The Boy and the Firefly

The Boy and the Firefly

Written by Micah and L.K. Sukany
Illustrations by L.K. Sukany
Edited by J. Bradley Minnick

Once there was a boy named Calipso. He was small even for a little boy. His family told him so. He never liked hearing it, but he was good-natured about it and was polite to his seven brothers and sisters except at dinner when they would steal his carrots and he would pout. One evening after a bad day at school and all his delicious carrots had been stolen, Calipso could take no more. He whistled, then he shouted, then he slammed his fists on the table, and then pinched his sister.

At first no one knew who had done it. It seemed to the family as if a noisy ghost had come to dinner. They looked under the kitchen table, then behind the door, and then in the cupboards and in the pantry. Who had made all that fuss? “It was I!” shouted Calipso standing on the table. “Oh,” said his mother and father. Calipso was sent to bed without any dessert.

Calipso trudged up the long flight of stairs to his bedroom; however, Calipso’s bedroom was not a room at all. It was more of a windowsill partitioned off from the garret stairwell by pale curtains. Settling into his wicker basket, Calipso peered out a small window at the moon, “Oh, that I was a beam of light too,” he thought.

As he reflected on the adventures he would have if only he were able, Calipso noticed a lovely thing. Off in the distance, he recognized a faint, glimmering light. Slowly that tiny, yellow bulb floated up to his window like the reverse flight of a lazy paper airplane. Amazed, Calipso watched as the firefly drifted through a crack in the window and landed on his nose. “Hello,” said the firefly, “Are you ready?” Puzzled, Calipso asked, “Ready for what?” “Your flight of course,” said the firefly. Without answering, Calipso took hold of the firefly and glowing dimly flew off into the night sky.

Together they flew over wide rivers of clouds and around dense mountains of light into the Land of Dreams. Despite the great distance traveled, Calipso felt as though they had been gone for only a short time. All along Calipso had not known where he was going, but he had been there many times before. Everyone has for everyone dreams.

Stepping down under the shadow of a tall tree, Calipso felt a bit cotton-headed, but in all better for being back on the ground. Looking around, Calipso saw seven bridges stretching from one bank of a river to another. “Those are the seven bridges into the Land of Dreams,” the firefly explained. “Before your grandfather’s grandfather’s time, there was one bridge, but now there are seven.” “Oh,” said Calipso. Then all around him, Calipso saw a great multitude of people. He giggled for they were all in their pajamas. “Those are the dreamers. They wait for Grog.” “Who is Grog?” Calipso asked.

Calipso was curious, but his curiosity turned to fear when he saw a towering giant. Calipso watched as Grog lifted one of the sleepers, placed him on a large, white stone, and deftly dismembered him. “Oh, how horrible,” Calipso said. As Grog reached for another sleeper, Calipso, turning away, noticed a twitch in the arm of the dismembered man. Staring, Calipso saw another twitch–this time in the man’s leg. Then an eye blinked, and then a head rolled upright. Slowly each part began to stir and make its way across one of the bridges.

“How peculiar,” said Calipso, “Will they stay that way all night? I wonder what a toe dreams?” The firefly glowed dimly and said, “A toe dreams what an eye dreams, what an arm dreams. A brother-giant, Drow, puts them all back together right before the sleeper wakes.” Calipso nodded and then asked a sensible question, “How will I get across?” “Oh, you are quite safe,” said the firefly, “You are too small for anyone to notice.” Relieved, Calipso crossed unnoticed into the Land of Dreams.

The Red Bicycle

There was once a boy who wanted a bicycle. “Not just any bicycle,” he thought. He needed one that would take him on adventures to faraway places–a bicycle that would take him through the sky to the nearest star where great princesses lived. He imagined a great and brave quest. He would loll under the almond tree dreaming of these things.

One day an old woman hobbled near. He heard her approach. He opened his eyes and looked at her. She stopped and looked at him. “I see your dreams and I know them,” she said. The boy looked away ashamed of his vulnerability. Inside her cloak was a red bicycle. The boy’s shame was turned to delight, but at what price? “No money,” she said, “but your life now will not be your own.” He nodded, for he longed for this a long time. The old woman continued on.

The boy took the red bicycle and peddled and peddled. Though some days were tiring and other days weak, most days were filled with joy–the joy of doing what one was made to do–a fulfillment and a familiarity.

