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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Poke and Beans

"Will you hurry up, please," shouted Beans. "No wonder they call you Poke. You are the biggest slow poke there ever was." Beans, a rooster, turned around and started tapping his foot. His reddish-brown feathers were ruffled up the back of his neck.

"Iím coming," the pig answered. "I canít help it if I walk slower than you. Thereís much more of me." His pink skin was covered with thick brown mud.

"If you washed yourself now and then, you could move a lot quicker. You must have an inch of mud all over you. Why, I canít even see your curly, corkscrew tail!" Beans added.

"Why are you in such a hurry anyway? Weíre only going to the silo! I happen to know that Farmer Roy puts plenty of food out on Tuesdays," Poke said, walking on.

Beans slowed down his pace and the two walked side by side. "Youíre right, of course, but my mouthís set on barley and some wheat. I know youíre hungry for corn," Beans smiled.

Pokeís tummy growled. It was hard to hear it through all the mud though. He picked up the pace a little. "All this talk of foodís got my mouth watering. Letís walk faster."

When Poke and Beans got to the silo, there were dozens of hens and roosters pecking away at the seed. A few ducks had flown over from the pond down the road and there were even a couple of geese there. "Make way. Make way. Poke and Beans are here and weíre feeling hungry," Beans shouted.

The other animals looked over at the pig and the rooster, ignored them, and started pecking the seed again. Poke made his way through the birds, pushing them out of the way with his very plump and very large body. There was a lot of clucking and feathers flying about, but soon Poke found himself in the middle of a pile of corn. "Yummy. This is delicious," he said, corn dropping from his mouth as he spoke.

Beans stayed right next to Poke. "All right, everybody. Move back. Give Poke some room." The birds moved out of the way, but were not happy about it. They pecked at the seeds that had scattered about. Beans started to eat. "This is delicious!" Within a few minutes, there was nothing left on the ground in front of the silo. Poke had eaten it all. Even Beans hadnít had enough to eat, but thatís all there was for that morning.

Poke spent the day lying in a puddle of mud. His tummy was full. The other animals at the farm could hear him snoring, clear down by the barn. They were getting tired of Poke and all his nonsense. Beans was used to the noise and soon fell asleep while perching on a wooden fence pole near the mud.

A huge gust of wind blew Beans right off the fence post. "What was that?" he asked, rubbing his sore head. Things were blowing all over the farm. Pieces of paper came flying by. "Thatís quite a breeze," he said, standing up and brushing the dirt off his feathers. "Poke. Wake up. Thereís a storm coming." He pecked the pigís nose with his beak. "Wake up, I say. Wake up."

Poke opened his eyes. "What is it now? Has Farmer Roy put out some more food? It is Tuesday, isnít it?" he yawned.

"I donít know if Farmer Roy has put out any food. It is Tuesday, but thereís a storm coming. Watch out!" Beans shouted. Just then a large piece of wood came flying past, barely missing his head. "That was close," he sighed.

Poke climbed out of the mud. Big, brown, gooey drops fell from his body to the ground. It started to rain. "Ouch!" Poke said. The rain changed to hail. "Ouch!" he shouted again.

"Iím heading for the barn. This hail hurts," Beans said and ran as fast as he could. "I canít wait for you," he called behind him.

Poke walked slowly. He was covered with even more mud. The hail pelted against him. "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" he cried out as he headed for the barn.

Beans reached the barn door, only to find it slammed shut. He started to pound on it. "Let me in! Let me in!" The hail was coming down even harder. He raised his wings to protect his head.

From high above him in the hayloft, one of the other chickens shouted down, "You canít come in. Neither can Poke. Youíre too pushy and greedy. Youíll both need to find shelter somewhere else!"

Beans looked up. "No. Itís hailing and it hurts. Let us in, please," he begged, but the other animals in the barn ignored him. By the time Poke arrived at the barn door, the rain and hail had washed all the mud off him. He was completely pink. Beans could even see Pokeís curly tail. "They wonít let us in," Beans explained.

"Why not?" Poke asked.

"They said weíre too greedy and pushy," Beans said.

Poke didnít know what to think. All he knew was that it was getting windier and the hail was coming down harder than ever. "Please let us in," he called. His voice could barely be heard above the howling wind. "I promise never to push you out of the way again."

"And I promise never to be greedy again," Beans added.

For a long time nobody answered. Poke and Beans started to walk away. They had to find somewhere else to go. Just then the door creaked open. "If you promise to share the food and not push us out of the way ever again, weíll let you in," one of the hens clucked.

"We promise," Beans said.

"Yeah, we promise," Poke muttered.

The barn doors opened wide enough for Poke and Beans to go in and then it was quickly shut. The pig and the rooster wiped the water from their eyes and face. "Thank you," Poke said. It stormed all day long. Each of the animals found a place to lie in the hay. The wind whistled and blew through the cracks around the windows.

Beans looked outside. He could see leaves and branches and all sorts of things blowing around. The hail had stopped and now it was just heavy rain. He was glad to be inside. The whole farm was a river of mud. He flew down to where Poke was lying. "Iím glad they let us inside," he sighed and sat down on the hay next to Poke.

The next morning when Beans got up to crow, he noticed the storm had passed. He flew to the fence post and did his cock-a-doodle-doo. Soon the farm was stirring. Farmer Roy milked the cows, filled up the horseís trough with fresh hay and then opened the silo door. Seed and corn came rushing out for the animals. He started his tractor and went off to plow the fields.

The sun rose over the horizon and morning began. Beans flew over to Poke, who was now lying in the mud again. "Time to go and eat," he said, clucking away. "Wake up. Wake up!" Poke opened his eyes and yawned. "Farmer Roy opened the silo again. Thereís plenty of corn, wheat and barley for us." Poke stood up and the two of them walked towards the silo. "Hurry up, slow Poke. I want to eat this morning. I hope thereís something left for us," Beans complained.

"Oh no, here comes Poke and Beans," one of the ducks quacked. All the other birds and animals turned to watch. They were happy and surprised when Poke and Beans stood back and waited until all the other animals in the farmyard had their fill. Only then did he started munching the corn. Beans pecked the remaining seed off the ground. It is much better to cooperate and share, than to be greedy and pig it all up for themselves.

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