by Margo Fallis
The Winter Storm
Cranberry was a furry gray squirrel
with a bush tail and soft, padded paws. She was called Cranberry because
she had four little red dots on the end of her tail that looked just like
the fruit. She had button-like, brown eyes and long eyelashes that hung
over them. Cranberry lived in a pine tree. It was thick, with long green
needles, and didnt have too much sap in the bark. Even though it wasnt a
very tall pine, it was full and it protected Cranberry from the snow and
When the sun rose each morning,
Cranberry would run down the tree and search the ground for nuts and
berries. There werent many to be found in the winter months, thats why
shed carefully hidden some during summer and autumn, when the supply was
plentiful. Sometimes shed find berries that were still hanging on bushes.
Even though they were shriveled and dried up, they still tasted good.
After shed gathered several in her cheeks, shed run back into the pine
tree to eat them.
There were other animals that lived
in the pine tree with Cranberry. Jubilee, a cardinal, lived on a high
branch at the top of the tree. She was crimson red and loved to chirp and
sing. Holly, the gray, white, and black raccoon, lived inside the tree
trunk, close to the bottom. Gordon, the light brown deer with white spots
on his back, slept on the soft piles of pine needles that had fallen to
the ground near the tree. During the day he pranced around the woods and
often stopped by the half-frozen stream for a drink. All the animals lived
happily together in and around the pine tree.
One night a storm roared through the
woods. The wind blew the branches of the trees back and forth and up and
down, tossing dead, brown leaves into the air. Snow swirled across the
cold ground. All night long it snowed huge flakes. The temperature dropped
and the air was bitter. Cranberry shivered. She curled up in a ball,
wrapping her long, bushy tail around her to stay warm.
In the morning, she couldnt see a
thing. There was so much snow that it had covered up her hole. She rubbed
her paws together to get them warm. She pushed the snow and it fell to the
ground, letting a patch of light into her warm den. She knocked the rest
of the snow off. It was crunchy and cold. The whole woody area was a mess.
There were branches lying on the ground, sticking up from the piles of
snow. She squeezed herself out of the hole and stood on an ice-covered
Cranberry looked for Gordon. She
couldnt see him anywhere. There was nothing but a large pile of snow at
the bottom of the tree. Suddenly it moved and the snow went flying about
as Gordon stood up. Hed been completely covered by it during the
blizzard. He jumped out of the pile and ran about, shaking the snow off
and then went down to the stream in hopes of finding a drink.
Holly stuck her head out of the
trunk of the pine. Cranberry saw her down below. She watched as Holly
crawled out of the hole and ran off into the forest to gather pinecones,
nuts and berries. Cranberry laughed when she saw the paw prints that Holly
was leaving in the freshly fallen snow.
As she was watching the raccoon,
Jubilee flew down and landed on the branch near Cranberry. She had crusty
ice on the top of her head and beak. She flapped her wings a few times and
flew off into the sunny blue sky.
Cranberry looked all around her
tree. It was beautiful. The sun shone down on the snow, making it sparkle
and glitter. The pines had snow on their branches. Happy that the storm
was over, she ran down the trunk and went in search of some of her hidden
nuts and berries, which would take an extra effort this morning, since it
had snowed so much, but she didnt mind. The snow just made the woods more
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