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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Winter On the Beach

No children went to the beach during winter, but sometimes Murdoch took him down to the seaside and let him run around. One cold, wintry afternoon, Norton stood at the waterís edge. Waves lapped at his hooves. Murdoch sat in the shelter of a large boulder, drawing pictures of the scenery.

The beach was deserted. The wind was icy and pellets of snow were tumbling from the sky, landing on his coarse hair. Norton opened his mouth and let them fall into it. As he walked along the beach, he spotted something bobbing up and down in the water. He watched as the waves carried it into the shore. It was a glass bottle! Norton waded into the water and picked it up with his teeth. He dropped it on the sand. It didnít have anything in it except sand and a few tiny bits of broken seashell.

He looked around the sand. There were things scattered all over. He trotted over to see what some of it was. There was a piece of driftwood. Norton thought it looked like a deerís antler. He carried it over and dropped it near the bottle. He found a piece of life jacket. It was torn in half and was bright orange. He dropped it next to the bottle and driftwood.

For the next while he gathered everything he saw on the beach. Soon he had a huge pile of assorted rubbish. What would he do with it all? Surely Murdoch wouldnít let him keep it. Just then Norton spotted a garbage can. Since he couldnít keep everything, he carried it piece by piece and put it in the can. Soon the whole beach was clean.

Norton started feeling tired and ran up to where Murdoch was sitting. "Thatís a good lad," Murdoch said, petting him. "Youíve tidied up the beach. It gets a bit of a mess, especially in winter when the sea is rougher. Good donkey." Norton felt happy. "Look what I drew," Murdoch said, holding up his drawing. "Itís you," he laughed.

Norton looked at the picture. It was of Norton standing at the sea, with the tall cliffs in the background. That night Murdoch gave Norton three extra pieces of turnip and two apples instead of one, for being such a good donkey and cleaning the beach. Norton fell asleep with a full tummy and dreamed about his wintry day at the beach.

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