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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Bedtime Stories - Tartan Roses

“I know. I know. You want another bedtime story. This is four nights in a row, Ian. Is this to be a regular thing now?” Mac folded his arms across his chest and sighed.

“I enjoy it and it does help me to sleep better. I stop thinking about all the bad things and concentrate on your stories. Please?” Ian grinned.

“All right. I was thinking about one of my ancestors. Her name was Aggie. She lived in the highlands, not far from here. She was a gardener and grew roses. People came from all over Scotland to buy her roses. Even the kings and queens purchased them. She experimented with a lot of different colors and sizes. Some of her neighbors said she was a witch because she had roses on her bushes that were the size of a man’s head.” Mac held out his hands to show the size. “In one corner of her garden, hidden from everything else, Aggie had planted a very special bush. She’d wrapped the roots in an old tartan kilt and had made sure it was well watered and had plenty of sun. She hoped that these roses would be the largest roses she’d ever grown. She didn’t want anyone else to know. They’d surely accuse of her of being a witch.”

“Was she a witch?” Ian bit his claw.

“No. Of course not. She just had a green thumb. Raccoons don’t usually become gardeners, do they?” Mac blew a puff of breath out. “One morning she went to the back of the flower garden to see how her special rose was doing and she saw a few buds. Aggie became very excited. It was working. The buds were as big as her fist. Hoping to help the flowers grow, Aggie started singing to them.”

“What did she sing, Mac?”

“She sang old Scottish songs, ones that we don’t know today; songs about the rain and how green it is and all that rubbish.” Mac scoffed. “A few days later when Aggie went to see about her roses, she ran to the back of the garden. She let out a scream when she saw what had grown. It wasn’t a bad scream. It was a surprise type scream.”

“Oh. You mean like this. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

“Ian! Stop that right now. You’re supposed to be going to sleep. Yes, like that. Growing all over the rose bush were tartan roses. The bush had absorbed the color of the tartan kilt into the roots. Aggie was delighted. When the king sent his messenger to collect roses, Aggie gave him a dozen of the tartan ones. The king was so thrilled that he made sure Aggie had all the old tartan kilts in the castle. Soon every rose in her garden was tartan. There were Stuart tartans, McDonald tartans and Bruce tartans. Her favorite was the Royal Stewart dress tartan rose.”

“Is that a true story? If it is, how come we’ve never seen any of them around here.” Ian frowned.

“Because all the other raccoons in the highlands thought that Aggie was a witch. They didn’t believe her story about the kilts. They thought she must be doing it with magic and had her hung. Poor Aggie.”

Ian started laughing. “How is she your ancestor if she was hung? You never mentioned that she had children. She must have or you couldn’t be her descendant.”

“Oh. Uh…um…I suppose I forgot to mention that. Aggie had six children, three little boy raccoons and three little girl raccoons. The villagers thought they might turn into witches and had all of them hung too, all except one of the laddie raccoons, Geordie. He managed to escape and told the story to his children, who told it to theirs and so on. It’s quite the family legend.”

“I see. If you say so, Mac. Thanks for the story. I’m off to sleep now.” Ian rolled over and curled in a ball. “Good night.”

Mac thought about his ancestor, Aggie and the tartan roses, but soon fell asleep too.

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