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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Stories - Letís Go Ice-Skating

Snow blew around the two raccoons. Their gray fur coats were crusty and stiff with chunks of frozen ice. "Iím freezing," Ian whined. "M-m-m-m-my paws are cold. I can h-h-h-h-h-h-hardly feel them!" he shivered.

"Itís not that cold," Mac said, trying to convince Ian and himself that was true. His paws were nearly blue with the cold. Ice was caked around the patches of his eyes. His tail was so heavy that he had to drag it behind him as he walked along.

"Right now, I wish I was sitting on a beach in the Spain, where itís warm," Ian dreamed. "Where are we going anyway?"

"Youíre the one who wanted to go ice skating, remember? Weíre nearly to the loch. I know thereís a small cave close to it. We can thaw there," he snidely remarked.

They trudged through the deep snow, having to raise their legs high with each step. After another half an hour, they reached the loch. "There it is, Loch Mirey," Mac pointed out.

Ian stopped and looked. "Wow, itís big. I see others ice-skating. Letís go," he now said, enthusiastically. He started to run and looked quite silly to Mac. "Iíll beat you there," he called out.

Mac let Ian run ahead. He was in no hurry. When they got closer to the frozen loch, Mac went in search of the cave while Ian ran towards the ice. "Look, Mac," he cried out. He was gliding across the frozen water. "Wheeeeeeee!"

Mac shook his head. He was too cold to skate right now. He looked around, moving bushes, and brushing snow off the boulders. "Aha!" he called. He found the entrance to the cave. He used his paws to knock all the snow off that was clinging to the cold stone boulder. He stuck his head inside. It was very dark and he couldnít see a thing. Putting his arms out in front of him, he felt his way inside and sat down, his furry back against the cave wall. Rubbing his arms and legs, Mac already started to feel warmer. He could hear Ian outside making all kinds of noise. As Mac sat there he thought he could hear breathing noises. He listened carefully. "Whatís that noise?" he whispered softly.

He stood up and went back further into the cave. Suddenly he stepped something soft. Bending down, Mac felt what heíd stood on. It was wide, soft, warm, and furry. Just then he heard it, a growl. A pair of eyes glowed in the darkness. "YIKES!" Mac screamed and ran out of the cave. "A bear! A bear!" He ran through the snow onto the frozen loch. It had stopped snowing and the sun had actually come out, shining on the ice and nearly blinding Mac. On top of that, he didnít know how to ice-skate. Mac began to slip. He slid across the lake. Ian saw him and started clapping, not realizing the danger. "Very good, Mac. I didnít think you knew how to skate."

"A bear! A bear!" Mac called out.

Just then Ian noticed the big brown bear coming out of the cave. It looked very angry and was growling and heading towards the loch.

"Here it comes," Mac warned. "Help me, Ian," he begged.

Ian skated over towards Mac. He took his hand and they skated across the loch. The bear climbed onto the ice. It began to slide. It had been hibernating and its paws were very soft and that wasnít good at all for ice-skating. The bear fell on its tummy. All four legs spread out to the side and as hard as it tried, it couldnít get up.

After watching the helpless bear and feeling a little bit cheeky, Ian said, "Stay here, Mac. Iím going to tell that bear what I think of it."

"No, Ian, Donít," Mac pleaded but it was too late. Ian was skating towards the floundering bear.

Ian skated circles around the bear. It tried to get up and a few times succeeded, only to fall again on its tummy. Ian started laughing and pointing at the bear, moving closer and closer. He started showing off a bit too, doing tricks on the ice. In fact he was doing so much showing off that he didnít notice that the bear had figured out how to stand on the ice and was slowly moving towards him. Mac noticed though. "Ian. Watch out!" he screamed.

Ian turned around and looked at the bear. It was only a few feet from him and very angry with the raccoon. Ian quickly skated into the middle of the loch and watched to see if the bear was going to fall or not. It didnít. It moved closer and closer. Ian was about to take off towards Mac when he noticed that his long tail had fallen into a crack in the ice. It was wedged in there and he couldnít get it out. He tugged and tugged. "Help me, Mac!" he cried. Mac started to move on the ice but slipped and fell. The bear was moving closer.

Frantically Ian pulled at his tail. It wouldnít budge. The bear was right next to Ian and about to swat at him with his big paws when suddenly the ice made some cracking noises. The bear was too big and the ice was breaking under his heavy weight. Suddenly it split wide open and the bear fell into the icy water of the deep loch. Ianís tail came free and he skated across the ice, helped Mac stand up, and the two of them ran as fast as they could until they were safe in forest of tall pines.

The raccoons watched carefully as the bear climbed out of the water, back onto the ice, and went back to the cave, shivering and cold. "I think that will be the last time weíll be going ice skating," Mac said.

Ian looked at him and sighed, "I donít know about that. That was kind of fun!"

Mac just shook his head and walked towards home.

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