Though the size of a large rabbit with fur almost as soft, it wasn’t a bunny. The solid little creature was black and white like a lemur’s tail with a white face that drew me to it like a kitten face does with those irresistibly large, sparkling eyes. Innocent eyes filled with the wonder of the world.
It was a happy animal, bouncing about amongst people, joyfully following them, going to one and then another, but the people went about their business, paying no attention to him. Yes, a “him.” Somehow I knew this.
“Has anyone fed him?” I asked.
“Oh,” one of the people said. “I guess we forgot.” I was angry, appalled in fact. How could no one have noticed him? How could feeding the little fellow have slipped their minds?
I picked him up, and he immediately cuddled up to me. “What,” I asked, “would you like to eat?”
“Spaghetti and meatballs.” I heard the request, though I don’t think he spoke.
In no time, he had a plate filled with saucy spaghetti and meatballs that he attacked, making an enthusiastic mess. Picking him up again, I felt how tired he was, and so I tucked him into bed, gathering soft blankets around him. He snuggled in with a sleepy sigh and closed his beautiful round eyes. That’s when I woke up.
I often dream of animals, but they’ve always been cats, dogs, birds, the occasional horse or cow, and once a wolf. But this dream was different with its lovable, myth-like creature. I wondered, isn’t this how myths are born, coming from real dreams or just as dreamy imaginings?
I’d just finished a book with a sporadic griffin and another with an occasional firebird cameo, so I decided to search my memory of books I’ve read and then wander through Amazon’s virtual shelves. The reward was large enough that I had to whittle it down to just a few.
“Imaginary Animals: The Monstrous, the Wondrous and the Human” by Boria Sax
This is an in-depth book filled with dragons, mermaids, unicorns, griffins, and all the others that seem to have been on earth since humans began trying to define their world. Sax also defines things by trying to explain the purpose these animals might serve in the human psyche. An interesting read.
You probably read “The Last Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle when you were not quite grown, so perhaps it’s time to read it again. Beagle has reimagined the myth for you to enjoy on a quiet evening accompanied by a unicorn who lives alone and lonely in a lilac wood. With the help of Schmendrick, a magician, and Molly Grue, the beautiful unicorn learns about joy and sorrow. (teen & adult readers)
How about a griffin? First in a seven-book series is “The Lost Heir (The Gryphon Chronicles, Book 1)” by E. G. Foley. It centers on an orphaned pickpocket named Jake who suddenly finds himself in possession of magic and also that he’s being hunted down by those who don’t want the Lost Heir of Griffon, who is Jake, to ever be found. (grades 5 to 8)
When it comes to imaginary creatures, Dr. Seuss can’t be ignored. His books require very little description, but did you know he wrote “The Cat in the Hat” about two children and a house-wrecking cat after someone remarked that children were turning illiterate from all the boring books about very good children? Find more Seuss books.
Is there a tale more beloved than “How to Train Your Dragon”? Did you books existed before the animated films? They’re a 12-book series for young readers 8 to 12 by Cressida Cowell, but younger children will enjoy hearing the stories. The first book begins with, “Long ago, on the wild and windy isle of Berk, a smallish Viking with a longish name stood up to his ankles in snow.” And from there, the book takes off with a funny tale and scribble-style drawings. Complete series
You’ll find more on the Nonfiction, Fiction, and Children pages, but I wish someone would write a book about the sweet fellow who eats spaghetti in my dreams.