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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Golf Balls and Eagles

Mungo checked his list. "Let’s see now, I’ve got the lists, baskets, snacks, and Ginger, we need to put you away before the bairns come. Let’s go," he said, putting the cat in the bedroom.

DING DONG! Mungo put his papers on the table and opened the door. "Well, hello there, wee Hamish and Gregor. Come in. Go and help yourself to the snacks," he said. He shut the door behind them and picked up his papers.

"What are we doing tonight?" asked Gregor. "There are no pictures on the walls. What are these baskets for?"

DING DONG! "I’ll tell you shortly," Mungo said, opening the door. "Hello, wee Fiona and Gavin. Come inside. And here comes Morag and Andy. That’s the whole gang. Welcome to you all."

"What are the baskets for, Mr. McGee?" wee Hamish asked.

"Tonight, lads and lassies, we’re going on a scavenger hunt," Mungo said.

"What’s a scavger hunt?" asked wee Fiona.

"Each of you pick up a basket. Look in the bottom of it. You’ll find a list. Each of you have a different list," Mungo said. The bairns did as they were instructed.

"Mine’s long," said Andy.

"So is mine," Morag said.

"All of your lists are somewhat long. Now, we’re going to go for a walk all the way to the bottom of McNair’s Hill and back. While we’re walking, you are to look for the items on your lists. When we get home, whoever has everything on their list, will get a special treat," Mungo said.

"I want a treat," said wee Hamish.

"Then you’ll have to find everything on your list. I wrote in big letters for you and wee Fiona. Can you read your lists?" Mungo asked them.

"I can," said wee Fiona.

"Me too," answered wee Hamish.

"Since the rest of you are bigger, you all get normal handwriting. Everyone make sure you’ve got everything. We’re off," Mungo said, leading the bairns outdoors.

"Will you tell us a story as we walk?" asked Gavin. "You are the Storyteller!"

"Of course. I had planned to do that," Mungo said. The group walked through the field. Each bairn examined their list. "You all know how Scotland is famous for its golf courses, don’t you?"

"My dad likes to play golf," said Gavin.

"My dad loves golfing," added Andy.

"Many Scottish people do. Golf was invented in Scotland. On with the story then. There was a golf course next to the sea. On one side were tall pine trees and each of the other sides were the rocky shores of the sea. Many of the golfers weren’t very good at playing. Sometimes their golf balls went flying into the sea," Mungo said.

"I found an acorn!" screamed wee Fiona, putting it in her basket.

"I found a brown rock," called Gregor.

"Bairns, you’ll be finding things as we walk along. Just pick them up, silently, and put them into your baskets. We’ll talk about them when we get back to the cottage." Mungo didn’t bother too much with his story as the bairns were darting here and there, picking up items on their lists. "One day, two eagles decided to build a nest in one of the tall pines. They spent days fixing it up, gathering bits of string, grasses, leaves and twigs. When the nest was finished, the female eagle laid her eggs. She kept them nice and warm, but one morning was feeling very hungry. She flew off, just for a few minutes, to find a juicy mouse to eat and while she was gone, a golfer hit a ball right into the nest. It lay next to the eggs. When the mother eagle came back, she sat down on her eggs, and the golf ball, and kept them warm."

"That’s funny," said wee Hamish. He’d found most of the things on his list and was walking along, listening to Mungo, yet watching for his last few items.

"After a few days, the eggs began to hatch. Usually an eagle only lays 2 eggs. Mother eagle thought that she had done just that, but noticed a third egg, which was really the golf ball. The two eggs hatched and demanded food. Mother eagle knew she needed to feed her babies but was afraid to leave the nest in case the third egg got cold. Father eagle had to do all the work while Mother eagle sat on the golf ball. The other babies started growing bigger. Mother eagle waited patiently for days but the golf ball didn’t hatch. She was too hungry, so she flew off to find something to eat. While she was gone the two babies took the golf ball and pushed it out of the nest with their beaks. There wasn’t room for a third baby. Mother eagle flew back just as the ball fell to the ground. She was in despair. She squawked and flew to catch the egg before it splattered on the ground. Imagine her surprise when it bounced high into the air, right off the ground. She flew about watching it bounce up and down. The two babies started to laugh. They’d never seen a bouncing egg before," Mungo said.

