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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Fishing Trip

The sun’s golden rays, shimmering in the morning sky, peeked out from behind the lofty peak of Ben Collin. Morning mist blanketed the countryside until the sun’s warmth began to burn it off, leaving small patches dotting the landscape. Several ducks flew from the banks of the loch into the golden-lined, pinkish clouds.

As Maggie stirred in her bed, the sun burst through her window. "Time to get up, Maggie," Gran said, pulling the covers away from Maggie’s snuggling body. "We’re going fishing this morning. Remember?"

Maggie yawned and stretched, and then sat up and rubbed her eyes. "Are you going too, Gran?" she asked.

"Yes, lass. I want to go. Is that all right with you?"

"Oh Gran, of course its all right," Maggie smiled, reaching her arms up to hug her grandmother.

Maggie climbed out of bed and quickly dressed in her blue and green tartan pants, a white turtleneck with long sleeves and a small cluster of bluebells embroidered on it, and tied her pleated hair with blue ribbons. When she went into the kitchen, her gran and grandpa were sitting at the table. "Come and eat your porridge, hen," Gran said.

"Good morning, Grandpa," Maggie said, smiling. "Isn’t it wonderful that Gran is going fishing with us this morning?"

"Aye, lassie, it is. Now, eat your porridge and then we’ll be off," he urged.

They finished their breakfast and cleaned up. Gran had packed a picnic lunch for later and had put it in a basket. Grandpa had the fishing tackle box and several poles in his hand. "Let’s be off," Gran said.

They walked for a mile or two through the wildflowers towards the river. Maggie stopped to pick a daisy or two and put them behind her ear, in one of her pigtails. As they walked over the hills, Maggie saw a few sheep and cows grazing. Birds flew overhead, and now and then she saw smoke rising from a few of the crofts scattered about. "How much longer, Grandpa?" she asked.

"We’re almost there. See those trees up there?" he pointed? Maggie nodded yes. "There is the river."

Maggie ran ahead and stopped when she reached the bank. She looked around for a grassy area. "Over here, Gran. Here’s some soft grass we can sit on."

Gran and Grandpa soon arrived. Maggie sat down while Grandpa baited her hook. She watched the river. It was moving quickly, bouncing off rocks in the middle of it, and swirling around tree trunks that stuck out into the water. She looked down. The water was so clear that she could see everything perfectly. "Oh, there’s a fish," she squealed excitedly.

Grandpa handed her a pole. She walked to the edge and cast it into the water. She sat down on a rock and waited. Gran joined her a few minutes later with her pole. "I didn’t know you like to fish, Gran," Maggie said.

"Aye lass, I’ve fished since I was a wee lass, like you. My father taught me. Grandpa and I used to bring your mum here to fish when she was wee. She loved fishing," Gran sighed. Then, more cheerfully, she added, "But now we have you to fish with us." She smiled and patted Maggie’s hand. A few minutes later Grandpa sat down next to them. The three waited patiently for a nibble on their lines.

"Let’s sing a song," Maggie suggested. "Or maybe Grandpa could tell us a story, or a poem."

"Oh, my dear Maggie. I’m not very good at singing, but I can tell you a story," Grandpa said. The time passed quickly as he spoke. He had just finished up when Maggie felt a tug at her line.

"Grandpa, I caught a fish," she laughed. She stood up and pulled the pole towards her.

"Roll in your line, lass. Bring the fish in slowly," Grandpa urged.

Maggie turned the handle on her reel and within a few moments, a good-sized fish came flying out of the water and landed on the grass near her feet. "A fish! It’s big."

Grandpa grabbed it, took the hook out of its mouth and showed it to Maggie. "Aye, that’s a big fish, Maggie. Good girl." He then put it on top of some ice a container.

About that time Gran caught a fish. "I’ve got one too," she said, reeling it in. It wasn’t as big as Maggie’s. She pulled it onto the grass and took the hook out of its mouth. She held it up to her face and made her lips move like the fish’s.

"Silly, Gran," Maggie said.

During the next hour they each caught two more fish. Most of them were trout. Grandpa caught a salmon. "We’ve got plenty of fish; enough to last for a week now." He reached over and picked up the picnic basket. "Who’s hungry?" he asked.

Gran raised her hand and so did Maggie. Granpa handed Gran the basket and went to the stream to wash the fishy smell off his hands. Gran pulled out a cloth to put the food on and spread it on the grass. It was pale lavender with thistles embroidered on it. She’d packed sandwiches, potato crisps, pastries, pickled onions, and iced tea for she and Grandpa and Ribena for Maggie. "I love Ribena," Maggie said, picking up her half-filled plastic cup. What’s it made of, Gran?"

"Black currants, I think," Gran answered. Maggie took a big sip. Gran unwrapped one of the sandwiches. "Who wants the cheddar and pickle sandwich?" she asked.

"What other kinds are there?" Maggie enquired.

"We’ve got smoked salmon and cucumber," Gran said. Maggie turned up her nose. "This is for me." She put the sandwich down next to her. "We’ve got a cheddar, Swiss, and tomato sandwich with spicy mustard," she continued. Grandpa raised his hand and Gran passed it to him.

"I’ll take the cheese and pickle, Gran," Maggie said.

They feasted as the water flowed by. A few magpies landed in the grass not far from where they sat, hoping for a crust of bread or fallen crumb. Grandpa shooed them away. "These pastries are delicious," Grandpa said, wiping the custard and chocolate off his mouth. "I’ll have another, if there’s any left. Maggie, are you gobbling them all up?" he laughed.

Maggie wiped her mouth with her napkin. "No, Grandpa. Don’t be silly. I’ve only had one. It had cream and raspberries and flaky crust with vanilla icing. It was delicious." She reached into the basket and handed him another pastry, just like the one she’d eaten.

When they’d finished, the three of them lay down on the grass. Grandpa dozed off right away. Maggie lifted her head and looked at Gran. The two of them giggled at Grandpa’s loud snoring. Gran fell asleep next and Maggie lay there, staring at the puffy white clouds that were floating by. She soon fell asleep.

They woke up after an hour, packed everything up and headed for home. Grandpa carried the bucket full of ice and fish and all the poles. Gran carried the empty picnic basket with the lavender blanket inside. Maggie ran about, carefree. She picked a handful of daisies, bluebells, and heather to put in the vase on the kitchen table when they got home. "That was fun fishing," Maggie said.

"Aye, lass, it was at that," Grandpa said.

She reached up and slipped one hand into her gran’s hand, and the other into her grandpas and they walked back to the house together after a wonderful day.

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