Tilly lived with her mum and two little sisters at number 4 Albert Street. Next door, at number 2 Albert Street, lived Tilly’s friend, Andrew. Andrew had a mum and a dad but no little sisters or little brothers. Tilly liked playing at Andrew’s house because there were no little people to upset their games. Andrew’s dad had made a small gate in the fence between the two houses. One Saturday, Andrew came through the gate to ask Tilly to come and see what his dad had brought him back from his trip to Japan. Tilly raced in to see Andrew’s present. She could hardly believe her eyes when she saw the most beautiful kite in the whole world. “Can I touch it?” she asked Andrew. “If you’re very careful,” said Andrew, “It’s made of pure silk.” The kite was bright red. It was soft and shiny and very smooth with a large, handsome, golden dragon painted across it. On the pointy end there was a long tail and, tied to the tail were small, shiny pieces of silk, in every colour of the rainbow. At the top and side corners of the kite were strings which came together in a knot and were joined to a very big roll of thin brown string. This string was wound around a fat black stick. Tilly and Andrew looked at the kite. They felt it (carefully) and talked about how well it might fly. Andrew’s father came into the room. “Can we fly the kite today, Dad?” Andrew asked. “I don’t think so,” said Dad, “Look outside. It’s a very still day. We need a good wind to help the kite up into the air.” “When can we take it out to try it?” asked Andrew. “Just watch the weather,” said Dad, “And make sure I’m around for the first time you send it up.” Well, all that weekend, Tilly and Andrew watched the weather. They played outside for most of the time and they never stopped hoping for a wind to spring up. But no wind came. They went inside often to look at the kite. Again and again they looked, they touched and talked about it. They thought it looked ready to fly. But, with no wind, it was impossible.
All through the following week, Tilly could hardly think properly while she did her school work. Her mind was on the beautiful red silk kite and her eyes were on the weather. She looked into the bright blue sky each day, and wished for even a tiny wind. At night, she watched the weather news on TV, hoping to hear the weatherman say that a windy day was coming. Most afternoons Tilly would run into Andrew’s house just to look at the beautiful kite. When the next Saturday came, Tilly woke up and saw the leaves swooshing around in the trees. It was windy. She ate her breakfast quickly and ran next door. “Andrew!” she called loudly. Andrew’s mum came to the door. “Andrew’s still eating his breakfast,“ she said. “I’ll tell him you’re ready to play.” The door closed and Tilly’s heart sank. She made her way back towards home, but then heard Andrew calling. “Tilly, Tilly, it’s windy. Can you come and try the kite?” “Oh, yes,” said Tilly, “I’m ready right now.” “Mum,” she called towards her house, “Is it alright if I go to the park with Andrew to try out the kite?” Tilly hardly waited for Mum’s reply before she was out the door and into Andrew’s place to collect the kite.
The park was in their street, but on the other side of the road and down a bit but the two friends arrived there in no time. Andrew’s dad followed them. It was fun running in the warm wind and holding the kite high in the air to try and catch the right whoosh of air. Andrew’s dad held the string and told them where to run with the kite. Their arms were starting to ache and the kite seemed to have its own idea of where it wanted to fly. It dived and swooped in every direction. And made a lot of nose dives into the ground. But, suddenly the kite took off upwards. Andrew’s dad unwound the string quickly as the kite flew higher and higher on the strong breeze. After a while, Andrew’s dad called, “Andrew, you can hold the string now.” And Andrew took the string and felt the pull of the kite as it flew up even higher into the sky. His dad showed Andrew how to let out more string as the kite reached far up into the sky. Tilly was excited. She watched the kite as it flew. She was bursting to have a go at holding the string. Finally, Andrew said, “Like a go, Tilly?” In a flash, she was there with her hands around the black stick and what was left of the big roll of string. Tilly could hardly believe how strong the kite felt. How could this beautiful soft silk kite feel so strong and heavy? Although her hands hurt with the pull of the string, Tilly didn’t ever want this moment to stop. The kite flew high in the sky. Sometimes it made a big downward swoop and looked as if it might come back to earth, but then it would soar upwards again, reaching as high as the little fluffy clouds that seemed to be floating somewhere up near the sun. Tilly imagined herself up there, in the sky, with the kite. In her mind she flew with the birds and the kite, higher and higher. She saw a bird flying up near the kite. It was a big dark bird and it looked as though it was talking to the kite. What a funny thing, laughed Tilly. But, oh, oh, what was happening? The string of the kite had become loose. The kite was no longer pulling hard on Tilly’s hands. “Andrew!” she called, “Andrew, the kite. Something’s wrong.”
Andrew and his dad looked to see what the matter was, and, as they did so, the long, long line of string slowly and steadily dropped in big loops to the ground. Up in the sky, the kite flew higher still. “What’s happened, Dad?” asked Andrew. “String’s broken,” was all that his dad said.
Andrew and Tilly gazed upwards towards the kite. It flew higher, higher and still higher. The beautiful red silk kite was so high now it was only a small dot in the sky. Tilly’s eyes hurt as she strained them, trying to follow the kite. The sad time came when they could no longer see any sign of the kite. “I saw a big bird,” said Tilly. “Do you think it bit through the string?” “Maybe,” said Andrew’s dad, ”But, whatever happened, the kite’s lost now.” Tilly tried not to cry in front of Andrew. “I’m sorry, Andrew,” she said. “Not your fault, Till,” said Andrew. And Tilly noticed tears in his eyes also. So, their beautiful day turned into a horrible one. Tilly, Andrew and his dad wound in the string and they slowly walked home. “See you,” said Tilly and walked inside her house. “See you,” said Andrew in a very little voice.
