The autumn leaves gently fluttered
to the ground from the branches of the trees in the woods. Some were
golden, like the sun, some were deep red, like an apple and others were
rusty orange, honey, and lime. Each landed beneath the trees in huge
piles. "Whee!" shouted Ian as he tossed a pile of leaves into the air.
"Isnít this a fun time of year, Mac?"
Mac was lying in a pile, covering
himself with the different colors. "Mac? Mac? Where are you?" Ian asked,
searching the ground for his friend. He looked in the tops of the trees.
There was no Mac. He looked behind the tree trunks and under the large
roots. There was still no Mac. "Mac? Stop hiding. Come out," Ian called.
As he walked past the pile of
leaves, Mac jumped out. "ARGH!" he shouted.
Ianís legs nearly collapsed with
terror. He put his hand over his heart and held onto the tree trunk. "Mac!
Donít do that sort of thing. You nearly frightened this poor raccoon to
Mac began to laugh. He enjoyed
playing tricks on his friend. "I rather enjoyed it," he smirked.
"There are so many leaves, Mac. What
happens to them all?" Ian wondered.
"The wind usually blows them away,
to other parts of the woods," Mac answered. "Say, Ian, do you feel like a
walk down to the beach this morning?"
"Aye, Mac. Some fresh sea air would
do me a bit of good and get my heart beating again after that scare," Ian
They headed towards the beach. "I
hope itís not too cold. Sometimes in autumn, the highland air gets a wee
bit chilly," Mac said. "Iím in the mood for some shellfish. Iíve been
craving mussels lately."
"Mussels? Those sound delicious, so
does a wee taste of crab," Ian agreed.
The waves were crashing into the
sandy beach. They were dark and ominous, showing their power with each
pounding, but the wind was calm. The two raccoons stood in a patch of sea
grass, looking down at the beach. "Looks like plenty of shells today. You
start up there and Iíll start over here. Gather all the mussels you can
and meet back here," Mac suggested.
Ian ran up the beach and walked
slowly, searching for black shells with mussels in them. He picked several
up and held them in his hand, but soon there were so many that he had to
use both of his arms to carry them. Each time he bent over to pick one up,
three or four fell. "Och, this is no good. Iíll take them back to the sea
grass and dump them and then come back for more," he mumbled. He stumbled
over the sand and tossed the shells on the ground. "Mac? Mac?" he called.
He looked around the beach. There was no sign of Mac anywhere. "Whereís
Mac? Heís probably behind those rocks over there looking for crabs," Ian
answered himself and walked towards the rocks. He climbed up on them and
looked around. "Mac? Mac? Where are you? Thatís odd. I wonder where he is.
Oh well, Iíll just sit by myself and eat the mussels I picked up and heíll
have to find his own when he gets back." Ian walked back to the shells and
sat down. He pulled apart each black mussel and ate the fleshy meat
inside. When he was finished there was a huge pile of shells next to him.
Feeling full and tired, he lay back on the grass and dozed off.
Mac, who had been in the mood to
play another trick on Ian, xad been hiding in a cave, behind the rocks.
Heíd watched Ian searching for him and then eat the mussels. Seeing that
he was asleep, Mac tiptoed toward Ian quietly. "Heís out like a log," Mac
said, relieved. "Iíll just hide in here," he said. He sat in the middle of
the shells and covered himself with them. Mac sat waiting until Ian woke
Ian yawned. "That was a nice wee
nap. Mac? Mac? Are you there?" he called.
Just then a noise came from the pile
of mussels. "You ate us," the voice said.
Ian turned around and looked at the
shells. He rubbed his ears, thinking he was just imagining it. "You ate
us," the voice said again. Ian stared at the shells. "You gathered us off
the beach and instead of tossing us back in the water, you ate us. Now we
are going to eat you," the shells said. Mac could barely control his
voice. He wanted to giggle so badly. He could see Ianís face through a wee
hole in the pile.
"Yikes! The shells are talking.
IÖIÖI didnít mean to eat you," he stuttered.
"You did eat us though; hundreds of
us and now, we are going to eat you," Mac chuckled. He moved about under
the shells. "NOW!" he shouted and jumped up from inside the pile.
As soon as the shells started to
move, Ian ran off. He was wailing and screaming and terrified. He didnít
stop running until he was back at the tree.
Mac laughed and laughed. He went
down to the beach and gathered an armful of mussels and headed back to the
tree. "Ian! Ian! Where are you?" Mac shouted.
"Up here and Iím not coming down,"
"Come on down, Ian. Iíve brought us
a delicious meal," Mac said. Ian, who is always hungry, thought Mac had
brought some berries or perhaps a crab or two. He climbed down the tree.
"Look what I brought for you, Ian. Mussels!"
"YIKES!" Ian shouted. "NOT MUSSELS!"
He fainted right there on the spot.
Mac shook Ian awake. "Whatís the
matter, Ian? Why did you faint?" Mac asked.
Ian told him about the pile of
mussels on the beach. Mac started laughing. He laughed and laughed and
laughed. "Mac? Why are you laughing?" Ian wondered, beginning to be
Mac answered, "Weíre going to eat
you," and laughed some more.
"It was you? Mac! Thatís twice today
youíve scared me. Iím going to get even with you for this," Ian said
Mac couldnít stop laughing. "Oh no,
Ian. Iím so scared."
For three days Ian wouldnít speak to
Mac. He was very angry with him. Finally Mac knew he had to do something
to make peace, so he went into the woods and brought back a bag of acorns,
some large beetles heíd found under a log, and a pumpkin pie that heíd
snuck from Agnes Hallís window ledge. "Do you forgive me?" he asked his
Ian, delighted to see the food and
be speaking to Mac again, quickly forgave him. "Aye, Mac. I forgive you.
Now help me eat this pumpkin pie," he laughed. The two raccoons sat side
by side, friends once more.