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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Bedtime Stories - I'm So Excited

“Mac, I can hardly wait for night-time to come,” Ian said, gathering a handful of berries.

“Oh? Why is that?” Mac plucked a few ripe ones.

“Bedtime story.” Ian shoveled the berries into his mouth. “Oh good. These are ripe. Say, why not go over to the bakery and see if there are any toss outs.”

“It’s almost sunset. There won’t be any for another hour, but I suppose we can take a slow walk over.” Mac picked a few more berries and off they went. “By the way, Ian, I don’t want you to think I’m going to tell you a story every single night. Make sure you eat a lot and get full. That will help you go to sleep quicker.”

They rummaged through a few trash cans on the way to the bakery. By the time they arrived at their destination, three bags of old pastries and cakes had been put out. “Ah, we’re in luck.” Ian stuffed his face with ginger loaf, cream puffs, custard cups, éclairs and Battenburg cake. “I’m full. I think I’ll sleep tonight.”

They went back to the tree and found a comfortable spot to lie. After ten minutes, Ian poked Mac. “I can’t get to sleep. I’m too full. Please tell me a story.”

“All right, but this is the last time.” Mac sighed. “A little girl named, Nancy, lived in the city. Once a week her mum took her to the zoo to see all the animals. Her favorites were the penguins. They’d walk around, going from cage to cage. Nancy loved the camels too. She spent a lot of time watching them walk about. She giggled when she saw their humps wiggling back and forth. Her mum took her to see the polar bears and the hippos. When they got to the penguin area, Nancy clapped her hands. She was so excited. The penguins slid down slippery slides into the water and then swam around in circles. Nancy loved the way the penguins waddled and ate fish.

When it was time to go home, Nancy cried. She didn’t want to go home. She wanted to stay and watch the penguins all day long. Her mum had to drag her all the way home because she whined and whimpered. Nancy wouldn’t eat her supper that night.”

“Not even her sweets?” Ian gulped and licked his lips.

“Not even her sweets. Her mum had bought a few Eccles cakes and had given one to Nancy, but she wouldn’t eat it. She went to bed hungry that night. After she fell asleep, she had a horrible dream. She was walking down the street and turned around. There was a penguin following her. It waddled behind her. At first she stopped to pet it, but it snapped at her and tried to bite her. She walked on and when she turned around, there were six penguins following her. Nancy started getting scared. She loved penguins, but these ones were mean and bit her.”

“Maybe they thought she was a fish. Maybe they were dreaming too,” Ian said.

“That may be true. She ran on and when she turned to look, there were twenty penguins following her. She ran and ran and ran and finally reached home. She ran into the house and slammed the door shut. When she peeked out through the curtains, penguins stood every where in her garden. They were in the flowers, on the grass and in the trees. They all pointed their wings at her and made penguin noises.”

“That’s scary.” Ian rubbed his arms and grabbed hold of his striped tail.

“Nancy woke up screaming. Her mum ran into the bedroom to see what was wrong. Nancy cried and said she didn’t like penguins any more and that they weren’t her favorite animal. Her mum gave her a kiss and told her to go back to sleep. The next day they went back to the zoo. This time her mum had to drag her all the way. They stood and watched the camels. Nancy laughed at them. They watched the polar bears. Nancy laughed at them too. They stopped to see the rhinos, hippos and antelope. Nancy laughed at them all. When they got to the penguins, Nancy didn’t want to go. She stood back and watched them waddling around. One of them jumped in the water and swam up to the window and stared at Nancy. Nancy wanted to go home after that.”

“Did she ever go back?” Ian squeezed his tail.

“Yes, she did, but when her mum said it was time to go, it was time to go and Nancy didn’t argue with her ever again. There, was that a nice story?” Mac looked up at the stars.

“Thank you, Mac. I’m glad there aren’t any penguins here in the woods.” Ian curled up in a ball and went to sleep. Mac did the same.

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