The day the sun was late
Every day the sun would rise at the same place on the horizon.
This is how the rooster knew to crow and the cow to let down her milk and the farmer to rise from bed and the children to go to school.
In the summertime as the sun’s rays reached the garden, the Daisies would open up from their long night’s sleep. This is how they got their name; the Day’s Eye.
In the winter the frost would begin to melt away and the window panes became clear again as the heat reached them.
Everyone knew that the sun was always on time and they relied on him to be just so.
But there was one day, one terrible day, when the sun was late!
This is the story of how that happened.
Sun had set as he always did in the West, and as the Earth turned he warmed up the lands on the other side. Moon came to the sky, and as the light disappeared the stars began to twinkle, having waited patiently all the day long to sparkle for the children as they headed to bed.
Well, on this particular night, as the hours passed, the strangest thing began to happen; Earth and Mars began to play! They laughed and talked across the universe, telling each other of the adventures of their day. If you happened to listen very carefully that night, you might have heard their giggles as they told jokes to each other, and Saturn looked on with a scowl.
Mars was telling Earth about a particular comet he had seen on the other side of the Milky Way and invited Earth to come and look.
“You should not go,” said Moon. “You will make the Sun late.”
“Oh come on,” said Earth. “It will be fun! Don’t you ever want to do fun things, Moon?”
“Yeah Moon! It’s fun!” cried Mars.
Moon was very wise. She sighed deeply and spoke to the two young planets in a very gentle voice. “Mr. Mars and Mr. Earth, I know you have had great fun tonight. I have had fun watching you play and listening to your laughter. That has been my fun, as well as a visit I had earlier with one of the stars in the Big Dipper. We talked about how nice it is to have long-lasting friendship and the love we both have for the night sky. But now it is time to stop your play, and continue to move along, for if you dillydally much longer in the Milky Way, you will make the Sun late, and then think of what will happen to all the children sleeping on Earth.”
Earth and Mars, paused for a few minutes thinking about Moon’s words.
“But the comet is so cool!” said Mars.
“It won’t take long,” said Earth. “I promise I will come right back.”
In that moment they both decided that Moon was too old to understand and they decided to continue their play. Earth bounded off to see the comet with Mars, taking all of the sleeping children, the farmers, the cows, the roosters and Daisies waiting to wake up with him.
What fun it was for them to speed through the sky! They passed by the Northern Lights, saw Saturn’s moons in the distance, through the Milky Way until the finally arrived at the place where the comet was supposed to be.
But guess what?
It wasn’t there!
“Oh no,” said Mars, “where did it go?”
“I really wanted you to see it; he had the longest tail; it was red and blue and flashed golden sparks when he flew past me. We came all this way… for nothing. I think Moon was right; maybe we shouldn’t have come,” said Mars shyly. He suddenly did not feel excited anymore, but just felt hot and maybe a bit scared at what they had done. He was disappointed that he could not show his friend what he had so badly wanted him to see.
Earth started to feel that same hot feeling. He knew he had done something he shouldn’t have. Even though he really had wanted to share in the excitement with Mars, he began to realize that he was thinking only of himself and not of all the children, roosters, farmers, Daisies and cows he had living on him.
“Mars,” mumbled Earth. “I think we shouldn’t have come. Let’s go.”
And off they went, back the way they came.
In the meantime, Sun was waiting for Earth to move around him so he could fulfill his duty of providing light and warmth.
As Earth ran through space, the children slept on. The rooster opened one eye, thinking to himself, “My my, I must be getting old. I was sure now was the time I was supposed to crow.”
The farmer turned over in his bed; something wasn’t quite right, but he had no light to tell what it was.
The children did not wake up and the school bus didn’t come. The Daisies stayed closed all morning. Who knew if it was even morning! Because the Sun… well, he was late.
Earth finally arrived in his spot just in time to watch Moon pass away over the horizon and for Sun to show up. But everything was late. Nothing worked right.
“Earth,” said Sun.
“Yes?” replied a shy Earth.
“Because of your actions, I have now become late. And all the children will be late for school, and the cow won’t give milk today, and the farmer will be confused, and the rooster won’t crow, and so none of the birds will sing for this entire day on Earth. And there will be for the first time ever no Daisy to greet the people in their gardens.”
The hot feeling inside of Earth’s heart grew hotter. What was it he felt? He began to cry.
“Oh Sun, I am so sorry. I just wanted to play with Mars. There was this really cool comet. I won’t do it again, I promise. I have learned my lesson.”
“And what is it that you learned Earth?” asked a stern but loving Sun.
“I learned the importance of being on time. That just because I wanted to do something that I thought was fun it was not fair to make you and then everything else late. You know what else Sun? Even though I wanted to go across the Milky Way so badly to see the comet with Mars, because it was something I shouldn’t have done… I noticed it wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be.”
“You have learned young Earth. This is very good. We will not be late again. If we all play our part and do what is asked of us, everything will work out just right.”
Earth stopped crying and smiled instead. At that moment, one Daisy on one farm opened her eye, as if to say, everything will be all right.
But still on that day, the day the Sun was late, there was no milk, no rooster, no singing birds, and the children were very, very late for school.