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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Stories - Feeling the Cold Lads?

Mac and Ian were glad to be back in the country. Theyíd had enough of city life for a while. They celebrated their return by finding the tallest oak tree they could see, climbed to the top and slept for two days. There were no noises to disturb them, aside from the warbling of songbirds and the trickling of the stream at the bottom of the tree.

Feeling rested, the two raccoons climbed down from the tree. "Ah, what a grand day it is today, Ian," Mac said. "I feel like running through the heather. Would you care to join me?"

Ian could think of nothing heíd rather do than run free around the hills. "After you," he politely said.

They ran up to the top of the hill and sat still among the heather, admiring the view below them. "Look, Ian. For as far as we can see, there is nothing but green, and wildflowers and the stream and loch. Isnít it peaceful? I love it here in the highlands of Scotland. There is nowhere more beautiful."

Ian noticed something at the bottom of the hill on the other side. "Look over there, Mac. I think there are some sheep grazing. They donít look like sheep though. They havenít any wool."

Mac looked. "No wool? What on earth?"

They ran down the hillside until they were close to the sheep. "Hee hee. They are sheep and they have no wool. Where did it go," Ian giggled.

Mac started laughing too. Heíd never seen anything so funny before. The raccoons walked over to the herd of sheep. "Where did your wool go?" he asked one of them. The sheep ignored him and started nibbling on the grass. They walked over to another sheep. "Whereís your wool?" Mac asked. The sheep ignored him too.

Ian said, "You all look silly with no wool. Did you get in a fight and pull it off each other? Feeling a little cold?" He continued to tease them for a long time, saying comments and poking their bare skin. Mac joined in.

The two raccoons were just about to say something else when someone grabbed them by the back of their necks. "Whatís this?" he said. "You two are the funniest looking sheep Iíve ever seen. Well, no mind. Itís time for sheering." It was the near sighted sheep sheerer and he was carrying them off.

The sheep started laughing at the raccoons. "Youíll get yours now. Baa," went one.

"Baa. Baa. Weíll see who feels foolish now," said another.

The man sat down with Ian and Mac in his arms. "You first," he said to Ian. He took what looked like a shaver and shaved all the fur off of Ian, including the patches around his eyes and his ink-point tail. He tossed him onto the grass. Ian stood still, shivering, while the man did the same to Mac. "Your wool isnít very good quality," he said, "but at least youíll not be so hot now," he said to the bare raccoons.

There wasnít a spot of hair left on either of them, except maybe a few strands inside their ears. "My fur! My beautiful gray fur. Look at us, Ian. Weíve no fur left. Even the patches around our eyes are gone," Mac cried. Ian just stood there, shivering. "This isnít going to do. We canít go around looking like this, even if the sheep can. Come on, Ian. Letís head for that house over there."

They had to run past the sheep to get to the house. "Whatís the matter lads? Loose something?" one of the sheep laughed.

"Iíd say there, lads, looks like youíre a bit cold there," another sheep chuckled.

The teasing and tormenting went on until they reached the house. The two hairless raccoons ran into the house and crept around quietly, looking for something to cover themselves with. Auld Mrs. Mackintosh was sitting on her couch knitting a coat for their Scotty dog to wear in the upcoming winter. Another completed one was down in a basket next to her feet. "Weíll have to wait a while. Sheís nearly finished the dog coat," Mac said. "Letís hide in the kitchen. There might be some food in there."

There just so happened to be a loaf of bread sitting on the counter and a bowl of butter. Some cold chips were lying on a paper towel. "Letís make a bitty sandwich," Ian said, spreading the butter on two slices of bread. "There are enough chips for us both."

They devoured the sandwiches quickly and snuck back into the room where Mrs. Mackintosh was. "Ah, sheís finished them both," Mac said. "Shhhhh, stay here."

He quietly crept behind her chair, grabbed the two dog coats and ran back to Ian. "Got them," he said proudly.

They slipped them on. Ianís was bright red with green and white stripes on it. Macís was blue with white snowflakes. "I know, we look ridiculous, but itís better than being hairless and freezing to death," Mac said, embarrassed at looking so silly. "Come on. Letís go home," he said. "To think, weíre wearing something made from the wool of those sheep out there!"

The raccoons ran as fast as they could, avoiding the sheep on their way back to the oak tree. For the next several weeks they didnít wander off, except to get a drink and nibble on nuts and berries. Their hair grew back eventually. Soon they had the patches around their eyes and the stripes on their tails once more.

From then on though, whenever it was sheering time, they avoided going to the hills, and never again did they tease the sheep. They kept the dog coats nearby, just in case.

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