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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Bedtime Stories - Tell Me A Tale

“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 sighed.

“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 ahead.”

“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 eat.”

“I didn’t know fairies ate toadstools and acorns,” Ian said.

“They do sometimes, but they usually sip nectar from the wild flowers. While Marmaduke slept, Florabell sang a sad song.” Mac yawned and rubbed his eyes.

“Sing it for me, Mac.”

“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 mouse.
                               I tickle bumblebees and pheasant and grouse.
                               I sip the morning dew and pick yellow buttercups.
                               When I’m tired of nectar I eat spiral lollipops.
                               Let me go free; don’t keep me in this glass cage.
                               I will write you a story and fill up every page.”

“That was nice, Mac. Florabell’s song is pretty.” Ian smiled.

“Florabell was 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 sky.

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