Warm spring sun looked into the window and mother Sasha and father Anton started to prepare Nastenka for a walk outside. They dressed her into a cheerful pink jacket, a cap and boots, prepared a bottle with tea and a baby-carriage.
— So, we are ready now, — said a satisfied mother, having examined daughter from all the sides. And all three set off for a walk.
They went out to the yard and saw other fathers and mothers playing with their children there. All children had their toys. Lena had a doll, Seryozha had a car and Sveta had a ball.
Nastenka saw the toys and stretched out her hand: «Give them to me, I want to play too!» But the children moved away from Nastya, they didn’t want to play with her. Nastenka made a lip with offence and was at the point to cry.
Mother looked at other children then at her daughter and shook her head regretfully.
— Have you taken Nastya’s hare along? – asked mother.
— No, have you forgotten how Nastya wanted to feed the hare with soup and spotted his face and we had to wash it, — reminded father.
— Ok, but where is a hedgehog?
— Why? Don’t you remember? We gave the hedgehog to little Maximka who came to visit our daughter hot long ago. He didn’t want to leave our place, burst out crying and his mother asked us to give him a toy. So, we gave him the hedgehog.
— What shall we do? Our girl can’t walk without a toy when other children have ones, — added mother justly.
This conversation was accidentally heard by the Sun. Though it lives high in the far blue sky, it has a perfect ear, close to musical.
Perhaps it also decided that it didn’t befit Nastenka to walk without a toy. And this is what it invented. It dropped a ray, long and thin as a thread, from the sky to the ground and put it into Nastya’s little palm. And another end of the ray was stuck by the thoughtful Sun to a small cloud fluffy as a sheep. Nastya pulled the sun ray and the cloud swam after her obediently.
— Wow! How did you do it, darling? – exclaimed mother amazingly.
— You are a real fairy! – praised father his daughter.
— It’s incredible! It’s fantastic! – said people, standing around, with real admiration. And mystified children were observing Nastya with their heads thrown back. Meanwhile Nastya went on pulling a tiny cloud in the sky.
Nastya gave a happy smile and continued to do marvels. That’s true – marvels! She looked at Lena, Seryozha and Sveta and turned her mysterious eyes to the cloud. At this very moment sun animals appeared at it as if by magic: a horse, a fish and a bear. They were sparkling and shining like little stars.
— Oh, what’s this? – Lena’s, Seryozha’s and Sveta’s parents threw up their hands in surprise.
— Don’t you see – our Nastya decided to take her friends for a drive by a cloud, — said mother proudly and then added tenderly: — Go for a walk, honey.
Nastya went on pulling the cloud behind herself, and sun animals waved their paws merrily down to her. And Lena, Seryozha and Sveta raised their hands towards the cloud and burst out crying.
But it didn’t last long, because Nastya presented them with sun animals: she gave the horse to Lena, the fish to Seryozha and the bear to Sveta. To do this she beckoned the animals with her glance and they came down by the sun ray skillfully to the ground.
— Hurray! Just like in the circus! – applauded people merrily. And Nastya gave a smile again and continued to walk with the cloud.
— How so? Our daughter has been left without marvels, — mother felt disappointed when she saw an empty cloud. But hardly had she pronounced these words, when the cloud was filled with other sun animals: a hare and a hedgehog.
— These are wishes and dreams, — said father suddenly.
— What have you said? – mother didn’t understand.
— Nastya’s dreams and wishes are on the cloud. They will never disappear. They will grow and change with our girl, — explained father.
— And what wish will be the next? – mother asked dreamily.
— We’ll see, — reasoned father wisely.
Next moment a strong wind blew out, it drew the sun ray and it tore like a thread. And as soon as the ray tore, the cloud swam away driven by the wind and carried away the sun animals.
— Oh, Nastya’s dreams are flying away, — sighed mother with suddenness.
— Hold them up, hold them up! – cried people after the cloud.
— Let them fly, — pronounced father calmly.
Nastya will have new dreams and wishes. Because our girl’s life is all ahead!
And father waved the cloud with his hand. So did mother. And Nastya was playing nearby with a sun hare and a sun hedgehog, which came down to her from the cloud of dreams as if nothing was wrong.