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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Alone on the Beach

It was one of those summer days where the sky was gray, clouds hung low, and a fresh breeze blew in from the sea. Only the hardiest swimmers went to the beach and few, if any of them were children. Murdoch pulled Nortonís rope, nearly dragging the donkey onto the sand. "Come on, Norton. There might be one bairn who wants to have a donkey ride today. Itís not that cold," he grumbled.

Norton didnít agree. He thought it was freezing cold. The wind felt like it was blowing straight in from the Arctic. Sand blew at him, stinging his face like hurling needles. Murdoch tied him to the pole. Norton plopped himself down in the sand and lowered his head, trying to protect himself as much as he could from the elements.

Of course, nobody wanted to ride a donkey on a day like this. What was Murdoch thinking? Norton sighed and watched the waves roll in. They were black and churning and pounded on the sand ferociously. After a while, a man and woman came walking by with their dog. Norton watched as they tossed a stick into the water. Their black dog ran after it, into the waves and brought the stick back. Norton shivered just thinking how cold the water must feel on a day like this. The dog didnít seem to mind. He ran in and out, in and out, bringing the stick back to them each time. They finally moved on. "Well, Norton, Iím off to warm myself up. Iím going for a cup of tea," Murdoch said and walked away. Norton sat alone on the beach, not a soul in sight.

As the day wore on, it didnít get much warmer and there was no sign of Murdoch. Now and then a jogger ran by, or a few people walked along the beach, picking up seashells. Norton noticed that it seemed to be getting darker and looked up. Just as he did, the cloud burst and it poured. Poor Norton was drenched! Raindrops ran into his eyes, nose and mouth. His tail looked worse than the rope that tied him to the pole. He stood up and pulled and struggled to loosen the rope.

"Here, here, what are you doing?" Murdoch said, running up to him. "You must be fed up sitting here in the rain. All right, Norton, weíll call it a day." Norton was relieved. Murdoch took his rope and walked back to the barn with him. "Itís dry here. Iíll be back shortly." When Murdoch returned, he was carrying three pears. "Here you go, Norton. I hope this makes you feel better." Norton gobbled the crunchy, juicy, green pears down quickly.

He lay in the barn listening to the rain pouring down and was glad that for the rest of the day he was able to be somewhere dry and warm. Tomorrow was another day and if it didnít rain, he could give some children donkey rides!

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