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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
A Date with a Ball

Bakil kicked the ball high into the air. It soared through the sky and fell to the ground, landing in a date palm. He laughed and danced around, waving his arms high above his head. He’d never kicked the ball that high before and felt very proud.

Bakil loved to play ball. As soon as he got home from school, he’d go to his room and get his black and white ball. He’d take it outside and practice kicking it, trying to make it go as high as it could fly. Sometimes it went high up in the air, other times he kicked it the wrong way and it flew into his mother’s flower garden. He tried not to do that.

He went over to the date palm and shook the trunk. His ball was stuck. It was wedged between several clusters of orangish-brown dates. How was he going to get the ball down? He shook the tree again but it didn’t move. He picked up a few large stones and threw them at the ball, but his aim wasn’t very good and the stones hit the trunk before falling to the ground.

Bakil had an idea. He decided he would climb the tree. He’d seen others do it before and it didn’t look that hard. Even though date palm’s had jagged, rough trunks, he knew if he was careful, he’d not get hurt. So he wrapped his legs around it and started to climb. He climbed higher and higher up the trunk. His arms were covered with scratches and pieces of the bark got into his shirt, making him itch, but he kept on climbing. Soon he was at the top. The leaves were long and kept poking into his face. He looked down to the ground. He suddenly felt very scared. He was much higher up than he had wanted to be. He held onto the trunk tightly, scared to move. He didn’t care about getting his ball anymore. He just wanted to get down.

He stayed still for several minutes and then looked up at his ball. It was not that far out of his reach. If he could just move those dates, it would fall to the ground, but he was afraid to move his arm. He stared at the ball and then looked down at the ground. He took a few deep breaths and slowly let go of the tree trunk with one of his arms. He tightened his legs around it and held on with the other arm. He started wiggling the date clusters back and forth. Several dates fell, plonking him on the head. A couple fell right down inside his shirt, along with the bits of bark. He kept wiggling the dates and finally his ball came loose. It fell down to the ground.

Bakil was relieved. Now, all he had to do was get back down. He started sliding down, ever so slowly, holding on tight as he slid his body towards the ground. After several scary minutes, he stood on the grass. He pulled the bottom of his shirt out of his pants and shook it. The bark and the dates fell to the ground. He picked the dates up and started eating them.

Feeling very proud, he breathed a sigh and picked up his ball. He was just about to kick it, and then remembered the tree. From then on, when Bakil wanted to kick his ball, he made sure it was far away from the date palm. He never wanted to have to climb it again.

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