This is the fifth piece in my creative writing portfolio. It’s actually a bedtime story that the main character in a since-abandoned novel tells her little sister to get her to go to sleep. Enjoy!

Once upon a time, there was a star. Not a big star, or an important star, or even a particularly bright star. She was just a little, young star, shining all alone in the dark reaches of a far-off galaxy. It was very lonely there – one small speck of light among millions.

‘I am not important or special,’ thought the star. ‘I don’t shine brightly, giving light to people like the sun, or guide people through the night like the North Star. People don’t search the skies to find me like the stars in the big dipper, and I have no other stars as friends. Cassiopeia’s stars are inseparable, and everyone knows that the stars in Orion’s Belt are thick as thieves, but I have no one! No one needs me or wants me, and there is no purpose to my shining.’ The little star felt so sad and lonely that she decided to leave her place in the wide, wide universe and search for friendship and meaning among the creatures on Earth.

So the star built a ladder. A long, long ladder, which stretched all the way from her little corner of the universe down to the Earth. As she climbed down the ladder, she passed many other stars, but they were all too busy and concerned with themselves to take much notice of her as she passed. Nobody asked where she had come from, or where she was going, or what she was going to do when she got there.

A very, very long time later (for the universe is quite large), the little star stepped off the ladder and onto the Earth. She had climbed right down into a forest, and as she looked about in wonder at the trees, she thought to herself that surely in such a big forest there would be a place for a lonely star.

So the star began to walk through the forest, greeting the animals she passed, asking if there was room in the forest for a star to live and work and be happy. But all the animals only paused long enough to tell her that the forest had no room for a star before scurrying off again.

Feeling discouraged, the star left the forest and climbed to the top of a mountain. There she met an ancient mountain goat, and she asked him if there was, perhaps, enough room on the mountain for him to share with a star.

‘A star! Live on this mountain?’ The old goat laughed. ‘Why, all the snow would melt in the heat! It would be a complete disaster…’ and the goat trotted off, still laughing at the star.

Lonelier than ever, the little star climbed back down the mountain and into a big city.

‘Surely there must be someone here who will want me,’ thought the star. ‘After all, it’s the humans who are so fascinated with stars.’ But the humans, it seemed, were much too busy going about in their cars and busses and trains to take any notice of her.

Devastated, the little star sat down on the curb and began to cry. Big, hot, bitter tears. When she had cried herself dry, the star lifted her head and looked around. She was sitting in front of a very tall apartment building, and it was night. The top of the building seemed to scrape the stars. Deciding that nobody on Earth cared for or needed her, the little star decided to head back home.

It was a long and tiring climb to the top of the building, and when she arrived, breathless, she found a young girl sitting there, hugging a small teddy bear and crying her eyes out. The star ran over and knelt down beside her.

‘What is the matter, little girl?’ asked the star. ‘Why are you so sad?’

The girl explained through her tears that she felt lonely. Nobody wanted to be her friend, and she felt she didn’t fit into the world.

‘But that’s exactly how I feel!’ The star exclaimed, shocked to hear that someone else felt just as rejected as she. It gave her an idea. ‘Why don’t we be friends?’ she asked.

The girl stopped crying and looked at the star, puzzled.

‘But you’re a star,’ she said. ‘You can’t stay here on Earth, and I don’t see how we can be friends if you have to go away.’ The star thought this over for a long time.

‘No, I can’t stay on Earth,’ the star agreed at last. ‘But we can be friends – we’ll see each other every night when I shine outside your window.’ And the star showed the girl the small dark spot that was her home in the universe. The girl grinned.

‘I’ve never been friends with a star before,’ she said. They both laughed. Then they wished each other goodnight, and the star leapt up, into the sky, back to the dark reaches of the far-off galaxy where she lived. Only, it didn’t seem so dark or far-off anymore. The star knew that every night, the young girl on Earth looked up at the sky and thought of her before she fell asleep, content in knowing that her star was shining brightly for her in the deep, dark sky. And now that she had someone to shine for, the little star shone the brightest of them all.