Once upon a time, there was a lovely land in the north ruled by two sisters, Lady Wake and Lady Sleep. They lived in a beautiful castle.
During the daytime, Lady Wake ruled. She let the people do whatever they wanted. Lady Sleep ruled at night. She sang sweet melodies and wove adventurous dreams for her subjects. They rested their tired bodies to her sweet voice.
Just outside the kingdom live a jealous Frumpel who never slept and thought dreaming was a waste of time. Frumpels were mean critters who did not like fun. They lived away from happiness and play, and spread gloom all around them.
This Frumpel wanted to rule the sisters’ kingdom so it could stop all the laying around and fun.
The foul Frumpel frumped and grumped until it had a wicked plan. It waited until dawn, when Lady Sleep stopped singing. Then it crept into the courtyard of the sisters’ lovely palace.
The sneaky Frumpel stole Lady Sleep away to its dungeon and left her there. It then scurried back to the palace. Lady Wake and her playful subjects jumped and laughed in a grand game of jump-jump. The Frumpel crept into the room.
“Frumpel,” said Lady Wake, “what are you doing here? I thought our kingdom was too happy for you.”
The snarling Frumpel grumbled and mumbled and sneered and sniffed. It grimaced and growled.
“Lady Wake, people do things when you rule the kingdom. Nobody lies around, useless. Lady Sleep runs a lazy kingdom. I hid her away. You can stay in the castle, but now I am in charge!”
Lady Wake and her subjects gasped. The guards tried to attack, but the Frumpel was too strong.
“Where have you put my sister?!” demanded Lady Wake. She was furious. She tried to run away but the Frumpel locked her in the throne room.
This Frumpel was mean, and everyone who spent any time around it acted grumpy. Time passed and Lady Sleep did not sing. The people could not sleep. They got grumpy and began to fight. No one liked to be around each other anymore.
Two little girls lived in this unhappy land. Their names were Maisha and Zara. They were sisters, too. One day, after seeing the people grump and frump, Maisha and Zara went to find Lady Sleep. They marched off down the road. They walked for hours asking everyone they saw, “have you seen Lady Sleep?”
“NO!” was all they heard.
They came to a dark, gnarled forest. The road split in two directions. “This way,” said Zara.
“No,” said Maisha. “It is this way.” Both girls felt very tired and cranky. The grumpy girls stomped off in different directions.
The Frumpel’s woods were dark and scary, not like the woods back home. They were full of strange noises.
Zara stomped on through the woods. She heard voices ahead. Four men, each only two feet tall, were trying to get to a hole in a tree. The hole was too high, so they lifted each other and pulled each other up. Zara said “hello.”
The men were very busy and did not talk to her. “What are you doing?” asked Zara.
One man grunted, “going away from here.”
Zara did not want to be alone again, so she asked, “can I come?”
The men looked at each other and shrugged. One man said, “come if you can.” The he lifted his friend up to the hole. The man in the hole pulled his arms and they were both gone.
“Wait for me,” said Zara, but the men were down the hole. She tried to jump up but could not reach. She looked around for another little man, but she was alone again. She wished Maisha was there so they could go, too. Sad and missing her sister, Zara walked on.
Maisha heard a snap behind her and she ran away fast. She came across a small hut. Inside, two old women yelled at each other.
“If you had put the pot on the fire earlier it would be warm now” yelled one woman.
“If you had cut wood, I could have made a fire” yelled the other.
The women were so buy yelling at each other that they did not see Maisha peeking in the window. The old women argued on and on. “If you don’t be quiet, I’ll knock your head with this loaf of bread” yelled one woman.
“Oh no you don’t” yelled the other, “you haven’t been able to catch me in years!” They ran around the small table swinging bread and yelling.
Maisha was glad that she and Zara did not argue like this. Then she remembered that she was alone. She missed her sister. She did not know her way home and she wished Zara was there with her.
Both girls were sorry they had not been able to get along and work together. They were scared in the Frumpel’s woods, and lonely.
Suddenly, a beautiful voice sang through the darkness to the little girls. They ran toward it, and soon found themselves at the foot of the Frumpel’s castle. They were very happy to see each other.
Lady Sleep peeked through the bars of a little window.
“Let me out, please,” she sang.
Maisha and Zara piled rocks and snuck in through an open window. Quietly they crept down the stairs where they saw a guard dozing in his chair. Lady Sleep had put a spell on him. Maisha and Zara took his keys and opened the cell door. Lady Sleep sang a song for the wind, who carried them back to the palace.
The wind let them down at the throne room, where Lady Wake was. The four girls went after the Frumpel.
They found it giving orders to unhappy servants.
“You have been very bad, Frumpel,” said Lady Sleep.
When the Frumpel saw the sisters standing in the doorway, it started to tremble.
“It . . . it was just a joke,” mumbled the Frumpel, moving to the door. It smiled meekly and vanished.
“That silly Frumpel will not come back” said Lady Sleep.
“How do you know” asked Maisha and Zara.
“Because I put a sleepy spell on the Frumpel’s castle” said Lady Sleep. “When it gets home it will fall asleep. When it wakes up, then maybe it will not be so grumpy.” Everyone laughed.
Maisha and Zara went home to their cozy beds. They bundled up tight in soft blankets and nestled their heads into thick pillows. Soon the kingdom heard Lady Sleep’s lovely voice ring across the hills and trees. The people let out a long, deep yawn.
Eyelids grew heavy, and the people noticed how tired they were. Lady Sleep sang about beautiful lands and magical places. The people felt relaxed and peaceful again. Their breathing grew deep and slow.
Thoughts drifted to calm places, and soon yummy dreams floated above every bed. The kingdom grew quiet and peaceful as the people drifted off to sleep.