Duncan was a soft, furry, brown
mouse. He had big, round ears and a long, skinny tail. He lived in a house
in southern Scotland, near the border with England. It was surrounded by
green rolling hills. In the fields, hundreds of sheep nibbled on the tall,
waving grasses. Birds of all colors and types built nests in the oak trees
and critters, such as hedgehogs and rabbits, lived in the hedgerows.
Duncan was lucky. During the winter he stayed warm and cozy. During the
summer, the windows of the house were opened up and a cool breeze floated
through. He was able to go outside and run around in the fields. Life was
perfect for Duncan, except for one thing, Kennedy, a large, white cat with
black patches of fur. Kennedy lived in the house with Duncan and he wanted
nothing more than to eat Duncan for supper.
One peaceful morning Duncan walked
down to the pond in the meadow. The sunís rays danced through the tree
branches, which were swaying gently in the dawn breeze. Leaves of all
colors and sizes had fallen from the trees growing around the pond. There
were maroon, gold, amber, copper, maize, russet and orange leaves lying on
the ground. Duncan noticed that several of them were floating on the
surface. "I want to go to the middle of the pond," he said. He spotted a
copper-colored leaf lying at the edge. He picked up a twig and climbed
into the leaf. Pushing away from the side, the leaf, with Duncan standing
right in the middle of it, began to bob up and down on the water. "This is
fun!" Duncan giggled.
Kennedy was outside chasing birds.
Two crows had been nibbling on the ready-to-harvest corn, growing tall in
the cornfields. Kennedy had chased them away. He ran over to the scarecrow
that stood tied to a wooden pole. "You certainly arenít doing your job,"
he muttered. "Are you going to just stand there and let the crows eat all
the crop?" The scarecrow looked down at Kennedy with its black, button
eyes. When it didnít answer, Kennedy said, "I suppose its up to me to keep
them out then." Just then he spotted Duncan down by the pond. He crept
silently through the stalks of corn, being sure to stay hidden. "I wonder
what that mouse is up to," he smirked. He watched as Duncan climbed onto
the leaf and floated into the center of the pond.
Duncan lay down on the leaf and
peered over the edge. The water was so clear that he could see huge orange
fish swimming through the reeds. He stuck his tiny hand into the water and
scooped some up, splashing it on his face. Water dripped from his whiskers
and nose and made little ripples across the pond. When he reached the
center, he stood up. "What a view! I can see all the fields. Over there is
the corn. Itís getting tall. Thereís the pumpkin patch," he said. Just
then he spotted something moving in the cornstalks. "Whatís that?" he
wondered. Kennedy crept closer and closer, trying to stay well hidden, but
Duncan spotted him. "Itís Kennedy! He thinks heís so smart!" Duncan cupped
his hands around his mouth and shouted, "Kennedy, I can see you!" and
started to laugh. "You canít get me. You hate the water."
Kennedy pounced out of the corn and
ran down to the edge of the pond. He was angry that he had been caught.
Duncan was right though. There was nothing Kennedy could do. He did hate
the water and wouldnít go in it for any reason.
"Whatís the matter, Kennedy? Are you
a fraidy cat? Are you a big baby and afraid of the water?" Duncan teased.
"Iíll get you, Duncan. Just you wait
and see. You canít stay out on that leaf forever," Kennedy threatened.
But Duncan seemed very content just
floating about on the water. Hours passed and he was still happy as could
be. Heíd taken some cheese with him in a little bag and drank water from
the pond. Kennedy, however, wasnít as patient. He was getting angrier and
angrier as each hour passed. "Iíve got to think of a way to get that
mouse," he mumbled softly to himself. He sat down on a patch of grass and
started to think. "Aha. Iíve got an idea," he smiled.
Duncan was watching the cat. "Whatís
he up to?" he wondered. Kennedy was picking up stones.
Suddenly one came flying through the
air and landed just a few inches away from Duncan. Water came splashing
all over him and the leave began to bob up and down. Duncan nearly fell
off. "Whatís the matter, Duncan? Feeling a little wet?" Kennedy snickered.
"Hereís another one for you," he shouted and threw another stone. It
landed even closer and soaked Duncan from head to tail. Kennedy threw one
after another. After a few minutes, the leaf was filled with water. Duncan
had to use his hands and scoop it out so the leaf wouldnít sink. "This
time, Iím aiming for the leaf, Duncan. Here it goes," he called.
Duncan watched the stone fly through
the air. In a panic, he lay down on the leaf and used his hands as oars
and rowed as fast as he could. The stone hit the water right where the
leaf had been only moments earlier. Duncan rowed and rowed. "Stop that!
Youíll kill me!" he shouted to the cat.
"Thatís the plan. Then I can eat
you!" Kennedy shouted.
"If you sink me, then Iíll be in the
middle of the water. How will you get me then?" Duncan answered.
Kennedy stopped. The mouse was
right. He would have no way of getting him from the middle of the pond. He
threw the stones down angrily. Duncan wiped the water off himself and
finished tossing the pond water out of the leaf.
Several more hours passed. The sun
was lowering in the sky and Duncan was quite fed up floating about in the
water. His cheese was all gone and he wasnít in the mood to drink anything
else. He watched the cat carefully. Kennedy was also getting tired and
hungry. "Iím going to get a bite to eat and then Iíll be back to get you,"
he shouted to the mouse and then ran off toward the house.
Duncan quickly rowed the leaf to the
side of the pond and jumped out onto the grass. He took some brown leaves
and broke them into little bits and put them inside the bigger leaf. He
pushed it off into the water and watched to see that it didnít float away
too far. When he saw that the leaf stayed near the shore, he ran off and
hid in the bushes.
After a while Kennedy came back. He
spotted the leaf bobbing up and down near the shore. "Aha, Iíve got you
now," he shouted and ran towards the leaf. He grabbed it with his paw and
shoved it into his mouth. Duncan giggled. "Whatís this?" Kennedy meowed.
He began to spit. "Bits of leaves? What happened to Duncan?" He was very
Duncan ran as fast as he could back
to the house and his mouse hole. He munched down some bits of cheese and
lay in front of the hole to watch for the cat to come back. Kennedy came
through the door a few minutes later. He was scowling. He walked right up
to the hole. Duncan jumped backwards to safety. Kennedy stuck his face
down so Duncan could see. "Iíll get you next time," he warned and then
went and lay down in front of the fire.
Duncan giggled and giggled. "Weíll
see about that." He then curled up in a ball and went to sleep, dreaming
of his fun day at the pond.