Sigrid Sanders
The starcatcher
Page 2 of 8

"Hello," she said.

"Good heavens!" he exclaimed, jumping up. "You scared the daylights out of me!"

"I'm sorry," said Emma. "I didn't mean to."

"I'm sure you didn't," he said. "But who are you, and what are you doing up so late at night?"

"I'm Emma. And I'm always up this late in the summertime. But I've never seen you here before."

"Well, I can't be everywhere at once, you know."

"No, I guess not."

The shiny creature sat down and pulled the sack back into position. It had begun to float up slowly, surreptitiously, and was held only by the thread in his hand. He subdued it and went back to sewing up the hole.

"I beg your pardon," said Emma, "but may I ask you something?"


"Who are you?"

"You mean you don't know?"


"I'm the Starcatcher."

"The Starcatcher?"

"Yes. Haven't you ever seen a star fall?"

"Of course I have. Lots of times."

"Well, when a star falls, I catch it. That's my job."


"And a demanding job it is too, I'll tell you," said the creature who called himself a Starcatcher. "It keeps me running. I hardly ever have time to stop and take a rest on a nice little hill like this. But I got this hole in my sack, and it had to be sewn up right away or else I'd be losing stars faster than I was catching them. Stars are full of energy, you know. They're never still for long."

"I see," Emma said, looking with amazement and intense curiosity at the rippling silvery sack. "I've always wondered what happens to stars when they fall. They just seem to go out like magic."

"It's not magic," he said. "They're going into my sack. Want to see?"

Emma leaned over the sack as he opened it just barely and just for an instant. She saw a gorgeous twinkling light that filled the inside of the sack and bubbled up and tickled her face like the fizz on a soda. She saw sparkles of every color in the rainbow, and it looked like nothing she had ever seen or imagined before. Without thinking about it, she reached up her hand to touch - but the Starcatcher quickly closed the sack again and continued with his sewing.

"That's funny-looking thread," Emma said.

"It's starlight," said the Starcatcher. "Lightweight, but almost indestructible."

"How does a star do that - turn into thread, I mean?"

"Oh, stars can do many more things than you can imagine," the Starcatcher said.

Emma watched. As he sewed, the hole disappeared, leaving not even a trace of the iridescent stitches.

"How many stars do you catch in one night?" she asked.

"In a busy night, I might catch a thousand or two."

"And you put them all in that sack?"


"And then what do you do with them?"

"I usually try to put them in a different place. Somewhere without a star. You know, the Universe is an extremely large place."

"Oh yes. I know."

"Sometimes, though, I give them to people who need something to brighten their lives," he said.

"You do?" asked Emma, her eyes widening.

"Not often," he said. "Only once in a great while. And only to someone with a very serious problem."

"Like who?"

"Oh, once I gave a star to a famous composer who had forgotten how to make music. The star gave him inspiration and restored his confidence so that he remembered how to find the songs that were hidden in his heart.

"Another time," he went on, "I gave a star to a little girl who had such terrible nightmares that she was afraid to go to sleep. The star slept on her pillow beside her and filled her sleep with happy thoughts. It taught her how to dream sweet dreams again."

"Oh," said Emma. "I guess stars can do a lot of things I hadn't imagined." Secretly, she wished he would give her a star. But she wasn't a famous composer - or famous for anything at all, she didn't have nightmares very often, and she didn't actually have any serious problems to speak of. So she didn't think he would.

As they talked, the Starcatcher had finished sewing up the hole. He picked up the sack and examined his work.

"Not too good," he said, "but it will have to do for now."

"Being a Starcatcher must be a wonderful job," Emma said quickly. She was trying hard to think of something interesting to say so he wouldn't leave quite yet.

"Wonderful? I suppose it is full of wonders, even if it is rather exhausting and even exasperating sometimes." He shook the sack gently to settle its contents, and fastened its opening securely. "Say - you seem to be interested in stars. Would you like to come with me tonight?"

Emma couldn't believe her ears. "I'd love to!" she exclaimed. "But I can't fly."

"You don't have to," he said. "Just hold on to my cape. I'll do enough flying for both of us. But there is something you could do for me."


"You could keep this needle in your pocket in case we need it again. It's awfully hard to find when I put it in the sack. It gets lost in all the stars."

Emma still hesitated. "Well, are you coming?" he asked impatiently. "Hurry up - there's a star falling now!"

Emma put the needle in her pocket, grabbed onto the Starcatcher's cape, and held on as tightly as she could. He leaped into the air.

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