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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
A Basketful of Goodies for All

Flora carried the picnic basket over her arm. It was filled with all kinds of goodies. She was glad that she’d soon be at Mrs. MacBroonie’s house.

When she had woken up that morning and had gone into the kitchen for breakfast, her mum had told her that she had an errand she wanted her to run. Flora loved doing errands for her mum and happily asked what it was. "Mrs. MacBroonie is not feeling well. She’s very tired. Since she’s not got anyone to help her, I thought she’d like a basket of her favorite goodies taken to her. You know how Mrs. MacBroonie loves marmalade and oatcakes," her mum smiled.

"I’ll take them to her Mum. Will you put them in a picnic basket so I can carry them easily?" Flora requested.

"Certainly, hen. Now eat your porridge and I’ll get the basket ready."

Mum looked out the window. The sky was deep azure blue and there were only a few clouds in the sky. "Don’t worry about wearing your wellies today, Flora. It doesn’t look like rain."

Flora was glad. She would rather wear her leather shoes. It was much easier to run through the fields of heather than when she wore her rubber wellies. She finished her porridge and put on her cardigan. It was made from dark purple wool and had pretty lavender flowers and green stems embroidered on it. "I’m ready, Mum. I’ll be home in time for tea," Flora said. She picked up the basket and headed for Mrs. MacBroonie’s house.

She was about halfway there when she saw a small lamb frolicking through the lavender heather bells. "Hello there, wee lamb," she said, moving towards it.

The lamb stopped and looked at her. It went "BAA" and ran over the hill. Flora chased it for a while but it was just too fast for her. She watched the white wooly lamb until it was gone out of sight.

She turned and headed back towards Mrs. MacBroonie’s house. She started to skip, careful not to tip the basket over. She stopped at a patch of bright lemony-yellow buttercups. "Oh, they do look like butter," she laughed and picked a few for Mrs. MacBroonie. "I’ll put them in the basket with the goodies. She’ll like them.

" When she opened the lid to put them in, she smelled the aroma of shortbread. "Yummy, shortbread," she said, opening the bag. "Maybe I can take just a wee bite." She broke a piece off and ate it. "That was delicious. I must have another bite." She broke some more off, and before she knew it, she’d eaten all of the sweet, buttery shortbread.

"Mrs. MacBroonie won’t miss it," she whispered. She’s got so many other goodies in here. She brushed the crumbs off her cardigan and headed towards Mrs. MacBroonie’s house, forgetting to put the buttercups she’d picked into the basket. The sun was warm and felt good.

Just then she spotted a hare. It had long ears and was gray and fluffy. "Oh look! A hare! Come here, hare. Come and let me pet you," she called to it, but it hopped away. She reached into the basket and pulled out an oatcake. She held it in her hand. "Come here, wee hare. Come and have an oatcake." She broke a piece off and tossed it towards the hare. It hopped closer, then nibbled it down. She broke off another, and another, until the hare was right in front of her. It wanted more oatcakes. She fed it every oatcake in the picnic basket and then it hopped away. Flora looked inside. There was no more shortbread and no more oatcakes. "Oh well. Mrs. MacBroonie won’t miss them," she convinced herself, and then headed towards her house.

She could see Mrs. MacBroonie’s house in the distance. It had smoke rising from the chimney. Flora knew that she must have been burning peat in the fire. She could smell the sweet odor. Flora looked down at her feet. One of her shoes was untied. She stopped and sat on a rock to tie it. She noticed a mouse in the grass. It was brown and had a wiggly nose and long tail. "Hello there, wee mouse. You look hungry. Would you like some ginger biscuits?" she asked.

The mouse stood still, staring at Flora. She reached into the basket and took out a few ginger biscuits. She crumbled them up and tossed them on the ground near the mouse. It ate them up quickly and wanted more. "Hmmm, there are no more ginger biscuits, wee mouse. Let’s see what else there is." She moved the marmalade jar and saw an onion and cheese bridie. "Och, aye, wee mouse, would you like a bridie? You like cheese, but do you like onion?" she asked as she broke the flaky crust open and threw it to the ground. The mouse ate it. She threw some more, including the bits of onion and cheese. The mouse seemed to love it. "Oh, so you do like onion," she giggled. Soon the mouse had eaten the whole bridie and then it ran away.

Flora finished tying her shoe. She looked in the basket. There was no shortbread, no oatcakes, no ginger biscuits and no bridie. All that was in the basket was a jar of orange marmalade and some treacle toffee. "Oh my. There’s not much left for Mrs. MacBroonie. I had better hurry there before there’s nothing left."

Flora ran to Mrs. MacBroonie’s house and opened the door. "Mrs. MacBroonie. It’s me Flora. I’ve brought you some goodies."

"I’m in the living room, Flora. Come in, bairn," she said. Flora carried the basket into the living room and set it down by Mrs. MacBroonie.

"Here’s some marmalade and some treacle toffee for you, Mrs. MacBroonie. I’m so sorry. Mum made you some shortbread and it tasted so good that I ate it all myself. I fed the oatcakes to a gray hare with long ears, and I fed the ginger biscuits, and a cheese and onion bridie to a wee mouse that looked hungry. Now all that’s left is the marmalade and the toffee. Oh no! I forgot the buttercups too." Flora hung her head low.

Mrs. MacBroonie called to her, "Come here, lassie. Now, don’t you worry. The marmalade and toffees will be just fine. I won’t tell your mum. Bring me the basket."

Flora opened it. Mrs. MacBroonie reached in and pulled out two pieces of toffee. "If you’ll sit by me and sing songs wi’ me for an hour, I’ll give you this piece of treacle toffee." She smiled.

Flora was excited. "Thank you, Mrs. MacBroonie. I’d love to stay and sing with you. I’ll stay till tea time if you’d like," she giggled.

Mrs. MacBroonie was happy. She’d rather have Flora stay and sing, and talk with her, than to have all the goodies. They spent the whole afternoon singing happy songs, talking about the animals Flora had seen on her way, and how pretty her purple cardigan was. When it was time to leave, Flora said, "I’ll be back tomorrow, Mrs. MacBroonie. I promise not to eat your goodies."

"We’ll sing again then, lassie," Mrs. MacBroonie said.

Flora shut the door and ran through the heather towards home. She saw lambs playing in the flowers. She saw the hare hopping around the boulders. "Tomorrow I’ll bring extra, so you can have something too," she called to them, then skipped merrily home.

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