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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Are We On the Moon?

"There arenít many trees on this island, are there?" Bonnie asked, looking at the barren landscape below. "It seems to just be a lot of peaty bogs and marshes, or a lot of stones and mountains."

"Harris doesnít have many trees, Bonnie," Bruce, the butterfly answered, "but they do have beautiful white sand beaches. Harris is known to be one of the most beautiful places in all of Scotland. There is a lot of machair."

"What is machair?" Bonnie enquired.

"Machair? Itís a type of sandy coastal grassland. The wind blows the sand inland and grasses grow from it. You mentioned yourself that you thought it looked like marsh and bogs."

"Oh. Iíd never heard that word before. I suppose the people who live on Harris speak Gaelic too?" Bonnie questioned.

"Thatís right. The Gaelic word for Harris is ĎNa Hearadhí. It comes from a Viking word meaning High Island," Bruce explained.

"How do you know all this stuff? Everywhere we go, you know all there is to know about the place. Itís amazing," Bonnie said in awe.

"I listen to thing the other butterflies talk about," Bruce smiled.

"Whoa!" Bonnie shouted. "Look down there! It looks like weíre on the moon."

Are We On the Moon?

Below them lay a vast area of black and dark brown stones. There was no vegetation growing, just stones, large and small. "It does rather look like the moon," Bruce agreed.

"Would you like to go and visit the moon?" he snickered.

"Why not! My wings are rather tired. I could use a rest, but Iím sure there are no flowers anywhere around this area," Bonnie sighed.

"I donít think so. Weíll have to go into the town, Tarbert, to find flowers. Weíll do that later on. Come on, letís go to the moon," Bruce said.

The butterflies fluttered down to the dark stones. "I see an eagle," Bonnie said, pointing at the mountains. "Itís far away though, probably searching for a mouse." They watched as it soared around the mountains. "Those look like giants, donít they?" she said, pointing at the rocky hills. "They look cold and dismal though. I donít think Harris gets much sunshine."

"This is brilliant. I feel like weíre on the moon. It must be just like this up there," Bruce said, pointing at the pale moon. "Except, there wouldnít be any blue sky or clouds, or the sound of the sea rushing in, or the sweet smell of the peat bogs."

"Youíre right about that. Speaking of sweet smells, letís head to town. I am hungry for a delicious flower," Bonnie said.

They flew towards Tarbert. "Thereís not much on this island. Itís basically just a quiet place where one can go to get away from it all. I see an old church down there. If I remember correctly, itís called St. Clements Church. Aside from that and an old castle, Ardvourlie Castle, there arenít too many more things on this island. There are a lot of ancient stones and mounds and things but thatís it."

"What about animals?" Bonnie asked.

"I spotted some seals and otters. We saw an eagle and I think they have deer here," Bruce answered.

"Thereís the town, though itís more like a village. Itís rather small, isnít it?" Bonnie mentioned.

"I think in town weíll see a few shops. I know that Harris is famous for its Harris Tweed. There are weavers who make it and the tweed is used for jackets and coats and other things," Bruce said.

"Itís cold here. I imagine they need to wear warm coats," Bonnie replied. "Aha. I see flowers. Finally. Iím starving."

"Youíre always hungry, Bonnie. Letís get something to eat and then be on our way. Iíve a feeling a storm is approaching. They say that Tarbert gets rain during two thirds of the year and I think one of those rainy days will be today."

The butterflies sipped their nectar from some small wildflowers and then fluttered off before the rain came down. "I liked visiting the moon," Bonnie giggled as Harris vanished behind them.

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