Lily Loosit always lost something. Oh, she was so careful. Really! But it was no good. Whenever she went away from home something got lost. When she was allowed to got to the park with her new red ball, mother said: “But, please, child, don’t go and loose it again the first the day you have it!” And Lily held on to the ball as if it were the crown jewels. She gripped it so desperately that her fingertips grew white, and when she tossed it in the air, she did that with great caution and not higher than the tip of her nose, as if she were afraid it would not come down again if she tossed it too high.
After half an hour she could not bear it any longer, she was so afraid she could lose the ball. So she went home, holding the ball tightly in her arms. Proudly she held it out for her mother to see and said: “Look, I didn’t lose it this time!”
Mother looked her up and down and said: “Fine, that’s great. But where is your left shoe?”
Lily’s heart missed two beats and she looked down and really, at the end of her legs she saw one shoe and one blue sock.
“My god, what shall I do with you!” mother wailed, “Now you even come home without your shoes! Who ever heard of such a child! Do you think shoes grow on trees? These things cost money! Please tell me, how in the world can someone lose a shoe without noticing? It is impossible not to notice such a thing!”
“But – but – I was minding the ball so hard!” Lily stammered.
And then she had to go back to the park with mother to look for the shoe, and of course it was there, it had got stuck in the sandbox and Lily had not noticed it from fear for her new red ball.
And then of course she was not allowed to go to the park for a whole week.
That’s the way it was with Lily. She really minded her things, you could not even talk with her for more than two minutes, for every other second she winced and cried out: “Help, where is my Winnie-the-Pooh-notepad?” or “Gosh, I must have left my Barbie-comb-and-mirror-set somewhere!”
And then she started looking in all her pockets, and if she could not find what she was looking for in her pockets she emptied her schoolbag, and if it was not in her schoolbag she combed through the classroom or the park or the apartment. She was constantly looking for something and half the time she was looking for things she could not have lost because she had not even taken them with her.
She got so nervous she started tying things to herself with pieces of string. First her mother had done this: In winter she had given her mittens on a string that went through the arms of her overcoat. My, was she ashamed then. But now she tied everything to her body or to her clothes: Her little purse, the pink felt-tip pen, the bag for paper tissues, the plastic folder for seven-day ticket, her nail clip, even the blue plastic ruler. But all the same she kept losing things and her mother nagged, her father grumbled and her teacher gave her a dressing down almost every other day. When once again she had lost her pencil sharpener or her exercise-book or her sports dress her teacher said: “One of these days you will lose your head, Lily, if you go on like this!”
And that was exactly what happened. One day Lily came to school without a head on her shoulders.
“But you don’t have a head!” the teacher screamed horror-stricken.
Headless Lily shrugged her shoulders and sat down at her desk. The boy who was sitting next to her began to weep.
“Get out of here and don’t dare to come back without your head!” the teacher yelled, and all the children sat at their desks paralysed from shock.
But headless Lily did not hear anything, which is not really astonishing, and she did not say anything, and that is understandable too. She sat there and leisurely played with the mittens that were dangling from her arms. Now she had no more head she was not afraid any more of losing something. In fact, she was not afraid of anything, because fear sits in the head, even if you feel it in your heart sometimes or in your belly or maybe in your pants.
How the story ended? I don’t know exactly. They say that for a long time yet headless Lily like a restless ghost ambled to school in the morning, went back home in the afternoon, went to bed in the evening and got up the next day without ever saying or noticing anything. In the beginning people found it rather creepy, but after a while they got used to it. My goodness, so many people lose their head, don’t they?