Once upon a time, in Gramerly Woods, in a humble Tumbledown Cottage, lived a fair and precocious princess named Lillian. This princess had bluest round eyes, rosey red cheeks, bounciest strawberry blonde curls with glints of gold that would reflect the warm sunshine, and a button nose.
Though more fit for a fine castle, she chose her humble Tumbledown Cottage so she could do what she loved best, spending time with friends and family, befriending all creatures great and small in Gramerly Woods. To those who loved her she was known as Lilli-Bugg, and she was much loved.
Her Gramerly loved the woods too, and would often accompany Princess Lilli-Bugg, but frequently reminded the wee child, that Gramerly Woods was no place for a princess without a grown-up close by.
The princess grew and by the fourth celebration of her birth day, felt old and wise in the ways of the woods.
One day, while being entertained by a dainty Lady Bug on a beautiful sunflower, her cousin Oliver strolled by. Lilli-bugg was surprised to see Oliver alone, as she was expecting her dearest friend and cousin, Annabelle, to accompany him.
“Oliver, Where is Annabelle?”
“Oh, she’s not feeling good today and my mom said she couldn’t come.”
What distressing news for the princess. Suddenly, she had an idea. She’d take the beautiful sunflower to Annabelle. Surely its sunny face would make Annabelle feel all better.
Carefully Lilli picked the sunflower, scooting Miss Lady Bug to another plant hosting tasty aphids for her Lady Bug lunch. She carefully wrapped the lovely flower in wet leaves to keep it moist and struck out for Annabelle’s, forgetting the wise Gramerly’s sage advice.
Though to some, the woods can be a frightening place, especially where the trees grow close, causing the sunlight to play hide and seek, to Lilii-Bugg it was an endless world of discovery. She noticed bark, and moss, and patterns and light. She remembered all the fun and exciting adventures she had here with her cousins and her friends. She wasn’t expecting to hear an unfriendly growl in the midst of her woods. She stopped short, thinking that surely she’d imagined it. Then a louder growl and swiftly turning in the direction of the noise found herself mere feet from the biggest black bear she’d ever seen.
She opened her mouth to scream when a tiny voice said, “Jump through this brush.” Now the princess knew she was crazy. Why would you jump into that prickly brush? But having no other good alternative, jump she did, and though scratched up a bit , she could see a small hole, just her size in the side of the hill and quickly backed herself into it. The bear was now growling fiercely, but she was able to back out of harm’s reach. Trembling she waited, not knowing how to convince that bear to move on. Peering from her little earthen hole, she noticed the bear losing interest in her. Ahh, there was the reason for the bear’s angst, a baby bear. Once the mama found her little one, she lumbered away.
“Whew, that was a close call,” came the tiny voice again. Lilli-Bugg looked around, but saw no one. She scampered out of the hidey-hole and rocked her head for side to side, to clear it, she hoped.
“Oh my, is there something in your ear?”
Lilli Bugg realized the sound was coming out of her dress pocket. Slowly she reached in and pulled out a tiny creature only three inches tall. A round face, with no features, a cotton candy pink hat and scarf, held together with a tiniest Lady Bug, in the palest green ovie alls.
“Well, hello there. Who are you?”
“My name is Mintberry.”
“My name is Lilli-Bugg.”
“Oh, I know your name, I’ve always known it.”
“You have? “ “ How in the world did you come to be in my dress pocket and how did you know about that hidey-hole?”
“Oh, the hidey-hole is easy, I know everything your Gramerly knows about these woods.” “ How I came to be in your pocket, is harder to explain.” “ I’m not sure I understand it all myself.”
Intrigued, Lilli- Bugg exclaimed, “ I’m listening.”
“Well, so I’m told, when you human folk have a little baby, you love it fiercely. So much so as a matter of fact, you don’t think you could ever love anything more. Then those babies grow up and have a baby. That’s how your Gramerly got you right?”
Lilli-Bugg nodded. “Well, your Gramerly found out that maybe, if it’s possible, she loved you even more.” “ She surely doesn’t want a drop of that big love to go to waste, so she squeezes some of it into a little pocket lovey like me. That way, that big love can slip right into your pocket. Anytime your afraid, sad or lonely, you can hold me close and all that love will fill up your heart.” “Though I still don’t think it’s such a great idea to be in these woods by yourself.
Lilli-Bugg laughed. “ I guess I’m not quite as grown-up as I thought.
Mintberry said, “ I think your Gramerly would say to be patient, it will come soon enough.”
“Thank you, Mintberry, for saving me from that bear.”
“Well, I’d like to take the credit, but the thoughts were really your Gramerly’s and a memory you had of when she showed that hiding place last winter before the summer vines took it over.”
“Still,” said Lilli-Bugg softly, as she gently placed Mintberry in her pocket, “ I think you are a perfect friend for times like these.” “ I can’t wait to show you to Annabelle, but I’ll return home and find someone to accompany me.”
“Your Gramerly was right,” came the voice from her pocket, “ you are bright and beautiful!