One morning in October the Potato Face Blind Man sat on the corner nearest the postoffice.
Any Ice Today came along and said, “This is the sad time of the year.”
“Sad?” asked the Potato Face Blind Man, changing his accordion from his right knee to his left knee, and singing softly to the tune he was fumbling on the accordion keys, “Be Happy in the Morning When the Birds Bring the Beans.”
“Yes,” said Any Ice Today, “is it not sad every year when the leaves change from green to yellow, when the leaves dry on the branches and fall into the air, and the wind blows them and they make a song saying, ‘Hush baby, hush baby,’ and the wind fills the sky with them and they are like a sky full of birds who forget they know any songs.”
“It is sad and not sad,” was the blind man’s word.
“Listen,” said the Potato Face. “For me this is the time of the year when the dream of the white moon toboggan comes back. Five weeks before the first snow flurry this dream always comes back to me. It says, ‘The black leaves are falling now and they fill the sky but five weeks go by and then for every black leaf there will be a thousand snow crystals shining white.’”
“What was your dream of the white moon toboggan?” asked Any Ice Today.
“It came to me first when I was a boy, when I had my eyes, before my luck changed. I saw the big white spiders of the moon working, rushing around climbing up, climbing down, snizzling and sniffering. I looked a long while before I saw what the big white spiders on the moon were doing. I saw after a while they were weaving a long toboggan, a white toboggan, white and soft as snow. And after a long while of snizzling and sniffering, climbing up and climbing down, at last the toboggan was done, a snow white toboggan running from the moon down to the Rootabaga Country.
“And sliding, sliding down from the moon on this toboggan were the White Gold Boys and the Blue Silver Girls. They tumbled down at my feet because, you see, the toboggan ended right at my feet. I could lean over and pick up the White Gold Boys and the Blue Silver Girls as they slid out of the toboggan at my feet. I could pick up a whole handful of them and hold them in my hand and talk with them. Yet, you understand, whenever I tried to shut my hand and keep any of them they would snizzle and sniffer and jump out of the cracks between my fingers. Once there was a little gold and silver dust on my left hand thumb, dust they snizzled out while slipping away from me.
“Once I heard a White Gold Boy and a Blue Silver Girl whispering. They were standing on the tip of my right hand little finger, whispering. One said, ‘I got pumpkins—what did you get?’ The other said, ‘I got hazel nuts.’ I listened more and I found out there are millions of pumpkins and millions of hazel nuts so small you and I can not see them. These children from the moon, however, they can see them and whenever they slide down on the moon toboggan they take back their pockets full of things so little we have never seen them.”
“They are wonderful children,” said Any Ice Today. “And will you tell me how they get back to the moon after they slide down the toboggan?”
“Oh, that is easy,” said Potato Face. “It is just as easy for them to slide up to the moon as to slide down. Sliding up and sliding down is the same for them. The big white spiders fixed it that way when they snizzled and sniffered and made the toboggan.”