Some might say living in a hole sounds simply dreadful, but have you ever tried it? The amount of space that can be dug under the ground of various plant-life is quite remarkable and there is a sense of security unlike that of any other world. Naturally, it is fairly dark however, there have been clever ways invented which brings light into the home on account not everyone in particular enjoys the idea of living in a hole. Some have windows on the top of their homes, though those homes are usually full of uneducated Rookers, as our citizens are named, or new homeowners due to the fact that it is a challenge to open and close the windows from such heights and is quite frowned upon. Other Rookers line windows on the front of their homes near the door, the part peaking out of the earth, as to let light through.
Every hole is equipped with one window in the rear of the home in the master suite as for an emergency, incase of a fire or such. It would not be very smart to have only one way out of your home, now would it? However, everyone can agree that the best part of Hillsburry Hollow is not the practicality of underground living, rather what is to be seen out the window of every home every day.
In the morning the sun rises at the most convenient time whereas everyone has had a plentiful night's sleep and there is no reason to stay in bed any longer. The sun, as with the citizens of Hillsburry Hollow, take their time rubbing the sleep out of their wide eyes while slipping into their fur slippers and tying the belt of their wool robes. As the windows of each home are opened slightly because it never rains, humming birds and sparrows sing their morning song at the threshold of the window each morning. Some, mostly older folk, will lie still in their bed a moment or two gazing at the sun's purple glow to appreciate it's brilliant color.
At first, it is difficult not to glance at the sun as it rises in the periwinkle blue sky as this is the only time of day in which clouds are present. White puffs of cotton sprinkled with shades of coral red, plum purples, and fiery orange hug the dully lit morning sun, dully lit because it is much more pleasurable waking up to a dimmed sun, wouldn't you say?
Of course, the sun does not stay dull all day but only for the first hour at which time all the citizens of Hillsbury Hollow brew their strong cups of rosebud and hibiscus tea, crack open their hard boiled eggs, and rock in their hammock chairs woven with thin silky straw and lavender releasing the most relaxing aroma. And when the sun hits the center of the horizon, the clouds evaporate quickly leaving bright rays of sunlight to splurge from the sky, through the peep-hole's front door, and into the homes of each Rooker. The sun's rays dance across the wooden-covered dirt floors of each house-hole opening the door of every house on Hillsburry Hollow. All eligible citizens step outside, in their bare feet of course, onto the grass at which time they participate in the morning's exercise. Not one blade of grass is browned with death or age and is soft and cool with refreshment. Once the Eligibles, as this particular group of Rookers are called, have completed their morning's exercise, they stretch in various ways (touching the toes and such), and head down the pebble stone road to the Patch for work.
Every morning and every day is the same beautiful day as the next. All the citizens of Hillsburry Hallow are pleasant and grateful for the paradise they live in and all is pleasant and well. Yet with such a carefree life as these fine little Rookers have, an inperfection is bound to be missed a time or two. And as we examine the Hillsburry Hollow very careful we may find the start of something new.
Outside a rather smaller house-hole near the edge of the Hollow, one single blade of grass began to show a hint of a rusted color. It may have been red, perhaps a brown. The unfortunate truth is that no Rooker had ever seen death as everything in Hillsburry Hollow just floated away when it's time had come. In fact, that was the very color of this blade of grass. The color of death. No one in the cheerful Hollow could point out this small detail of their town, on account they had never seen Death and therefore could not recognize it. Perhaps, if they did there would be no story to tell. Nevertheless, this blade of grass is where our story begins.
The blade of grass sat at the very edge of the large and neglected garden of one Professor William Puff. Professor Puff was in fact of Eligible age. The celebration of his achievements had just occurred not two days prior and Puff was already beginning to rebel against the rules of the Patch, let alone the land. But, Professor Puff did not care. He did not care that his family, for many generations, had been successful and reliable (some garden profession) ever since Rookers came into existence.
Not only did the Puff Family excel in their profession, but they were also know for giving the grandest celebrations in most all Hillsbury Hollow and Professor William's graduation celebration was no acception.
