How Dill Became Dill and Got Her World Geography Book
I know you’ve met Dill and been on her uncanny adventures with Will and Toucan Bill. You know that she went everywhere with her World Geography Book. However, you may not know how she got that treasured book, much less her name. Well, here’s the story.
Dill was scampering around her big chestnut tree on a sparkling spring morning when she spied an elderly lady coming by the nearby sidewalk in a wheelchair. The lady looked very elegant and kind. She had snow white hair and wore a deep burgundy shawl. Dill, bering sociable by nature, gave her a big wave. The lady was surprised, but she waved back.
“My you’re a pretty squirrel,” she said. “You have a simply gorgeous tail, and I think you are also very smart. Tell me, what is your name?” Dill was glad her tail looked perfect as she pondered this question. She furrowed her brow but kept her tail arched. Finally she said “I don’t know. I don’t think I have a name. My mother disappeared a long time ago and probably never gave me one.”
“Well,” said the lady, “I think you should think about what you would like me to call you. We can meet tomorrow and you can reflect and tell me what name you have chosen. My name, by the way, is Matilda and this Betty,” she said, turning her head to introduce Betty. “She drives me everywhere.”
Dill hopped slowly back to her tree. She was thrilled at the brand new idea of having a name. She sat on the thick roots at the base or her chestnut tree, which she considered her veranda. It was the perfect place to feel the sweet breezes that stirred the leaves and to think. She thought and thought and decided upon Dill. it’s a simple but assertive name, she thought. Just one syllable, but loaded with good vibrations.
The next day as soon as she saw the lady in the wheelchair she hopped to the sidewalk and gave a big wave. “Hello,” she said. “My name is Dill.” “Oh,” said the lady, “I’m glad you have given yourself such a pretty and unusual name.”
Not wanting to be a impolite but nonetheless very curious, Dill broached the question that had long lingered in her mind. “Please tell me Ms. Matilda, why are you in that wheelchair?” “Well I’m old and it’s hard for me to walk,” said Matilda. “I like to go out and Betty is very nice about pushing me around.”
Dill, with her boundless curiosity, asked Matilda what did she do when she could walk? “I was a travel writer,” she responded. “I went all over the world and wrote magazine articles of many places. I would study my world geography book for places that caught my imagination and then arrange to visit them. I still love to travel but now it’s very hard for me.”
“Oh,” said Dill, with longing in her voice. “I would love to travel but I know nothing of the world.” “Tomorrow,” said Matilda, “I will bring my world geography book and show you some of the places that I’ve visited.”
Sure enough, she came by with a big book on her lap. Dill put on her glasses and jumped on the arm of the wheelchair and looked and looked as Matilda turned the pages. She was fascinated by the brilliantly colored pictures of mountains and rivers, of desert lands, and lands of crops and fields as well as the views of cities and beaches and rocky coastlines.
“There are so many countries and cities to see and enjoy,” said Matilda. “This is Brazil,” for example. “It’s a beautiful country with an enormous jungle and the longest river in the world. I hope you’re able to go there one day.”
Each day Matilda came with her world geography book and turned more pages as Dill look on, entranced. “You must go to Rome,” she said, ”a city of history and art. Here is Turkey, where you can find ancient Christian and Islamic and Jewish sites”. Every day Dill and Matilda explored different parts of the world.
One day, Matilda did not come by. Then more days passed and she did not come by. Dill was perplexed and sad. She missed the daily conversations. Finally one cloudy afternoon Dill saw Betty walking alone. “I am so sad to tell you,” she said, “dear Matilda passed away. One of her last wishes was that you have her world geography book.”
Betty presented the marvelous book to Dill, who was overcome both by the sad news and the joy of owning such a treasured book. Dill wept in grief and gratitude. She thanked Betty and carried the book carefully to her chestnut tree. She put it a special big room in her apartment and took it out every day to study but only after a brief prayer of thanks to Matilda.