There is a village in Benguet where a giant wearing a broad-brimmed hat spent days staring at the sun and nights talking to the moon. They called this giant Mt. Kalugong. For, the truth was, he was simply a mountain who came alive while children slumbered underneath thick knitted blankets and dreams.
At the foot of Mt. Kalugong, there lived a little girl shy as a tiny mouse. She rarely went outside the doors of their steel and wooden house.
“Nabuteng, please buy vinegar from Manang Rosa.”
“Can someone else do it, Mama? Aling Rosa scares me.”
“Gahh, fine, I’ll ask your brother. Balong, gumatang ka ti suka! Did you ask Manong Nestor if he’s done making your uniform already?”
“I haven’t, Mama. I don’t think I can speak in front of Manong.”
“If you won’t ask, who will? Not me, not your Papang, not Balong. Hay!”
Such was the usual exchange between Nabuteng and her mother.
One February night, a star danced over the child’s bedroom window. The star had heard about the girl who was too timid to go out. She peeked through the curtains. She watched the child’s chest rise and fall, and rise and fall, and rise and fall, and she wondered what scared Nabuteng so when she was awake. Sleeping, the child didn’t seem to be afraid of anything.
“Child, come away with me.”
They had already soared over mountains, over valleys, over hills, over plains when Nabuteng’s eyes flickered open. “Whe-where am I??? Wha-what is happening to me?”
“Hello, Nabuteng. Welcome to the world beyond.”
“Be-beyond?? Ta-take me home! Take me home please.” Nabuteng whimpered as she covered her face with her hands.
“You’ve made it this far. I will take you home. But I have yet to show you more.”
The child continued to snivel. But slowly, as they continued to sail over more mountains, over more valleys, over more hills, and over more plains, wonder replaced the fear in Nabuteng’s eyes.
“This… This is amazing…”
“It is. I’d like you to meet some other stars, too.”
“Wha-what? Other sta-stars? No – I can’t!”
“Yes, you can.”
And on and on they sailed.
“Such a lovely girl.”
Little by little, the bashfulness in her heart disappeared.
“Hi… I’m Nabuteng.”
“Hello… Nice to meet you, star…”
And on and on they went some more, until Nabuteng realized that they were home.
“See, that wasn’t so bad now, was it?”
“No… It wasn’t. Thank you.”
The child crept back to her bed, the stars and the mountains tucking her back to sleep.
The next morning, as Mt. Kalugong said good morning to the sun, he saw at the corner of his eye a little girl emerging out of a steel and wooden house waving at the sky.
Assignment 3 (Coursera: Writing for Young Readers)