The Boy and the Broom

Once upon a time there was a boy with a broom. His mother told him that his chore for the day was to sweep his room. He did not stop there. He swept and he swept. He swept out his room and swept throughout the house. He swept the house and swept right out the door. He swept the whole front porch, and he swept the stone walkway. He just kept sweeping right on into the forest. After he swept the whole forest, he moved down into the valley. After he was done with that, he swept towards the desert. He swept the mountains, the ocean, as well as the beach.

He swept the caves and the underworld. He swept high and low, near and far, deep and wide. As he was finishing up a canyon, he stopped at a tall tower. He looked up and saw two damsels in distress. “Hullo” he shouted. The damsels looked down out of the tower, “Hello.” “Nice weather we’re having today, eh?” the boy said. “Oh yes, quite lovely,” replied the damsels. After a bit of sweeping around the tower, the boy waved goodbye and continued on sweeping toward the morning light.

The Lantern Dance

Long ago there was a beautiful girl, a princess-to-be. She was polite and demure, but enjoyed nothing more than running the hills and forests at night. She kept late hours, dancing wild and barefooted with the woodland creatures. Soon she grew from a girl into a woman. Thereafter a prince came out from the palace and took her back as his wife. She exchanged summer dresses for gowns and meadows for ballrooms.

Everyone marveled at her grace and poise, but like a flower pulled by its roots, she began to fade. Seeing this, the prince summoned all of the wisest doctors and apothecaries, but none could find a cure. Hope was gone until one evening an old seamstress came to the palace. “Go away,” said the prince, “She has no need for gowns.” Without a word, the old woman departed, but she left behind a gossamer gown. Intrigued, the princess picked up the garment and recognized its patterns at once. She threw the garment on and burst from the palace onto the gardens outside.

As she ran, the summer fireflies rose up around her–flashing and falling, some clinging to her, others rising again. Those in her gown cast out the shadows of the shapes embroidered there. Around her the woodland shadows gathered. She danced and the prince watched from the courtyard.

Two Boys and Two Fathers

Once there was a little boy who loved to play the flute. He practiced whenever he could. He practiced after working in the factory, before bed, and again in the morning before work. He played every day because he loved it. When he slept, he dreamed of being a master flautist. However, the boy’s family was poor, so when he woke, he went to work.

During the same time, there was another boy. He was taught to play the flute; however, he was not an interested student, and paid little attention to his instructor. He would skip out on his lessons to run with older boys and to fish. Despite years of study, the boy had learned only one simple tune.

It was his father’s dream to play the flute, to be a flautist, not his. Every day the father asked his son to play for him, and every day the boy would play the same weak tune. This continued on until one day, his father did not ask his son to play. He came home too weak and too tired. The next day, the father died. The boy missed his father very much.

Stepping back onto the bridge, Calipso felt that he was somehow different. He felt bolder and more alive. “I love to dream,” said Calipso, “I can be or do anything.” “So many people feel that way,” said the firefly, “but a dream is something that just happens to you. Like life, it is little more than that.” “Then why do I feel so free here?” asked Calipso. “Because you believe so well, and yet you do not believe at all,” instructed the firefly. “It is a paradox, but you will understand more as you grow.” Calipso nodded and grew silent.

Calipso and the firefly left the way they came, passing through the rivers and fields of white–flying over the clouds beneath the moon. Calipso saw the towns and villages twinkling like fireflies. He began to understand. Looking ahead Calipso saw a bright star hovering in the eastern sky. Somehow he knew it was the last star before morning. Without hesitation, Calipso closed his eyes and made a wish.

The End.

This story is for the light of hearts, the heavy of hearts, and those who claim to have too much or too little heart. It is for those who enjoy creativity, art, passion, and within whom a curiosity thrives for the deeper understanding of things.

We love to create, and The Boy and the Firefly is one of many parts of us. We are so excited to be able to share this storybook with you and all of the things that we came to understand through its creation. We were stretched in many ways throughout the process of this project. We also hope that you will be stretched, challenged, and maybe that it sparks in you creativity and renewed hope.

We wish to use our stories, our art, and our music to allow people the realization that we will always have something to share inside of us that is important and special.


The Damsels in Distress (2007)

You can listen to this story online at




The Damsels in Distress at Tea Bar and Bites

We had the L.K. Sukany “Family Life Illustrations” art reception at Tea Bar and Bites art reception Thursday night. It was really fun and a lot of our friends and family came out – and some people from the Springfield community too!

There were some write ups on the event to promote it, which felt really fancy – especially on the KSMU Community Calendar.

