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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Surprise in the Weeds

"Aggie Anderson moved last week and someone new will be moving into her house," Cockles said, rolling his blue ball across the grass.

"Och aye. Thatís a grand house but sheís let it go, hasnít she? The garden is over run with weeds and tall grass. It needs a gardener," Mussels said.

"Aye, it does. Why donít we go up there are have a look around before the new people move in?" Cockles suggested. "Let me put my ball back in the house," he said. He grabbed it with his mouth, disappeared and came back a few minutes later. The two dogs ran up the street towards the house. As they neared it, they could see the tall grasses and flowering weeds. "What a mess!" They stopped in front of the path that leads to the door. "I wonder if sheís got anything growing in her vegetable garden?" Cockles asked.

"Thereís only one way to find out. Follow me," Mussels replied and ran into the weeds.

Just then they heard this loud noise. HONK! HONK! HONK! A goose, nearly twice the size of Mussels, came running towards them; its head was down low and its beak was wide open. The dogs turned and ran back to the street. "Yikes! Itís a goose and itís mad. It seems to be defending the house." They stood panting. The goose came running closer, honking loudly. HONK! HONK! HONK!

"Letís get out of here," Cockles barked and they ran back home.

"Whatís a goose doing on Barra? It must be on its way south or something. Iím sure itíll be gone tomorrow," Mussels sighed. "I hope itís gone tomorrow." The dogs spent the rest of the day resting and when morning came, they headed back up to Aggieís old house.

"Shhhhh. Letís just creep up there so the goose wonít see us, in case its still there," Cockles whispered. They ran silently through the weeds into the back garden.

Suddenly they heard that familiar HONK! HONK! HONK! The goose charged at them, spitting and trying to bite them. "Itís going to nip my tail," Mussels shouted, tucking it under him and running quickly.

"Just run and donít stop until weíre at the street," Cockles said, running as fast as his sausage-like body would take him.

They stopped when they knew they were safe. "Whatís with the goose? Why is it attacking us? It doesnít own that house. I wonder if the goose belongs to the new people and itís their watch-dog goose?" Mussels said.

"I just want it to go away so we can check out Aggieís garden for some food," Cockles sighed.

"Weíll come back tomorrow. Iíve got a plan," Mussels winked. They headed home and when the sun rose, they were back out, standing in front of the house. "You go around that way and Iíll go this way. The goose canít attack both of us at the same time. Head for the garden and see whatís there and then meet me back here," Mussels said, pointing at the side of the house.

Cockles nodded and ran to the left. Mussels ran to the right. Cockles crept silently into the back garden. He saw the goose. It was standing in the bushes, alert and ready to attack. Mussels walked on his tiptoes through the weeds and came to the back of the house. HONK! HONK! HONK! The goose spotted Mussels and came running towards him. While it was chasing Mussels, Cockles ran into the vegetable garden and had a look around. Thatís when he saw the baby goslings. There were five of them, covered with fluffy white feathers and had tiny black bills. They chirped curiously at Cockles. "So thatís why the goose is attacking us," he said, smiling. "Sheís protecting her babies." Cockles sat down and soon the goslings were crawling all over him. They felt so soft. The mother goose came running back to her babies and saw Cockles. Cockles jumped up. He was terrified that sheíd bite him, but when she saw how much her babies were enjoying him, she stood back and watched. Cockles sat back down and played with the goslings.

A few minutes later, Mussels came walking into the back garden. He was worried about Cockles. He saw him playing with the baby geese and that the mother wasnít attacking him. She turned her long neck and saw Mussels, but she didnít attack him. He came closer and closer and finally stood next to Cockles. The little balls of fluff came over to him and tried to play with his tail. He sat on the ground and let them. One bit his tail a bit too hard and he jumped, but most of the time they didnít hurt him.

All day long the dogs stayed and played with the goslings. The mother goose, feeling relaxed went off to have a drink and find something to eat while the dogs babysat. Every day for the next few weeks the dogs went down to Aggieís house. The goslings got bigger and bigger and started to fly.

"I canít wait to see the wee ones this morning," Cockles said as the dogs ran towards Aggies.

When the arrived, they were surprised to see that there were people moving furniture and boxes into the house. "Whatís this?" Mussels said.

"People are moving into Aggieís house. They look nice though, donít they?" Cockles smiled.

"Yes, but what about the wee ones. Letís go and see if they are all right. We donít want them getting furniture dropped on them," Mussels worried.

When they went into the back garden, they ran over to the babies but they werenít there. The mother goose was gone and the babies were gone. They could see no sign of them. "Where are they?" Cockles sighed.

"They must have been frightened by the new people moving in and gone somewhere else," Mussels answered.

"Maybe they just flew away. They were getting to be good little flyers," Cockles pouted.

The dogs walked home, feeling sad and blue. "Iíll miss them," Mussels pined.

"Me too," Cockles added. When they got home they lay on the grass and tried to doze off. Cockles chewed on his blue ball but neither of them could shake their sadness.

HONK! HONK! HONK! Honk! Honk! Honk! Cockles and Mussels looked up. The mother goose and the babies were flying overhead. "Itís them! Itís them!" Mussels barked. The geese circled around the dogs and were high in the air. They could hear their honks. Cockles and Mussels waved goodbye and the geese turned and flew south, heading toward warmer weather. "Goodbye," Mussels shouted.

"Goodbye," Cockles added.

"I think theyíll be back next year," Mussels said. "Come on. Letís play some ball. Weíll see them again. In fact, letís go back to Aggieís house and get acquainted with the new people. They might have a cat that we could chase up a tree," Mussels snickered.

"Hee, hee, hee," Cockles laughed and the dogs ran up the street.

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