It had been a long day, but a good day. The churchyard had been filled with kids and their parents and so many pumpkins! There had been hayrides and face painting and even jack o’lantern carvings. Now the sun was starting to go down and it was time for the families to go home. One by one, the grinning pumpkins were carried away by their humans, until everyone had gone.
Everyone, that is, except the tiny pumpkin who had been given two big, triangle eyes and a wide smile.
She’d been so happy when a little girl had picked her from the patch. Surely this was going to be her family! The little girl had held her in her lap all day, and the tiny pumpkin had liked her very much.
But then the little girl had gotten sleepy and her dad put the tiny pumpkin on the ground and they’d left the churchyard. The tiny pumpkin waited and waited for them to come back. How silly of them to have forgotten her!
The gate at the front of the churchyard creaked shut. A shiver went up the tiny pumpkin’s stem, but she said, “My family will come back for me. I must be brave and wait.”
It started to get very dark all around her. The shadows on the ground grew longer and longer. The wind blew through the trees with a low whistle. The tiny pumpkin suddenly missed her spot in the patch. She’d been safe and snug with the other pumpkins.
Even though she was afraid, she said, “My family will come back for me. I must be brave and wait.”
“Hoo,” replied the owl from a branch overhead.
It was big and had round, yellow eyes that were watching the tiny pumpkin.
The tiny pumpkin shivered again.
“My family will come back for me. I must be brave and wait.”
She didn’t like the nighttime. It was scary to be by herself! Where was her family? Why had all the other pumpkins been picked, but not her? She squeezed her eyes shut and began to cry a tiny cry.
“What’s wrong, tiny pumpkin?” Someone asked.
She jumped as only a surprised pumpkin can and opened her eyes. A ghost was floating in front of her. He was white as a sheet and she could see through him.
“I’m scared of the dark,” she said. “And everyone has left me!”
“Have they?” The ghost asked. He looked surprised.
“Yes,” she said. “I’m all alone!”
“You don’t seem alone to me, tiny pumpkin! The shadows have come to keep you company. Don’t you see them?”
“Yes,” the tiny pumpkin replied slowly.
“And the wind is whistling for you. Don’t you hear it?” The ghost cupped a hand around his ear.
“Yes,” said the tiny pumpkin, and her smile had started to come back.
“And the owl is watching over you. And now I am here, too!”
The tiny pumpkin looked around again. The shadows waved. The wind’s whistled cheerfully. The owl fluffed itself up, so soft and cute. Suddenly, she did not feel so alone at all! But it was still very dark, and she was still afraid.
“I’m scared of the dark,” she whispered.
The ghost floated down to lay on his stomach in front of her. “But, tiny pumpkin, you don’t have to be afraid of the dark!”
“No! You’re made to shine! Just think of things that make you happy.”
The tiny pumpkin thought of the little girl and her family. How happy she’d been when they’d picked her. But she did not shine. The tiny pumpkin frowned.
“I don’t think I’m meant to shine,” she said sadly. That must have been why she’d been left behind.
“Of course you are,” the ghost said. “Everyone shines in their own way. Go on, close your eyes and think of happy things!”
The tiny pumpkin closed her eyes. At first, she didn’t know what to think of. But then she began to picture the shadows and the wind and the owl, who had all come to keep her company. And she thought of the ghost, who had been so nice to her. She had felt so alone, but she hadn’t ever been alone at all!
A little warm spot began to grow in the tiny pumpkin, and when she opened her eyes again, light was coming from within her. The night wasn’t so dark anymore!
“I’m shining!” She said happily.
The ghost nodded. “I knew you could!”
“You know, I don’t think it’s so bad here after all,” she said. “Not if I have friends like you.”
And from then on, the tiny pumpkin, Patch, and the ghost, Boobury, were the very best of friends, and the churchyard was never quite so dark again.