Dear Diary

By Erin Miller

In 1990-91 Erin Miller was a student of Bonnie Farrar at Williamsburg Independent School in Williamsburg, KY. Reprinted in AppLit with permission, from Journey Through Fantasy Literature: A Resource Guide for Teachers. Vol. II, pp. 60-61. Ed. Roberta T. Herrin. Developed during a Teachers Institute sponsored by East Tennessee State University and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1990-91, participants took the institute goals and ideas back to their classrooms for a year-long study of fantasy literature. Guided by mentors, they worked in small cluster groups, which met once in the fall of 1990 and once in the spring of 1991. This story was published in a section on the theme of friendship, showing connections between children's fantasy and adult classics.

See also:
Student Activities on Folktales
Index of Student Writing in AppLit
The Magic Ruby is another fantasy story by a fourth grader.

Eleven-year-old Jill began writing in her diary:

Dear Diary:

      This is our third day at the new house. We are pretty much all settled in except for cleaning out attic which we probably won't start for about another week. It's a complete mess!
      I still haven't met any "good" friends. I've only talked to a girl named Katie who claims our big, white house is haunted!


Jill locked her diary and set it on her dresser. Then she hid the key in her jewelry box.

The next morning Jill was braiding her long blonde hair when she saw a pink tassel dangling from her diary. Quickly, she got her diary key and opened it. Inside was an old fashioned bookmark. It was cloth with yellow lace around the edges. In the top left-hand and bottom right-hand corners flowers and a butterfly were embroidered. In the middle, "Friends are Forever" was written. Jill loved it, but who could have given it to her?

The next night, Jill wrote in her diary again:

Dear Diary:

      Today Katie informed me that there was a party and I wasn't invited. Oh, well.
I went hiking with my family. We had a picnic at Singing Bird Ridge. It was sort of fun except I didn't get to meet any new kids. I plan to look tomorrow.
      Something strange has happened to me. I found a bookmark that said "Friends are Forever" in my diary. It looks really old. Maybe it's something my mother found? I'm going to watch for clues.


Jill quietly shut her diary and placed it on her white dresser. This time she put the heart-shaped key in her nightstand drawer.

The next morning Jill awoke to the early morning sunshine coming through her window. Jill decided to see if the gift-giver had come again, and to her surprise he had! Resting on the diary, Jill found a pretty light blue flower with a yellow middle. It had been carefully pressed and a yellow ribbon was tied around its stem. Jill began to write in her diary:

Dear Diary:

      I just found the most beautiful flower I've ever seen on top of my diary. It even has a little yellow bow around it. It would be so nice to have a patch of these flowers in the yard.


Two days had gone by and Jill hadn't heard from the gift giver.

"Maybe it was Mom who gave me the gifts after all," Jill thought to herself.

Saturday morning Jill got her jeans and tee-shirt on and went to her dresser not expecting to see any surprises. She about flipped when she saw a small, pink calico bag labeled "asters." She carefully untied it and there were some seeds.

"The pressed flower I got yesterday could have been an aster! Jill said to herself. "I'll plant these right away!"

She ran to the shed and got a spade. She found a pretty section of the yard where there were three white dogwoods. She began digging in the middle of the circle. Jill put the seeds in the soil. As she emptied the last seeds, a thin slip of paper drifted out. Jill picked up the paper, which looked like it had been torn from a Bible. It said, "A friend loveth at all times" (Proverbs 17:17).

She read the words over again and again. Then it came to her. The gift-giver had been very generous. She wanted to show that she appreciated their thoughtfulness.

Jill ran back to the house and searched through her jewelry box. She found a heart locket on a chain. The locket was silver with a flower engraved on it.

That night, Jill laid the locket and chain on her diary and went to bed. The next morning she was awakened by thunder and the rain tapping on her window. Jill ran to her dresser. The silver heart locket and chain were gone!

She dressed and went to breakfast. Jill could hear her parents cleaning up in the attic. Soon her mother came down the stairs balancing an old lamp and a book in her arms.

"Jill, look what I found," her mother said excitedly. "It's an old photo album dated 1839!"

Jill started to look through the album. She came to a large picture of a young girl about eleven or twelve. The girl was sitting in a wicker chair in front of three dogwoods. She had light, curly hair, and had on a fluffy white dress. The girl was holding a bouquet of asters and around her neck was a heart-shaped locket with a flower engraved in the middle. A cold chill ran down Jill's spine, but then she smiled and thought to herself, "I wonder if she likes strawberry suckers."

This page created 8/19/02   |   Site Index   |   Top of page   |   Last update:   09/07/02

Fiction and Poetry Index
Complete List of AppLit Pages on Folklore


Contact Tina L. Hanlon with questions or comments on this page.