"Golf balls do bounce high, don’t they?" Andy said.

"Yes, they can. Mother eagle chased the ball and it finally stopped bouncing. When she flew down to pick it up she was shocked to see dozens and dozens of other ‘eggs’ lying in a pile. She realized that it wasn’t an egg after all. She quickly flew up to her nest and her babies, leaving her ‘egg’ with the others," Mungo said.

"That’s a funny story. Imagine an eagle thinking a golf ball is an egg," Morag scoffed.

"Does everyone have everything on their list?" Mungo asked.

The bairns called out, "Yes!"

"Then let’s get back to the house," Mungo said. They headed back and soon arrived. "Put all your things on the table. Who gathered everything on their list?"

"I did," said Gavin.

"I did too," said wee Fiona.

"Me too," answered Gregor.

"I got everything," Morag replied.

"I did too," said Andy.

Wee Hamish didn’t answer. "Wee Hamish, did you get everything on your list?" Mungo asked.

Wee Hamish started to cry. "No, I couldn’t find a blueberry."

"That’s all right, wee Hamish. Don’t cry. You can have a treat anyway," Mungo said. He walked into the kitchen and brought through six bags filled with sweeties and biscuits. "Don’t eat these until you check with your mums and dads," he warned. "Bairns, put the treats away and dump out your baskets. They did as told. Acorns, stones and other round objects rolled across the table. Mungo stopped them with his arm. Scooping them towards the center of the table, he said, "We’re going to make a collage."

"What’s that?" wee Hamish asked.

"We’re going to take these things you found and glue them onto this piece of wood and make a picture with it," Mungo said.

He got some glue for each of them. They began sticking acorns, twigs, pinecones, flowers, pine needles, rocks of all colors, moss, peat, and various leaves onto the wood. Soon they had a beautiful collage. "Wow! This is pretty," said Gregor.

"What are we going to do with it?" asked Morag.

"I thought we could put it up on the wall and when you came for story time each Friday, you’d see it and remember the fun time we had on our scavenger hunt," Mungo. suggested.

"That’s a good idea," Andy said.

"We’ll help you hang it up," Gavin said.

Mungo hammered a couple of nails into the wall and the others helped lift the wood onto it. As they sat and ate their snacks that night, they all looked up at the collage. "I picked up that acorn," said wee Fiona.

"I got that stick," said Gregor.

"You all were part of this creation," Mungo said. "Each of you contributed and you learned some things about nature."

"I learned something about golf," Morag laughed.

"Oh? What’s that?" Gavin said sarcastically.

"I learned that golf balls look like eagle eggs. I learned that eagles only lay one or two eggs, and that the person who hit that ball, needs more practice," she said.

The rest of the bairns started to laugh. Mungo brought through a platter filled with hard- boiled eggs and chocolate eggs left over from Easter.

DING DONG! The parents arrived. "Dad, guess what we did tonight?" said wee Fiona. "We went on a scavger hunt and Mr. McGee told us a story about a golf ball and an eagle and we had boiled eggs for a snack. I had a lot of fun tonight. Look at our collage," she said, managing to say the word right. "I collected the acorn," she boasted, pointing at it.

The other bairns told their parents much the same thing. They thanked Mungo for the wonderful time. "You can take your baskets with you and don’t forget your bag of sweeties," he reminded them. Excited, the bairns each took theirs and left. Mungo let Ginger out of the bedroom. She ran over to the eggs and ate the few that were still on the plate. Mungo looked at the collage hanging on his wall. "It was a fun night with the bairns, Ginger. Do you see the new picture on the wall?" He petted her softly. She looked at the collage and meowed. Mungo fell asleep in the chair, tired, yet happy after a wonderful evening with the bairns.

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