Girls and boys come out to play
The moon doth shine as bright as day
Leave your supper, and leave your sleep
And join your playfellows in the street.
An ancient song, I call to the children from the street – my voice soft, comforting, heard only by the innocent of heart.
They join me sleepily, rubbing their eyes, curious yet cautious smiles on their sweet faces. Nightgowns, pyjama legs and bare feet cross dew-covered lawns as they walk to join me. Quiet chatter develops as they recognise their neighbours, their cousins, their siblings, and their play begins.
Tag, hide-and-seek, hopscotch – we play them all and more.
Laughter floats like bubbles into the brightening sky and it’s time to go. Hours have passed in an instant and my belly hurts from the laughter. I rise to my feet and call the children to me one by one. A single kiss placed on the top of each head and I motion them along on their journey. When the final child is kissed, I join the children and follow them home.
Tomorrow night I will travel to another town in another land and take their children – as I have done every night since before time began.