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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
An Autumn Day to Play

"I love autumn," Cockles laughed. He ran through a pile of rust, orange, amber and maroon leaves and they flew high into the air. "Arenít autumn colors lovely?"

"Yes. I donít like to see the trees bare or the grass turn brown, but I do love playing in the leaves. Right now Mrs. McNaught has a garden filled with big orange pumpkins. What do you say we go over there and play?" Mussels suggested.

Cockles agreed and they ran to Mrs. McNaughtís garden. "Wow! Look at all the pumpkins. What do you think she does with them all?"

An Autumn Day to Play

"I donít know but you know what Iím thinking?" Mussels asked.

"No, what?"

"Why donít we have a contest and try to jump from one pumpkin to the other, without falling? There are so many of them that it should be easy," Mussels said.

He ran and climbed onto the largest pumpkin. "Donít trip on the vines, Cockles. Come on, climb aboard," he called.

Cockles climbed onto another large orange pumpkin, which wasnít an easy thing for a dachshund to do. "Iím up."

"Iím going to jump to that one over there. You jump to this one," Mussels suggested. He leapt through the air and landed on the next pumpkin. "That was easy. Your turn," he shouted.

Cockles couldnít jump as well as Mussels did, but he sprang off. His long, reddish brown body flew through the air and landed on the pumpkin. "That was fun! Letís do it again!"

They hopped and leapt from pumpkin to pumpkin until they had nearly jumped onto all of them. "Iím going to do this last one and then we can go play in the corn stalks," Mussels said. He leapt with a spring and landed on the pumpkin. He landed so hard that his legs went right into the pumpkin flesh. He was stuck. "Will you help me, please?" he pleaded with Cockles, who was standing on the ground now, laughing his head off.

"Youíre a little stuck there, arenít you?"

"If youíll pull me, then I can get unstuck!" Mussels said.

Cockles went behind Mussels and pulled. He pulled and pulled some more and soon Musselís legs came out and the two dogs fell backwards into the pumpkin vines and leaves. "Look at your legs," Cockles said, squirming his face.

Musselís legs were covered with orange slime and seeds. "Disgusting," he said and wiped them off. "Weíll have to head over to the burn to wash my legs off."

They ran out of Mrs. McNaughtís garden and soon were standing at the stream. QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! The dogs looked up and saw a flock of ducks, heading south. They were in a V-formation. Mussels quickly splashed water on his fur and soon they were clean. "Those ducks will be going where itís warmer. They must know how cold winters are on Barra," Cockles chuckled.

"Iím a bit chilled myself," Mussels said. "Washing oneself of in an icy cold burn doesnít make you warm." He shook himself off and water went flying everywhere. "Are you up to playing in Jim Taylorís cornfield?" he asked his friend.

"That sounds like fun, but donít lose me. I remember the last time we played in there. I was lost for hours," Cockles reminded.

"Come on. The cornís been picked off and the stalks are starting to die, so it shouldnít be too bad," Mussels said, running towards the field.

It was as heíd said. The cornstalks were browning. "Iíll go and hide and you come and find me," Cockles said. He ran off to hide. "I think Iíll hide right here," he whispered.

"Iím coming to find you now," shouted Mussels. Cockles could hear Mussels running about the cornfield. He giggled softly, happy that heíd not been found yet. "Where are you, Cockles?" called Mussels.

Cockles didnít answer. He wanted Mussels to keep looking. After a while he didnít hear any noises. He didnít hear Mussels calling his name. He didnít hear him breathing hard or running about. "Hmmm. I wonder if heís there still," Cockles said. He came out of his hiding place and walked through the cornstalks. "Iím here," he shouted, but there was no answer and no Mussels. "Mussels! Mussels! Iím right here. Come and find me!"

Mussels hid and was very quiet. He wanted Cockles to think heíd gone back home. "There he is, hee, hee, hee," chuckled Mussels. "He thinks Iíve gone."

Cockles came closer and closer to where Mussels was hiding. "Where is he? Did he go home? I hope heís not playing with my blue ball!" Cockles said.

Just then, Mussels jumped out from behind a large stone. "Got you!" he shouted.

Cockles fell to the ground in fear. "You frightened me!" he gasped, holding his heart.

"Hee, hee, hee, hee," laughed Mussels. "You thought Iíd gone home to play with your blue ball, didnít you?"

"Well, yes I did. Enough of this. Iím tired. Letís go home," Cockles said. He was feeling rather angry about being fooled.

"Iíll beat you home," Mussels shouted and ran away towards the house.

"Och, that dog!" Cockles sighed and ran after Mussels. When he got back to the house, there was Mussels, tossing his blue ball into the air. "Give it back," Cockles said.


"If you donít, then Iíll tell all the other dogs on the island about you having pumpkin slime and seeds on your legs," Cockles threatened.

Mussels dropped the ball. "Och, all right. Here you go," he said and tossed the blue ball back to Cockles.

That night they both lay quietly in their baskets, thinking of the fun day theyíd had in the pumpkin patch and in the cornfield. Cockles wrapped his paws tightly around his ball and fell asleep, with a smile on his face, thinking about Mussels feet stuck in the pumpkin.

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