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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Lighthouse

They walked towards the edge of the cliff. Maggie could see the lighthouse not too far ahead. "There it is, Grandpa. I see it. Look how tall it is and how white," she said. Grandpa held her hand tightly as they walked through the field of wildflowers. Pink thrift, yellow primrose, bluebells, and periwinkle-colored Jacobís ladder brushed against their legs as they passed through them. The lighthouse stood like a mighty giant, guarding ships against the rocky cliffs, warning them to stay away.

As they neared the cliff edge, Maggie said, "What is that noise, Grandpa?"

"Why thatís the sea," he told her.

"It sounds like big booms, not the sea," Maggie said.

"The waves are rough here, lass. When they hit the cliffs they crash into them with a mighty roar. Would you like to see them before we go to the lighthouse?" Grandpa asked.

"Yes, Grandpa," she replied.

They walked towards the edge of the cliff. There was a trail that led half way down the cliff. "Weíve got to be very careful here, lass. Itís dangerous, but youíll see something beautiful there."

"Iíll be careful, Grandpa," Maggie assured him. She took his hand and they walked down the trail.

"What are those birds?" she asked, pointing.

"Those are puffins. Theyíre cute wee things. See their orange and blue beaks?"

"Oh, I do. They look like clowns and like penguins too," Maggie said, smiling.

"They do at that. Come now, leave the birds and letís go further down," Grandpa said. They walked down a bit further.

"This is noisy, Grandpa," Maggie said, putting her hands over her ears. The sound of the beating waves was almost deafening.

Grandpa shouted, "Watch," and pointed to an incoming wave.

It rolled in, white-capped and dark, nearly black. Suddenly it hit the side of the cliff. BOOM! Water sprayed up into the air, nearly reaching Maggie and Grandpa. One wave after another pounded against the stone walls of the cliffs. "I donít like this, Grandpa. Letís go," Maggie complained.

They walked back up the trail to the top. "There now, lass. This is better, aye?" Grandpa asked.

"Yes, Grandpa. I didnít like that. It was too noisy. It did look pretty, but I was scared. I liked the puffins too," Maggie said.

"Letís go to the lighthouse now. Mr. McKenzie will be waiting for us."

They reached the lighthouse door. Mr. McKenzie opened it when they knocked. "Well, hello there. How are you, Maggie?" he asked bending down and smiling at her.

"Iím doing well, Mr. McKenzie. Grandpa and I went down the trail. We saw puffins and huge waves. It was really noisy," Maggie rambled.

Mr. McKenzie smiled at Maggie and her grandpa. "Aye, it gets noisy. Come inside and have a cup of tea. Maggie, Iíve just bought some biscuits. Would you like some?

Maggie grinned. "Yes, please."

They walked into the lighthouse. It was small inside. There was a small kitchen and a couch to sit on. Maggie and her grandpa sat down. She looked around her. The walls were painted white, just like on the outside. There was a staircase leaving up to the top. It went around and around in a spiral. The windows inside were narrow and there werenít too many of them. Yet, it was light enough. "Here you are then," Mr. McKenzie said, handing Grandpa his tea, and Maggie her biscuits and tea.

"Thank you," Maggie said. "Can I go up those winding stairs?" she asked after nibbling on a few cookies.

"Aye, lass, but be careful at the top. Thereís a railing and itís a long way to the ground if you fall," Mr. McKenzie warned. "In fact, I think your grandpa and I will come with you."

Maggie climbed quickly up the stairs, followed by a much slower Grandpa. Mr. McKenzie came up last. She opened the door and went outside. She looked over the edge. "We are high up," she said to her grandpa as he came through the door.

She gazed at the large glass windows. Inside was a light. It was huge. "Why is there a big light?" she asked Mr. McKenzie.

"See those solar panels?" he said pointing to them. "They light up this big light at night. When ships come by they see the light. It warns them the cliffs are here. Itís very bright."

Maggie looked all around. The wind was blowing and it was very cold. She pulled her pale pink sweater around her tightly. "Brrrrrrrr. Itís nippy up here," she said. She stood at the rail and looked down. She could see the ocean. "Look, Grandpa. There are the big waves again."

"Aye lass, they are big," Grandpa said, gazing out to sea.

They stood up there for a while and then went back inside. Maggie looked at some seashells while her grandpa and Mr. McKenzie talked. When they finished, Maggie jumped up. "Thanks for the biscuits and tea, and thanks for letting me see the lighthouse and telling me about your big light," she said in one breath.

"Youíre welcome, lass. Iíll see you again sometime," he said and waved goodbye to Maggie and her grandpa. He shut the door behind them.

"Well, now you know how a lighthouse works," Grandpa said to Maggie.

"I had fun today, Grandpa. I canít wait to tell Gran about everything I saw today, especially the puffins," Maggie said and ran ahead through the wildflowers towards home.

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