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"Oh blat! splat! These things are horrible!" The funny little man ran down the path, almost knocking April over because he was so plump and jiggly. Her umbrella flew out of her hand.

"They aren't my wonderful Rainbow Drops! That's for certainly sure!" He muttered to himself as he waddled on.

"Quick!" called April, "Could you catch my umbrella please, sir?” April called after him, “...and what are Rainbow Drops?” The funny little man who was dressed in a suit of purple all covered with rainbow colored stars stopped suddenly and turned in his tracks to look at April. He seemed surprised that she was there.

“Oh, hello! I’m Pudah. Dots! spots! plops! splats! kerplunks! You know, those whach-a-macallets that fall from the sky and get you wet! These horrid things!” Pudah pointed a stubby fat finger toward the sky.


“You betcha, that’s what they are alrighty, but not your every day common raindrop. Rainbow Drops are super-extra-oozle-doozle special!”

“Raindrops aren’t special. Nobody likes rain. You can’t play outside and you have to wear a slicker and galoshes and...see, I'm getting all wet now! Could you please get my umbrella?”
“Hubble-bubble!” The little man huffed. “Hubble-Bubble! Follow me and I’ll show you a thing or three!”

In a flash, Pudah turned and waddled quickly away along the winding path and disappeared into the bramble thicket. April had to run to catch up, and she forgot to pick up her umbrella on the way. She was very curious to see where the little man had gone.

“Wait! I can’t run that fast! Where did you go?”

“Hubble-Bubble!” Pudah puffed over his shoulder. “Hustle-wussel into my bramble!”

As soon as April pushed through the twining, winding vines she saw Pudah sitting on a giant spotted toadstool. His round little body jiggled and wiggled as he caught his breath.

“Wow! I’ve never seen such a huge toadstool!” April said.

“Toadstool? It’s no toadstool. It’s my throne-stool! I have throne-stools here and there and every which-where.” Pudah reached into his purple velvet knapsack and took out a golden crown which he perched crookedly on his shiny little head. “See, I am the King. King of the Bramble kingdom!”

“King? I thought you were just a funny little man out for a walk!” April felt foolish as soon as the words left her mouth. “Ahhh... sorry, I mean, umm...”

“You are as right as you are bright.” Pudah said cheerfully. “I am a funny little man! You had no way of knowing I was the king. I cannot wear my crown outside the Bramble Kingdom so you had no way of knowing my grandness! But, none-the-best, I am the King!

“What is the Bramble Kingdom?” April was puzzled. Then, before Pudah could answer, she noticed it wasn’t raining in the thicket.

“The Bramble Kingdom is what-ever, when-ever, why-ever, how-ever you want it to be! Sit down here next to me and I’ll tell you how I became the Bramble King.”

“Many long times ago, a funny little man wandered to my door. I lived high in the hills in those days. As you can hear, I called him a funny little man just as you called me this day! He was dressed in a suit of purple with stars the colors of the rainbow scattered all over it, and he carried a purple velvet knapsack."

“Hey, that’s just like you, Pudah!”

“It is exactly the same as I. I am wearing his exact clothing today! These are my kingly clothes!” "In those long time ago days, I did not like the wet ploply-droplys as you say you don’t now. I was mad and grumpy when the...the... whach-a-macallets came down. They were coming down and getting me soaking wet the day the little man came to my house.”

“The raindrops?”

“Yes indeedy, those very things. The little man invited me to come and live in the bramble. He said there were only Rainbow Drops in the bramble!”

"I didn’t know he was a King then. Not until I followed him into the thicket and he sat on his throne-stool and reached into his knapsack and pulled out a crown and placed it on his head. Then he showed me around the Bramble Kingdom. Soon after that time, he said I could be king. Then he vanished right before my very eyes in a purple poof!"

“Right before your eyes?”

“Yes indeedy, in a sparkling cloud of purple poof! All that was left were these clothes and knapsack and crown. I picked them up and put them on and have been King of the Bramble Kingdom ever since!”

“So what are Rainbow Drops then, Pudah?”
“Follow me and you shall see!”

Pudah pushed aside a vine covered with huge purple flowers that was hiding an opening. “Come and look.” He invited. April had never seen such a beautiful place. Before her lay a lush green meadow and sparkling lake bathed in bright sunlight. The sky was perfectly clear and wildflowers grew everywhere. Birds sang and animals grazed among thick red clover. Tiny homes were clustered among trees along the shores of the lake. April could see little people busily working around several long tables.

She looked around in wonder. “Who are all these little people, Pudah?”

“The Bramble people. This is Bramble Village. Come and let me show you.”

Pudah lead April along a stone path to the edge of the sparkling blue lake. When they got closer, she noticed the little people were just about her size and were all dressed alike in purple clothing. They were singing and talking and laughing and having a grand time.

The many little men, women and children were sorting things on the long tables and placing them into large boxes. “Come closer and look.” Pudah said.
April saw books, dolls, pieces of clothing, socks, shoes, boots, umbrellas, toy cars, balls, jump ropes, hats, purses, backpacks and many, many, many other things spread all over the tables.

