Before you read any further, I might as well make a few things clear.

I only accept either constructive criticism and/or good reviews. I will not accept ANY flames of ANY kind. This is my first published creation on this site, so, please, be kind.

This is about the third or forth, and hopefully final, of this story, and I'll tell you how this came about.

I was browsing the GameFAQ's message board for either the Harvest Moon Back To Nature, or the Harvest Moon A Wonderful Life board, I don't exactly recall. Either way, it was a joke that it would be a rip of the immortal Frank Capra film, It's A Wonderful Life, about how Jack was about to mirror the central plot to the film itself, hence the name of the game. That night, I thought... "What if?" and I started the initial story. Besides, "The Greatest Gift", by Phillip Van Doren Stern has always been a favorite of mine.

Now, without further ado... the disclaimer...

"I do not, nor have I ever, owned the rights to the video game series, Harvest Moon, and the film, It's A Wonderful Life. To my legal knowledge, both series, and their content, are both, to this day, legally owned by their respective owners."


"I can't believe tomorrow's the day I've been dreading since I've moved here." I said, as I looked at the view of the scenery from pier. "This is something that's been going on in the back of my mind ever since I got married. I'd hate for us to relocate, especially after that argument Popuri and I had, about the possibility that I won't be allowed to keep the farm I've worked so hard on for the last three years. Still... I promised Mayor Thomas that I'd stay for three years, and leave if I'm not accepted by the whole town.

Popuri's been trying to assure me since the last Starry Night Festival that everything will turn out for the better; but for some reason, I just can't see it her way. I'd hate to see the look on her face when they find my body at the bottom of the water in the morning.

Oh well, might as well do what I came here to do..."

I got up from where I was setting, and started to run off the pier, when I heard a vaguely familiar, yet serene, voice of a woman behind me say, "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

It was the Goddess of the Lake.

"I've received an urgent offering from your wife to check up on you. Normally I don't come out at night, but I felt this would be a decent exception." She looked down the mountainside, and cringed, "It's a good thing I came when I did, too. Your Grandfather wouldn't like it if his only grandson, and chosen heir ended it all like this."

"What else can I do? I've put a lot of time and money into that farm, only to have it taken away from me by a town of ungrateful villagers!"

"UNGRATEFUL!" She yelled, releasing her true celestial fury... "If it weren't for you, this town would be a wreck!"

"Bullshit! I bet you 1,000G this town would've been better off if I just stayed in the city, where I belong."

"Really…" as she got one of those 'Lucy Ricardo' gleams in her eyes, "You just saved me the trouble of A Christmas Carol treatment and help me come up with something even more potent. You never came!"

"What're you talking about?"

"You've never came, no one here knows you exist. To them, you just some city slicker. You have no farm, no local wife, not even your son. In fact, you never spent that vacation here as a child thirteen years ago, you... simply... never... came..."

And as she faded into the night, I could hear those words trail off with her.

Just then, a blizzard picked up. I knew I had to seek shelter, and fast. The only place I could think of was the nearby Inn.

Boy was I in for a shock when I entered. I mean, not much had changed, but I couldn't shake the feeling something was wrong.

Ann was serving drinks to the crowd that evening, like she did every year at this time.

"What'll it be, Pal!?" this obviously wasn't the Ann I remember.

"Uh… Whatever's ready, I'm not planning on staying long." Improving further, "I'm planning on catching that ferry that leaves town tomorrow."

"HEY POPS! Another round of wine for our visitor!"

As I drank, I finally figured out what was wrong. Cliff managed to marry Ann a couple of weeks ago... mistake #1.

"Um… Ma'am…"

"Yes?"

"I'm looking for a friend of mine; I've been told he's here, a fellow by the name of 'Cliff.'"

The whole bar got deafly quite; you could've heard a pin drop, as Ann began to choke.

"You haven't heard, have you?"

"Heard what?"

"Cliff left town a couple of years ago."

"What?"

"Yeah, he ran out of money, plain and simple. Shame, I was beginning to like him."

Starting to leave, "I... see... Well, thank you, and Happy New Year."

"Yeah..."

The Goddess was right, no one knew me. I had to be careful what I said or did next.

I went over to the graveyard by the church next, and was surprised to find my neighbor Barley's grave. I learned from Carter that he died of grief when May ran off into the woods one night. No one's seen or heard from her since. I could clearly remember the night I found May in the woods, near Gotz's house.

At least those were a few people that would vote for my staying, Cliff especially. If it weren't for me, he wouldn't have that job at the vineyard, and he might still be alive. If he'd stay, he'd probably die in that snowfall shortly after his fateful decision.

I strolled downtown, and noticed a sign on the Supermarket. It simply read, "Foreclosed!" I knew Jeff had a problem with lending out credit accounts to the villagers a while back, but I never imagined it'd go this far!

Next door to the abandoned supermarket was the clinic. I learned from Elli the pharmacist, and Tim the Doctor, that her younger brother Stu took May's disappearance the hardest of all the villagers, almost to the point that he had to be taken to an actual hospital for severe depression over the event. I can imagine why. May was the only playmate Stu really had that was around his age.

I couldn't help but go by my farm, and to my surprise, it had been turned into a landfill. I learned form Gray that it became one soon after my Grandfather died. I guess since I never came in the first place, it became property of the town... I checked the poultry farm to find from Karen and Rick that Lillia passed away soon after my Popuri had left for Denmark with Kai for the worst. Kai turned out to cheat on her regularly, and beats her up on more than one occasion.

I checked in on the Library, same as always, except Mary and Gray never married and she considers herself an 'Old Maid.'

It was then I knew I just couldn't take it anymore. I went back to the pier to beg for my "life" back. Then, I heard another familiar voice behind me.

"Honey?"

I looked behind me to see the love of my life standing there. Scooping her up into my arms I explained what had happened to a pair of disbelieving ears. We went home and started packing for the possible event that I fear would happen in the day ahead.

The next day, I went to the square to await our fate. To my surprise, I was allowed to stay in Mineral Town, the place I've come to know as home. I was even more surprised to find out a secret Popuri has been hiding from me for the last three years. She was that girl from long ago. (Even though I've long suspected it since the day I've laid eyes on her.)

Well, that was fifteen years ago, and truth be told, I haven't been happier.


Author's Notes:

Thanks to Peach the Hedgehog for being the first to review my original draft and for catching my character error, and for the suggestion of adding more characters in the story.

To explain "Denmark," I've read it somewhere that that's where the BTN's version of the character Kai came from and lives in during the rest of the year that he isn't in Mineral Town, and it was just stuck in the back of my mind ever since.

As for "Old Maid," I appologize if it isn't politically correct, but I don't know off hand what people in that situation like to be called. If anyone would please tell me, I'll gladly rewrite the line with the correct term.