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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Slip and Slide

"Is it ever going to stop raining? Itís been raining for six days now, non stop," Cockles said. He pulled his head inside through the doggie door. Raindrops ran down his face to the floor.

"Shut that flap. Iím freezing and youíre letting the rain in," Mussels griped. "It is springtime. My guess is itís going to rain for another few days. Iím sure getting tired of sitting day after day in this back room."

"I am too. We could go outside, you know. Iím needing some exercise. We could do something fun in the rain. What do you say?" Cockles asked.

"In the rain? Are you mad? What could we do?" Mussels wondered.

"Weíll think of something. Now, whereís my ball?" Cockles looked behind the stacks of newspapers, pile of wood and empty milk bottles. "Oh, lovely. Here it is," he said, picking it up with his mouth. "Letís go," he mumbled and climbed out through the doggie door. Being a Dachshund, his body was long and skinny and very awkward at climbing out of doggie doors. "Come on," he shouted to Mussels.

Mussels stuck his head outside. "Itís pouring! Iím not so sure if this is a good idea," he hesitated.

Cockles stood in the rain. "I donít want to stand out here all day waiting for you. Come on. Itís not too cold and actually the rain feels sort of nice."

Mussels climbed out and stood next to Cockles. The two dogs just sat there. "Well?"

"Well what?" Cockles asked.

"Well, what are we going to do now?" Mussels wondered.

Cockles looked around. It was hard to see with all the rain coming down. "Iíve got it. Letís slide down the hill. Itís nice and muddy and probably very slippery. We could have fun doing that."

"Good idea. Iíll race you to the top," Mussels said. He started to run. Being a mutt, he had longer legs and could run much quicker. "Hurry up, Cockles," he shouted from the top.

Cockles short little legs ran up the steep hill. At the top, he dropped his ball. Immediately it rolled down the hill. Cockles sat and watched it. The blue ball splashed in a puddle at the bottom. "Iíll get it later." He looked around. "Wow, I can hardly see a thing. Look how low the clouds are!"

"Itís coming down all right. Speaking of down, whoís going to go first?" Mussels asked.

"Iíll go first," Cockles said. He walked a few steps back and then ran as fast as he could. He jumped over the top of the hill and began to slide down in the mud. "Wheeeeeeee," he called out. "This is fun." He slipped and slid all the way to the bottom. He landed with a huge splash in a puddle of rainwater. "That was fun!" he shouted.

"My turn. Watch out below!" Mussels walked back a bit and then ran as fast as he could. He jumped and then landed on his bottom. He began to slide down the hill. Mud flew up into his face and all over his ears and fur. Instead of being a white dog with brown patches, he was now a dark brown muddy dog! "Wheeeeeeeee! This is fun!" He landed with a splash right next to Cockles. Water went flying everywhere, soaking Cockles even more.

"Care to try it again?" Cockles asked.

"Need you ask, hee hee," Mussels replied.

The dogs ran up the hill and slid down over and over again until they were too tired to walk up it again. "Letís go home," Mussels suggested, shaking his fur off.

"Whereís my ball?" Cockles wondered. He searched each puddle, having to stick his nose in to feel for it. "There you are. Gotcha," he said, grabbing the ball in his mouth.

The two dogs ran home as fast as they could. The wind was beginning to be a bit chilly on their wet bodies. They were just about to go inside through the doggie flap when they heard, "Wait just one minute." The dogs turned around. It was Tom Maxwell. "You dogs arenít going into the house all covered with mud. What have you been doing? Rolling in it?" Cockles and Mussels looked up at him with innocent eyes. "Donít be giving me those big puppy dog eyes. The two of you have been up to mischief, havenít you?" The dogs lowered their heads. "Stay right there. Iíll be right back," Tom said and walked away.

Slip and Slide

Cockles and Mussels didnít move. "What does he want? Whatís he going to do with us?" Mussels worried. Just then, Tom came around the back of the house carrying a hose. "Och, no. Heís going to squirt us. Weíll freeze."

"Sorry to do this to you, lads, but you canít go into the house all covered with mud. Now hold still and Iíll hurry," Tom said. He sprayed icy cold hose water all over them. Mud ran off their fur onto the grass. "Look at the mud. Youíve brought the whole hillside with you." He sprayed until there wasnít a drop of mud left on them. The two dogs cowered against the house. "Go inside, lads. Iím sorry I had to do that. Maybe next time youíll learn not to play in the mud."

Cockles and Mussels went inside. They crawled into their baskets and curled up into a ball, shivering the whole time. "I am never going out in the rain again. Iím freezing," Cockles said with chattering teeth. "Itís not warm in here either."

Just then the door opened that led from the back room, where the dogs were, to the inside of the house, where Tom stayed. "Come on, lads. Come in here where itís warm. Itís a cold evening and youíre soaking wet. Stay off the couch though."

The dogs got up and ran under Tomís legs into the warm house. "I hope the fireís on," Mussels said, running into the living room. "Och, good. It is." Cockles and Mussels curled up in front of the roaring fire. "It feels mighty good now."

Cockles didnít say a word. He fell right to sleep, enjoying the feel of the flickering flames on his damp reddish-brown fur.

"Lads, wake up. Iíve got a wee treat for you," Tom said, nudging them with his foot. "Come into the kitchen." The dogs stood up and stretched and then went to see what the treat was. "Itís steak and kidney pie. I had some leftover after my supper. Itís for you, lads. Dig in," Tom told them. Cockles and Mussels gobbled the food down. It was warm and it was delicious. "You can stay in the house tonight, if youíre good. When youíre finished, come back to the fire."

Cockles and Mussels ate every drop and then trotted into the living room. "Maybe this isnít such a bad day after all," Cockles laughed, warming his paws by the heat of the fire.

"Itís not so bad," Mussels added, listening to the rain beating down on the windowpanes. "Not so bad."

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