My young son and I were visiting at an old house on Vashon Island. It was 1974 and the house was full of hippies. The children were in the yard.

The yard was large, old and wild. There was a huge cedar stump that had been cut only weeks before. The tree had to have been hundreds of years old. The stump was seven or eight feet across.

David and three other children were playing in the yard. David was nearly three at the time. The others ranged in age from about four to six. I was watching through the kitchen window. David and two others were standing on the stump. The fourth child was standing on the ground with a stick in his hand. The stick was about two feet long and was probally a branch from the tree.

David and the others stood still and the boy on the ground waved the stick around for awhile. Then David got down from the stump and took the stick. The boy on the ground got up on the stump. For a moment they all stood there, very still. Then David raised the stick, waved it around, and pointed it at the children on the stump.

Suddenly, they were gone. David was left standing alone in the yard by the stump with the stick in his hand.

Just then I was distracted by a woman coming through the kitchen behind me. It was the mother of two of the children who had just disappeared. She and their dad were leaving and she was looking for their kids.

Judging by the look on David's face, I knew he was just as surprised as I was. If she distracted him now, he might never get them back. I quickly asked her a question and drew her into a conversation, keeping an eye out the window.David, meanwhile, was really concentrating and trying to duplicate the motions he had made before with the wand (for wand it truely must be). Finally, after two or three minutes that seemed like hours, he repeated the grand flourish, pointed the stick at the stump, and there they were. All three. All at once. Poof. There.

I headed for the door, the other mom right behind. She gathered up her two and headed for their car. I went to talk with David.



"When the children went away, do you know where they went?"

His eyes got huge and he slowly turned his head, "No."

"Do you know how you got them back?"

Again he shook his head no.

"Maybe it would be good to practice with something else before you do it with people again."

He nodded his head in energetic assent. "O.K., Mommy."

He's grown up now. I'll have to take him back and show him where the stump is. Perhaps he can do it again. This time I'm going to stand up on the stump. I want to find out where they went.

Fiction Sampler