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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Three Hungry Rats

Three Hungry Rats

Wiggles, Twitch, and Fluffy were three rats that lived among a pile of rocks. Wiggles and Twitch were small rats, with rather short tails, but Fluffy was a huge rat. His tail was long, his teeth were big, and his feet were so big that sometimes he accidentally stepped on his friends. He always had to be careful. "Watch out, Fluffy!" Twitch would shout.

"Get your foot off me!" Wiggles often cried.

It was hard finding food in the winter. Snow covered the ground and it was so cold in the highlands of Scotland that all the lochs and ponds froze over with a thick layer of ice. "Iím hungry," Twitch complained. "Weíve not had anything to eat for days. My tummy is grumbling all the time."

"Iím hungry too," Wiggles whined. "Fluffy, why donít you go and find us some food. You are much bigger than we are and itís easier for you to find things. Your eyes are bigger and can see better."

"I might be bigger, but that only means that a cat or a fox can find me easier," Fluffy replied.

"Be careful then. Just step on them with your big feet," Twitch giggled.

"Thatís not funny," Fluffy pouted. "Okay, Iíll go and look for some food, but donít be surprised if I donít come back. If weíre hungry, so are the foxes and cats."

Fluffy left the rocks and plodded through the snow. His feet were so big that he constantly tripped on them. "Brrrr. Iím freezing," he said, rubbing his arms. He walked and walked and walked and soon came upon a croft. It was sitting off by itself near the woods. Fluffy saw smoke coming out of the chimney. "Iíll bet they have food in there." He sniffed the air. "Smells like barley soup. Itís probably bubbling away in a big iron pot over an open fire. Yummy." He crept closer and closer, always on the watch for a hungry cat.

As he neared the front door, it opened wide and a man came outside. He picked up a few pieces of peat for the fire, and then went back in. "Nowís my chance," Fluffy said, and darted into the croft. The door shut behind him. He hid behind an old couch. "Itís warm in here," he said, rubbing his arms and enjoying the heat. "I think Iíll have a look." He carefully peeked from behind the couch. "Thereís the fireplace. Thereís another couch. Whatís that sitting on the couch? Yikes! Itís a cat." Fluffy gulped and hid.

After a while his tummy was growling loudly. He thought of his friends, Twitch and Wiggles and knew they must be even hungrier than he was. "Iíve got to get some food!" He peeked again and saw that the cat was sleeping. Slowly he crept from behind the couch and headed for the kitchen. There was a kettle of barley soup, bubbling away, just like he thought. "Yummy," he whispered. He spotted a plate piled high with hot bannocks, sausage rolls that smelled delicious, and flaky bridies. "Iíll bet those are filled with onions and bits of steak, and maybe some cheddar cheese." He licked his lips. Seeing that nobody was around, Fluffy crept up the table and began to nibble on the sausage rolls and bridies.

"SHRIEK! SHRIEK! SHRIEK! Itís a rat and itís on our kitchen table!" shouted a rather plump woman. "Hamish, come and catch the rat!" she called to her cat.

Fluffy gulped in terror. He was frozen in fear as the big orange cat moved towards him. "Yikes!" He grabbed a bridie in his hands and ran down the leg of the table, across the living room and hid behind the couch. Hamish chased him and tried to catch him. Just then the front door opened and Fluffy ran outside into the freezing snow. He ran and he ran and he ran. He found a haystack and crawled inside just as the cat pounced at him. MEOW!

"Whereís the bridie?" Fluffy wondered. "I must have dropped it. Iíll not get it now," he frowned. Fluffy stayed in the haystack for hours. The cat paced back and forth, waiting for him to come out. When the sun set that night, Hamish was called back into the croft for the night. When the door had shut behind him, Fluffy came out of the haystack. "Now what will I take back to Wiggles and Twitch?" Lying near the haystack were a few grains of wheat. "I guess this will have to do." He picked them up with his sharp teeth and ran home through the freezing snow.

"Where have you been?" Wiggles asked.

"We thought youíd been eaten by a cat, or a fox," Twitch said.

"I nearly was," Fluffy said. He told his friends what had happened. "All I have is this wheat."

"Thatís good enough for me," Wiggles said.

"Me too," Twitch added.

The three rats shivered in the cold and nibbled on their wheat, happy that at least they had some food and didnít have to worry about Hamish eating them!

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