“I can’t get to
sleep, Mac,” Ian said, nudging the snoring raccoon.
“Why are you
waking me up to tell me that? I was sleeping just fine. Now I’m wide
awake!” Mac yawned and stretched. “What’s the problem this time?"
“I can’t sleep. I
just lay here looking at the branches and leaves.” Ian scooted up to a
sitting position. “When I was a baby raccoon, my mum always told me a
bedtime story. Maybe that would help.”
“You’re mum isn’t
here and I don’t know any bedtime stories.” Mac sat next to Ian.
“Please? If you
don’t, then I’ll lie awake all night and you won’t sleep either.” Mac
“All right. A
bedtime story. Hmm.” Mac tried to think of something. “Lie down and I’ll
tell you one. Get comfortable.”
Ian curled up in a
ball. “I’m ready.”
“Once upon a
time,” Mac began.
“Once upon a time?
I’m not a baby,” Ian snapped.
“You are the one
who asked for the bedtime story. If you’d rather me not, then say the
word.” Mac folded his arms in anger.
“All right. Go
“Once upon a time,
in a land far far away, lived a fairy named Florabell. She wore a pink
dress with a lot of bluebells on it. Everywhere she flew, the bells
tinkled and made music. This made it difficult for Florabell to sneak up
on butterflies and take rides on their backs.
One day a boy
named Marmaduke came to the meadow with his net to catch butterflies. He
ran about through the flowers and saw a lot of butterflies, but he
couldn’t catch one. He went to the stream and saw frogs and fish. He saw
bird’s nests with eggs in them and a lot of baby mice and squirrels, but
he was there to catch a butterfly.
Florabell saw the
boy running around and became rather curious. She flew over to him and
flew around his head. ‘A butterfly,’ the boy said. He grabbed his net and
caught Florabell, thinking she was a butterfly. She had shiny wings with
sparkles and was pink and green. She looked like a butterfly to Marmaduke.”
“What did he do
with Florabell?” Ian’s eyes were still wide open.
“He took her home
and put her in a jar. He poked holes in the lid so she had air and put
some acorns and bits of toadstool in with her so she had something to
“I didn’t know
fairies ate toadstools and acorns,” Ian said.
sometimes, but they usually sip nectar from the wild flowers. While
Marmaduke slept, Florabell sang a sad song.” Mac yawned and rubbed his
“Sing it for me,
“It was a pretty
song. Do you really want me to sing it for you?” Mac cleared his throat
when Ian nodded.
“I love to fly around the meadow every day.
When the sun is shining I feel every ray.
I chase the butterflies and stroke every
I tickle bumblebees and pheasant and
I sip the morning dew and pick yellow
When I’m tired of nectar I eat spiral
Let me go free; don’t keep me in this glass
I will write you a story and fill up every
“That was nice,
Mac. Florabell’s song is pretty.” Ian smiled.
sad. She wanted to go back to the meadow. She didn’t like being in the
jar. During the night her gossamer wings started to droop and lost their
color. Instead of being shimmery, the sparkles didn’t glimmer. When
Marmaduke woke up in the morning and saw Florabell, he thought she looked
dead. He took the jar outside and dumped her in the flower garden.
Florabell lay there until she felt the first sprinkles of rain. That made
her feel better. She sat with her back against a daffodil stem until it
stopped raining. When the rainbow appeared, Florabell’s wings sparkled
again. She flew into the air and all around the flower garden and then
went back to the meadow. Marmaduke watched her out of the window. When he
saw her flying away, he felt happy inside. Never again would he catch a
fairy or even a butterfly.” When Mac looked over at Ian, he saw that he
was sound asleep. “Good night, Ian.”
Mac curled up in a
ball. He heard the crickets chirping and the breeze blowing the leaves. He
fell asleep and both raccoons snored softly as the moon danced across the