A Boy’s Quest For a Name

Another story that I came across my travels across the Internet that captured my attention and demanded to be shared.

from: www.sedonajournal.com by pretty flower


There once was a little boy who was walking at the edge of a forest. It was not that he didn’t want to enter the forest, but he was simply accustomed to walking at its edge.


photo: Marlies Cohen

As he was walking at the edge of the forest, he heard a great sound. It was as if a great horn was blowing, sounding, and he did so enjoy the sound. He stopped walking and listened, and within his listening, he determined that the sound was coming from within the forest.

“I will just have to discover what is making that sound,” he said to himself, and with that decision, he stepped for the first time into the forest.

He found that the forest was soft and gentle. He found that the forest was mysterious, and he found that the forest embraced him, and he liked that. He liked the feeling of the forest about him, and he walked deeper and deeper toward the heart of the forest from where the sound did emanate.

As the sound continued, the boy continued, and before long he was making the same sound as the one he heard. He liked the feeling of the sound as it came from his own mouth, matching the sound that came from the heart of the forest.

As he was walking, there came to him a fairy, who fluttered about and asked him many questions. He stopped and watched as she asked one question and, before he could consider and answer, she asked yet another!

“Wait!” he said quite loudly. “Wait!”

The fairy stopped asking her questions and looked right into the face of the boy as she fluttered herself before him. They looked at each other for a while, and then she said, “Well, I am waiting!”

The boy smiled, and his smile caused the fairy to laugh.

“Who are you anyway?” he asked. “And why do you have so many questions?”

“I am a fairy!” she said. And after a slight pause, she added, “Nightly is my name.”

“Nightly?” he said the name.

“Yes, that’s what I said,” she responded. “Haven’t you ever heard a name like Nightly?”

“Well . . . no, I haven’t,” he said, and he quickly added, “It’s a nice name. I like it.”

“You do?” she asked.

“Yes, yes I do,” he said with certainty.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Me? Oh, I’m a boy, the boy who walks at the edge of the forest.”

“But . . . don’t you have a name? And if you walk at the edge of the forest, what are you doing here? Have you heard the horn? Will you go to the horn gathering?”

“Wait!” the boy said again, not quite as loudly as he had the first time.

“What?” she paused to see what he wanted.

“I can only answer one question at a time,” he said. “And the first is that I . . . I don’t have a name.”

“You don’t? Why don’t you have a name?” she asked with her eyes quite wide open.

“I . . . I don’t suppose I ever received one,” he said. “I never really thought of it. Even my friend the turtle calls me boy.”

“Oh, but that’s not your name, is it?” she asked. She had never heard of anyone not having a name. “Even the fairies have their name before they are born.”

“Do you . . . do you have a name for me?” he asked timidly, hopeful that this strange being who called herself a fairy named Nightly would be able to give him a name.

“Oh, I’m not a namer-that is, I don’t give names. That’s not my job. Not what I do. No, not at all.”

“Oh,” he said and looked down at the pathway.

“But don’t be sad,” she said. “I know a namer! At least of the fairies, there is a namer. Maybe he can help you!”

The boy looked up once again at the fairy fluttering before him. “Do you think so? Do you think I could have a name?”

“I don’t know. But we can find out. Just follow me!” she said and started to fly away.

“Wait!” he said again. “I can’t fly and I can barely run as fast as you are flying!”

The fairy returned and looked at the boy. “I see. You don’t have wings, do you?” “Well,” she said as she looked at his legs, “I think those legs will do.” And she flew away and came back to say, “Just follow this pathway. I’ll be back.”

The little boy saw the fairy fly away and then looked ahead to see that indeed there was a path ahead of him. He shrugged his shoulders and began to walk as fast as he could on the pathway. When he came to a fork in the pathway, there was the fairy again saying, “This way. Come this way.”

The boy continued following the pathway and the guidance of the fairy called Nightly. And just when he thought he would not be able to go on another step, the pathway came to a clearing. There he saw what he could hardly believe. He rubbed his eyes to be sure he was actually seeing what seemed to be hundreds of fairies! Yes, he decided, he was seeing hundreds of fairies.

