"Shhhh. Be very quiet. Iím
not sure if anyoneís here," Mac cautioned.
"It smells like someone is
here or just left. I smell lunch. I think he hadÖsniffÖsniffÖ.stovies, and
shortbread for dessert," Ian smiled.
The two raccoons crept in
through the front door. They tiptoed around from room to room. "Nobodyís
home," Mac sighed with relief.
"Letís check the kitchen.
Iím starving. If weíre lucky, thereíll be a pot of stovies bubbling away
on the stove," Ian said, running into the kitchen. "Aha. Heís left a bowl
of it in the refrigerator. Delicious." He began to eat with his paws.
Mac looked in some of the
other rooms. He came to the studio. "Well, I see Jamie likes to paint.
Look at all of them. There must be dozens of paintings. Wow!"
Ian came walking through to
the studio, nibbling on some shortbread. Mac looked up. "Found some on the
counter. Want a bit?" he asked.
Mac shook his head. "Look,
Ian. Jamie is a painter and a good one at that. See this," Mac said,
holding up a painting of a bowl of fruit.
"Looks good enough to eat,"
Mac started rummaging
through the stacks of paintings, examining each one carefully. Ian walked
over to the easel. "Hmmm. Interesting. It looks like heís started painting
something, but I canít tell what. I think Iíll finish it for him." He
picked up the paintbrush, dipped it in the paint and started painting.
Mac continued looking
around. "All these paintings are stamped and ready to go to the McPherson
Galleries in the village. Jamie must be doing a show of his work. Good
lad, Jamie." He didnít notice Ian was painting. Mac stood up straight and
turned around. "Ian! What are you doing?" he shouted.
"What? Iím just finishing
the painting," he said, not sure why Mac was shouting at him.
"You canít do that. You
mustnít do that. Itís Jamieís canvas. Oh my. What shall we do now? When he
comes back and sees what youíve done, heís going to raise the roof!" Mac
was afraid. "I know. Weíll wrap it up in paper like these others, stamp
it, and he can think its one of his finished paintings. Quick, Ian, put
another canvas up on the easel and help me."
They wrapped the painting,
hid it behind the others and ran outside. "Oh, wait a minute," Ian called,
running back inside. He came back a moment later with a handful of
shortbread. "In case we get hungry," he said. The two raccoons ran back to
Jamie returned home a few
hours later with the man from McPhersonís. "Take them all. Iíll be down
tomorrow to make sure youíve set them up right," Jamie said. The man put
the paintings in his car and drove off.
Ian and Mac spent the rest
of the day hunting for acorns, nuts and berries. After a good meal, they
fell asleep. When the sun rose the next morning, itís warmth shone down on
their soft gray fur. "Mac, letís go into town today. Itís been a long time
since weíve been to the village. I know that the bakery is making tarts.
They do every Tuesday. Iím craving a tart. Arenít you?"
Mac yawned and stretched.
"A tart would be nice," he agreed.
They ran into town. "Maybe
we could stop by the dairy first for some fresh cream. I know Mrs. Kerr
leaves a bowl of it out each morning for that annoying cat of hers,
Fluffy. Can you believe such a name? Whoíd name a laddie cat Fluffy?" Ian
and Mac had a good laugh over that. They found the bowl of cream, luckily
before Fluffy came home. The bakery smelled delicious. The raccoons could
smell the donuts and biscuits baking from down the street. "I smell Mr.
Hamiltonís tarts," Ian grinned.
"Me too. I canít wait," Mac
said, hurrying a bit faster. They found a tray of tarts sitting on the
counter. Mr. Hamilton and his pet cat were nowhere in sight. "There they
are," Mac whispered. "Grab them before that cat comes back."
"Why do they all have cats?
They get all the good stuff; cream, fish and even tarts," Ian sighed.
"Just grab a couple of
tarts and letís go," Mac ordered. Ian picked several up and they ran out
the back door and down the street. "Delicious," Mac said, biting into a
They walked down the main
street of the village. Suddenly Ian stopped. "What is that? Look!" he
shouted, dropping his tart on the ground.
Mac looked down. Ian
dropped his tart? Thatís not like Ian. He looked to where Ian was
pointing. "Itís the art gallery, McPhersonís. What about it?"
"Itís my painting. See?
Itís in the front window!" Ian said.
They ran up to the window.
"It is your painting. It says Jamie painted it. They must have thought it
was pretty good to put it in the front window. Itís the only one!" Mac
said, patting Ian on the back.
"It is a good painting,
isnít it? But why should I let Jamie take credit for it?" Ian pouted.
"Because you werenít
supposed to be touching his paints and canvas and because we werenít
supposed to even be in the house! Ian, youíre no Michelangelo. Itís only a
painting of a few trees," Mac reminded.
"Och, youíre right. Still,
itís very good," Ian boasted.
Every day Ian and Mac
walked by McPhersonís Gallery to look at his painting. Ian was very proud.
Jamie was shocked to see the painting with his name on it. He had no
recollection of painting it in the first place. Presuming that he just
must have forgotten that heíd painted it, took the credit. He was never
sure about it though. Whenever Ian and Mac saw Jamie, they smiled, knowing