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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Stories - A Good Night's Sleep

It was summer in the highlands. Nights were short as the sun stayed up much later than usual and awoke earlier. Flowers of every color and type were nodding in the gentle warm breezes. Birds chirped merrily and streams filled with salmon and trout flowed swiftly between grass-lined banks. Tree branches were full of large green leaves, veined and thick. Ian and Mac, two raccoons lived in one of the trees. It was an oak that was ancient, sturdy, and its branches reached for the clouds.

As the pinks, purples, reds, and oranges of dusk spilled across the quiet glen, Ian and Mac prepared for a good nights sleep. They climbed up the oak, found two branches that were close together and found a comfortable spot between them. The moon soon came out, lighting the semi-dark sky, as did the millions of twinkling stars. "Good night, Ian," said Mac.

"Good night, Mac," replied Ian.

Their eyes shut and they began to doze off. "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp," went a cricket.

Ian lifted his drowsy head. "What is that noise?" he asked.

"I didnít hear anything," Mac replied. "Go to sleep."

"Chirp. Chirp. Chirp," went the cricket again.

Ianís eyes opened wide and his head shot up. "I heard something. Listen," he urged.

"Chirp. Chirp. Chirp."

This time Mac heard it. "Itís only a cricket. Now go to sleep."

For the next hour the cricket chirped. Mac fell asleep but Ian couldnít. The noise was bothering him. He pushed Macís arm. "Mac, I canít sleep. The cricket is keeping me awake with all itís chirping."

Mac yawned. He was angry with Ian for waking him up. "Close your eyes and ignore the cricket. Get to sleep!" Mac rolled over and faced the other direction and fell fast asleep.

"Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp." The cricket chirped for another hour.

Ian tried covering his ears, but he could still hear, "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp." He picked some leaves and stuffed them into his ears, but he could still hear, "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp."

Fed up with all the noise, he climbed down the tree trunk to the ground below. "Iíll find you," he threatened the cricket.

"Chirp. Chirp. Chirp," it went.

"Aha, youíre over here," Ian said, running towards a blackberry bush. He pushed the leaves and branches aside and looked at the ground.

Suddenly he heard, "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp." The noise was coming from behind him.

He ran over to some feathery green ferns and parted them. "Youíre in here. I know it. Iím going to get you, cricket."

He was ready to stomp his feet and squish the cricket when he heard, "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp."

He raised his head and listened carefully. The noise was coming from near the banks of the stream. He crept towards the noise. "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp." Slowly he moved closer and closer and pounced. He landed in a pile of mud and rolled into the stream. He coughed and sputtered and choked. "Chirp. Hee hee. Chirp. Hee hee. Chirp. Hee hee," giggled the cricket, as it watched the drenched raccoon climb out of the water.

Mac woke up. "Whatís all that noise?" he called down. "What are you doing?"

Ian looked up at him, shook himself off and climbed back up the tree. "I was trying to get the cricket," he explained.

Mac just looked at him and shook his head. "Go to sleep."

Ian curled up in a ball. For the next several hours he lay wide-awake listening to the chirping. Finally, exhausted, he fell asleep. The whole day Ian wasnít much fun. He was too tired to have fun. He dragged his tail around, just wanting to go to sleep. But Mac wouldnít let him. When nighttime came, Ian was so tired. He climbed up the tree, found a comfortable spot and fell asleep right away.

Mac made himself comfortable too and curled up in a ball. He shut his eyes and then it happened, "Chirp. Chirp. Chirp." Ian didnít wake up. He was too tired. This time Mac couldnít go to sleep because of the cricketís chirping.

"Oh no," Mac said.

"Chirp. Hee hee. Chirp. Hee hee. Chirp. Hee hee," went the cricket, knowing it was going to be long night for Mac.

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