“What is all this stuff?”

“Look closer.” Pudah said.

“Hey, that looks like my yellow hat! I lost that hat! And my brother can’t find his blue Spiderman backpack. That looks just like it, and...” April bent closer. “It says Josh T. on the strap. That is his backpack! But how did it get here?"

“This is where all lost things come.” Pudah said. “That’s one of our main duties here in Bramble Village. We find lost things and return them to where the owners can find them again.”

“How do you do it?” April asked.

“Well, you know when you lose something and look all over and can’t find it? Your mother or father or some adult tells you to sit down and think about where you last had it, then retrace your steps. Right?”

“All grown ups say that.” Pudah replied knowingly.

“That’s what we do. We put the lost item back by your steps, so when you go back and retrace them, you will find it!”

“That’s wonderful, Pudah! I wondered how my things got back to where I looked for them!”

“This work is a big secret. No one is to know that we Bramble People do this, so don’t tell anyone! You must keep our secret! If you promise, I will show you the Rainbow Drops now. It’s almost time.” Pudah pulled out his big gold pocket watch and checked it. “Yes, it is almost time.”

“I promise I won’t tell! Please show me the Rainbow Drops, Pudah, please?”

April noticed the clear blue sky was starting to get cloudy, but the clouds weren’t white or gray like most clouds. They were light purple and fluffy and looked like cotton candy.

“Watch this!” Pudah laughed.

As April looked up at the sky, the fluffy purple clouds got bigger and bigger until they looked ready to burst. Then, suddenly, huge drops of rain began to fall, only it wasn’t ordinary rain. The big splats were colored! April saw red, orange and yellow drops, and green, blue, violet and purple plops.

“Oh! I need my umbrella!” But she really didn’t. She wasn’t getting wet at all! No one was getting wet from the colorful shower!

“Pudah, this rain isn’t wet!”

“That’s right! I’ve never seen any reason to get wet just because the flowers and the grass need a drink of water.”

Pudah laughed. “Here in Bramble Village, none of us get wet when the Rainbow Drops fall! Aren’t they super-extra-oozle-doozle special?”

“Oh, yes, Pudah!” April could hardly believe her eyes. Raindrops the colors of the rainbow that don’t get you wet!

“How about a perfectly splendid picnic lunch with me?” Pudah asked April.

“Yes, thank you. I’m very hungry!”

Pudah immediately sat down on another spotted throne-stool in the middle of the clover patch. Several nearby cows and goats and sheep looked curiously at them while they munched the red clover.

“Are you ready?” Pudah asked.

“I...I guess so. For what?”

“Our lunch is what.” Pudah raised both of his chubby little arms and said in a loud voice: “MUNCHY, CRUNCHY, LET’S HAVE LUNCHY!” and at that, a small round table, complete with a white lace cloth, fancy china, silverware,delightful looking food and a beautiful bouquet of flowers, rose from the ground right beside Publah’s throne-stool. A tiny chair for April appeared also.

“How did you do that!” Pudah just grinned and pointed to his crown.

The lunch was scrumptious. April’s favorite foods were served. Dainty peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches cut into fancy shapes, dark purple grapes, bright red cherries, baked cinnamon pears, strawberry soda, peppermint ice cream and little slices of angel food cake with pale pink sticky frosting. They ate until they were so stuffed they couldn’t hold another bite .

“Ho-hum, fiddely-dumm, the time has come!” Pudah yaw ned.

“Time for what?” April asked.

“My afternoon nap is what.” Pudah waved his little arms again “THAT WAS FUN AND NOW WE’RE DONE!” and the table sank back into the ground. He stood up, brushed the crumbs from his purple suit then curled up in the clover next to his throne.

“Have a nap yourself.” Pudah yawned again. “It is a wonderful, super-extra-oozle-doozle special thing to do after a delicious meal!” Then he was fast asleep.

April suddenly felt very sleepy herself and lay down in the soft clover.

Plop! splat! kerplunk! Big wet raindrops were falling all around. “Hey! the Rainbow Drops aren’t suppose to be wet, Pudah! Pudah...Puda...!”

April sat up and looked around. She was on her quilt under the big willow tree in her backyard. Her book lay open beside her and big splats of plain old rain were falling all around. ‘Phooey! I guess I fell asleep! Oh no, Pudah and the Bramble people and the Rainbow Drops were all just a dream!’ She was so disappointed.

April reached for the umbrella she had in case of a sudden summer shower, but it was nowhere in sight. ‘Where in the world did my umbrella go?’ She wondered. ‘I’ll just have to sit here and think about where I had it last, then retrace my steps--but I know I had it right here! Right here beside me! I know it was!’

April looked around again, but the umbrella had just ▀disappeared. Then she saw something out of the corner of her eye, near the edge of the quilt and crawled on her hands and knees to have a closer look.

She could hardly believe her eyes! It was a bright red cherry and a very tiny bit of cake with pale pink sticky frosting!