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Main > United States folktales > Fairy tale "The Little Boy and Girl in the Clouds"

The Little Boy and Girl in the Clouds

"Antelope," said the father, "you are the best jumper of all. Can you jump to the top?"

"I will try," said Antelope. She jumped as high as she could but could only reach a small distance up the side of the rock.

The mother turned. "Grizzly Bear," she said, "you are the strongest of the animals. Surely you can climb to the top!"

"I will try," said Grizzly Bear. But as strong as Grizzle Bear was, the rock was too wide for him to stretch his arms around it like a tree, and so he could not lift his weight up the sides.

One animal after another tried. Mountain Lion went a long way off to get a good start, ran toward the rock with great leaps, sprang straight up - and fell and rolled over on his back. He had made a higher jump than any of them, but it was not nearly high enough.

"Let me try," said a small voice in the back.

The villagers and animals looked around. Who had spoken?

"Don't step on me, please!" said an offended voice, who coming through the crowd turned out to be Measuring Worm.

"Really!" said Antelope. "You can't possibly expect us to believe you could do what we could not."

"What nerve!" whispered Raccoon with contempt to Jack Rabbit, who shook his ears scornfully in agreement.

Yet all the other villagers and animals were exhausted from trying and no one else had any new ideas, so finally the parents said, "Go ahead, Measuring Worm, give it a try."

With his nose in the air, Measuring Worm started up the side of the high rock, and before long had passed the point where Antelope had reached, and Bear, and Mountain Lion, and then only Eagle was left who could see where Measuring Worm was. For one whole snow Measuring Worm climbed the rock and at last he reached the top. The children were as deep asleep as they had been the moment they had fallen to the magic of the mossy rock, but Measuring Worm crawled across their arms and face till they awoke.

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