Petrie lived in a grey land where it rained almost every day. He had a hard, waterproof shell that he wore everywhere he went. It kept him dry, mostly. His shell was a dark grey-green, which blended into the landscape. Sometimes he could not tell where the landscape left off and he began.
Once in a great while, the grey would go away. The sun would shine and the world seemed bright and clean and alive to Petrie. He got out of his shell and went swimming and bathed in the sunlight. The colors around him seemed so rich and deep; blue water, green grass, red flowers and purple mountains in the distance. If the grey went away at night, Petrie would roll over on his shell back and watch the beautiful twinkling stars or the bright silver moon.
But the rains always returned, washing the colors out of the landscape and draining him of energy.
One day, his friend Noshun came by for a visit.
“Good morning, Petrie. How are you today?” said Noshun.
Petrie sighed. “I am sad. It is so very grey today.”
“Maybe we could do something to cheer you up,” said Noshun. “I know, let’s decorate your shell.”
Before Petrie had time to respond, Noshun ran over to Petrie’s desk and pulled out paper and markers.
“Let’s draw some design ideas. Then we can pick the best one, and paint that on your shell! This is going to be great fun, Petrie. You’ll see. It will cheer you right up!” said Noshun.
Petrie said, “Yes, Noshun. That does sound like a good idea. I like to draw and maybe that will turn my mood around.”
The two of them set to work drawing and designing ideas for Petrie’s shell. Petrie concentrated hard and made a lot of faces as he drew. Noshun hummed and sang while she worked. She stopped a lot to show Petrie what she was working on.
When they were through, they pinned up the drawings on Petrie’s cork board. It was a tough decision, but in the end, they chose a simple orange and yellow polka dot pattern that Noshun had designed while singing the alphabet song.
Petrie stepped out of his shell and poured some paint into cups. Petrie painted the polka dots, and Noshun painted the background around them. When they finished, they were both very pleased with themselves.
“Let’s go for a walk!” said Noshun.
“But it’s raining,” said Petrie.
“It’s always raining. If you wait for the rain to stop, you’ll never get a good walk in,” said Noshun.
So they took a walk in the rain. Petrie was so happy about his newly painted shell that he hardly minded. The neighbors, who were also out for a walk, smiled and waved at Petrie.
“Hello Petrie!” they said. “We like what you’ve done with your shell!”
When Petrie got home, he felt inspired. Now that he had color with him even with the rain, how about adding something more? He rooted in his coat closet and found an umbrella. He had never used it much because he couldn’t hold it while he walked. But what if he placed it on his shell?
Petrie got some glue out of his desk and glued the umbrella to the top of his shell. When the glue dried, he put the umbrella up. “Wow!” he thought. “This will surely keep me dry.
“But something is still missing.”
Petrie went into the closet again and found some decoration lights in the shape of moons and stars. He also found an old broom with stiff rows of straw bristles. He hung the stars underneath the umbrella, and glued the bristles from the broom to the bottom of his shell to keep the mud from splashing on his feet.
He got into the shell and looked at himself in the mirror. the decorations were beautiful!
Petrie was so excited that he went for a second walk. Two walks in the rain in one day! This was a record for Petrie. As he walked through town, everyone stopped to admire and comment on his work of art.
“It was Noshun’s idea, really. I just added a bit more,” Petrie said shyly.
Petrie went to the bakery and had a piece of pie and some hot tea, then headed home. It had been a wonderful day, even with all the rain.
From that day on, Petrie could always be seen wearing his decorated shell with the moon and stars. People started calling him the Light-Keeper because he brought light and happiness to all he met.