Tilly was too upset to do anything much for the rest of the day. After dinner at night, Mum was surprised when Tilly said that she was going to bed early. In bed, Tilly tried to read, but her mind kept turning to the lost kite. The beautiful red silk kite that had come all the way from Japan, had only had one short flight and had gone. Gone forever. And the worst thing was that it was Tilly who was holding the string when it broke. Somehow she felt that she was to blame for losing the kite. She cried a little before she went to sleep.
Something unusual happened in the night. At about midnight, Tilly woke up. She felt wide awake. She thought about the beautiful red silk kite and couldn’t get it out of her mind. No longer feeling sleepy, Tilly got quietly out of bed and crept out on to the front verandah and sat there in her pyjamas. The night was still warm. There was a little breeze blowing and she gazed over the road and down a bit towards the park, where she and Andrew had flown the wonderful kite. With the help of the moon, her eyes got used to the dark and Tilly could see the park quite clearly. She imagined herself back there, holding the string of the amazing kite. She remembered the pulling feeling of the string as the kite struggled to get higher and higher. Tilly closed her eyes.
Suddenly a very odd feeling came over her as she felt a strong, warm breeze somehow lifting her slowly up into the air. Strange as it may seem, Tilly was not frightened. As her feet left the verandah, up, up, up into the warm night sky she was lifted. The higher she went, the brightness around her grew. “Am I going to the moon?” Tilly wondered. She still wasn’t frightened. Somehow she felt very safe and happy. Then Tilly heard a sweet tinkling sound and suddenly she saw (floating and flying) crowds of what looked like fairies. They didn’t scare Tilly. She didn’t even think it was strange to find herself flying in the night sky with these lovely little winged people. More and more of these little creatures began to join her as they floated through the air together. The word “sprites” came to Tilly’s mind, as she remembered reading about gentle little flying people in a story book once. Tilly and her little companions continued up into the warm night air; the tinkling sound becoming louder at times and then softer again. Then, all of a sudden the whole scene to come to a stop. The little flying creatures gathered in a crowd of soft wings and flutters, all facing the same way. Tilly looked in the direction that the little sprites were gazing. And there, slowly into view, came a vision of the beautiful red silk kite, held by some bigger, but even more beautiful little fairy creatures. The tinkling sound became much louder, and Tilly realised that it was the voices of the little flying creatures that she could hear. As the red kite became more real looking, Tilly saw that it was not broken. Its lovely silk caught the moonlight and it glowed beautifully. And, where the brown string used to be, there was an amazing and beautiful silver thread, and the new silver thread was as long as forever. The fairy folk invited Tilly to join them as they all, big and small, flew in a floating dance around the red silk kite. The now brilliantly shining kite made a dance of its own. It swooped and twirled and twisted in a lovely kite ballet. What seemed like magical silver and gold moon dust was flying everywhere and Tilly had never felt such happiness in her whole life. As the flying dance came to an end, Tilly felt a beautiful downward floating sensation. Down, down, down Tilly drifted and everything felt even warmer and more peaceful.
Tilly heard her mum calling. She heard her little sisters squabbling over their breakfast. A normal morning. “Oh, no,” thought Tilly, “Don’t tell me that last night was only a dream.” She almost cried with disappointment as she took a step out of bed. But, what was this? Something under her feet felt slippery and shiny. Tilly looked down and saw some glowing silver thread. She let her eyes follow the thread until she saw, on the floor at the end of her bed, the beautiful red silk kite. “Wow ! I knew it was real.” “What was that?” asked Mum from the kitchen. “Nothing, Mum. I have to see Andrew.” Tilly picked up the kite and the silver string. She was surprised to feel that it was all still quite warm. She rushed outside, and straight through the little gate in the fence. “Andrew !” she called loudly, “Andrew !” Andrew came to the door looking sleepy and a bit unhappy. He sparked up when he saw the kite. “Where? What? I mean……., how did you find it?” Tilly excitedly told Andrew all about what happened during the night. She told him about the beautiful floating trip into the sky. She told him all about the little sprites and the wonderful time she had. Andrew’s eyes opened wide. And then he gave a big laugh. “That’s stupid, Tilly. Tell me how you really found it. Did it just fall into your back yard? Did your mum find it? Who gave it to you?” Tilly just said, “It’s all true, Andrew.” “Well, I don’t believe you,” said Andrew. “Thanks for finding it though.” “But look at the silver thread, Andrew,” Tilly tried again to make Andrew believe her. “That’s nice, Till, but I still don’t believe that silly story. But, thanks. Guess I’ll see you later.” Tilly was disappointed. She walked away from Andrew, then looked back at him for a moment. In amazement she could see that the beautiful red silk kite was glowing like last night’s moonlight. It was dazzling. “You’ll see, Andrew,” said Tilly, as she skipped back home, “You’ll see.” Just then, something made Tilly glance down at her fingers and there she saw that they were twinkling and glowing with silver and gold moon dust. Just as Tilly gasped in surprise at what she saw, she heard, in the distance, the soft little tinkling sound that she had heard last night. Looking towards the morning sky, Tilly whispered, “Thank you.” And skipped inside.