The subject of boys and boxes came up at a writers group last week so I thought I would spend some time on boxes. In Henry on Fire Henry says he has a box with things important to him and his granddad pulls the missing key to the gates of Altara out of a box of treasures that also includes an old pocket watch for Henry’s brother Larry.
So let me start by sharing my family’s favorite box story it is The Littlest Angel Charles Tazewell (Author), Paul Michich (Illustrator). At 2000 words the Littlest Angel is longer than the average picture book, it is really a short story presented as a picture book. The story is written in beautiful prose.
The First line: “Once upon a time — oh many, many years ago as time is calculated by men — but which was only Yesterday in the Celestial Calendar of Heaven — there was, in Paradise, a most miserable, thoroughly unhappy, and utterly dejected cherub who was known throughout Heaven as The Littlest Angel.”
The littlest angel is way too small to enjoy any of the ways of heaven and he is seriously unhappy. The understanding angel asks, “What would make you happy.” He asks for the box beneath his bed. In the box were:
“Well, there was a butterfly with golden wings, captured one bright summer day on the high hills above Jerusalem, and a sky blue egg from a bird’s nest in the olive tree that stood to shade his mother’s kitchen door. yes, and two white stones, found on a muddy river bank, where he and his friends had played like small brown beavers, and, at the bottom of the box, a limp, tooth-marked leather strap, once worn as a collar by his mongrel dog, who had died as he had lived, in absolute love and infinite devotion.”
Once he has his box his life in heaven flows smoothly. The birth of the child of God is announced and the angels all begin to prepare fabulous gifts, beautiful music, golden harps and the all other types of heavenly gifts. The littlest Angel places his box among the gifts. This is after all his most valuable possession.
When he sits down and sees his box among the beautiful gifts he is devastated by how shabby his box appears and as the hand of God moves over the gifts he knows he has made a terrible mistake. The voice of God says:
“Of all the gifts of all the angels, I find that this small box pleases Me most. Its contents are of the Earth and of men, and My Son is born to be King of both. These are the things My Son, too, will know and love and cherish and then, regretfully, will leave behind Him when His task is done.”
So treasure your treasures.