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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Cabbage Patch

The cabbages were huge this year. Their leaves were bigger than Cockles and Mussels had ever seen them. "I wonder what made Tomís cabbages so big this year?" Cockles said. The two dogs stood at the edge of the garden, staring in amazement. Cockles held his blue ball under one of his paws.

"Tomís excited about them. Heís going to take the biggest one to the fair this year. I think heíll win. Iíve not see any other cabbages this big anywhere on the island," Mussels said.

As they stood watching, something caught Cocklesí attention. "What was that?" he asked.

"I didnít see anything. What are you talking about? Where?" Mussels asked.

"Thereís something moving in the cabbage patch," Cockles said.

"Is it a crow? Is it a mouse? What is it? I didnít see a thing," Mussels replied.

Just then two tall, brown, furry ears stood up straight into the air. "Itís a rabbit!" Cockles shouted.

"A rabbit? I see it. Itís going to eat Tomís cabbages. Och no, we canít have that," Mussels said. He began to bark loudly. Cockles started barking too. The rabbit stood up on its hind legs and looked at the two dogs. Its nose twitched and its whiskers wiggled up and down, but it didnít move.

"Heís not afraid of us," Mussels said. "Weíre going to have to chase him out."

"Rabbits move quickly," Cockles said. "I canít run that fast."

"Iíll chase him. You just be ready to pounce on him when he comes running out," Mussels said.

The two dogs crept around the sides of the cabbage patch. Cockles stood off to the side, waiting for the rabbit to come running out. Mussels started moving in between the cabbages, searching for the rabbit. He walked around each huge cabbage but didnít see the rabbit. He stuck his head up. "Cockles, do you see him?" he whispered.

Cockles looked around and shook his head no. Two long ears suddenly poked up from behind one of the cabbages very near to where Mussels was. "There he is," Cockles whispered and pointed.

Mussels turned around and looked. The ears disappeared as Mussels ran barking towards them. He ran through the cabbages but couldnít find the rabbit. "Where did he go?" Mussels said, confused and irritated.

Cockles climbed onto a stone and looked down on the cabbages. "I see him. Heís over there," he pointed.

Mussels crept slowly and silently towards the rabbit. This time he wanted to catch him. He saw the rabbit. It was ripping leaves off one of the cabbages and nibbling it. "Och no. Itís eating Tomís biggest cabbage," Mussels whispered to himself. He started running and barking. The rabbit darted away. "Catch him," Mussels shouted. "Heís coming your way!"

Cockles climbed down off the rock and got ready to pounce. "Iíll get him. Donít worry," he shouted back. The cabbage leaves started wiggling and Cockles knew the rabbit was headed towards him. "Here he comes. Iíll get him." He pounced and landed right on the rabbit, except it wasnít the rabbit. It was Mussels.

"Get off me," Mussels sighed. "Where did the rabbit go? Did you see it?"

Cockles stood up. "He didnít come this way. I thought you were the rabbit."

The back door of the house opened and Tom Maxwell came out. "Lads, Iíve come to pick my cabbage and take it to the fair," he said and walked toward the cabbage patch.

"Och no. When he sees what the rabbit did, heís not going to be very happy," Mussels said.

Tom headed right for the biggest cabbage. From the front it looked perfect but when Tom came around the back of it, his mouth opened wide and he was surprised. "What happened to my cabbage? Did you lads do this?" he shouted. He lifted it up. Leaves were ripped off and big bites were taken out of it. "Naughty dogs. You destroyed my biggest cabbage!" He put it down on the grass near the door. "Come here," he said sternly to the two dogs. Cockles and Mussels walked slowly towards him, their tails between their legs. "Lads, you know Iíve been growing this all summer and how important it was to me. Now look at it. Youíve ruined my prize cabbage."

He was about to scold them some more when the rabbit came running out of the cabbage patch and headed for the woods. Cockles and Mussels started barking and ran after it. A while later they came back. "Och, it wasnít you two after all. It was a rabbit. Sorry lads. I shouldnít have blamed it on you without proof. Forgive me?" he asked. The two dogs licked him and all was forgiven. "Now, lads. Iíll have to pick another cabbage. Will you help me pick another?"

They went into the garden and picked another big cabbage. It hadnít been nibbled and was almost as big as the other one. Tom took it to the fair and won first prize. When he came home he called the dogs. "Look what I won, first place. The ribbon belongs to you lads too. Thanks for watching the cabbages for me. Now, for being such good dogs, Iíve got a wee surprise for you. I stopped at the butchers on the way home and picked you up a nice serving of corned beef."

Cockles and Mussels were very happy. They feasted on the corned beef and then Tom let them lie inside the house next to the fire. Mussels slept and Cockles chewed on his blue ball. That night, they were all winners.

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