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Lila is a polite six-year-old girl who lives with her mama and papa in New York City. She has two cats, and would now like to have a dog–except dogs are not allowed in her apartment building. After thinking about it for awhile, Lila asks her parents if she can have an invisible dog. Her parents agree, and together they decide to name the dog Fluffy. On their way to the pet store to buy invisible supplies for the invisible dog, a black and white Aussie appears from around the corner and introduces himself to Lila, saying, “My name is Fluffy.”
In a series of fun adventures that follow, Fluffy introduces Lila and her family to the invisible people of Iceland, who live inside the boulders of Central Park and the cornerstones of New York City buildings. One day, the invisible people discover that the birthmark on Lila’s left forearm is the sign of their Elven Queen, and just as she turns seven, Lila is made a princess. Can anything be better than that?
Lila had learned to be polite at a very early age. She was six years old now and she recalled that her mother had given her instructions about being polite more than once, but she could not remember exactly when her instructions started. She seemed to think that it began at about three, but she was not quite certain. Three was a half a life ago and it was similar to being sixty and trying to remember something that took place when you were thirty, but she wasn’t exactly sure about that either, being nowhere close to sixty.
To be more precise Lila had only learned about sixty recently, and it seemed such a large number that there must not be many numbers past sixty and if there were they couldn’t be that important. She knew that adults frequently mentioned numbers bigger than sixty but she could not imagine what they were for or why anyone would care. Sixty was quite large enough, thank you, and it hurt her head to try to imagine any numbers that might exceed that one.
Five dolls was something she could understand, and perhaps ten or fifteen might be useful as you wanted to have different conversations with your special friends, but it would take many days to converse with sixty dolls so that she dismissed that amount of dolls out of hand. Lila had met a girl once at school that claimed to have zillions of dolls bought by her father who worked in some street with really high walls or something, but she saw no value in any of it and anyway, she didn’t believe her because so many dolls would not allow for any space for people or cats or dogs and everyone knew that parents and children and pets must have someplace to eat and sleep. Dolls were important, of course, but people and animals more so, of that much she was certain.
Lila had asked her mother about this once. “Mama, why can dolls sleep anywhere, but people all sleep in beds and our animals all seem to have places that they have chosen for sleeping?” Her mother had explained that people prefer comfy places, and floors and the like are not comfy, while the cats and dogs chose sleeping places for reasons that people could not understand. She got the first part of this as she had personally tried to sleep on the floor just to see what it was like, and it was not nearly as comfy as her bed. Floors were useful for walking or perhaps crawling when you were much younger but she was in agreement with her mother that floors were not so much for sleeping.
Now some of her dolls did sleep with her on her bed. This was one of the decisions she made at night right before she went to sleep: which dolls would accompany her to bed. Every night was different, she was one day older after all, and so different choices had to be made, but this just seemed to be the way of growing older. Of course, it also partially depended upon which dolls behaved during the day and which ones had provided some sort of amusing conversation. Dolls, just like her mother and father, could be quite cranky at times, and so on those days they were not allowed to sleep with her. Lila had decided that she had to put up with cranky parents because, what could be done, but that her dolls were a different matter. It seemed quite unfair really. Her parents tried to control her all of the time but she had no control over them, and the difference between being a child and being a parent seemed quite distinct, but if that was the way it was, at least she could control her dolls.
Now Lila was neither a big six nor a little six but she was certainly a very big-eyed six. She had the largest eyes of any six-year-old in the city in which she lived, which was New York City. There are many people that lived there of course, and you could wander from Manhattan to Brooklyn and look around, but she could claim the biggest eyes. It was uncertain how this took place as both her father and mother had normal sized eyes, but not Miss Lila. It may have been that God decided she should see better than most, or that she should be set aside as a very particular little girl. We will never really know the reason of course, but the largest eyes on this side of the Hudson River are what she had and of that there is no question.