Written by Susan Browne, illustrated by Lisa Dickinson.

miles-and-the-sylphs_clip_image002Miles and his friend Lucas were playing in the sand dunes near Lucas’ house. They raced around and played hide and seek. The wind whipped the sand into their faces and the wiry dune grass pronged their legs but they didn’t mind. It was so fun to be outside, and Miles didn’t get to go to the beach too often. Likewise, Lucas was an only child and didn’t get to play like this too often. His mother had told them to be back for dinner at four, but it was already after that and neither of them had thought to look at their watches. The sea was wild and the waves that slapped the shore were getting higher. An inky red sun locked in on the horizon preparing for its descent.

‘Let’s go and play near the shore, we can dare the waves to soak us,’ suggested Lucas. So they ran in agreement towards the sea. The December sea breeze was even fiercer and colder than in the dunes that afforded a little shade. The boys delighted at the sea spray as the waves tried their best to surprise them. Back and forth they went, laughing and shrieking at the near misses.

‘Here give me your shoes and socks and I will put them up out of the way where they won’t get wet,’ said Lucas. So Miles took off his shoes and socks, then rushed back just in time before a wave soaked him. He rushed forward again, daring himself to go nearer to the water’s edge; it seemed to go farther out to see this time. He loved stepping over the musical pebbles that were being tossed and rolled along the sand channels, all different colours. He looked up only to see the most enormous wave he had ever seen heading straight for him. There was no way he could escape. He screamed as he was flung really hard face down into the sand and foamy water. The current pulled him out to sea, he was powerless. Meanwhile Lucas who was just returning from moving the shoes and socks looked on, helpless.

miles-and-the-sylphs_clip_image004Miles bobbed up and down in the freezing cold water, just kicking his legs enough to stay afloat, he was behind the swell now and the waves were much too powerful to swim safely ashore. He could just about hear Lucas calling his name over and over. He felt a sudden feeling of calm envelop him and he saw extremely bright white and rainbow lights all around him, and shimmering lights under the water. He felt as though somebody was holding him in their arms as he was lifted out of the water and into a white tube of light, inside it jets of air pulled him higher and higher. He felt completely calm and his chilled body was heating up again. He could no longer see the water below him or the beach, all he could see was white and sometimes rainbow light.    

miles-and-the-sylphs_clip_image005He was carried all the way into a room that seemed to be made of light. Then as his eyes adjusted he saw many small figures of light all around him, they seemed to be drying him off with some sort of warm air they activated from their hands. His clothes which had been soaked onto his skin were magically almost dry. Then a larger figure was approaching him.

‘Hello Miles, I am Dalvik, and I work with the sylphs,’ it said. It was so beautiful, he could barely make out a face which did not look quite human, the light was so bright that shone from this being and he couldn’t tell if it was male or female.

‘Is this heaven?’ asked Miles, suddenly worried that he had died.

The great being smiled a radiant smile that warmed Miles even more, ‘no my dear child, you are in the clouds in the home of the sylphs who rescued you along with Angel Malaway. It is not your time to die; you have many important jobs to do. I can see from your divine blueprint that you are going to be of great assistance to us in helping prevent the pollution of our planet.’

‘Who is Angel Malaway? And what is my divine blueprint?’

‘Angel Malaway is your own guardian angel who has been with you since before you were born. There he is,’ and he pointed to another being of light who looked different. This time he couldn’t see a face, just radiant light of blues and purples that seemed to shine directly to him. ‘Your divine blueprint shows a sort of map of your life when you are living to your full potential. Angel Malaway lifted you out of the water, and the sylphs helped create a tunnel of light to transport you up into their home and safely away from that cold water. You were taking big risks when you played today.’

miles-and-the-sylphs_clip_image007‘Yes,’ said Miles awkwardly. ‘Thank you all. I am so glad to be alive. But how do I get back to Lucas? He is really worried about me.’

‘Don’t worry, Lucas’ angels are looking after him and have guided him to the place where we will safely return you in a few moments.’

‘What are the sylphs anyway? You said I would be helping them.’ As he said their names the little characters he had seen first in the room rushed around him, as though they were dancing. As they did he could feel little currents of air, warm and cool.

‘We are the sylphs. Maybe you would like to think of us as the cloud angels. We are your friends and we look after the air. We are the artists that draw the clouds each day. The pictures we draw in the clouds are codes that mean something to those who understand, usually about mother earth and what she is saying to the humans and all that can see the clouds. We help to clean up the mess made by humans in the air with their pollutants. A greenhouse gas called Carbon dioxide is the main pollutant that is warming Mother Earth.  Carbon dioxide is a pollutant when it is caused by cars, planes, power plants, and other things humans do that involve the burning of fossil fuels such as petrol and natural gas. In the past 150 years, there has been enough carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere to raise its levels higher than they have been for hundreds of thousands of years. People can help by using their cars less and going on fewer aeroplane journeys. You will help us one day Miles.’

‘That’s amazing,’ said Miles. He had always been fascinated by cloud formations. He wondered how he could help but felt sure he would know when the time was right.

Then Dalvik spoke again: ‘It’s time to go home now Miles. You should tell people what you have seen and learned; beware they may tell you that you have been dreaming. It is just because many humans haven’t woken up fully yet, and think these things are impossible. But telling them about it, even if they can’t believe it yet will help us in our work. This is the beginning of your helping us Miles. You are very important.’

‘I will tell them,’ said Miles. And all of a sudden he was sitting on a rock, completely dried off but with no shoes and socks.

‘Miles!’ Lucas was running towards him ‘Are you okay? I was going to call the sea rescue but there was no one around and I didn’t have a clue what to do. I don’t know what made me come over here.’

‘Your angels told you,’ said Miles knowingly.

miles-and-the-sylphs_clip_image009He told Lucas all about what happened as they walked back to where their shoes and socks were. It was getting dark and they headed straight back to Lucas’ house. Lucas believed him, but only because he was completely dry and he had seen him in the water with his own two eyes. Lucas’ mother thought they were telling stories, and didn’t believe that Miles had fallen in the water at all. After dinner they said they were going to write their very own stories. And Lucas’ mum was very interested in Miles’ story when he showed it to her later that evening. She said it was brilliant and suggested he entered it into a competition. Miles had written about what had happened, from start to finish. And he wrote about Dalvik’s important message.
          Miles and the Sylphs Story Exercises:

  1. Take some time to look at the clouds. Send even more angels to the sylphs to help them with their work to clean up the air.
  2. Can you remember what Dalvik’s message was? Talk about it with an adult or friend.