Dancing on Top of the World
This story has a lot of ice and snow and chilly winds whistling around in it. Please make sure you are in a warm, cosy place when you read it.
In a cave high on a frozen mountainside lived a family of yetis. There was Mumma Yeti, Poppa Yeti, Sister Frizzie Yeti and the youngest of all, Little Bittie Yeti. Yes, those are silly names for yetis, or anyone else, but try reading them aloud and they are quite fun.
About the same size as a garbage truck, Little Bittie Yeti still had some growing to do. He hoped that one day he would be as big as his father.
Most people who see a yeti cannot believe it. What they think they might have seen is a giant hairy creature shuffling around on two legs in a snowstorm. The storm is always on a lonely mountain. Nobody ever saw a yeti in their backyard, or at a bus stop, or anywhere like that.
However, on clear, bright days when the snow lies as smooth as icing on a cake, strange footprints have been seen. These footprints are as big as surfboards and could well belong to a yeti
Because they are so big and hairy, yetis can seem scary. That’s why they stay up on mountaintops. They don’t really want to frighten anybody. Most of the time, all a yeti ever sees is herds of yaks. But ice and snow and yaks, ice and snow and yaks, all day every day, can get boring. Little Bittie Yeti felt sure there were more exciting places in the world. He just needed to be brave enough to go and find them.
One morning Little Bittie Yeti woke up feeling a lot braver than usual. Today’s the day, he told himself. Adventure, here I come!
Poppa Yeti had gone to feed his yaks. Frizzie Yeti was trying to wash the frizz out of her hair. Mumma Yeti was bashing a pile of leaves with a rock.
“Don’t you go far,” she told Little Bittie Yeti. “Your breakfast’s nearly ready.”
But Little Bittie Yeti was too excited to eat. Which way should he go to find his adventure?
He looked up at the sky, but nothing much was happening there. When he looked down, he saw snowfields and rocks and deep, dark ravines, all leading, down, down, down to… what?
There was only one way to find out.
Little Bittie Yeti’s surfboard-sized feet were as good as skis, whooshing him down the snowy slopes. Sometimes he went slithering and bumping on his bottom over rocks and stones. Leaping across ravines was easy and his journey didn’t take long at all.
Down below was much warmer than up above and there were lots more colours and things to see. Little Bittie Yeti found himself in a grassy meadow where yellow sunflowers nodded their heads. On the far side of the meadow was a wood, with sunlight sparkling down through the leaves of the trees. He wandered through the wood, listening to the birds and feeling most happy.
Every now and then, Little Bittie Yeti saw a poster stuck to the trunk of a tree. He stopped each time to look at the picture of a girl. She was balanced on the tip of one foot and her other leg was poised in the air behind her. Her arms curved above her head in a very graceful way and she looked altogether beautiful. There was some writing on the posters. If Little Bittie Yeti had been able to read, he would have known that it said AYUSHA WILL DANCE TODAY. But he couldn’t read, so he didn’t know until he got to the edge of the wood.
For the first time in his life, Little Bittie Yeti heard music. He liked it very much. Peering through the trees he saw a village clustered around a square. In the square was a crowd of people. They were dressed as brightly as the sunflowers and the meadows and the sky. Some of the people were playing the music on whistles and pipes. It was a sound that Little Bittie Yeti could have listened to for hours.
Although he was having a brave day, he wasn’t quite brave enough to come out from the trees. So he stayed in his hiding place and watched. And that was when he saw Ayusha dance!
It was like watching a leaf twirling around in a breeze. It was like a butterfly fluttering among the flowers. Ayusha’s dancing was the loveliest thing that Little Bittie Yeti had ever seen.
He watched until the dance ended and Ayusha curtsied. All the people clapped and cheered and Little Bittie Yeti clapped, too. He clapped and cheered and jumped up and down. But that was not a good idea. When Little Bittie Yeti jumped, the ground shook and two trees toppled over. The villagers began to run around and shout. So Little Bittie Yeti lolloped away as fast as he could.
As he rushed across the meadow and scrambled up the mountain, Little Bittie Yeti hoped that nobody was chasing after him. But there was something else going on in his head, too. He knew that he wanted to dance like Ayusha. He wanted to float and spin and twirl like a leaf in the breeze.
By the time he scrambled into the Yeti family cave, he could think of nothing else.
“Where have you been?” cried Mumma Yeti.
“Dance! Dance! Dance!” said Little Bittie Yeti.
“Your mother has been very worried,” said Poppa Yeti sternly.
“Dance! Dance, Dance!” replied Little Bittie Yeti. “I want to dance like Ayusha!”
“You can’t dance like anybody,” said Frizzie Yeti. “Your feet are too big!”
Little Bittie Yeti looked down at his feet. “Too big?” he asked.
“I think so, dear,” said Mumma Yeti.
“Just a little too big,” said Poppa Yeti.
“A whole lot too big,” said Frizzie Yeti.
Little Bittie Yeti ran out of the cave. He began to climb further up the mountain. Up, up he stumbled, to the pointy bit at the very top of the world. Then he sat down in the middle of the snow and the rocks and the whistling wind.
