Rose yawned and stretched her furry
arms, waking up after a long nap. She looked around. "Where is everyone?"
The hollow log that she lived in with her family was empty. "Mom! Daddy!"
she shouted. "Randy! Ricky!" Nobody answered. Rose crawled out of the log
and stood on the grass. "I guess Iíll have to go and look for them. Maybe
they went down to the river," she sighed.
The azure sky was dotted with puffy
white clouds. Robins and bluebirds flew overhead, some carrying worms in
their beaks. A bush, covered with ripe, juicy blackberries that looked
delicious to Rose, guarded the entrance to the woods. Unable to resist,
she picked a few berries and popped them into her mouth. "These are
delicious," she mumbled. Juice dripped down her chin onto her paws. The
succulent berries were sweet. She picked a few more to nibble as she
searched for her family.
"Mom! Daddy!" she called as she
climbed over the roots of several aspen trees. Their leaves flickered in
the gentle breeze. She was so busy eating the berries that she tripped and
fell flat on her face. The berries smashed in her paw and made a sticky
A ladybug landed on Roseís nose.
"Youíre just a baby raccoon. What are you doing in the woods alone?" she
Rose sat up and giggled. The
ladybugís tiny feet ticked her nose. "Iím going to the river to find my
family," she answered.
"Be careful. The woods are no place
for a young raccoon," the ladybug warned and flew away. As Rose sat
watching the bug fly away, several other insects came crawling out from
under the roots of the trees. A green beetle, a roly-poly bug, an orange
and black caterpillar and a snail climbed onto Roseís leg. "That tickles,"
she laughed, reaching down to pick the bugs up.
"Youíre all sticky," the caterpillar
said, trying to wipe blackberry juice off himself.
The roly-poly bug curled up in a
ball and rolled back to the ground. He was covered with blackberry seeds
and sticky syrup. The green beetleís antenna stuck together. "Put us
down!" the beetle shouted.
Rose put the bugs back on the
ground. "Youíre a mess, little raccoon. You need a bath!" the snail said,
wiping juice off his shell.
"Iím going to the river right now to
find my mom and daddy." Rose stood up, brushed the dirt off her fur, and
headed further into the woods, leaving the dirty bugs behind.
A rabbit, white and fluffy, came
hopping past. Three tiny bunnies hopped behind her. "Bunnies," Rose
smiled. She reached down to pet one.
The rabbit, seeing how sticky and
dirty Rose was said, "Donít pet my bunnies. Youíre covered with blackberry
juice and are very dirty." She rounded up her bunnies and hopped away.
Rose started feeling sad. She wanted
her mom and daddy. She started to cry.
"HOO! HOO! HOO!"
She looked up into the tree. "Who
are you?" she asked.
"Iím an owl, thatís who. HOOT! HOOT!
HOOT! Why are you crying, little raccoon?" he asked.
"I was taking a nap and when I woke
up I was in the hollow log alone. I donít know where my mom and daddy and
Randy and Ricky are. I was going to go to the river to find them."
"Youíre all dirty and sticky. Why is
that?" the owl hooted.
"I ate some blackberries. Iím sticky
and messy and nobody will help me," Rose sobbed.
The owl flew down and landed next to
Rose. "Iíll help you get home," he said. "Follow me. I know where the
hollow log is." Rose wiped the tears away and followed the owl. They
walked past pine trees and mulberry bushes, dark caves that frightened
her, and oak trees covered with green acorns. "Here we are. HOOT! HOOT!
"Itís my hollow log! Thank you,
owl," she smiled and ran into the log. The owl flew away and Rose curled
up in a ball and fell asleep.
"Rose! Rose! Are you going to sleep
all day?" her mom asked, shaking the baby raccoon. "Weíve been out
gathering nuts and berries. Why are you all sticky and dirty?"
Rose rubbed her eyes and let out a
big yawn. There was her mom and daddy and brothers, Randy and Ricky.
"Youíre back!" she laughed, happy to see them. She saw the berries and the
nuts. "Blackberries?" She looked at her paws.
"Iím taking you to the river to wash
up and then weíll have a feast," her daddy said.
Rose didnít mind. Her family was
back and she wasnít alone any more.