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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis

Chomper, the grasshopper, climbed up the green stem of a rose bush. It was covered with white roses that had pink around the edges of each petal. He moved carefully over the brown thorns, check out each leaf, searching for one he thought would be perfect to munch and chomp. At last he found one. It was big, veiny, green and tender. He began to nibble on it. CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP!

Lily, the frog, was down in the dirt near the rose bushesí roots. She was trying to rest. Sheíd found a comfortable spot where it was cool and damp but couldnít get to sleep because of all the noise. "Who is making all that noise?" she croaked. She looked up and saw Chomper munching away on a leaf. "Chomper, stop making so much noise. That chomping sound is keeping me awake. I want to take a nap!" she called up to him. CROAK! CROAK! CROAK! "Stop it right now!" Lily demanded.

Chomper looked down from high up in the rosebush. He had a hard time seeing Lily because she was as green as the rose bush stems. When he spotted her he called down, "Iím sorry, Lily. Iíll try to chomp softer." He started chomping again, but much quieter. Chomp chomp chomp.

Lily, not hearing the noise any more, fell asleep.

Spud, the potato bug, was leaning against a rock. He was reading his favorite book, ĎRolling In the Windí. Concentrating on the words was difficult because he kept hearing Chomperís loud chomping. CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP! Spud shouted up to him, "Chomper, stop making so much noise. I canít even read my book with all that chewing. Stop it right now!" he ordered.

The grasshopper looked down from high up in the rose bush. He saw Spud, who was the same color gray as the rock he was leaning against. He had a book in one of his many hands. "Okay, Spud. Iíll try to chomp quieter."

So, he did just that. He chomped softly. Chomp Chomp Chomp

Spud was able to read his book now, undisturbed.

Honey, the bumblebee, was flying around the white roses, going in and out of the bright yellow centers, and gathering nectar. She was daydreaming; thinking about the pollen and nectar and how pleased the Queen would be when she came back to the hive with all she had gathered. Suddenly she was distracted by a loud noise. She listened. CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP! She flew down to where the noise was coming from and saw Chomper munching away on a leaf. Honey called out, "Keep the noise down. BUZZ! BUZZ! You are so loud. BUZZ! BUZZ! How do you expect me to gather pollen when you are chomping away like that? BUZZ! BUZZ! Stop it right now!" she buzzed.

Chomper looked up at the black and yellow striped bumblebee. She was hovering just above him, her wings moving quickly up and down. "Sorry, Honey. Iíll try to chomp softly." So Chomper did just that. Chomp Chomp Chomp

Honey went back to her pollen and nectar gathering and Chomper enjoyed his leaf.

It didnít take long for Chomper to start munching loudly again. CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP!

Legs, the lime green caterpillar was spinning his cocoon on the branch of a nearby bush. He kept making mistakes and getting himself all tangled up in it because Chomper was making so much noise. "Chomper, how can I finish my cocoon and change into a butterfly if you keep making all that noise?" he called over to the grasshopper. "You are being too noisy. I canít concentrate. Stop it, right now!" Legs commanded.

Chomper looked over at the other bush to see where Legs was making his cocoon. He saw him. He was such a bright lime green that it wasnít hard to spot him. "Iím sorry, Legs. I donít want to disturb you. Go back to spinning your cocoon and Iíll try to be quiet." Chomper did just that. Chomp Chomp Chomp. Legs went back to spinning his cocoon, relaxed and peaceful.

After just a few minutes, Chomp was chewing loudly once more. CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP!

Chirp, the black cricket, was singing a beautiful operetta, but the chomping noise distracted her. She couldnít rub her wings together and get the right tone. She kept making mistakes and it was all Chompers fault. "Chomper! You are being too noisy. I canít sing. My wings wonít rub together right. Stop it right now! I need to finish my operetta," she told the grasshopper.

