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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Winter Storm

Cranberry was a furry gray squirrel with a bush tail and soft, padded paws. She was called Cranberry because she had four little red dots on the end of her tail that looked just like the fruit. She had button-like, brown eyes and long eyelashes that hung over them. Cranberry lived in a pine tree. It was thick, with long green needles, and didn’t have too much sap in the bark. Even though it wasn’t a very tall pine, it was full and it protected Cranberry from the snow and cold wind.

When the sun rose each morning, Cranberry would run down the tree and search the ground for nuts and berries. There weren’t many to be found in the winter months, that’s why she’d carefully hidden some during summer and autumn, when the supply was plentiful. Sometimes she’d find berries that were still hanging on bushes. Even though they were shriveled and dried up, they still tasted good. After she’d gathered several in her cheeks, she’d run back into the pine tree to eat them.

There were other animals that lived in the pine tree with Cranberry. Jubilee, a cardinal, lived on a high branch at the top of the tree. She was crimson red and loved to chirp and sing. Holly, the gray, white, and black raccoon, lived inside the tree trunk, close to the bottom. Gordon, the light brown deer with white spots on his back, slept on the soft piles of pine needles that had fallen to the ground near the tree. During the day he pranced around the woods and often stopped by the half-frozen stream for a drink. All the animals lived happily together in and around the pine tree.

One night a storm roared through the woods. The wind blew the branches of the trees back and forth and up and down, tossing dead, brown leaves into the air. Snow swirled across the cold ground. All night long it snowed huge flakes. The temperature dropped and the air was bitter. Cranberry shivered. She curled up in a ball, wrapping her long, bushy tail around her to stay warm.

In the morning, she couldn’t see a thing. There was so much snow that it had covered up her hole. She rubbed her paws together to get them warm. She pushed the snow and it fell to the ground, letting a patch of light into her warm den. She knocked the rest of the snow off. It was crunchy and cold. The whole woody area was a mess. There were branches lying on the ground, sticking up from the piles of snow. She squeezed herself out of the hole and stood on an ice-covered branch.

Cranberry looked for Gordon. She couldn’t see him anywhere. There was nothing but a large pile of snow at the bottom of the tree. Suddenly it moved and the snow went flying about as Gordon stood up. He’d been completely covered by it during the blizzard. He jumped out of the pile and ran about, shaking the snow off and then went down to the stream in hopes of finding a drink.

Holly stuck her head out of the trunk of the pine. Cranberry saw her down below. She watched as Holly crawled out of the hole and ran off into the forest to gather pinecones, nuts and berries. Cranberry laughed when she saw the paw prints that Holly was leaving in the freshly fallen snow.

As she was watching the raccoon, Jubilee flew down and landed on the branch near Cranberry. She had crusty ice on the top of her head and beak. She flapped her wings a few times and flew off into the sunny blue sky.

Cranberry looked all around her tree. It was beautiful. The sun shone down on the snow, making it sparkle and glitter. The pines had snow on their branches. Happy that the storm was over, she ran down the trunk and went in search of some of her hidden nuts and berries, which would take an extra effort this morning, since it had snowed so much, but she didn’t mind. The snow just made the woods more beautiful.

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