When Esmeralda was two, her mother cut her hair. She stared into the mirror and did not recognize herself. It was so short her ears froze when she went outside. It was so short it stuck straight up on her head. It was so short people sometimes thought she was a boy. Her mother tried to stick bows in her hair with gel, which looked very silly. One day she walked up to her mother, put her hands on her hips and announced, “No more hair cuts, never, never never!”
Her hair grew. Esmeralda’s ears started to warm up as her hair began covering them.
A few weeks later she was able to put bows in her hair without looking silly. Her mother found every tangle and snarl Esmeralda had, when she combed her hair. Her scalp hurt when her mother was finished. Esmeralda would wiggle and squirm when her mother tried to comb her hair, then run away and hide.
The hair grew to brush her shoulders. She put barrettes and bows in but they were soon lost. Her mother said, “You have to brush your hair and keep it neat if you want it long.” Esmerelda did not want to hear what her mother said. She just nodded and went back to playing. She did not want to listen. Taking care of her hair seemed like too much work.
As it grew, she liked to put it on top of her head to keep it out of her way. Esmeralda pinned her hair up with chopsticks but she never bothered to take them out. They would stick out at strange angles, sometimes sagging down, drooping dejectedly. There were several chopsticks in her hair before she decided it was too much trouble.
It grew so long her mother tried to braid it but the tangles got in the way. Esmeralda would not let her mother comb it and never did it herself. It fell down her back in snarls and tangles. Her teacher spoke to the class about the importance of brushing their hair, pointing at the messy heap on top of Esmerelda’s head.
It grew so long it reached her waist. Esmerelda liked to separate it in two and tie it into a bow at her neck. She took her mother’s hair spray and sprayed the bow fast. Esmeralda did not care that it became a sticky mess when it rained.
One day Esmeralda and her friend, Lucy, had a fight. They were in a meadow near home. Lucy got so mad she took prickers and smashed them into Esmeralda’s hair. Esmeralda grabbed some and did the same to Lucy. Esmeralda’s mom cried as she tried to comb the prickers out but finally gave up. She wanted to cut Esmeralda’s hair but, of course, she said No! The prickers scratched Esmeralda’s cheeks as she slept. There were huge clumps of prickers all over her head. Her hair looked lumpy and bumpy.
When she was swinging at the playground her hair swept the ground, leaving the ground neat and her hair littered with twigs and clumps of dirt. Esmeralda’s mother just shook her head when she saw her. Caterpillars and ants climbed up the strands of her hair. The ants made little mounds for their homes. Her scalp itched as they walked across it. She heard the ants lining up in rows, practicing their marches, and listened to their leaders ordering the troops. The caterpillars found quiet spots and spun their chrysalis’, waiting for the days they would become butterflies.
Soon she could sit on her hair. One day Esmeralda tried to brush her hair but the brush got stuck in the tangles and she just left it there. It clanked against the back of her chair in school.
Two nights later, when she was sleeping, a mouse saw her hair dusting the floor and skittered up. He made a home and each night brought back treasures he found during the day, jittering his adventures into her ear as she dreamed. He told Esmeralda where all her lost things were since mice see everything. Slowly her hair came to hold a thimble to drink from, many colors of string, a couple of moldy pieces of cheese, a hunk of hard bread, some doll clothes to wear and an empty match box for the mouse to sleep in.
Her hair grew down to her knees. A bird flew by and decided to build a nest. Soon three chicks hatched. Esmeralda thought it was cool. She thought she was special having a bird family living with her. At first the bird and Esmeralda would talk about what it felt like to fly. But the bird was always squawking, the chicks were always chirping and the worms she brought back to her chicks sometimes fell into Esmeralda’s hair and crawled down her neck. It was hard to pay attention at school with all of the racket. Her teacher made her sit in the hall during quizzes so the birds and mouse would not distract the class.
A squirrel looking down from a tree one day thought her hair would make a wonderfully soft home to come home to each day. He jumped down and burrowed in deep with his paws. The squirrel talked to Esmeralda about what it felt like to live in trees. He and Esmeralda talked for hours about life in forests. He would leave in the morning to forage for food, coming home at night to talk about his day. By now, Esmeralda had so much hair there was plenty of room for the squirrel, birds, mouse, and insects.
Esmeralda’s mother begged her to get her hair cut. Her teacher called Animal Control because of the noise coming from her hair. The Animal Control Officer came to school to see her hair. She told Esmeralda to cut her hair and send the animals to their homes in the wild. Esmeralda just crossed her arms, planted her feet apart, and shook her head No.
It grew down to her toes. She kept tripping as she walked. When she put her shoes on, her hair kept getting stuck in her shoes which hurt when she stood up. The caterpillar and ant homes were shaken apart, spilling insects all over her head. The mama bird squawked angrily at her because she was scaring the chicks. The squirrel jittered at her to be more careful. The mouse started to think it might be time to find another home. His precious objects shook loose and fell to the ground.
One day she climbed a pine tree. Her hair stuck to all the branches leaving her hanging, swinging in the air. Sap from the tree clung to her hair. The little pine needles were everywhere, tickling and itching her. She looked and felt like a fly trapped in a spider’s web. The squirrel saw a hole in the tree that would be a better home. The birds shrieked and flew away. The mouse slipped along the branches, slid down the trunk, and skittered into the woods. The ants marched two by two off her head. The caterpillar chrysallis’ tore open and beautiful butterflies flew quickly away. It took a whole day and the help of her two best friends to get free.
That was it!!! She ran home to her mother and cried “Cut my hair! PLEASE!!!” Her mother started cutting . . . out came sap and pine needles from the tree she was stuck in, a branch from a tree, the squirrel burrow, the bird’s nest, fifty worms, the mouse’s treasures, the ant mounds and caterpillar chrysalis’ galore, twigs from the playground, prickers from the fight with her friend, clumps of dirt from the swings, chopsticks, barrettes and bows that had gotten lost, the brush that got stuck and hundreds and hundreds of snarls and tangles.
Her new hair cut fell to her shoulders in soft waves. Her mother brushed the hair until it gleamed and put a bright bow in it. Esmeralda looked in the mirror and liked the look of the person staring back at her. She promised herself she would always keep her hair neat and clean . . . and she did.
This is a revised copy of the original. Please tell me if it works better or not. Thanks.