Friday, 19 December 2014

The Travelling Yawn

Bea yawned, a big wide extra-air-gulping yawn.

‘Good heavens!’ exclaimed Uncle Charlie. ‘I do believe that’s my yawn!’ He peered at her closely. ‘You’ll have to do it again; I didn’t quite see enough of it to be sure.’

Bea looked at him as if he were standing on his head wearing his shoes on his hands. ‘Your yawn? It’s not. It’s my yawn. And I can’t do it agaiiiiii Arhhhh.’

‘Yes,’ said Uncle Charlie, nodding wisely. ‘One yawn very often likes to follow another. They go about in pairs, you see. That second one wasn’t  quite the same as the first one,‘ he added sadly. ‘But I am pretty sure…’

‘Uncle Charlie, you’re going to have to explain yourself,’ interrupted Bea. ‘How can my yawn be your yawn?’

Uncle Charlie settled himself more comfortably into his chair. (Bea was a little worried that this might turn out to be one of Uncle Charlie’s Very Long Stories.) ‘You know that when one person yawns, another person catches it, then the next person, and then the next?’ he said. ‘Well, in that way yawns can travel around the world. And if you are very lucky, your original yawn will come back to you. I myself always try to yawn in a new and interesting way, so I recognise it when it returns.’

Bea still had a disbelieving look on her face, but Uncle Charlie didn’t seem to notice. Dreamily, he continued;

‘Once had a yawn that was gone three years before I caught it again. It had taken on some strange characteristics, but I knew it just the same. It must have travelled to some very exotic places.’

‘Like when people go somewhere hot, and they come back with a tan and a funny hat, but you still know it’s them?’

‘Precisely!’ said Uncle Charlie, looking pleased. ‘Oftentimes you’ll merely be passing on someone else’s yawn. But next time you start a yawn all by yourself, send it off with a smile and a wave and bid it a good journey.’

‘Oh I will, said Bea. ‘I will.’

And from that day to this, Bea has only lost eight original yawns. Something of a record, she thinks.

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