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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Stories - The Unexpected Guests

It was a dark and stormy night. Gale force winds howled through the tall pines, oaks and birch trees. The branches bent with the wind and the leaves shivered and rustled together, sounding like a swarm of butterflies migrating south. Ian and Mac huddled together against the trunk of the tree, holding tightly. Ianís arms were wrapped around Macís leg. "Mac. I donít like this wind," Ian whined. "If I wasnít holding onto your leg, Iíd be blown across the sea to Ireland."

It was difficult for Mac to hear what Ian was saying. "Hold on tight, Ian," he yelled, knowing the storm wasnít going to pass for quite a while. By morning, the worst had passed. Finally Mac was able to let go of the trunk. He sat down, exhausted, rubbing his sore arms. "You can let go of my leg now, Ian. The wind has died down."

Slowly Ian pried his arms off Macís leg. He sat down next to him. They looked down. "Wow. Look at the mess. There are branches everywhere! Oh no! I see a few trees. Theyíve been completely uprooted."

Mac shook his head back and forth. "Weíd better get down and see if any of the other animals need some help. Some of them have lost their homes." They climbed down the tree and stood on the ground. Small branches and twigs crunched under every step. "You look over there and Iíll go this way," Mac said, walking towards a toppled pine.

Ian carefully stepped between the broken branches. He spotted a birdís nest. It was still in the branch, but now it was lying on the ground instead of being high up in the tree. "Mac, come and see. Hereís a nest and its got eggs in it. Whereís the mother?" He looked around. "Oh no! The motherís dead, Mac. A branch fell on her. What will happen to the eggs?" Ian cried.

Mac came over and stood next to him. "We will have to take care of the eggs ourselves. Poor wee things." He carefully lifted the nest from the branch and held it tightly. "Come on, Ian. Weíll take it up the tree. Weíll have to take turns sitting on them and keeping them warm."

Ian followed Mac. "Iíll go first," Ian said. He softly put his furry body on top of the blue speckled eggs. "Iíll keep them warm." He was feeling very sad about the storm and all the damage it did.

"You stay here with the eggs then and Iíll go and see if I can find anything else," Mac said, climbing back down the tree. He walked around the woods, picking up snapped branches and tossing them out of the way. He thought he heard crying. "Whatís that?" he asked, listening carefully. He heard it again. Carefully, he crept over the branches. "Oh, itís a wee squirrel."

"I canít find my mummy," the wee squirrel sobbed.

"First of all, wee fellow, tell me your name," Mac said, picking him up and cradling him in his arms.

"Allen," he wailed. "I want my mummy!"

"Now, now, donít cry. Iíll take you back to my place and weíll wait for your mummy there. Sheíll be out looking for you soon," Mac said, hoping what he just said was true. He carried Allen back to the tree. "Ian, Iíve brought another friend back. Weíre coming up now," Mac called.

"What have we got here? A wee squirrel?" Ian said.

Allen looked at Ian, who was sitting on the nest. "My name is Allen and why are you sitting on a bird nest?" he asked, starting to giggle.

Mac put him down on the branch next to Ian and answered, "The mummy bird was hurt during the storm. Ianís taking care of the eggs."

"Oh. Thatís nice of you, Ian. Are you going to take care of me until my mummy comes?" he asked.

Ian looked at Mac and then down at Allen. "Sure, laddie. Come on; sit with me on the nest." Allen climbed on Ianís shoulder.

"Iíll be off then. You two take good care of the eggs and Iíll be back soon," Mac said, climbing down the tree. While he was walking around the woods, he found a wee chipmunk named Frederick; a wee frog names James, a wee hedgehog named Moira and a wee mouse named Sunniva. He carried them back to the tree. "Ian, Iíve brought us some more friends," Mac called, climbing the tree.

Ian watched as the baby animals climbed onto the branch and sat next to him. "Youíve certainly been busy, havenít you, Mac?"

"The storm was bad. Their mums and dads will be coming soon, I hope. Until then, they stay with us. You watch them and Iíll go and take one more look," Mac said, climbing down.

Ian sat on the nest filled with blue speckled eggs. Allen sat on his shoulder. Frederick decided it was more fun to play with Ianís long tail. James plopped on top of Ianís head and made himself comfortable. Moira and Sunniva curled up in his lap. They were shivering and shaking with the cold. Ian removed Frederickís grip on his tail and wrapped it on top of the hedgehog and mouse to keep them warm. Soon all the babies were sleeping, along with Ian.

