"Catch the ball!" Cockles shouted to
Mussels as he tossed his blue rubber ball high into the air.
Mussels ran, mouth open, towards it.
"Iíve got it," he called back and caught the ball in his mouth. Instead of
throwing it back though, the mutt ran away with it, heading towards the
"Bring it back," Cockles yelled.
"Mussels, bring back my ball!"
Mussels, of course, didnít listen
and ran up the hill. He could run much faster than the dachshund, Cockles.
When he reached the top of the hill, Mussels looked down at the bottom of
the hill. There were sheep grazing one half of the hillside, nibbling on
the grass and heather. Mussels snickered as he watched Cockles struggling
up to the top of the hill. Just before he got there, Mussels ran back
down, heading for the sheep. "Canít catch me," he laughed.
Cockles was panting. That was hard
work getting to the top. "Mussels!"
It was too late. Mussels was tossing
the ball high into the air and running to catch it, having a grand time.
Up, up, up it went, but this time when it came down, it landed right in
the middle of the grazing sheep. One of them quickly stood on the ball.
"BAA! BAA! BAA!"
"Now youíve done it, Mussels. The
sheep have my ball!" Cockles shouted, running down the hill towards his
Mussels walked up to the sheep. "Can
I have the ball back?" he asked.
Soon all the sheep surrounded
Mussels. "BAA! BAA! BAA! Go away. No, you canít have the ball. Itís mine
now," snarled the biggest sheep, picking it up in his mouth. "I dare you
to try to take it." Mussels looked at the angry sheep. "Now, go away and
leave us alone," a sheep said and they started to butt Mussels with their
"Iím leaving. Iím leaving," he said
and ran over to Cockles. "Uh, Cockles, weíve got a problem. The sheep have
your ball and theyíre not going to give it back to you."
"What? Itís my ball. Why did you
throw it to them? Youíd better get it back for me," Cockles said angrily.
"Iíve got a plan. Iíll ran around
the sheep in a circle and confuse them and distract them and you sneak in
and grab the ball," Mussels suggested.
"Right, Mussels. What makes you
think heís going to drop it? Just because youíre running around doesnít
make any difference," Cockles sighed.
"Letís give it a try at least,"
Mussels said. "All right? Here I go." He ran around the sheep barking
loudly. "ARF! ARF! ARF!" The sheep stopped grazing and looked up at
Mussels. They started to laugh.
Mussels was getting dizzy from
running around in circles. "Hey, the sheep arenít afraid of me, theyíre
laughing at me," he said. He stopped running, but was so dizzy that he
fell to the ground and his four legs stood up in the air.
"Look at the dog. BAA! BAA! BAA!
Heís made himself dizzy! Ha ha ha. Youíre not having the ball back, no
matter what you do," one of them shouted and the rest of the sheep began
to laugh out loud at Mussels.
Cockles walked over to him. "Well,
that went well," he mocked. "Got any other big plans?"
Mussels stood up, though he still
wobbled back and forth a bit. "That didnít go as well as Iíd planned. Time
for plan number two," he said.
"Oh? And what is plan number two?"
"Iím going to run back to the house
and get some other things, like a tin can, a piece of rope and one of our
bones," Mussels said.
"Make that one of your bones,"
"And Iíll bring a pile of our dog
food too. They might like that," Mussels said and then he ran towards the
house. He showed up a while later with the items. "Here, put the rope over
there and the tin over there," he said, pointing with his tail.
"Iíll take the bone and food and put
it over this way," Mussels said, walking toward the sheep.
Cockles did as instructed. Mussels
shouted to the sheep, "Hey, sheep. Iíve brought you some things to trade
for the ball. Come and see."
The sheep walked towards the tin
can. "What do we want with this? Itís empty. BAA!" shouted one of them.
"Rope? What good is rope to a
sheep?" chuckled another.
"We donít eat bones and we donít eat
dog food. We eat grass," another sheep said.
Cockles could see the sheep standing
with the ball in his mouth.
"Take your things and go home.
Youíre not having the ball back," yet another sheep shouted. "BAA! BAA!
"So much for plan number two,"
"Plan number three is the best, but
weíll have to wait until night time, when they are asleep. Weíll sneak up
on them while theyíre snoozing and take the ball back," Mussels suggested.
"You mean youíll sneak up, donít
you?" Cockles reminded.
"Right. Iíll sneak up," Mussels
The dogs headed home and napped
until darkness fell. "Come on, Cockles. Come with me. Iíll get your ball,"
Mussels said, shaking his friend.
Cockles woke up and the two dogs
headed for the flock of sheep. "Theyíre sleeping," Mussels said. The dogs
hid behind a mulberry bush. "You stay here and Iíll sneak up." Mussels
crept slowly into the flock of sheep. He could hear them snoring. "Aha,
there he is," he whispered, seeing the big sheep with the ball under his
wooly leg. Slowly, slowly, he crawled, on his tummy, inching his way
through the tall grass towards the sleeping sheep. He was just about to
grab the ball when he heard an ACHOOOO coming from the mulberry bush. All
the sheep woke up.
"BAA! BAA! BAA! Itís the dog!"
shouted the sheep. The others all came running.
"Run, Mussels. Run," called Cockles.
The dog, unable to reach the ball, jumped up and ran as fast as he could
toward the bush.
The sheep began to laugh at him.
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha."
"Why did you have to sneeze? I
almost had the ball in my hands," he said angrily at Cockles.
"Sorry. Couldnít help it. Iím
allergic to mulberries, remember?"
"Weíd better get home. Weíll think
of something in the morning," Mussels whined and the dogs ran home.
When the sun came up, Cockles woke
up first. "Iíve got an idea. Why donít we offer to tell the sheep where
the best grasses on the island are? Theyíd surely trade for that," he
suggested, shaking Mussels.
"We can sure try," Mussels yawned,
completely out of ideas.
They ran over to the sheep. This
time Cockles did the talking. "Uh, excuse me sheep," he called to the
sheep, which were hungrily eating the purple heather. "If youíll give me
back my blue ball, Iíll tell you where the tastiest grass is in all of
The sheep huddled together and
talked. "All right. Itís a deal. Hereís your ball," the big sheep said,
running up and dropping it near Cockles feet.
Cockles made sure he had it tightly
in his paw. "The best, tastiest, most delicious grass on the whole island
of Barra is right here, where you are," Cockles said, laughing. He grabbed
the ball in his mouth and ran off towards the house, with Mussels
following. "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha," Cockles giggled. "I tricked them."
"Very good, Cockles. You got your
ball back," Mussels said.
"Next time you steal my ball, stay
away from the sheep. Weíll not get away with anything so easily next
time," Cockles warned.
He ran around the back garden
playing with his ball. He was so happy to have it back. One time when he
tossed it high into the air, Mussels was waiting for it. He grabbed it in
his mouth. "Got it," he shouted and ran away with the ball, heading toward
the hill again.
"Och, no; not again," Cockles sighed
and ran after Mussels.