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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Malcolm and the Haunted Castle

Angus MacScot took his dog, Malcolm, for a drive into the highlands. "What do you think of all that purple heather?" he asked. Malcolm stood on the seat looking out the window. He thought it was pretty. Heíd never seen heather bells before, especially millions of them that carpeted the hills like that. "Itís rather pretty, donít you think?" Angus asked. Malcolm wagged his tail.

He saw several sheep grazing on the hillsides, nibbling on tender shoots of grass. He saw a highland cow and was frightened by its long horns. "See over there, Malcolm, thatís an ancient castle. It was built by the Bruce Clan way back in the 1300ís. They say itís haunted." Malcolmís ears perked up. He didnít like the sound of that.

They drove on for a while and then made a wide turn and much to Malcolmís horror, stopped in front of the castle. "Surprise!" shouted Angus. "This is where weíre staying for the next the night. I thought it might be fun to stay in a haunted castle."

Malcolm and the Haunted Castle

Malcolm didnít agree. He hid on the floor and Angus had to carry him into the castle. It was cold and drafty and smelled like dirt. "Why donít you go and run about the grounds while I get settled in," Angus said, opening the door for Malcolm.

The Scotty dog ran out of there as quickly as he could and headed for a patch of green grass. "Moo! Iím Robert, the Highland bull. What brings you to this part of Scotland?" the highland bull asked.

Malcolm looked at the hairy cow. "Youíve got long, shaggy fur. Itís almost orange in color. Youíre an odd looking animal and your horns are long and sharp."

"Iím unique. I think you look rather strange too. You look like a black box with a tail," Robert replied.

"I guess Iím unique too. My nameís Malcolm. Weíre staying at the castle. Angus says its haunted," he said.

"It is haunted. Iíve seen the ghost many times and at night, you can hear him howling. They say he was a brave warrior, killed in battle, yet not ready to leave his homeland. They call the ghost, Colin the Cold," Robert said.

"Colin the Cold? Thatís an odd name for a ghost," Malcolm said nervously.

"Still, itís his castle and he doesnít like guests, especially Scotty dogs," Robert warned.

Malcolm didnít like this highland bull at all. "Well, I have to go now. I hear Angus calling me," he barked and ran off. As he neared the hills below the castle, he ran into two highland sheep. They were nibbling on the heather bells. "How does that taste?" Malcolm wondered.

"Why donít you try some for yourself?" Sinclair replied.

"Donít be silly, Sinclair," the other sheep said. "Dogs donít eat heather. They eat bones."

"Thereís plenty of bones in that castle," Sinclair taunted. "Yours might be next," she giggled.

Malcolm stared at the two sheep. "Youíre woooly, like that bull down there. Why does everything have so much hair up here in the highlands?"

"It gets very cold at night. Youíd better stay by the fire tonight. Either the ghost will get you or the cold will. Hee hee hee," giggled Sinclair.

Malcolm ran off, leaving the sheep behind. "Iím going to find Angus," he said and trotted into the castle.

"Ah there you are, Malcolm. Come and sit by me in front of this roaring fire. Weíll have supper soon. Iím going to fix you some roast beef. I even brought your dish. Iíll have some haggis, chips, and peas," Angus said.

They ate supper and warmed themselves in front of the fire, relaxing. Just then Malcolm heard a noise. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! He raised his head. "What was that?" he wondered. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! He heard it again. "It must be the ghost. Iím staying in front of this fire all night. Ghosts donít like fire." He looked over at Angus who was sound asleep in a huge armchair. Feeling very tired and full of roast beef, it wasnít difficult for Malcolm to curl up in a ball and fall asleep.

He woke up several hours later. It was dark and very cold. "Yikes! The fire has gone out." He blew on the smoldering embers and tried to get them to catch fire. OOOOOOOOOOOO! "Och no. Itís the ghost! Itís dark and the fire is out. Either Iíll die from the cold or from the ghost, just like the sheep said." He was horrified. He ran over to Angus and started licking his face.

"Whatís the matter, Malcolm," Angus said, sitting up. "Och, itís freezing in here. I let the fire go out. Iíll fix it for you." Soon a fire was roaring in the fireplace. Angus was moving the logs around with the poker when they both heard a noise. OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Malcolm ran and hid behind the couch. "Itís only the wind, Malcolm. Stop being so afraid. Whatís the matter? Do you think itís the ghost, Colin the Cold?" Angus started laughing. "Thatís just a story someone made up to make the castle more interesting and exciting," he assured his dog. Malcolm wasnít so sure about that either, but since the fire was going, he fell asleep in front of it, knowing that heíd not freeze to death.

When Malcolm woke up again, the sun was shining through the small windows. He felt much better now that the night was over with. "Time to go, Malcolm. Now, wasnít that fun?" Angus asked, petting his dog. They got into the car and drove towards home. They passed the two highland sheep, which were still nibbling on the heather bells. The highland bull raised his head and wiggled his horns back and forth as the car drove by. Malcolm waved goodbye and sat down on the seat of the car, watching out the window. Angus started talking, "Oh, by the way, Malcolm, I didnít want to scare you last night, but that castle really is haunted. That was Colin the Cold you heard last night." Malcolm gulped and looked back at the castle.

When they got home, he ran over to his pals to tell them about his night in the haunted castle, the two shaggy sheep and the hairy orange bull. Nobody believed his stories, but Malcolm knew it was true. Heíd never forget the OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

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