c-c-c-c-cold," shivered Ian. "This is one of the worst winters
I..I..I..Iíve ever seen. Brrrrrrrr."
"Itís a cold one, Ian. We
raccoons arenít supposed to feel the cold, are we? But living, up here in
the highlands, I feel it," Mac said, rubbing his furry arms. "Maybe we
should find somewhere warmer. Lying in the bushes isnít very sensible.
There must be a cave around here somewhere."
The two raccoons stood up.
"I..I..I..I..I..I canít feel my feet," Ian complained.
"If we walk, then at least
weíll get the blood circulating. Come on. Letís find a cave," Mac urged.
They walked deeper into the forest.
Theyíd been walking for a
few minutes when Ianís nose started to twitch. "Whatís that delicious
smell? It smells like roast beef, my favorite."
Mac sniffed the air.
"Youíre right. It does smell good, but I think its beef stew. I can smell
cooked turnips and tatties."
Suddenly Ian wasnít as
cold. "Iím starving as well as freezing. There must be a cottage around
here somewhere. Where is it?" he asked, looking around.
"Over there. There is
smoke. Just follow your nose," Mac laughed at Ian. They ran towards the
billowing smoke and soon came to a cottage. They walked over to a window
and peeked inside. "Itís stew. I see the pot bubbling on the stove."
"Stew? Is there hot
bannocks to go with it?" Ian asked, pushing Mac out of the way so he could
see in the window. "Ah, there are some. Weíve got to get inside. Not only
that, but thereís a roaring fire. We could get warm."
"We canít just walk into a
house. Theyíd shoot us. Weíve got to go from window to window and see
whoís in the house," Mac said. "You go that way and Iíll go this way.
Weíll meet around the back by the woodpile."
Ian peeked in the windows.
He could see a room with chairs and a dining room table and there was a
big hutch filled with beautiful china. "Thatís lovely," he sighed. The
next room he saw had a big bed in it with a fluffy down comforter on top.
"Oh, a bed. Imagine how warm and cozy it must be." He didnít see any
Mac peeked in the window
and saw a library. There was a leather-bound chair and a lamp for reading.
The next room he saw was a couch and two chairs and a television. Sitting
in one of the chairs was an elderly man. Lying next to the chair was his
dog. "Yikes!" Mac whispered. He ran around the back. "Ian. Ian. Where are
you?" he called softly.
"Iím here, behind the wood
pile. Can we go in? I saw a soft cozy bed," Ian began to speak.
"Well, donít get your hopes
up. Thereís an elderly man and his dog in the living room watching the
telly. So much for the stew and warm fire," Mac sighed.
"What? Youíre giving up? If
they are in the living room, surely we can sneak into the kitchen and have
some stew and get warm. My paws are nearly blue with the cold. Come on,
Mac. Letís go inside," Ian begged.
"I am a bit cold and very
hungry. Weíve got to be very quiet," Mac cautioned. Ian nodded and they
walked to the back door.
"Open it," whispered Ian.
"Shhhhh. Iím trying to,"
He pushed the door open. It
gave a little squeak. He stopped and looked at Ian. "Itís all right. They
didnít hear. Just open it a little bit more and we can squeeze through."
Mac pushed it open and the two slipped inside. He turned around and shut
it. It squeaked softly.
"Itís warm in here," Ian
smiled, rubbing his freezing paws.
"The stew smells even
better from inside. Come on, but quietly," Mac said.
They walked into the
kitchen. "Thereís the stew. Grab the pot and put it on the floor!" Ian
Mac reached up and grabbed
the pot by the handles. He set it down on the floor and opened the lid.
"Oh, look at the big juicy hunks of beef, pieces of carrots, turnip and
tatties, and even peas. Find us a spoon," Mac said.
Ian opened the drawers. One
had hot pads. Another had aluminum foil. Finally he found the spoons.
"Here we go." He handed one to Mac. "Dig in."
They ate spoonful after
spoonful. Ian reached up and pulled a few bannocks off the plate. They
dipped them into the stew. "This is delicious," Mac said. He had stew all
over his whiskers and fur around his mouth.
"Mmmmm," Ian said, with a
mouthful of gravy covered beef. After theyíd eaten the whole pot, Ian
said, "I think I need a nap after that big meal. Thereís a comfortable bed
in the other room. Heís still watching the telly. Letís have a lie down."
"Yawn. I think thatís a
good idea," Mac agreed. They tiptoed down the hall and went into the
bedroom. They climbed up onto the bed, pulled the blankets down, and
climbed under the sheets. "Oh, this feels good."
But Ian was already sound
asleep. It didnít take Mac long before he joined Ian in slumber.
BARK! BARK! BARK! Ian and
Mac jumped up. At the foot of the bed stood the dog; itís long brown ears
bouncing up and down with each bark. It snarled at the raccoons. "Uh oh,"
Ian said. They were both too afraid to move.
"What have we here?" the
man asked. "Raccoons in my bed? I suppose you two are responsible for
eating my pot of stew. Am I right?"
Mac and Ian nodded their
"Thatís what I thought.
Now, what am I going to do with you? You eat my stew, you sneak into my
house, and you sleep in my bed, which, I might add, I just put clean
sheets on. What do you think we should do with them girl?" the man asked
BARK! BARK! BARK!
"Thatís what I thought
too," he said. The man walked over and picked the raccoons up by their
"Heís not going to chop us
up and use us for stew, is he?" Ian cried.
"I donít know," Mac said.
The man headed for the back
door. He looked around and saw a huge pile of snow. He tossed Ian and Mac
into it. They sunk down to the bottom. "I donít want to catch you back in
my house again. If you do, Iíll let my dog eat you; bones and all."
"Gulp," went Ian.
The man shut the door. Ian
and Mac stuck their heads out of the snow. They could see the dog at the
window barking. They climbed out of the pile and ran as fast as they could
to their tree and climbed it to the top. "At least we had a good meal and
a wee sleep," Mac said, trying to look on the bright side.
"I..I..I..Iím cold," whined
Mac just shook his head.