… there was a girl who hardly slept. Instead, she would create the most fantastic of adventures!
One night that began as hardly anything more exceptional than any other, she wondered what might lie beneath her bed. Not simply underneath the bed frame, but beneath the floor boards and foundation. She began to dig.
Using the rusty end of an old doorknob and a pair of chopsticks leftover from Chinese takeout, she made her way through layers of silt and sand and mud and bedrock until she reached something that was quite unexpected… she found a purple door that opened like one leading to a cellar. Their was no ordinary doorknob. Rather, there was an outlandish knocker in the center. Shaped like two geese facing each other as though speaking, the knocker was once copper, but had oxidized into a greenish hue. The eyes of the geese were of an amber stone.
Tentatively, the girl pulled on the knocker, forgetting that its point was to knock. The door opened with the creak of four-hundred and twenty-seven years disuse. When the door was open a mere face-width, she peeked in. What she witnessed was quite extraordinary. She saw a bespectacled fox reading a collection of Sherlock Holmes tales. The fox also wore a ragged top hat and a striped waistcoat. The girl thought he looked rather dashing for a fox.
Besides having a natural love of mystery stories, foxes have an exceedingly acute sense of hearing. So, naturally, the fox heard the discordant creak and looked up to see who it was who had opened the door that had gone unused for centuries. He was delighted to see the round face of a curious human girl and waved her inside.
Having heard many stories about rascally foxes, the girl was wary at first. But getting the sense that a fox in a waistcoat and top hat would likely be more civilized, she took her chances and entered the room.
“Hello, little girl! How dost the air blow in the land above the fable lands? It has stretched beyond a wretched 400 years since I’ve visited! Come in, come in! Would you like to see my book collection? I also have a key collection. Oh, don’t just stand there like a frightened opossum! I have stacks and stacks! Come look!”
The little girl was a bit stunned. Though she’d seen the fox reading, she didn’t expect him to be able to speak! Let alone speak English!
“Ha– have you got the Grimm’s?”
“Of course, of course! I’ll show you the best copy I have! It’s a first edition of the complete works, you know. I tried getting it signed once, but the brothers insisted it would be too macabre for them to sign it, they having passed some time ago. Oh, well. They do pay me a visit from time to time. Ah ha! Here we are! The Brothers’ Grimm!”
The little girl had followed the fox through a shadowy passage into a a colossal library with stacks of books towering five stories! The books were arranged by color, which the girl found to be intriguing and wondered what her room would look like if she did the same. The volume the fox pulled from the middle of a shelf was bound in blue cloth decorated with golden imprints of geese similar to those on the purple door. The fox handed her the book and pranced in excitement as she opened it.
“Isn’t it fantastic! Note the crooked ‘m’ on the end of ‘Grimm’ on the title page? The letterpress had a slight error, don’t you see? I’ll let you borrow it if you promise to treasure it and bring it back. Never can be too careful with these books, you know.”
Throughout the entire meeting with the fox, the girl noted how much he liked to talk. She couldn’t quite get a word in as the fox rambled on for paragraphs. So, she said as quickly as she possibly could, “Ishallcherishitandthankyou.”
“Splendid, splendid! I should probably lead you back now. It has been a delight chatting with you! Besides mystery stories, we foxes do enjoy a good conversation now and again. Yes, time to go. That pink nightgown is not designed to withstand underground libraries. Time flies, time flies. Well, here we are back at the door. Be careful not to smudge the cover on your way up! Sleep well!”
And that is how the little girl who couldn’t sleep discovered a library underground.