The Wide Brimmed Hat
There once was a brown hat with a wide brim that belonged to a farmer. He loved his hat dearly, for it kept the sun from his eyes and the heat from his head. His wife had darned it herself, sewing the wide brim with her own two hands. She was a good wife, who loved her husband, and every time that he put on the hat the farmer remembered the love of his little wife. And the hat was content to stay with the farmer and his wife, because it loved them both as well.
But one day the hat wished that he could get away. He had been with the farmer for a long time now, and he wondered what the outside world was like. Perhaps there were great giants or little fairies beyond the wheat fields of the farmer and his wife. He would give anything to just be able to travel the world, he thought to himself. One day soon after, his wish came true. As the farmer was working hard in the fields, plowing and planting so that he and his wife might have crops in the winter to eat, a gay wind whipped the hat from his head and carried it away.
"My hat!" he cried, "My wonderful wide brimmed hat!" But as fast as the farmer could run, the wind blew all the faster, and before long the wind had carried his hat out of sight.
Over castles and towns and fields flew the excited hat, clasped tight in the wind. Until finally, when the sun was high and brightly shining, the wind let slip the wide brimmed hat. Slowly the brown hat drifted down, soaring through clouds and past birds, until finally it landed in a beautiful rose bush. It was delighted to see its wish come true. But as it settled upon the bush, the hat was pierced by a thorn on its brim, tearing a gash through the fabric. Still, it was only a little gash, and so lush and beautiful were the roses that the hat wondered at its good fortune.
The wide brimmed hat had landed in the garden of a great castle, where lived a king and his wife, along with their two young sons. The sons were happy and boisterous boys. They played oft in the gardens, pretending that they were great knights battling dragons and monstrous ogres for the hands of fair maidens. It was during one of their games that the youngest caught a glimpse of the wide brimmed hat, floating towards the ground and landing in the rose bushes. And thinking that the hat would make a fine helmet for his armor, he and his brother ran after it. The wide brimmed hat had barely lain in the bushes for a second when the young prince's little hand braved the thorns of the bush and plucked it out from the roses.
"Look brother!" he cried, plopping it upon his head -- which was a bit small for the big hat. "Do you like my helmet? It is made of the finest steel of heaven, and was blessed by angels! It even has a battle scar in it. This helm must have been worn by a great knight in the days of old and seen great battle!" The older brother grinned widely, thinking the helmet a bit clumsy for his young squire, but said only that it was a very wonderful helm indeed, and they ran off to play. The humble hat, very much flattered by the young boy's words, felt that perhaps he might be happy to stay with the boys for a while and partake of their adventures.
And so he spent the rest of the day as the young boy's helmet, protecting his eyes from the sun and his head from the heat. But soon the soon the sun had slipped beyond the sky, and the boys conceded that they could no longer see their adversaries. So they returned to the castle for their evening meal. The youngest son, proud indeed by his fantastic new helmet, even wore the wide brimmed hat to dinner so that he could show his parents his new find. However his mother, the queen, was not amused.
"Such a hat is not becoming of a prince, my son!" she scolded, "Especially at the dinner table." And to the hat's great distress, she plucked him quickly from the young boys head. The young prince cried out loudly in protest and his brother, in the calm and reasoning voice that is attributed to the older of two sons, pointed out the great works by which the wide brimmed hat had earned his place upon the young prince's head. But it was no use. Their mother would not allow a torn peasant's hat to sit atop her young prince's head, and with a whisk of her hand she threw the poor hat out the door.
Now left quite sad and alone, the wide brimmed hat wondered what would become of him next. He sat there all night, mourning the loss of his two young friends until the sun stretched her rays and rose slowly from her slumber.
Now soon after the sun had risen there came a garden with long sheers. He was a lean looking man with a soft face lined by honest work, and his eyes were kind and keen. Yet, as the hat soon noticed, he was loosing the hairs upon his head, and the skin atop it was deeply burnt and red. Here, thought the hat, he might once more prove useful. For a moment the hat feared that the good gardener would not see him sitting so peacefully upon the steps. But the gardener did notice, and carefully he scooped up the wide brimmed hat and dropped it on his head. They spent the entire day together, the gardener clipping and shearing the rose bushes, while the hat kept the sun from his eyes and the heat from his head. And the gardener was very happy to have the hat along. The hat enjoyed his new companion, and felt that perhaps he might be happy to stay with the gardener for a while.
But while they were working, a young sparrow who was learning to fly came to sit upon the brim of the hat for a rest. Unfortunately for both, his weight was too great for the poor hat, and together they toppled right off the gardener's head. The gardener tried with haste to grasp the hat from the air, but before he could catch it the hat fell to the ground, landing in a pile of fertilizer. The farmer, laughing at the whims of the sparrow, simply plucked the hat from the ground and sat it back atop his head. He did not mind the smell of the fertilizer that had sunk into the material, for he lived with it every day. And the hat wondered at its good fortune.
That night, when his hard work was done and the sun had set, he packed up his tools and washed in a small pond to part himself with the smell of the fertilizer. Then he returned to his little home, where he lived with his wife alone. But as soon as he entered his home, his wife began to sniff.
"Husband, have you forgotten your bath this night?" she asked him, still sniffing.
The husband shook his head. "No my dear. I came with good fortune by this lovely hat, but when I was working it fell into the fertilizer, and now it smells a little as such. But it is a good hat, and I would be sad to part with it." Yet his wife was not so forgiving. She detested the smell of fertilizer, having worked very hard to keep their small cottage clean and smelling of sweet flowers. And so the husband, who loved his wife very much, was forced to part with his new hat. With a sigh he slipped the hat from his head and dropped it on the doorstep, where the wind soon caught it up once more and whisked it away.
For many long days and nights the same occurred, the hat finding a new owner at the dawn of each day but always being parted from them by sundown. And with each encounter he became more battered and more dirty, until at last he feared that no one would wear him, for he could no longer keep the sun from one's eyes or the heat from one's head properly.
Finally, after such a very long time that the hat had forgotten the number of days of which it spanned, the wide brimmed hat began to wish fervently for home. He missed the farmer and his wife and missed how carefully they cared for him. That very morning the wind placed him gently in a soft field of wheat. Blessing his good fortune he sat carefully on top of the sheafs, fearing to fall to the ground and be further damaged, and waited to see who would pick him up. And whom do you think found the poor old hat while chopping down his wheat, but the good farmer who had lost him all that time ago. What joy did the sight of his wide brimmed hat bring the farmer, who cared little of the smell or the tears that now marred it. Quickly he snatched the hat from the wheat and ran to his wife. So delighted was he to see his old hat that he called her out from the kitchen, begging her to do all she could to save the wide brimmed hat.
And so with loving care the wife worked for many hours patching the holes in the hat and washing away the dirt, sacrificing the food that she had been preparing for their supper so that the hat might be mended. When the sun had set and the farmer came in from his hard work, there was the hat just like new. And it was now a humbled hat as well, that was content to stay and sit atop the farmers head.
They spent the rest of their days together, the hat keeping out the sun and the heat, and the farmer wearing it proudly, careful to make sure the wind never caught it again. And so came the ending by which all tales must conclude: they lived happily every after... even the wide brimmed hat.
I'd love to get Caitiedid to draw me a few pictures and try to submit it as a children's book. It and A Christmas Story, which I apparently haven't uploaded to Scatteredreamz. I dunno, do you think it's good enough? It would just be a cool way to get published...