2017-09-17 / Family

Widgin the Brownie (Conclusion)

By VALERIE L. EGAR
Author

Widgin trudged up the street, carrying his tiny satchel. He’d only gone a few blocks and already he felt lonely. He’d grown to like the two little hobgoblins, Patch and Pitch, and was proud of the good work they were doing in the firehouse. He wasn’t needed there, though, and brownies like to feel needed. “I’ll visit them on holidays,” he said to himself.

Widgin was looking for a new place to live and work. He’d left the family he’d lived with for many generations. They had gadgets that talked to them and ran the household so efficiently, Brownie felt useless. Besides, they didn’t believe brownies existed, so no one ever left a small scoop of oatmeal with a sweet pat of butter for him or smiled at the small jobs Widgin did around the house, like fluffing pillows and shining shoes.

Widgin noticed a woman sweeping the sidewalk in front Millie’s Florist. The front door was open and he wandered in. The scent of roses, lilies and carnations filled the air. Widgin took a deep breath and smiled. He looked around. “A brownie could get this place in order in no time! “ he thought. The vases needed dusting and the ribbons for the floral arrangements were tangled. The houseplants needed watering. Orders for flowers were strewn from one end of the counter to the other.

A fat red cat lounged on top of the orders. He yawned and stretched, arching his back and knocking a few of the orders on the floor. He was as tall as Widgin and four times as heavy. “Don’t get any ideas, Brownie,” the cat said. “This is my place and I run the show around here. Skedaddle!”

Widgin sighed and walked back outside. For the rest of the morning, he looked at different businesses and considered whether they might suit him. Shoe store? Nope, grumpy owner. Accountant’s office— ship-shape, right down to the pencils arranged by size, so there wasn’t much to do. Hardware store— too many things too heavy for him to lift. Widgin felt discouraged. He climbed onto a park bench and nibbled on an oatmeal cookie he’d stashed in his satchel.

As he chewed, he noticed a school across the street. He read the sign: Walter E. Arnold Elementary School. He brushed the crumbs from his lap and walked over. He heard laughter from the first classroom. That was a good sign. He listened at the door and heard the teacher reading a book to her second grade class. The book was funny and Widgin laughed.

Widgin turned a corner and found Mrs. Benton’s Fifth Grade class in the computer room. Computers had always seemed mysterious to Widgin. What did they do? He stood at the back and listened. He watched which keys the students pushed. “If I decide to stay here,” he thought, “ I can learn about computers and use them at night.”

Wiggin wandered through the school. He saw papers in the principal’s office he could neaten, children in kindergarten who needed help tying their shoes, cubbies in every classroom that needed tidying, an art room that was a mess. There was an enormous amount of work to be done and a lot of people to help.

Widgin found a warm, out of the way spot in the cafeteria kitchen and made himself comfortable. As soon as the school was quiet, he inspected each classroom. Someone forgot to feed the guinea pig in the Fourth Grade classroom, so he did. He closed the window in the principal’s office when it started to rain. He shelved library books.

As the months passed, Widgin found that a few children could see him, especially the youngest ones. The ones who couldn’t still sensed his magical presence. They knew Widgin made sure every volcano at the science fair worked and that he had somehow persuaded the lunch ladies to never make Tuna Noodle Surprise again. More than a few children left an extra oatmeal cookie or even a spoon of oatmeal for Widgin to thank him.

Widgin was happy at last, he had found the perfect place to live.

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