Mac, who was exploring the ground, saw a fallen oak tree. Sitting on one of the branches was a large chipmunk. She was crying. "Iíve lost my wee baby," she cried. "Oh, the storm. It took my baby!"

Mac climbed through the leaves and branches and soon approached the sobbing chipmunk. "Is your baby named Frederick?" he asked.

"Why, yes it is. Do you know where he is?"

"I found him and heís at the tree with Ian. Come on, follow me," Mac said. She wiped her tears and followed.

As they walked past a large stone, they saw a mouse standing on it. He was calling, "Sunniva! Sunniva!"

"Follow me. Iíll take you to Sunniva," Mac called. The mouse followed Mac and the chipmunk.

Soon they passed by a pond. Sitting on a lily pad in the center was a large green frog. "Croak! Croak! Have you seen my laddie, James?" the father frog asked.

"Follow me. Iíll take you to him," Mac called. The large frog followed the raccoon, the chipmunk and the mouse.

"Help! Help!" Mac looked over and saw a squirrel. A large log was lying on top of its tail. "Help me! Iím stuck!"

Mac lifted the log and the squirrel pulled her tail out. "Thank you. Have you seen a wee squirrel? His name is Allen. I canít find him anywhere."

"Follow me," Mac said. The squirrel got in line behind the frog. Mac turned around. There was the chipmunk, the mouse, the frog and now the squirrel and all were looking for their babies. Mac knew they were safe with Ian.

They were nearing the tree when Mac heard loud sobs. He lifted up a branch and saw a hedgehog. "My wee, Moira. Sheís gone. I canít find her anywhere."

"Follow me and Iíll show you where she is," Mac said.

When they got to the tree, they all climbed or hopped up to where Ian and babies were. "My Frederick!" the chipmunkís mother cried, hugging him. "Thank you for taking care of him," she smiled and then remembering the storm, she frowned. "Oh, but where will we live? Our tree is lying on the ground."

"You can stay in our tree," Ian suggested. "There are plenty of good, strong branches."

She took Frederick and climbed up to the highest branches. "Thank you," she called down.

"James! There you are laddie. Iím so happy that you are safe. Come with me. Your mum is worried about you. Weíll go back to the pond. Thanks Ian and Mac for taking care of my lad," the frog said. He and James hopped down the trunk and headed for the pond.

"My wee Sunniva," cried the mouse. "Come on, lassie. Letís get to our own nest and give these nice raccoons some space. Thank you, Ian and Mac." The two mice scurried down the tree towards their home.

"Moira, my wee angel. There you are," the mother hedgehog laughed. She picked up her baby and gave her a big hug. "Thank you Ian and Mac for taking care of her." She took Moiraís hand and they ran down the trunk, heading for their burrow.

All that was left was Allen. His mum stood, looking at him. He was sound asleep on Ianís shoulder. "Poor wee thing. Must have had a terrible fright with all that wind and falling branches. Iíll just carry him home. Oh, wait! We have no home. Can we stay in the tree here with you and Mac? Weíll keep out of your way," she asked.

"Thereís plenty of room," Ian smiled. She picked up her baby and carried him down a few branches and found a comfortable spot. She put Allen down and began to build them a new nest.

Nobody came to claim the bird nest. Ian and Mac knew that nobody ever would. The days went by and much of the time was spent clearing the branches up. Soon the woods looked much better. One day, after a long day of working, Mac came back to the tree. "Mac. Mac. The eggs are hatching," Ian called. He moved off the nest. "All five of them are pecking their way through the shells."

Mac and Ian stared with amazement. Soon Frederick and his mum and Allen and his mum came over to watch. Five little baby robins soon were squirming about in the nest. "Oh, how precious," said the mother squirrel.

"We need to feed them. There are so many of them. How will we ever take care of them?" Mac wondered.

"Frederick and I will take one to our place," the chipmunk offered.

"Weíll take two of them with us, wonít we Allen?" the squirrel said.

The next few weeks were busy ones. The animals were always climbing up and down, bringing worms and crickets and seeds to the wee robins. Ian and Mac were happy. Soon it was time for the robins to leave the nest. They flew off, one at a time, leaving Ian and Mac, the squirrels and the chipmunks at the tree. They flapped their wings and headed for the sunset. "Goodbye," waved Ian.

"Goodbye," waved Mac.

A few days later, the squirrels found their own tree to live in and left. The chipmunks followed shortly after that. Finally, Ian and Mac had their lives back to normal. "I say we sleep for a week," Ian said.

"I say two weeks," Mac replied. The two raccoons curled up in a ball and slept in peaceful slumber.

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