Milliheart, the main character of the story is a millipede made of hearts

Milliheart (TM)

By Tali Lehavi Hamer

Milliheart and Centiheart were playing make-believe when Milli noticed how beautiful all her hearts were!
“Count my hearts!” said Milliheart as she admired her lovely hearts in the mirror. “I can shake them, I can twist them, I can bend them, and I can even roll them into a ball.”
Centiheart was quite too busy strutting his cowboy buckles to notice.
“Howdy Milli, lookin’ mighty fine this morning, ain’t they?” he asked, showing her his buckles.
“Centi, wouldn’t it be heartastic if we had even more hearts?” Milliheart asked.
Now she had his attention. Centiheart stopped prancing and thought for a moment. Seeing the chance for a new adventure, he said:
“Well Milli! So you want more hearts? We’ll go lookin’ for more hearts. There are a lot of hearts in these parts, but only I will know how ta getya one,” said Centi in his best cowboy voice.
Soon Milli and Centi set off on a new adventure, a heartventure, to Lovelle’s Garden, to look for additional hearts.
“This is going to be a heartastic heartventure, I can just feel it!” said Milli, looking up towards the feathery heart-shaped clouds above.
And sure enough, circling in the sky, she saw the luminous cloud glider, GIDIGALB. Gidigalb was experimenting with fresh heartcicles that he just plucked from the clouds.
“I am experimenting with new patterns, in preparation for the next garden party,” he explained, and flung open a lacy banner of heartcicles! They looked like a waterfall of glittering silver.
“Oh, Gidigalb, your heartcicles are so full of fresh glitter and shine,” sighed Milli. “If only I could have just one heartcicle, I could make the most exquisite heart chain!” Milli added. Gidigalb delighted in the idea, and soon, Centi and Gidigalb attached a heartcicle onto Milli’s last heart link! Milli was so excited, she could not wait to show it off! “I can shake it, bend it, twist it, and roll it into a ball!” she cried.
Milli and Centi thanked Gidigalb and headed to Lovelle’s Garden to show the heart chain to all of their friends. But before the two could reach the garden, the Heartcicle melted away! Milli sighed and sat on a nearby pebble to think.
“Centi,” she said, “those heartcicles were so pretty! But now they are gone.”
“Yes,” agreed her friend. “You need to wear a heart that is more durable.”
At the garden’s spacious entry, the giant acorn tree, DILCORN, greeted Milli and Centi. “What heartastic adventure are you up to today?” asked the tree. Milli and Centi told Dilcorn all about their search for more hearts. Dilcorn offered one of his acorn’s hearts. Centi helped Milli chip and strip a heart from an acorn. Then they helped strap it to her bottom heart. The acron smelled fresh and lovely. Immediately, Milliheart tried to show it off, but it was so heavy! She tried to move it, but the acorn-heart was too hard.
“I can shake it, twist it, and roll it into a ball, but I cannot bend it!” Milli said regretfully.
“Perhaps you need a lighter, more flexible heart,” suggested Centiheart.
“Yes, and durable, and beautiful as well,” added Milli.
Dilcorn the giant acron tree nodded his leafy head in agreement. The friends thanked him and crawled on, their eyes wondering towards the clear blue sky. Sure enough, there in the dome of the sky, they saw their flying friend Micapelo.
“Hello Milli, Hello Centi,” Micapelo called, and circled down to them. Having a keen sense of style, he understood what they were up to, and an acorn was definitely not the answer.
“I saw you trying to fit the acron on the heart chain,” he said. “Why don’t you use one of my heartfeathers?” Micapelo offered. And with his beak, he plucked a beautiful, heartastic feather from his gorgeous plumage.
Milli enjoyed putting the feather on. But it dragged on the earth and got muddy. Centi tried to fan the feather to show the pattern, but the feather just fell into the mud again.
“This feather is light, beautiful, and durable, but it is too inflexible!” said Milli. “I can shake it, I can twist and bend it, but I definitely cannot roll it into a ball!” she observed. Milliheart and Centiheart thanked Micapelo for his kindness, and optimistically went on to look for another heart.
Guess who was watching from the bushes? Butterheart Betty! She was flittering by the gorgeous flowering bush, SUDALISSIMA, when she sensed the new guests entering the garden, and rushed out to greet them! As soon as she heard about the quest to lengthen the heart-chain, Betty volunteered one of her heart-shaped eggs. Milli was so touched! As Centi helped her attach the egg perfectly onto her last heart-link, Milli said:
“Betty, you are so very kind to give up one of your own eggs for me.”
But when it was time to shake it, twist it, bend it, and roll it into a ball, the friends heard the tap-tap-tap of a new caterpillar chipping its way out!
“I cannot shake or twist my new heart now!” said Milli with a smile. She waited eagerly to greet the new baby larva, thanked dear Betty, and she and Centi moved on.
Milli and Centi sat down under the flower bush Sudalissima, to rethink the plan. They needed a heart that was easy to shake, twist, bend, and roll up into a ball. Where could they find such a heart? Before they could think any further, Milli and Centi found themselves surrounded by all their Heart Garden friends, all bearing heart gifts for Milli.
“News in this garden sure spreads fast!” said Centi.
Here is what the Heart Garden friends brought:
The seed collecting children brought cherry heart-seeds for Milli!
RONI CORAZONI offered fresh heartpeas from the garden.
MENDERLIEB gave a heart-hat she had sewn especially for Milli.
SKIPPERLEV SAVVY invented a heart with a musical chip in it.
TRUECOR prepared tiny heart-shaped chocolate chips.
KESEMODO invented a magical spell.
“It will transform every pebble into a light and flexible heart for Milli,” he explained to all the Heart Garden friends.
Even Sudalissima was quick to offer a heart petal. She offered it to Milli with a smile: “You will be able to shake it, twist it, bend it, and roll it into a ball. And if you ever need a new one, don’t hesitate to call! We all want you to be very happy, Milli,” She said.
”NOW count my hearts!” Milli exclaimed. Even Centi enjoyed the generosity of the Heart Garden friends, though he wanted to be Milli’s only hero.
As all the friends tried to attach more hearts to decorate Milli, she had an idea.
“My friends, I just love the attention, and your generosity, and that is why I decided that I want… No more hearts!”
Everyone was surprised!
“Don’t you like our gifts?” asked Menderlieb.
“That’s just it! You all brought such beautiful hearts, I already have all the hearts I need! Now why don’t we try on each other’s hearts for fun?”
Micapelo thought this was a brilliant idea and he put on Menderlieb’s heart-hat, which indeed looked great on him! Butterheart Betty tried Acorn’s heart on her antennae, and then wore it as a shoe! Truecor stuck a feather behind his ear. Then everyone swapped heartseeds for rings, nose decorations, and hair clips. They ate the heart chocolates that Truecor had prepared, and Gidigalb’s heartcicles, and Roni Piloni’s heart peas. Centiheart attached the musical heart chip to his buckles, and all the heartfriends danced to its tunes.
Can you guess what Milli did? She gave each of her friends a heartfelt thank you, which she wrote on tiny heart pebbles. Kesemodo turned the pebbles into light, and they glowed wherever the Heart Garden friends placed them, even through their pockets!
When everyone went home, they were very satisfied with the hearts they already had inside. And their heart-pebbles continued to shine for a very long time.

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