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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Roasted Mushrooms

Gerard looked at his mom. “Can we have roasted mushrooms tonight?”

“That sounds delicious, Gerard, but we don't have any mushrooms. Your dad is at work and I haven't had time to go and pick any,” she said.

“I can go and find some, Mom. I've been with Dad before. Can I please go so we can have roasted mushrooms tonight. You can roast a pheasant and some turnips while I go.” Gerard smiled and opened the door. “I'll be careful.”

He headed into the woods. Lofty pines growing close together blocked the sun, making it dark and difficult for Gerard to find his way around. He tripped on roots and fallen branches. “I need to find some mushrooms. I know they grow near trees, especially ones with moss on them. It's hard to see anything.”

Step by step he meandered through the forest. “There's a tree with moss.” He searched around its roots, but found no mushrooms.

Just then a rabbit hopped by. It ran past him into a pile of leaves and then down a hole at the bottom of the tree. “A rabbit. I'll bet Mom would love to have stewed rabbit. Maybe I can catch it and take it home for her.”

Gerard sat at the bottom of the tree near the hole. He waited patiently, hoping the rabbit would come out. One time it stuck its head out, but as soon as it saw Gerard, it darted back inside. “Maybe I'm wasting my time. I should forget about the rabbit and find those mushrooms.”

Off he went. A raccoon sped by, nearly knocking Gerard over. It ran up a tree and hid behind a leafy branch.  “I don't think Mom would like raccoon.” He walked on, ignoring the striped-tail creature.

A mossy tree stood ahead of him. All around it grew mushrooms. They popped from the ground in thick clusters. “Mushrooms!” Gerard opened the small cloth bag he'd taken with him. He pulled the mushrooms from the ground, shook the dirt off and dropped them in his bag. When it could fit no more in, he tied it shut and put it in his coat.

As he walked back towards his house, Gerard thought about all the things that lived in the woods. His dad often caught deer and rabbits and his mom found berries and nuts. He walked past the rabbit hole again and wished he could have caught it. “Maybe another time.”

When he opened the door his dad was there. “Gerard, you've been in the forest. Did you get any mushrooms?”

Gerard pulled the bag out of his coat. “Look at these ones, Dad. Mom can roast them with the pheasant and turnips.”

Mom washed the mushrooms off and put them on the pan with the pheasant. She chopped turnips and tossed them on the pan too.

 The smell of roasting food made Gerard very hungry. “I saw a rabbit today, Dad. I wanted to catch it, but it went into its hole and wouldn't come out.”

“When you're older, I'll teach you ways to lure them out. In the meantime, you help your Mom by finding mushrooms. You did a great job today, Gerard. Those are the biggest mushrooms I've seen. Good job!”

Gerard sat at the table, feeling happy about his first mushroom hunt. When the food was cooked, Mom put it on the table. Gerard ate a little of everything, but most of all, he ate the mushrooms.

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