Nightly flew up to him and said, “Come this way quickly. I have spoken to one of our namers and I think he can help you. This way.” The boy followed Nightly, carefully stepping over the fairy village, which was quite small, and onto the pathway through the village that was just large enough for his little feet.

Nightly led him to a large tree stump, and there, sitting atop the stump, was a curious fellow. He was not a fairy, that was for sure, the little boy thought to himself. But . . .

“This is Gork,” she said to the boy. “He is a gnome. He only comes out once every three years. And here he is!” “Gork, this is the boy who has no name,” she said to the gnome.

Gork pulled the pipe from his mouth and said, “Well, come closer so I can look at you. I’m not wearing telescopes!”

The boy hesitantly stepped closer to the gnome, who said, “Closer!” The boy stepped closer until he thought he was looking right into the mouth of the gnome.

“Ahhhh,” said the gnome, “I see. You don’t have a name, do you?”

“No . . . no I don’t,” said the boy. “And I don’t quite know why I need a name. The turtle has always called me . . .”

“‘Boy’, I know,” interrupted the gnome. He puffed on his pipe and looked deeper into the eyes of the boy. “Hmm . . .seems to me it must be time for a name. If you’re going to the horn blowing, you’ll need a name.”

“But why?”

“Never mind why. So many questions. Are you sure you’re not a fairy? They are just brimming over with questions. Quite a bother at times. Quite a bother,” said the gnome.

“No, I’m not a fairy,” said the boy. “I am a boy.”

“Well, of course you are. A real boy.” He puffed some more and asked, “What are you doing here anyway?” “I suppose she brought you here,” he said, looking over his shoulder at Nightly.

“Well yes . . . and no,” said the boy. “I was walking toward the sound of the horn.”

“Oh yes, of course you were,” he said, sitting back. “Step back a little. You’re much too close. Do you think I am blind!”

The little boy stepped back and waited for what would happen next. He knew that he couldn’t possibly guess what would happen in this strange land in the center of the forest. Why, he had never seen a fairy before, and he had most certainly never seen a gnome before. I wonder if they are all like this, he thought to himself.

“I heard that,” said the gnome.

The fairy fluttered beside the boy and whispered into his ear, “They hear everything, even your thoughts.”

“Never mind,” said the gnome. “Let’s get to it. I can’t sit here all day . . . or night. Which is it, day or night? Oh, never mind. Let’s just get to it. I think I will give you a name, if you ask me to.”

The boy thought for a moment. He wondered if he really did want a name that would be given by such an odd being. The fairy quickly flew to him and whispered in his ear, “You have to ask! You can’t refuse! It would be a disaster if you refused!”

“Well, sir,” said the boy, “I would be most gracious to receive a name that you would give me.” He couldn’t quite believe he had said the particular words that he did, and if he had a moment longer, he would have wondered where they came from. But he didn’t have a moment longer.

“Then so be it!” said the gnome, and he began to leave. But the fairy fluttered about him and said words to him in a language that the boy didn’t understand.

“Oh. Oh, yes,” said the gnome, “the name. Let me think for a moment.” And he did. He thought for a moment and then a moment longer. Just when the boy thought that the gnome was falling asleep, Gork began to speak again.

“Ningla Tona Calmaton Fleeto,” said the gnome. “Err . . . that is, let’s see what that would be in your speaking. Hmm . . . I believe it
would be best said in this way: Thomas. Yes, that is your name, Thomas.” And before the boy could say anything like thank you, the gnome vanished!

The fairy came about the boy and said, “Thomas! Thomas! That is your name! Now you have a name!”

“Thomas,” the boy said his name to himself. “Yes, I guess I do have a name.”

“Quickly,” said the fairy, “the horn is about to sound again! And you have a name! That means you can come!” And she flew away.

The boy started to follow the fairy, and it’s true that he heard the horn begin to blow, but he hesitated. He looked at the stump where the gnome, the strange being, had sat. He put his hand on the stump and whispered, “Thank you, gnome, for my name.”

He thought he saw the face of the gnome, and when he blinked his eyes, he found himself right there walking upon his path at the edge of the forest! He blinked his eyes again and again. Just as he was wondering what had happened and if his journey into the forest was real, there came to him his friend the turtle.

“Hello, Thoma4s,” said the turtle.


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