if only

Once there was a girl on a journey to a place she'd never gone before. Never having been there didn't slow the girl down, however, for she was impatient, and keen to be in a new place. She became so anxious to reach her destination, in fact, that she took to traveling at night, despite being unsure of the path.

The girl stumbled in the dark, stubbornly pressing on even though prudence would have had her wait til dawn. "If only I had a lantern," she pined, and just as the words escaped her, the girl tripped and fell into a burrow hidden in the forest floor.

She sat for a moment, stunned into silence and unsure what she ought to do next. The moon, who'd been watching, took pity on the girl and shone more brightly. Illuminating white light pooled around her, and she dusted herself off and climbed back out, never noticing the change in the cold night sky.

On the girl walked through the small hours, stopping only to gather wild berries and drink from the stream. Sunrise spread slowly on the horizon, and soon she was warm and confident of her way once again. But it wasn't long before the girl, tired of the road, sighed, "If only I wasn't alone." The birds in the branches heard her complaint, and cheerfully raised their voices in the morning sun. A tune suddenly came to her, and the girl began to whistle it without wondering from whence it came.

Believing she was close to her journey's end, the girl moved ever faster through the wood. She paid no attention to where she stepped, crushing wildflowers and scattering the makings of an animal's den along the way. "If only it were tomorrow!" she remarked, dreaming of all that would be different, and forgetting all that wouldn't. 

But the sun, who could have inched his way more quickly across the heavens and granted the girl's wish, did not hear it. He only heard the birdsong that filled the forest and floated up to the wide, blue sky, from where the girl on the ground looked very, very small, and very, very lost.