The telling of
bedtime stories each night soon became a routine for Ian and Mac. Mac knew
Ian slept better, plus he enjoyed telling the stories.
“What’ll it be
tonight, Ian? Do you want a scary story, a mushy one, adventure, or what?
Ian thought about
it. “Tell me about another of your ancestors. I like those stories.”
I can do that. My grandfather, Jock Raccoon, and my grandmother, Curlers,
had five children. Four of them were girls, but one was a boy raccoon.
They named him Ringtail. His tail had more rings than any raccoon Jock and
Curlers had ever seen. Ringtail was always getting into mischief. Since he
was the only lad, he found great delight in teasing his sisters. He’d put
pine cones in their beds and sap on top of their pillows.”
“That’s funny. I
like this Ringtail uncle of yours already. Tell me more.” Ian chuckled.
“One day Uncle
Ringtail went around the forest and gathered every thistle that he could
find. He picked all the fluffy purple flowers off and kept the sharp,
pokey stems, all covered with stickers. He took them and put them in his
sister’s bed and when they climbed under their blankets that night, they
all screamed. Needless to say Ringtail was throttled and made to sleep
A head poked over
the branch. “Rubbish.”
Ian and Mac were
so frightened that they nearly fell off their branch.
What are you doing here?” Mac helped pull the elderly man up onto the
“I was passing
through the woods and thought I’d stop by and see my favorite nephew. How
are you doing, Mac? What’s all this nonsense about me doing mean tricks to
my lovely sisters?” Uncle Ringtail winked at Ian.
“My mum said you
did that. She told me a lot of stories about you,” Mac said.
“It’s all rubbish.
Let me tell you the real story. I was the only lad with four big sisters.
They’d spend all their time brushing their fur and braiding their tails.
It was impossible to bathe because they were always in the stream washing
their fur. It wasn’t easy being the only lad.” Uncle Ringtail shook his
head. “Not easy at all. I did go and gather all the thistles that I could
find. There were hundreds of them growing near our tree. I pulled out all
the purple fluff, like you said. I took it to my mum and she filled my
pillow with it. Very soft indeed. You should try it sometime.”
soft,” Ian said. “We don’t have pillows though.”
“Yes. Well, I see.
I didn’t know what to do with all the sticker parts and stems. I put them
in a pile and ran down to the stream. Who was there taking a bath?” Uncle
Ringtail looked at Ian.
Ian. All four of them. When I tried to get in the water they splashed on
me and made me leave. I was fuming. Who did they think they were?”
Ringtail’s veins bulged with anger. “Imagine having to live like that. Be
thankful you’re both lads.”
“I’m glad,” Ian
“Me too,” Mac
said. “If Ian tried that I’d rub his face in the muck.”
“I couldn’t do
that to my sisters or my dad would have walloped me. He always told me
never to hit a girl. I never did, but oh how I wanted to; especially
Fanny. She was a pest; always whining and tattle telling. I had a few sore
bottoms because of her.”
finish the story,” Mac said.
splashed all over me, I wanted to get even; yes I was. I sat on a hollow
log and thought of things I could do to them. That’s when I remembered the
thistles. I picked up two large leaves and laid the thistle stems on them.
I gathered the up and carried them to the girl’s bed.”
“I thought you
said you didn’t do that,” Ian said.
“Rubbish it is.
Let me finish.” Uncle Ringtail scowled. “I pulled down the bedding on
their bed and laid all the thistles out across the way. I put the sheet
down on top of them so they wouldn’t see when they got ready to climb in.
I pulled the blanket up and giggled. I hid behind their dresser drawers,
waiting for them to come in to bed. It was horrid. I had to watch them
brush their fur a hundred times each, brush their teeth and powder their
noses. I almost passed out from boredom. Finally Fanny pulled down the
blanket and top sheet. She jumped onto the bed and all the thistle
stickers poked into her bottom. She let out a screech.” Uncle Ringtail
started laughing. Ian and Mac couldn’t help but laugh too.
“You should have
seen her face. The circles around her eyes bulged and every hair on her
body stuck up straight. She looked like a fluffy monster. She grabbed her
bottom and ran around the room screeching. I hid behind the drawers having
a fit of laughter. None of the other girls knew what had happened, so they
all jumped on the bed. Within seconds they were all screeching and
yelping. I couldn’t help it. I stood and pointed at them and laughed so
hard I nearly wet my pants.” Ian and Mac were laughing so hard they nearly
fell off the branch. Uncle Ringtail laughed so much that tears flowed from
his eyes. “What a sight. Four girly raccoons running around the room
holding their backsides. Their tails were filled with stickers.
Unfortunately the joy didn’t last for long. My mum and dad heard the cries
and came into the room. They couldn’t wait to tell them about what I’d
done. My dad walloped me a good one. It was worth it though to see their
faces. They all had sore bottoms for a week.”
“Good story, Uncle
Ringtail. Do you want to stay here tonight and be on your way tomorrow?”
Mac finally stopped laughing.
“You can, only if
you promise not to put thistles under us in the night.” Ian burst out
Ten minutes later
they’d stopped chuckling. Uncle Ringtail spent the night. They all slept
like logs, thankful there were no lassie raccoons around the tease them.