moon would ask any stars not doing a wonderful job to leave her night sky. Stellar wasn’t quite sure where the stars ended up when they were asked to leave but she was sure that she wouldn’t want to go there. The stars had an important job and, if you weren’t up to the task, then you had to find yourself another job in the interests of working together to create the best night sky in the universe.
Stellar relaxed when she realised that The Moon was on time tonight and started performing her job to the best of her capabilities. If she felt as though she was unable to shine as brightly as she would have liked, then she would do her best to camouflage herself amongst a group of brighter stars. Tonight, however, The Moon’s impatience seemed to fuel the sharpness of his eye and, out of the billions of stars in front of her, she singled out Stellar, causing her heart to beat faster and faster. The Moon stared at Stellar for an eternity while the other stars looked on helplessly. “What is the work of a star?” The Moon asked Stellar, breaking the uncomfortable silence between them.
“To shine bright and shine all night,” Stellar answered in a wavering voice.
“These are just words,” responded The Moon. “Let me ask you another way.” Stellar had not expected a second chance. “What is your purpose?”
This question had caught Stellar off guard so it took her longer than she had hoped to answer it. “I help make the night sky the best that it can be.”
“Exactly,” responded the moon. “And how do you expect to do that when you are not shining as brightly as the others.”
Stellar was convinced her time in the night sky was over. As she started to turn to leave, she saw something that she had never seen before. The moon’s light flickered. Stellar dare not blink as she turned back to stare at The Moon, looking to see if any other stars had seen what she had seen. After several seconds it happened again. Though, this time, The Moon’s light completely went out.
“How dare you!” a booming voice sounded behind them. Stellar turned to see The Sun, the brightest star of them all, holding a planet between himself and The Moon, making The Moon appear duller than anything else in the night sky. “Your light is not even your own, yet you think you can tell the stars what to do. This is shameful.” The Sun released the planet, causing his own light to reflect off of the surface of the moon. “It is you who is the dullest in the night sky, Moon, and I will no longer have you telling this star, or any other star, that they are not welcome in a sky that belongs to us all.”
The moon retreated and quickly found a place to hide.
It would be several weeks before any other star would see the moon and, when she returned, she remained silent while Stellar took pleasure in knowing that even the dullest object could make the night sky a place of wonder.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
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