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The i who lost his dot
My dad made this story up when I was quite small. It wouldn't be a bedtime story, because it is so long; instead, he would wait until we were camping or on a long car ride to tell this. One of my favorite memories is hiking on a trail around a lake where we used to go camping every summer, with him telling this story. To this day, any rock that is partially stuck in the dirt is a "comma".
Note: Sometimes, in true storytelling fashion, the exact things said by the letters would change. Feel free to add your own flair to the story, but the idea, structure and the basic dialogue is copyrighted by me.
Copyright 2009 Karen Thompson, all rights reserved.
This is the story of the i who lost his dot. Now, this story takes a while to tell, so we will tell it in short parts. This little i lived on the alphabet line at school, way up in the front of the classroom, above the chalkboard. It wasn't a capital I; it was a little i with a dot. Well, this little i liked to play with the dot. It would bounce it up and down, up and down, up and down, over and over again. Sometimes, it would roll it one way, and then the other way, and then back again. Every once in a while, the little i's dot would roll farther than it could catch it. That's what happened this time. He had bounced it, and then it bounced away and rolled. He didn't see which way it went, so he started down one way first to see if anyone had noticed where it had gone.
He walked a little way until he saw his neighbor, h. H was humming. Hmmm...hmmm...hmmm...hmmmm. "Excuse me," said the little i. "Have you seen my dot?"
"Hmmm?" said the h. "No, I haven't seen your dot. However, if I do happen to see it, I will head your way."
"Thank you," said the i, and on he went.
The next letter was g. The little g was glancing one way and then the other, like he was looking for something too. The little i came up and said, "Excuse me, but I see that you are looking for something. Have you seen my dot?"
The g glared at the little i. "No, I'm not looking for anything; I'm just glancing around to see if something interesting comes my way. I haven't seen your dot today, though."
"Ok," said the i. "If you do see it in your glancing, would you keep it for me when I return this way?"
"Yes, if I see it I will," said the g.
On the little i went, until he saw a flower. It was a very tall flower, way above his head. As he looked up at it, one of the leaves waved.
"Hi," said the f.
"Oh, hi!" said the surprised i. "I didn't realize you were a letter! You looked like a flower standing there. You haven't seen my dot roll by, have you? It looks like a ball."
"I've been asleep in the sun most of the morning, I'm afraid," said the f. "If it comes by, I'll stop it with my foot for you."
"Thank you!" said the i, feeling a bit discouraged.
He'd gone three letters, and no one had seen his dot. He wondered if maybe it had gone rolling down the other way, toward the end of the alphabet instead. But he kept on going, in case it had gone this way and no one had seen it yet.
He spotted something rolling around in the grass up ahead. He hurried up to it, thinking it might be his dot. But no, it was bigger than his dot, and had a hole in it. Also, one side was cut, so that it kept getting stuck and having to roll back and forth to unstick itself. As it saw him come up, it righted itself and smiled.
"Hi," said the little e. "What are you doing this far up the alphabet?"
"I'm looking for my dot. Have you seen it?" replied the i.
"I haven't seen it anywhere, but I was rolling around so I might've missed it. Maybe it rolled farther?"
"Thanks," said the i as the e went back to rolling.
The next letter looked like a line, but as he got nearer the little i could see that it had a circle on the other side of it. He went around to face it, and saw it was sleeping.
"Excuse me," he said in a quiet voice. "Are you awake?"
"Hmph?" said the d. "Oh, hi. No, I was just dozing. What can I do for you today?"
"I'm looking for my dot," said the little i.
"A dot, you say? I was dozing most of the day, but I don't recall seeing a dot. If I do see your dot, I will definitely detain it."
"Thank you," said the i, a little bewildered.
In a few more steps, he saw what looked like the letter e stuck on its edge, but he was sure he was going the right way.
"Excuse me," he said. "Are you the letter e?"
"Can't you see I'm a c?" the letter said, curtly. "Can you come push me?"
The little i pushed the c so that it was able to roll back.
"Thank you," said the c. "Sorry, I get cross when I get stuck, but it's so much fun rolling around."
"That's all right," said the i. "Have you seen another thing rolling around here? I lost my dot and it might've rolled up this way."
"No, I haven't seen it, but it might have rolled by when I was caught," said the c. "I'll see if I can see it, though."
"Thank you," said the i.
The i left, shaking his head because the c went back to rolling. He saw another d up ahead, but as he got closer he realized it was turned around and bouncing up and down.
"Are you a b?" he asked it.
"BBBBBBBbbbbbbbbbbbb," replied the b.
The i cleared his throat and tried again. "Excuse me, b."
The b stopped buzzing and bouncing. "B?" it said. "I'm a b."
"Have you seen my dot? It looks like a ball."
"There have not been any balls coming by here," said the b. "But I've been bouncing, so it might have rolled under me."
"Thanks," said the i as he left the bumble-b.
A few steps later, he heard another interesting sound. "Ah, aeii, ayayayay, ahhhh." The sounds grew louder, until he saw what was making them. It was the letter a, stretching and changing its shape, chanting away as it arranged itself.
"Hello, a," said the i. "I'm the letter i."
"Ah," said the a. "What brings you all the way up to the apex of the alphabet?"
"I lost my dot," the little i said. "I was bouncing it, and it rolled away."
"Rolled away, you say?" asked the a. "And you think it went up this way?"
"Yes," said the i.
"If it has, I haven't seen it," said the a.
As the a went back to chanting its sounds, the i made its way back down the alphabet. It stopped at each letter to report that the dot still wasn't found, and helped c and e off their edges. When it got back home, it had to rest a while from its journey.
After its rest, the little i continued on.