Among the tales Cara heard her mother tell her while growing up, was the tale of Father Dust who lived at the proximity of the moon. The tale was about the old man who rode a magical cart and traveled the moon to collect Dust by day and spread it in the sky so that when evening comes, new stars are born. And with each star, a new human life sprang. But whenever any piece of Dust began to forget its origin, it started to fade, and eventually stopped from shining, becoming just another speck in the universe and ending the life it had given birth to.
Cara loved the story of Father Dust and asked her mother to tell it every night before going to sleep.
But one night, while Cara’s mother told her the story, she saw tears stream down her mother’s cheeks and she did not complete the story.
The next day, she heard her father was ill and did not go to his work. She asked her mother what was the matter with her father, but her mother told her he only had cold. That night, her mother stopped reading her bedtime stories; instead, she spent her nights by Cara’s father’s bed, caring for him. Her father’s cold persisted weeks and even months during which she never saw him out of bed, and he never went to have breakfast at the table. And every morning, she would ask her mother.
“Is daddy going to have breakfast with us today?”
And her mother would say.
“Not today my dear. Not today.” And she would avoid the subject.
One night, Cara decided to tell herself the story of Father Dust before sleeping while her mother was in her room. And as she did so, she remembered that when Dust forgot its origin, its light faded until it no longer shone. And it occurred to her, that maybe that was the reason her father was ill. And maybe if she could find the Dust that gave life to him, she could be able to remind it of where it came from.
She jumped to her window and started calling out for Father Dust, for she knew she would need his help. She was certain he would come to her aid. But as she called for hours with no response, she started crying when her eyes became weary, and while she was about to fall asleep, she saw a light in the sky grow bigger and bigger. She opened her eyes wide and she could make out the outline of a silvery flying cart approaching her window.
Cara suddenly sprang to her feet, rubbing her eyes with both hands, until the cart with the old man was just outside her window.
“Indeed my child. What brings those tears my dear?”
And so she told him about her father staying in bed, and her fears that his Dust was fading and forgetting its origin.
Father dust, aware that every Dust was bound to forget where it came from, decided to help the little girl, for he sympathized with her sad eyes. So he asked her to jump inside his cart and together they rode in the star spangled sky.
Along their journey they saw millions of stars shining brightly, though some stronger than others.
“This,” Father said, “is your Dust my dear.” As he stopped the cart in midair.
Cara looked in the distance and saw a star shining brighter than many of those around her.
“It shines so bright because the love she holds for the moon has never kept it from forgetting.”
“And that one, Cara, is your father’s.”
Cara looked to see a star that was on the verge of dying, its light was pale and barely visible.
“Oh no, it’s about to go off, let us help it Father Dust, oh please, let us help!”
Her tears started streaming for she was worried about her Daddy’s life, and Father Dust rode to the almost fading star.
Cara looked at it and saw its sad face, so she called out for it, but the star remained unchanged.
“Oh Dust please hear me. You must not forget who you are and where you come from. Dust please, remember moon? Remember how she shines oh so brightly and gives light to the whole world?”
“Please Dust answer me.”
But the star remained unmoved, looking down. And Cara’s tears flowed.
She stood up in the cart, and stretched her hands towards it, hoping it will not burn her. But the star did not. And so she held her gently between her palms.
“Dust can you hear me?”
She turned it to face the huge moon.
“You see it? You see the moon? This is where you come from. Once you lived so happily on it, until Father Dust chose you for a reason.”
At her words, the star began to shimmer and it looked up at Cara. And she knew it was listening.
“Yes, Dust, you are here for a reason. You gave my father life, and I love you oh so much for that! You made him live a happy life. You see all your sisters? Remember them? All these Dusts floating? They are all just like you. Beautiful Dusts that shine in the sky and breathe life into us, and give us hope and love. You come from a place every person looks up to and uses as a light in their nights. You have a purpose and a reason Dust, and my father’s life depends on you. Please Dust remember who you are, and help me save my father.”
Cara’s eyes were full of tears, not because she was sad, because she remembered how much she loved her Daddy and Mommy, and that she could do anything to stay by their side, and then she knew Dust was listening to her, for it had begun to smile, and shine all the more, until it became just as bright as those around her. Cara knew that Dust remembered. And her heart grew anxious and happy.
Dust shimmered and gave a twinkling sound that made Cara’s heart warm, and she knew that Dust understood.
With this, Cara sat back in her cart, thanking Dust and always looking back, waving goodbye, as Father Dust drove the cart back into the sky, towards earth.
He took her back to her window, and she jumped inside her room, thanked him with a kiss, and went to her bed, thinking about Dust and hoping her father will be okay.
The next day, Cara woke to her mother who was smiling like never before.
“Is Daddy okay?” Cara said as soon as she opened her eyes.
“Yes dear, your father is alright. Now come to breakfast someone is waiting for you.”
As Cara went to the kitchen, she saw her father sitting on the breakfast table drinking coffee and reading his newspaper, just the way he did before he fell ill. Cara’s heart was screaming with happiness, so she jumped on his lap and hugged him so tight, her tears streaming down her cheek.
“Oh daddy! I’m so happy you’re okay”
Her father smiled at his daughter.
“And I’m so happy your Dust is shining again.” She said with her voice muffled by her hug around her father.
He then laughed gently at his daughter’s odd words, and kissed her forehead with his arms around her. And told her that his Dust will always shine so long that she was in his life.