It was fall when one day a strange package arrived in the mail. Poekie and Baby Poeka saw how happy it made their mommy. Inside the package was a funny looking bag with a funny smell.
The Poekies’ mommy said, ‘This comes from my country. It looks and smells just the same as when I was a little kid.’ Then she disappeared with it into the backyard.
Months went by and winter came, but one day a misty sun peeked out and the Poekies decided to go for a walk through the garden. They knew every tree and plant. They had explored every nook. All the plants and animals were their good friends, but today, in the middle of winter, everything looked dismal. The trees were bare; leaves were strewn everywhere; and the plants were all withered away.
“Pff, what a mess. Look at these rotting plants,’ snuffed Baby Poeka, ‘Mommy should really take better care of the garden.’
Poekie explained, ‘In the winter all our friends go to sleep in the earth. It’s not mommy’s fault.’
The crows in the trees were screeching so loudly that the Poekies had to cover their big ears. Suddenly they noticed a bare patch of fresh dirt. What could it be? Without waiting, Baby Poeka ran over and started digging.
Poekie followed, looking concerned. “Baby Poeka, mommy will not be happy if you get all muddy. It’s good you like baths and swimming… But what is that noise?’
Poeka stopped digging. Inside the earth a low voice sounded sleepily, ‘Please stop knocking on my house, whoever you are.’
The Poekies couldn’t believe their ears; they had never heard the earth talk before. Poeka continued digging and uncovered a thing that looked like an onion. Inside the onion a voice grumpily grumbled, ‘Will you please stop knocking. I’m trying to sleep!’
‘Who are you?’ cried the Poekies bending over.
The voice said ‘I will tell you if you promise to cover me up and let me sleep again afterwards.’
The Poekies agreed.
Then a deep and wide-awake voice sang, ‘I am the Heralder of Spring. I blow my horn and sing. I sing the world awake.’
It sounded like beautiful music in the Poekies’ ears, and for a moment they thought they could smell spring. ‘What is your name and where do you come from?’ asked the Poekies.
The deep voice answered, ‘I am called Trompet Narcis, and I come from Holland.’
‘Oh,’ said Poekie, ‘Did you come in that funny smelling package mommy got in the mail?’
Trompet Narcis answered, ‘I don’t know, I’ve been asleep forever and I hope to sleep much longer. One day when I wake up again you will hear my call. Goodnight.’
The Poekies stood there, looking at the onion, not knowing what to say or do. Finally Poekie said, ‘This is a mysterious onion that mommy put in the earth, one that can sing and blow a horn. We will have to wait a long time before we can find out more.’
They covered up the onion again and wished it a good sleep.
The days and weeks passed by, rainy and cold. Baby Poeka had fun splashing through puddles in her pretty raincoat. Together with Poekie, she took many boat rides in the big puddles at the Planet. Then, as it can happen in their wonderful home in California, summer suddenly seemed to arrive. It was warm and the skies were blue: a perfect day to go for another walk in the garden and see how everyone was doing.
The garden still looked dismal. The tree branches were still bare and brown. Everything was wet and damp. Some leaves had turned into a brown mush and the snails were happily sliding over them. Remembering their new friend, the Poekies turned to the patch of fresh dirt. Poeka jumped along joyfully, hoping to see the strange onion Trompet Narcis awake and blowing his horn. Poekie came ambling behind.
‘Look Poekie,’ exclaimed Baby Poeka, ‘Something green is coming out of the earth!’
Poekie bent down to see better, ‘It looks quite awake and alive. Welcome friend Trompet Narcis,’ but there was no answer. ‘I guess we just have to wait longer; spring isn’t here yet,’ Poekie decided.
And he was right. The weather turned rainy again and got even colder. Days and weeks went by. After what seemed forever, quite usual for our lovely area, it seemed to get a little warmer, and when the Poekies looked through the window, they could see little green shoots bursting out of the bare tree branches. It was time again to visit their strange new friend and see if he was awake.
When the Poekies entered their garden, their bright little eyes saw new life springing out of all their friends; their keen round noses smelled a fragrance of joyous hope; and their big sensitive ears heard a heavenly sound. They danced and skipped along the garden path. Then they saw Trompet Narcis in all his glory.
Big and tall and yellow, he stood amid the grass, blowing his golden horn. ‘I am the Heralder of Spring. I blow my horn and sing. I sing the world awake.’
Poekie looked up and said, ‘Welcome friend. You blow your horn beautifully, and your song is heavenly music to our ears.’
Trompet Narcis bowed his horn down toward Poekie, ‘My dear friend mouse with the big ears, could you possibly tell me where I am?’
‘In Marin County, in California!’ cried Baby Poeka.
‘Oh that’s why I feel like I am in a garden in Paradise. Am I not called “Daffodil” here?’
‘Yes,’ said Poekie, ‘you do look like a Daffodil.’
Narcis Trompet sang in his deep and round voice, ‘We are here to help the humans hear the sound of Spring. In the old times people could still hear us loud and clear, like the call of a trumpet. That is why my real name is Trompet Narcis. These days, humans have to put their ears close to my horn, and some may still hear me play my song.’
‘Do you think our mommy could hear you?’ asked Poekie.
‘If she takes the time to put her ear close to my horn, she might be able to hear me too,’ answered Trompet Narcis, ‘All people hear my trumpet-song, even if it’s silent, every time they love the spring.’
That mysterious answer made the Poekies very happy. They thanked their friend Trompet Narcis and left him to his work of heralding the spring with his heavenly song. Then they ran to their mommy to tell her the news. ‘Spring is here! It’s in our eyes, our noses, and our ears!’