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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Stories - Mac, The Jokester

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 death."

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 said, smiling.

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 up.

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," he answered.

"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 suspicious.

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 angrily.

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 friend.

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.

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