Chomper looked over at Chirp. He was getting tired of the others telling him to be quiet. Heíd had enough. Tender leaf or not, he decided to leave and find another rose bush; one with tender leaves growing on it, of course. He hopped off the bush to the ground. He bounced past some beautiful orange poppies, some fragrant purple violets, and some colorful purple pansies touched with yellow centers that were dancing in the breeze. He sprung past some crimson red chrysanthemums and sunshine yellow marigolds. As he hopped away he could hear Lily croaking, Spud rolling around, Honey buzzing, Legs spinning his cocoon, and Chirp singing her operetta. "And they say Iím noisy!" he muttered to himself. "Just listen to them all."

He landed with a plop near a yellow rose bush. He climbed up the thorny branch and found himself a soft, but firm leaf. It was quiet there. He looked around. He saw no other insects, so he knew heíd not be disturbed. It was so quiet that he lay down on the leaf, rolled it up around him and fell asleep.

As Chomper lay snoozing, trouble was going on back at the other rosebush. Beek, the bluebird, had been flying around. She spotted Honey buzzing around the roses. He flew down and tried to swallow her. Honey flew off in terror and hid inside one of the pink and white rosebuds. Beek landed on one of the branches looking for her.

He couldnít find Honey but he did see Legs as he spun his cocoon. He jumped over to him and tried to pull the lime green caterpillar out. Legs, frightened, quickly spun the rest of his cocoon and sealed himself up inside. Beek was just about to eat the entire thing when he heard a noise below.

He looked down and saw Spud lying against a rock, reading a book. He swooped down to gobble him up but Spud saw his shadow and curled up in a ball. His hard shell closed tightly. Beek couldnít pick him up. He kept rolling out of his mouth. He finally gave up and flew up to a sturdy branch.

Chirp was rubbing her wings together. She didnít hear Beek as his wings fluttered next to her. He was just about to grab her when she turned around and saw him. She pushed with her strong back legs and flew off into the grass and hopped away. Beek couldnít find her anywhere. She had vanished.

Beek was getting angry. He started to chirp. CHIRP! CHIRP! CHIRP! He was hungry and wanted a bug to eat.

Lily, hiding in the roots of the bush, watched in horror as beak tried to eat all of her friends. She hopped away as quickly as she could and went looking for Chomper. She leapt passed the poppies and the violets, jumped over the pansies, chrysanthemums and marigolds and landed right at the bottom of the yellow rose bush.

She leapt up and down, trying to see Chomper. Finally she spotted him curled up in a leaf, sleeping. CROAK! CROAK! CROAK! "Wake up, Chomper!" she called out.

Chomper heard her and sat up. "Whatís the matter, Lily?" he asked, laying over the edge of the leaf.

"Beek, the bluebird, is trying to eat us all. We need your help!" she begged.

"What can I do? Iím just a noisy, annoying, chomping grasshopper. Remember?"

"Please come and help us, Chomper," she begged again, ignoring his sarcasm.

Chomper hopped down from the leaf into the dirt. He sprung over to the bush with the white roses. Lily followed right behind him. He looked up and saw Beek, who was now flying just above the bush. Beek figured if he couldnít eat them, heíd terrorize them instead.

Chomper thought of an idea. He sneakily climbed up the stem of the bush and found a branch with a few sharp thorns on it. He chewed it off, quietly chomping, and then climbed high into the bush with the branch in his mouth. When he came to one of the roses, he climbed inside and sat still, holding the thorny branch.

Beek swooped down at the insects. Chomper lifted the branch tightly in his hands. When Beek flew by, he swung it and the sharp thorns went right through Beekís feathers.

"OUCH!" he squawked. The thorns hurt him so badly that he flew away to his nest. Never again did he come back to the rose bush and try to eat them.

From then on, Lily, Spud, Honey, Legs, and Chirp never complained about Chomperís chomping. He could chomp as loudly as he wanted. The others felt safe and happy just knowing he was there. Chomper was happy because the tenderest leaves of all were on that rose bush.


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