Little Bittie Yeti’s family tried to climb after him, but the pointy bit was too pointy and they kept slithering down.
“Please come home!” called Mumma Yeti. “You don’t want to be up there all by yourself.”
But that was exactly what little Bittie Yeti did want. There was only one thing he wanted more and that was to dance like Ayusha. But now that he thought about it, Ayusha did have small and dainty feet. In fact, she was small and dainty altogether.
Little Bittie Yeti got up and stood on one wobbly leg. He lifted his other leg behind him, which made him even wobblier.
Down below, Frizzie Yeti rolled around in the snow laughing. But Mumma and Poppa Yeti were most alarmed.
“No!” shrieked Mumma Yeti. “Whatever you do, don’t do that!”
Poppa Yeti tried to explain. “If you dance with those big feet, you’ll cause an avalanche. All the ice and snow and rocks will slide down the mountain!”
Little Bittie Yeti quickly sat down again. An avalanche might end up squashing the village in the valley!
He thought about the village and the girl who had so gracefully danced. He knew now that he could never dance like her. All he had to remember her by was her name on a poster. His eyes and nose all runny with tears, Little Bitty Yeti began to gather a pile of rocks.
This is turning into quite a sad story, so before we all start to cry, let me tell you about Professor Peter Petty, Vet to Yaks and Yetis.
Professor Petty was a good vet. He had treated hundreds of yaks for colds and coughs and sneezes, not to mention sore noses and knees. But he’d never met a yeti.
That day, all the villagers came to Professor Petty and told him that they’d seen a yeti lurking close by. They showed him the giant footprints and the fallen trees.
“What are you going to do about it?” they asked.
Professor Petty went onto his roof and set up his yeti-spotting telescope. He peered through the telescope high and low, but especially high because that was where a yeti was likely to be. Sure enough, he soon spotted a whole family of yetis. Three of them were standing on a ridge and waving their arms about. A fourth yeti was sitting all alone on the very highest point.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, he could see something more. The yeti all alone had used rocks to write a word in the snow. The word was AYUSHA.
Professor Petty knew Ayusha well. She was the girl who loved to dance. She lived with her Aunt Min and she was very kind. He knew that if he asked her to come with him to meet a yeti who had written her name on top of the world, she would do it.
Professor Petty harnessed his yak team, Blunder and Blimp, to his air sleigh. When they flew off towards the mountain peak, sure enough, Ayusha was with them.
They couldn’t land right on the top, it was too bumpy and jagged. But they floated down as low as they could over the place where the yetis were.
Blunder and Blimp trod air and the sleigh hovered. Mumma Yeti and Poppa Yeti could only stand and stare. They didn’t know what was going to happen, but they absolutely were not going home without Little Bittie Yeti. Even Frizzie Yeti kept quiet and hoped for the best.
Little Bittie Yeti looked at the sleigh through his tears. It could have been another adventure floating down from the skies just for him. But he’d had enough of adventures for now.
“I want to dance like Ayusha!” he cried, lifting his arms to the sky.
Plop! The knotted end of a rope landed on the ground beside him. The other end was still tied to the sleigh. Little Bittie Yeti rubbed the tears from his eyes. Someone wearing a red woolly coat and a pair of red boots was climbing down the rope.
Lightly she dropped into the snow.
“Hello, yeti,” said Ayusha.
Oh, great splattering snowballs, could it really be true? Was Ayusha really standing there on Little Bittie Yeti’s mountaintop? She certainly was. And more than that, there was between Ayusha and Little Bittie Yeti that Certain Understanding that sometimes happens between people who are meant to be friends. He couldn’t speak Human and she couldn’t speak Yeti. Happily, they could both speak the language of yaks. It is called Yakkety-Yak and it’s very easy to learn.
“I so much want to dance,” Little Bittie Yeti told Ayusha. “I want to and want to, but my feet are too big.”
Ayusha agreed. “They are rather big,” she said. “Not really dancing feet.”
But before Little Bittie Yeti could burst into more tears, Ayusha said, “That doesn’t matter at all. If you can’t dance with your feet, dance with all your other bits.”
Then, with the whistling wind for music, she began to sing as she showed Little Bittie Yeti just what she meant.
Well, you keep your two feet flat on the ground
and you waggle your hips and bottom around.
You bob your head and you swing your knees
and you wave your arms like a tree in the breeze.
That’s the Bigfoot, that’s the Bigfoot,
That’s the Bigfoot Boogie!
It wasn’t the way Ayusha had danced before, but it was a dance and it was great fun. And maybe, just maybe, it was a dance that a yeti could do.
Little Bittie Yeti bent his knees and gave his bottom a waggle.
“Go yeti!” Professor Petty leaned out of his sleigh and cheered.
Little Bittie Yeti jiggled his head and waved his arms. The yetis below all began to clap.
“That’s what I call dancing!” cried Mumma Yeti and even Frizzie Yeti had to agree.
“See!” laughed Ayusha. She wiggled and bopped until her cheeks were as red as her boots. “Doesn’t matter what you can’t do. Do what you can do!”
So it was that a yeti and a girl danced The Bigfoot Boogie together on top of the world. The setting sun turned the snow to pink and it was all quite lovely really.