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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Which way is Which?


Sasha and Spencer spent most of their days slithering along through the grass. When they tired of that, they'd wrap themselves around branches and go to sleep, for that is what snakes do.

One fine summer's day, as they lay in the tree, Sasha saw a mouse run by. “I'm hungry,” she said to Spencer. “I didn't eat a thing yesterday.”

“I'm hungry too. The last thing I ate was an armadillo three days ago.” Spencer uncoiled his body and moved down the tree.

“Wait for me. I saw a mouse run past. It disappeared into a hole in the ground.” Sasha darted through the tall grasses. “Follow me.”

They stopped at the opening in the ground. Spencer looked down. “It's dark in there. I don't think I want to go down that hole to find a mouse.”

Sasha peered into the hole. “It is dark, but there is a mouse in there. All we have to do is find it. Go on. I'll wait here for you.”

“Me? You go.” Spencer scooted back away from the hole.

“You're not a snake. You're the mouse. I never knew you to be such a coward, Spencer. I wonder what the boys would say if they knew their friend wasn't brave enough to go into a mouse hole.” Sasha hoped her ploy worked.

“Oh all right. I'll go.” Spencer put his head in the hole and pushed his long, muscular shape in after it.

“I hope you don't have claustrophobia,” Sasha called down to him.

“It's dark. I can't see a thing. Oh, wait. My eyes are adjusting. It's dark but I can make out the tunnels and shapes. I wonder how long this goes on for?” Spencer hissed and continued down each winding tunnel. “Oops. I've come to a dead end.”

Sasha shouted down. “Turn around and try another tunnel. My tummy is hungry for mouse.”

“I can't turn around, at least not easily.” Spencer wriggled his body back and forth, contracting and releasing until he'd turned the other direction. “Whew! I almost didn't make it.”

The deeper he went, the less he could hear Sasha's voice. When he came to another dead end, Spencer realized he was hopelessly lost and scared. A spider crawled by, it's hairy legs touching the snake's cold skin. He cried out and turned around, slithering down another tunnel.

“I wonder where Spencer is. He's not answered me in hours.” Sasha put her head in the hole. “I suppose I should go and try to find him. He may be stuck and need my help.” She arched her body and went into the hole. “I don't like this at all.” Quickly, she withdrew.

An hour later Spencer came out of the hole. “Thank goodness I am free,” he said as he climbed out of the tunnel. “I was lost. It was dark and there was a spider. I didn't see any mice though, just long, dark tunnels.”

“I know it is in there somewhere, but we'll have to settle on a plum tonight.” The two snakes slithered away.

Deep down in the burrow, a baby mouse cuddled to his mama. “I thought I heard a noise, Mama. It sounded like a snake hissing.”

“It was just a bad dream,” she whispered, comforting her baby.

“But it seemed real, Mama. I heard him cry when a spider came near him and he was stuck and couldn't get out.” The baby snuggled closer.

“It was just a dream. Go to sleep. Go to sleep.”

The baby mouse closed his eyes and soon the burrow was quiet again.


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