The celebration preparations began five months prior to the date of graduation. Most all Eligible Rookers, whether a friend or not of William's, and Elders and even some other creatures of the Forest Kingdom were welcome to attend the festivities. The invitations were personalized tunes sung by a quartet of musical Rookers who sang the information to each guest in a four-part harmony. Of course, this was not the most convenient way to invite a guest to a party five months in advance on the account that most people, especially the Elders, began forgetting the details of the occasion. Therefore, a homemade berry pie was delivered to each guest, warm and gooey out of the oven, with a quaint note attached, handwritten of course, as to the details of the celebration of the Puff's first of fifteen sons to be graduated as an Eligible. The guests and warm berry pies were one-thousand-eight-hundred-and-ninety-four in number, as two pies were dropped by William Puff's four-year-old brother, Powder, on the way to the home of one Harold Armepitt on the other side of town and yet another on account that Powder was crying so hard from dropping the first two pies that he didn't see a big old rock in front of him, tripped, and dropped the third. A Miss Thorne Innerside sent her pie back to the Puff Home as Mrs. Puff neglected to recall Miss Thorne was allergic to berries. A warm caramel and apple spice cobbler was immediately sent back to Miss Thorne with a thousand apologizes by Mrs. Puff herself.
The invitations were just the beginning of the preparations for the proud Puff's celebration of their first of fifteen sons to graduate as an Eligible Rooker. Foods from the far Eastland made of ancient spices were crated in on large gray elephants. Cakes from Westside were shipped on the backs of sea urchins and picked up the Bird Herd to be carried deep in the heart of Hillsburry Hollow. Toys made by Elvins mysteriously appeared at the doorstep of the Puff Home in small yellow boxes, though misleading as when you opened them many a creature full of enchantment flowed happily out of the boxes. Streams and streams of merry things came pouring into the home of Puff for the happy occasion of Professor William to celebrate his ultimate achievement and beginning of contributing to the society of Eligible Rookers.
On the morning of this glorious occasion, William was found rocking on his hammock with a long wood-carved pipe hanging out of his mouth. Every few moments, William would take a long suck of tobacco then remove the pipe from his mouth and making an "O" shape with his lips, release rings of smoke then with the roll of his tongue a puffball of smoke would roll it's way into the ring. William found amusement in this little game for the first half of the morning though many a time he could hear in the distance his mother calling his name. He sunk even deeper into his hammock, one arm behind his head, and drifted off into a naïve and fearless dream.
Outside the Puff's house-hole, the hustle and bustle of party preparations were in full force. The large white silk tent had been assembled by the Bird Herd whom, though had taken direction very well, were actually beginning to get annoyed with the precision in which Mrs. Puff wanted all of the decorations. She had instructed them several times to make the point at the roof of the tent higher, then lower, then the ropes to hold up the tent were not taut enough. The ribbons at each corner of the tent were to be 20 diameters in size and exactly 8 feet from the bottom of the tent, no wait-- 5 feet. Then again, 8 looks much better. Yes, 8 feet. The birds fluttered about in a bobbing motion with each instruction Mrs. Puff gave. They were very much dreading the upcoming years of working with Mrs. Puff for her other children, William was the first of fifteen! The poor Bird Herd was already feeling a dull ache in their head at the thought.
The Brewer family was wheeling in the barrels of lager and a variety of berry cordials from the other side of town. The baker and his ten anxious assistants walked very slowly across the Willow Field while balancing an over-sized, twenty-tiered cake between them and yelling at anyone who came within five feet of where they were headed. The trip from the cart across the field to the party tent was 50 yards and as the Baker slid the cake onto the large dining table he fainted from holding his breath for so long. Mrs. Puff, with her bright rosy cheeks, wiped her brow and hoped to the King that William appreciated all she had done for him.
"You're great great Granddaddy Huffin Puff," William's great grandfather, Duffy, mumbled just two days prior at William's graduation celebration. "He was the greatest (profession) that Hillsburry Hollow has ever seen! He was awarded by the King of the Forest himself!" William rolled his eyes and sipped his raspberry cordial.
"You know," Great Grandfather Duffy continued with his long white beard sticking to his pipe, " No one has seen the King since then." Duffy's eyes widened and one grey bushy eyebrow arched to his forehead. "Maybe our young William will have the skills to bring our dear King out of hiding. What a sight that would be!"