The Damsels in Distress got together once again and played an all acoustic (no microphones even) show. We played acoustic guitar, mandolin, tambourine, maracas, glockenspiel, accordion, concertina, harmonic, and vocals.

The set list was: I do, The Statement, Arkansas, Girls Take Pills, Home, Gailey’s Mr. and Mrs. Campfire Song, D&D, I Like You, Candy Store, I Don’t Drive, Old Person Muses 40 Years Hence, Zero Field, Old Spanish Trail, Let Me Fall in Love, Sister, Home Sweet Home, Little Owl, Rare Red Rainbow, Fighting Hearts, French Song, Steven, and Neutron Rising.

Most songs can be heard on

The Family Life Illustrations can be viewed on the Paper Opera blog at or at

Thanks to everyone who came out to support our art and music!

Art Show at Tea Bar and Bites

Tea and Bar and Bites is an amazing place. It’s this little cafe on Pickwick that we like to walk to and enjoy a pastry at every now and again.

There is always an array of eclectic art by local artists on display. I asked if I could show some work, and after sending the usual website/portfolio/resume, I was invited to show for the month of June. I recently completed a series called “15 Illustrations,” which I have now renamed “Family Life Illustrations” and that is what I wanted to use for this show at Tea Bar and Bites.

I went and photographed and measured the space months before the show. The space is limited, so I had to make a decision. Either I could hang about 10 of the pieces or I could make small art prints and hang all of the work. I decided to go with the latter decision because I think not only should the entire series be displayed together, but by putting up the smaller prints I could charge way less – should anyone want to leave with some of my art. I also created some cards, art prints, and musical magnets to sell.

I ended up taking my kid with me to hang the show, so I wasn’t sure how that would go, but it ended up working out! Tea Bar and Bites gave me a cup of tea “on the house” – a Georgia Peach – while I set up the show.

I had three walls to work with. I set up the pieces first to see where everything should go.

Once I set up the pieces, I realized that one of the plaster walls wouldn’t take any more holes, so I had to improvise and ended up using extra spaces I found.


They even gave me a little cart to set up my extra fun stuff for sell.

This show is up for the month of June. The reception is Thursday, June 15th at 5 to 7 and The Damsels in Distress will be performing.





Romania Paintings for Livada Send Off

In June 2014, I went to Romania to work with the Livada Orphan Care (LOC) orphans. The beauty of the ministry and country inspired me and I wanted to paint scenes of Romania. When I was praying one morning, I had the idea to paint these scenes of Romania and donate the final pieces to Livada to raise money for orphan sponsorship. I sent the paintings to Texas with my Aunt Candy and Uncle Dale this week. I am so excited and am praying that they will be able to raise enough money to sponsor an orphan for one year.

“Fairy Tale Romania”


“Romania Poppy Field and Hillside”


“Romania Field of Flowers”


“Romania Hillside”


“Sighisoara Tower”


“Hay Day”


“Romania Hillside View”


“Romania Hillside with Tree”


“The Hostage Game at Ogra Gypsy Village”


“Sighisoara Clock Tower”


“Sighisoara Church View”


“Romanian Cornfield”




“Romanian Woman with Cane”


“Shin Kai House”

To see details and the process of each painting, please see

15 Illustrations: Getting Ready

I am working with Inktense pencils, Micron ink pens, and Canson Illustration 11×14″ 150lb art pad to create 15 illustrations (that is how many pieces of paper are in the art pad) of my current family life and inspirations.

This work is narrative in content and uses color in a monochromatic way accentuating one part of each drawing. These fun and quirky illustrations are a reflection of the current joy and activities I have been experiencing.

“Getting Ready” is the first and last drawing in the series. I drew it at the beginning of the series and it’s a bit of a “nesting” time before E was born. I wanted to discover during this series how our lives would change socially and in our community once we had a baby. After finishing the drawing, I decided to color each pendant from each of the drawings in the series (which made this drawing technically the last one completed). The colors would eventually represent all of our adventures together, but in the drawing it would just be my daydream.

Before, with no color

The colors used are Inktense pencils: Sun Yellow, Leaf Green and Teal Green blended, Carmine Pink and Tangerine blended, Carmine Pink, Spring Green, Fuchsia, Iris Blue and Mauve blended, Mustard, Saddle Brown, Poppy Red, Cadmium Orange and Tangerine blended, Leaf Green, and Mauve and Violet blended.

My favorite things about this drawing are the crayon books and snail bookends,

the new mom, dad, and dog sister waiting for baby,


the embroidery and flowers.

and the completed embroidery.