The cabbages were huge this year.
Their leaves were bigger than Cockles and Mussels had ever seen them. "I
wonder what made Tomís cabbages so big this year?" Cockles said. The two
dogs stood at the edge of the garden, staring in amazement. Cockles held
his blue ball under one of his paws.
"Tomís excited about them. Heís
going to take the biggest one to the fair this year. I think heíll win.
Iíve not see any other cabbages this big anywhere on the island," Mussels
As they stood watching, something
caught Cocklesí attention. "What was that?" he asked.
"I didnít see anything. What are you
talking about? Where?" Mussels asked.
"Thereís something moving in the
cabbage patch," Cockles said.
"Is it a crow? Is it a mouse? What
is it? I didnít see a thing," Mussels replied.
Just then two tall, brown, furry
ears stood up straight into the air. "Itís a rabbit!" Cockles shouted.
"A rabbit? I see it. Itís going to
eat Tomís cabbages. Och no, we canít have that," Mussels said. He began to
bark loudly. Cockles started barking too. The rabbit stood up on its hind
legs and looked at the two dogs. Its nose twitched and its whiskers
wiggled up and down, but it didnít move.
"Heís not afraid of us," Mussels
said. "Weíre going to have to chase him out."
"Rabbits move quickly," Cockles
said. "I canít run that fast."
"Iíll chase him. You just be ready
to pounce on him when he comes running out," Mussels said.
The two dogs crept around the sides
of the cabbage patch. Cockles stood off to the side, waiting for the
rabbit to come running out. Mussels started moving in between the
cabbages, searching for the rabbit. He walked around each huge cabbage but
didnít see the rabbit. He stuck his head up. "Cockles, do you see him?" he
Cockles looked around and shook his
head no. Two long ears suddenly poked up from behind one of the cabbages
very near to where Mussels was. "There he is," Cockles whispered and
Mussels turned around and looked.
The ears disappeared as Mussels ran barking towards them. He ran through
the cabbages but couldnít find the rabbit. "Where did he go?" Mussels
said, confused and irritated.
Cockles climbed onto a stone and
looked down on the cabbages. "I see him. Heís over there," he pointed.
Mussels crept slowly and silently
towards the rabbit. This time he wanted to catch him. He saw the rabbit.
It was ripping leaves off one of the cabbages and nibbling it. "Och no.
Itís eating Tomís biggest cabbage," Mussels whispered to himself. He
started running and barking. The rabbit darted away. "Catch him," Mussels
shouted. "Heís coming your way!"
Cockles climbed down off the rock
and got ready to pounce. "Iíll get him. Donít worry," he shouted back. The
cabbage leaves started wiggling and Cockles knew the rabbit was headed
towards him. "Here he comes. Iíll get him." He pounced and landed right on
the rabbit, except it wasnít the rabbit. It was Mussels.
"Get off me," Mussels sighed. "Where
did the rabbit go? Did you see it?"
Cockles stood up. "He didnít come
this way. I thought you were the rabbit."
The back door of the house opened
and Tom Maxwell came out. "Lads, Iíve come to pick my cabbage and take it
to the fair," he said and walked toward the cabbage patch.
"Och no. When he sees what the
rabbit did, heís not going to be very happy," Mussels said.
Tom headed right for the biggest
cabbage. From the front it looked perfect but when Tom came around the
back of it, his mouth opened wide and he was surprised. "What happened to
my cabbage? Did you lads do this?" he shouted. He lifted it up. Leaves
were ripped off and big bites were taken out of it. "Naughty dogs. You
destroyed my biggest cabbage!" He put it down on the grass near the door.
"Come here," he said sternly to the two dogs. Cockles and Mussels walked
slowly towards him, their tails between their legs. "Lads, you know Iíve
been growing this all summer and how important it was to me. Now look at
it. Youíve ruined my prize cabbage."
He was about to scold them some more
when the rabbit came running out of the cabbage patch and headed for the
woods. Cockles and Mussels started barking and ran after it. A while later
they came back. "Och, it wasnít you two after all. It was a rabbit. Sorry
lads. I shouldnít have blamed it on you without proof. Forgive me?" he
asked. The two dogs licked him and all was forgiven. "Now, lads. Iíll have
to pick another cabbage. Will you help me pick another?"
They went into the garden and picked
another big cabbage. It hadnít been nibbled and was almost as big as the
other one. Tom took it to the fair and won first prize. When he came home
he called the dogs. "Look what I won, first place. The ribbon belongs to
you lads too. Thanks for watching the cabbages for me. Now, for being such
good dogs, Iíve got a wee surprise for you. I stopped at the butchers on
the way home and picked you up a nice serving of corned beef."
Cockles and Mussels were very happy.
They feasted on the corned beef and then Tom let them lie inside the house
next to the fire. Mussels slept and Cockles chewed on his blue ball. That
night, they were all winners.