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Blue blue red and the Kitokos

     While taking a walk, you have probably seen white or blue stones covered with lines, black lines for the white stones, white lines for the blue ones. You can see them everywhere, but especially in pine forests, along rivers and trails.

Some stories from the Ardennes region, in Belgium, say that they are landmarks for the gnomes. The lines on the stones help them find their burrow, their hiding place in the underbrush.

You probably don't know that these line stones are also maps, like road maps, for tiny animals that you haven't heard of because they never show themselves to anyone: kitokos.

Kitokos are about the size of a large orange. They're beautiful, very round and covered with brightly colored fur. They travel in packs of fifteen. Never one more, never one fewer. There are both female and male kitokos.A pack always elects a king or a queen; it depends.

You will never find two kitokos of the same color in a pack, because each of them has their own unique shade. They can be white, yellow, blue, orange, red, green, purple, mauve, or black. Male kitokos have only one color, while females have two. Kings and queens have three.

For example, a female kitoko might be red on top and green on the bottom or the opposite or something else.

The queen that Magali met one night was sky blue on top, dark blue in the middle, and red on the bottom.


That day, Magali was taking a walk with her parents and her older brother Arnaud. Grandma was watching her baby brother, Julien. Our friend didn't know anything about what I just told you. They were going through a large pine forest.

During the walk, she picked up several pebbles, as she likes to collect them. She tucked them into the pocket of her red overalls.

Suddenly, she spotted a pretty white stone with black lines under a large tree. She quickly left the path, picked up the small stone, and took it.

Then she ran back to her big brother and her parents.

She didn't notice that a pack of kitokos had started to follow her.

When she arrived home, she played in the yard with the stones she found along the way. The kitokos watched her from behind the hedge.

Then, when her mother called her in for dinner, she left the pebbles in the grass near the downspout.

The kitoko pack had followed Magali because the little animals couldn't find their burrow or their way back without their precious lined stone.

As soon as our friend went into the house, they crossed the yard.

When it got dark, they climbed up the downspout and sat silently, all lined up in a row, on Magali's windowsill. All but the queen, Blue Blue Red.

She took advantage of the fact that the girl was sleeping to crawl down along the radiator and onto the carpet. She managed to climb onto the bed by pulling herself up the blanket. She quietly approached our friend's face and gave her a little kiss on the cheek.


Magali jumped. She was a little scared when she spotted the little animal in her room, right next to her. Then she felt reassured when she saw the pretty little ball of blue and red fluff by her side.

"Hello," said Blue Blue Red. 

"Hello," the girl replied. "You're so funny! What are you?"

"I'm Blue Blue Red, queen of the kitokos."

"Did you come alone?"

"No, look. The others are over there."

The girl looked up and saw the fourteen other kitokos on the windowsill.

"Don't be afraid," whispered Blue Blue Red. "They're very nice."

"And beautiful," Magali added. "You're all so pretty!"

"Thank you," said Blue Blue Red.


Sitting on her bed, our friend looked at the pack and smiled.

"Why did you come into my room?"

"We came to your house because you took our white stone with black lines. We can't get home without it."

Magali remembered this lovely pebble she had picked up in the pine forest. She explained that she had left it in the garden, near the downspout.

The kitokos told her, at length, how important these stones were to them, because they used them to find their way back home.

The girl apologized.

"I didn't know that it kept you from getting lost in the woods. I'm sorry I took it. I'll never do it again, I promise."


"We forgive you," Blue Blue Red replied. "But it's dark now, and we're afraid we won't be able to find our house. Could we stay here with you?"

Magali got up in her pink nightgown with little bows on it. She set all the little beings on the carpet, against a pillow. She lined up all the little heads side by side, then tucked everyone in with her blanket.

She'd make do with her sheet that night. Anyway, she wasn't cold.

"There you go," our friend said. "How's that? Good night, kitokos. Good night, Blue Blue Red."

"Good night, little girl!"

