Charlie could not remember how many times he had heard his grandpa tell this story:
"Everyone's soul," said Grandpa, "is like a fidgety bug. It is always looking about, trying to be happier; more content. Have you noticed that? All this wanting to laugh, to have a good time, to be happy... These things are a sure sign that the soul is forever searching. Souls don't have legs, but they need a way to get from one place to another so that they can keep looking. That's why they live in a body, like yours or mine."
"Do they ever escape?" Charlie would always ask.
"Yes, of course!" said Grandpa, "Souls spend very little time in the body after they realise that the best place to be is heaven. So, right from the time when we're very small, our souls only think of going to heaven, of how to get there."
"And how do they get to heaven?" Charlie would ask, "Do they fly there?"
"Well of course!" Grandpa would say, smiling. "That's why they have to change vehicles. When a star comes by on its way to heaven, the soul makes a great leap right onto it, leaving the body here on Earth, discarded."
"Discarded? So it doesn't move any more?" asked Charlie.
"Exactly, not even a wiggle," said Grandpa. "Here we say someone has died, and it makes us sad, because our souls are what give life to our bodies, and they are what make us love other people. But remember I said they are like fidgety bugs, and that's why, when they see their star shooting off to heaven, they leave without the slightest worry or hesitation. Now, many souls take a long time to find their star. I mean, look at me, and how old I am! My soul has been searching for its star for so many years, and still hasn't had any luck. But some souls, like those of the best children or the best parents, know better how to find their star. And that's why they find it, leap onto it, and leave us so soon."
"And do I have a soul too?" asked Charlie, "Is it searching for its star?"
"Sure, Charlie," said Grandpa. "You are your soul. And the day you find your star you'll forget all about us here. You'll be on your way to heaven to have a great time with all the souls who are already there."
Satisfied with these words, Charlie always left his grandpa alone and went happily down to the river. There he used to sit looking up at the sky, searching for some little star.
And on the day his grandpa died, thanks to this explanation, Charlie cried only a little bit. He was sad that he wouldn't see his grandpa again, nor hear his stories, but he was happy that finally Grandpa’s soul had been lucky enough to find its star after such a long time. And Charlie smiled at the fact that his grandpa had found his star precisely while walking down by the river; the exact place where Charlie had gone so many times to look for his own.