It was summer in the
highlands. Nights were short as the sun stayed up much later than usual
and awoke earlier. Flowers of every color and type were nodding in the
gentle warm breezes. Birds chirped merrily and streams filled with salmon
and trout flowed swiftly between grass-lined banks. Tree branches were
full of large green leaves, veined and thick. Ian and Mac, two raccoons
lived in one of the trees. It was an oak that was ancient, sturdy, and its
branches reached for the clouds.
As the pinks, purples,
reds, and oranges of dusk spilled across the quiet glen, Ian and Mac
prepared for a good nights sleep. They climbed up the oak, found two
branches that were close together and found a comfortable spot between
them. The moon soon came out, lighting the semi-dark sky, as did the
millions of twinkling stars. "Good night, Ian," said Mac.
"Good night, Mac," replied
Their eyes shut and they
began to doze off. "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp," went a cricket.
Ian lifted his drowsy head.
"What is that noise?" he asked.
"I didnít hear anything,"
Mac replied. "Go to sleep."
"Chirp. Chirp. Chirp," went
the cricket again.
Ianís eyes opened wide and
his head shot up. "I heard something. Listen," he urged.
"Chirp. Chirp. Chirp."
This time Mac heard it.
"Itís only a cricket. Now go to sleep."
For the next hour the
cricket chirped. Mac fell asleep but Ian couldnít. The noise was bothering
him. He pushed Macís arm. "Mac, I canít sleep. The cricket is keeping me
awake with all itís chirping."
Mac yawned. He was angry
with Ian for waking him up. "Close your eyes and ignore the cricket. Get
to sleep!" Mac rolled over and faced the other direction and fell fast
"Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp." The cricket chirped for another hour.
Ian tried covering his
ears, but he could still hear, "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp." He picked some
leaves and stuffed them into his ears, but he could still hear, "Chirp.
Fed up with all the noise,
he climbed down the tree trunk to the ground below. "Iíll find you," he
threatened the cricket.
"Chirp. Chirp. Chirp," it
"Aha, youíre over here,"
Ian said, running towards a blackberry bush. He pushed the leaves and
branches aside and looked at the ground.
Suddenly he heard, "Chirp.
Chirp. Chirp." The noise was coming from behind him.
He ran over to some
feathery green ferns and parted them. "Youíre in here. I know it. Iím
going to get you, cricket."
He was ready to stomp his
feet and squish the cricket when he heard, "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp."
He raised his head and
listened carefully. The noise was coming from near the banks of the
stream. He crept towards the noise. "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp." Slowly he moved
closer and closer and pounced. He landed in a pile of mud and rolled into
the stream. He coughed and sputtered and choked. "Chirp. Hee hee. Chirp.
Hee hee. Chirp. Hee hee," giggled the cricket, as it watched the drenched
raccoon climb out of the water.
Mac woke up. "Whatís all
that noise?" he called down. "What are you doing?"
Ian looked up at him, shook
himself off and climbed back up the tree. "I was trying to get the
cricket," he explained.
Mac just looked at him and
shook his head. "Go to sleep."
Ian curled up in a ball.
For the next several hours he lay wide-awake listening to the chirping.
Finally, exhausted, he fell asleep. The whole day Ian wasnít much fun. He
was too tired to have fun. He dragged his tail around, just wanting to go
to sleep. But Mac wouldnít let him. When nighttime came, Ian was so tired.
He climbed up the tree, found a comfortable spot and fell asleep right
Mac made himself
comfortable too and curled up in a ball. He shut his eyes and then it
happened, "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp." Ian didnít wake up. He was too tired.
This time Mac couldnít go to sleep because of the cricketís chirping.
"Oh no," Mac said.
"Chirp. Hee hee. Chirp. Hee
hee. Chirp. Hee hee," went the cricket, knowing it was going to be long
night for Mac.