Magali got into bed...

Suddenly, she heard someone calling her.



"What is it?"

"We can't go night-night."

"Why not?"

"We're hungry. We want something to eat. We often have cookies before we go night-night. We like animal crackers."

Our friend got out of bed, crept down the stairs barefoot, and went into the kitchen. She opened the cabinet and grabbed a box of animal crackers. She went back to her room, closed the door, and gave each of the kitokos one of the small cookies.

"Thank you, thank you so much," they all said.

"There we go. Good night, kitokos. Good night, Blue Blue Red."

"Good night, little girl."

Magali got into bed...



"What is it?"

"We can't go night-night."

"Why not?"

"Now that we had something to eat, we're a little thirsty. Could you please bring us some water?"

Our friend got up again. She left her room and walked to the bathroom. She got her glass, took out her toothbrush, and filled the glass with water. Then she went back to give each of the kitokos a drink. She lifted each little head for a moment, so she wouldn't spill water on the carpet.

"There we go," she said, setting the glass down next to them. "I'll leave it for you. Good night, kitokos. Good night, Blue Blue Red."

"Good night, little girl."

Magali got into bed...


"What is it?"

"We can't go night-night."

"Why not?"

"We'd like a stuffed animal. We can't go night-night without a stuffed animal. Can you give us one?"

Magali reached for the white stuffed sheep that she slept with and handed it over to the pack. She laid it down next to them, on the blanket, beside the pillow.

"Here, I'll lend you my little sheep for tonight, but now it's bedtime. I don't want to hear another peep. Be good. Have we forgotten anything? Great! Good night, kitokos. Good night, Blue Blue Red."

"Good night, little girl."

Magali got into bed...



"What is it?"

"We can't go night-night."

"Why not?"

"We're afraid of the dark. We need a little light to put our minds at ease. Could you turn on a lamp?" the kitokos pleaded.

"I'm four and a half," our friend said. "I'm not afraid of the dark anymore. My parents don't have to leave me a night light. But if you want, I'll turn on my flashlight and put it near you, so you'll have a bit of light during the night."

"Thank you, Magali."

"Ok. Have we forgotten anything? I'm going to bed. I'm very tired and I have school tomorrow. Good night, kitokos. Good night, Blue Blue Red.""Good night, little girl."

Magali got into bed...



"Now what?" the girl grumbled. "Why aren't you asleep?"

"We can't go night-night."

"Why not?"

"We want a cuddle. We can't go night-night without a cuddle." 

Our friend went closer and leaned over them. She got down on her hands and knees on the carpet and gave each of the fifteen kitokos a kiss.

"This time, I really don't think we've forgotten anything. Good night, kitokos! Good night, Blue Blue Red!"

"Good night, little girl."

Magali got into bed...


"Now what?" the girl exclaimed, with heavy emphasis on the word "now."

"We can't go night-night."

"Why not?"

"We want a little song. At night, kitokos all need someone to sing to them."

Our friend stayed in her bed. She sang without getting up.

"Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetops,

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock."

At the end of the song, Magali fell asleep.


The kitokos were gone in the morning.

At first, Magali wondered if she had dreamed the whole thing.

But when she saw the empty animal cracker box on the chair, the cup with a bit of water that had spilled, the pillow and blanket on the carpet, her white sheep by the armoire, and the flashlight that was off because the battery was dead, she knew it had happened.

She quickly went down to the garden, took a few steps in the dew-covered grass, and saw that the white stone with black lines she had picked up in the woods the day before was gone.

The kitokos had taken it with them.


She never saw them again, but she never forgot the fourteen adorable little kitokos of every color and Blue Blue Red, their gentle queen, who had given her a little kiss on the cheek before she fell asleep.


If you go for a walk in the woods and you see a stone with lines on it, take it if you want, but then get your blanket, your cookies, your water glass, your stuffed animal, your flashlight, your cuddles, and your songs ready.


Translation : Beth Smith