Ever since Mary Ann Snow was a wee baby her eyes were so big and twinkly, that her father called her "Twinkle" and so did everyone else. When she was eight years old she was a pretty little girl with soft brown hair and pink cheeks. Her feet were dancing feet and her hands were clapping hands whenever she was happy. She lived in a nice white and green house in the country with her father, her mother and her Grannie. She should have been a happy child most of the time but I am sorry to say that sometimes she was sad indeed. Why was she sad, you ask? Well, because she had no brothers or sisters and there were no children nearby.
There were many pets: Rufus the big white cat; Blackie the little black dog; Chee-Chee, the yellow singing canary bird; and Do-Re-Me, the three gold fish in the bowl on the window seat near Daddy's favorite chair. These were Twinkle's very own pets and she loved them dearly. She would talk to them and they would talk back to her in their own special way.
Then there were birds in the trees outside; hens and baby chicks in the hen yard; there were ducks and ducklings in the pond; cows in the pastures, some with tinkling bells around their necks; there were horses in the barn that loved to lick sugar off of Twinkle' s hand and would sometimes take her riding; sometimes garter snakes slithered past Twinkle in the tall grass and Twinkle loved them all , second best to her in-doors pets. She counted them all as her friends, yet they belonged to the animal kingdom and Twinkle was lonely for children, belonging to the human kingdom like herself and Mother and Daddy and Grannie and Katy who worked in the kitchen and Tom and Ken who worked in the fields. So each evening Twinkle would pray for a brother or sister and then she would fall asleep and dream about them.
Sometimes Twinkle would go out into the garden and talk to the flowers. She loved the pansies because of their funny little faces and velvety poke bonnets and she loved the hollyhocks because they were so tall and sometimes she would have to stand on her toes to whisper secrets right into the flower itself where sometimes she found bumble bees playing. Twinkle would look up into the trees and watch the wind playing with their leaves. She thought the trees were very graceful and the flowers were beautiful and smelled delicious so she loved them too but they belonged to the vegetable kingdom and were not boys and girls belonging to the human kingdom. So each evening Twinkle would pray for a brother or a sister and then she would fall asleep and dream about them.
On pretty days Twinkle would gather pebbles in her apron pocket and then go down to the pond to toss them into the clear blue water. She liked to watch the circles the pebbles made in the water. Sometimes she laughed and gave the pebbles names saying such things as: "There you go, Clinky"; or "Make a big splash Buster"; or Find a little friend Dumpy at the bottom of the sea”. She enjoyed doing this; then when the pebble s were all gone she liked to lie down on her back in the grass and watch the clouds. She would pretend that they were children running and playing. Often she would wave at them. She loved the pebbles and the pond and the clouds. It was fun to play with them and make up stories about them. She knew that they belonged to the mineral kingdom and not to the human kingdom and she would grow sad again thinking about children and wanting more than ever to have a brother or a sister, or both. At those times she would pray.
One day, just after the postman left, Twinkle saw her mother sitting on the porch reading letters. As Mother read one letter that came from a pink envelope, Twinkle noticed a smile spreading over her face and just then Mother looked up and saw her little girl looking at her wonderingly.
"Come here, darling", Mother called gaily. "I have a big surprise for you."
"What is it Mommy, tell me?" Twinkle exclaimed as she ran over to sit on the edge of Mother's chair.
"I have a letter from Aunt Sally and what do you think? She and Uncle Ted have adopted a daughter -- a nice little girl ten years old and they are coming to visit us very soon!
"A really, truly, little girl is coming here to our house?" Twinkle asked, clapping her hands. What is her name, Mommy? 'Will she like me? I know that I will like her a lot."
“Of course, she will like you, Darling, especially if you are kind to her and share your toys. Her name is Sparkle. Doesn't that sound happy? I imagine Uncle Ted gave her that name just like Daddy gave you your nickname.
"Twinkle and Sparkle sound like two stars that belong together. Oh, Mommy, I know I shall love her and I'll share everything I've got. Can she sleep in my room?"
"We’ll settle all that later, dear. We will have to make our plans right away because she is coming Friday which is just three days away. You and Daddy and I will drive to the station to meet them."
Twinkle could hardly wait until Friday came. She told all of her pets about Sparkle. "You must purr nicely for her, Rufus” she said, and "You, Blackie, must wag your friendly tail and not jump on her or bark and, please, Chee-Chee, sing your very happiest song."
Finally, Sparkle arrived and she was very much as Twinkle had hoped she would be. She seemed nice but noticeably thin -- Aunt Sally was going to make her gain some weight. She appeared so sparkly and full of laughter! She and Twinkle became the dearest of friends and told each other many things. The days were such happy days that they flew away almost as quick as a wink.
Then came the last day of the visit. Sparkle and Aunt Sally would be going home the following day. That was the day the girls went down to the pool once more to skip pebbles and when they were tired they sat down in the grass to rest, and to talk. Twinkle began by asking, “Sparkle, what in the whole world would you like to have most?"
"I don't know exactly,” Sparkle answered. “I used to say I wanted most to have a father and mother who would love me very much. I used to pray and pray for them and now I've got them I am so happy that I can't think of anything else that I could possibly want!" “What would you like best, Twinkle?”
“I want a brother or a sister, more than anything else I can think of," Twinkle replied.
Hmmm… if your parents can’t have any children, maybe your mom and dad can find some children from the city who would like to come and visit you. They would love it, I know and they could take turns. I remember when I lived at the orphanage – we children were always happy if someone came to take us to their home for a visit – sometimes for a day or even a week."
“I would like that", answered Twinkle, her eyes more twinkly than ever. "Would they be like a real brother or sister?"
“Of course, they would. Loving people and being kind to them makes us feel more like real true brothers and sisters than by just being born in your family. That’s what Mom and Dad told me", said Sparkle.
“I'm glad," said Twinkle smiling.
The next day, when Sparkle waved goodbye from the train window, Twinkle did not feel so sad. Aunt Sally promised they would find some children from the orphanage to come and visit with Twinkle who promised to share her parents and Granny and all her pets and her very happy home with them. Mom and Dad thought it was a fine idea, too. So that night when she said her prayers, they were thank-you prayers and she whispered in her pillow that she was never going to be a sad and lonely little girl ever again. And do you know, she never was!
(Adapted from 'Child’s Way' magazine, August 1953)