Once upon a time, a girl and her mother were sleeping side by side in the guest room of a cousin’s house. The house had been in the family for generations.
It was dark in the guest room, but not scary, even though there were many new sounds to be wondered about.
What was that noise?” The girl asked
“That was the wind in the trees.” Mother said.
It was quiet then, except for the sweet sound of the wind whispering through Aspen.
The girl was almost asleep and so was mother.
“Uhaa! What was that sound?” The girl asked as she snuggled closer to mother.
“Oh, that? Well, that was all the hens scooting over to make room for the hen that was the last on duty.”
The girl thought about all the sleepy chickens until she felt sleepy too.
Until a creak creak creaking sound woke her right up.
“What was that?”
Mother listened and said, “Oh, that’s just the house walking on its nails.” And then she snored. She was fast asleep.
The girl did not know houses could walk, much less walk on nails. She began to imagine all the houses picking up their skirts and walking all over the countryside in the moonlight. She was a little worried that they would not find their way back to the right place by morning.
Before she knew it the rooster crowed. The birds in the trees began to sing all the morning songs they knew as they darted through the air and swooped low for breakfast. The smell of freshly made biscuits wafted throughout the house..
The girl remembered that the house had been walking on its nails all night so she ran to the window to see if everything was where it should be.
Her relative’s house was right where it was the day before, and as far as she could tell, all the other houses were where they should be too.
At breakfast, she asked her mother how the houses knew how to get back to their own yards after walking on their nails all night.
After a moment of bewilderment, mother realized what her daughter was referring to. She laughed so hard she snorted coffee through her nose.
When she stopped laughing, she said, “Oh sweetie,” when I say a house walks on its nails, I just mean it settles in, you know. Old houses do that.”
All the relatives laughed and clinked their dishes merrily as they enjoyed breakfast and thought about what a sight it would be if the old houses of the neighborhood picked up their skirts and tiptoed over the hills by the light of the moon.