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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
I ate the whole thing!

A huge watermelon lay on the ground. Its rind was dark with pale green stripes running lengthwise. Fuzzy leaves sprouted from the vine and snaked along the sand, cocooning the melon from the harsh desert elements. It was ripe and ready to be picked.

A small brown mouse ran towards the watermelon, his tail dragging behind him in the sand. Jafar was a skinny mouse. He had a difficult time finding food to eat. He was so excited to see the watermelon patch. He almost missed the watermelon as he scurried by. Catching a glimpse of its stripes, the mouse stopped. "Wow!" he called out. "Food! This is enough to last me for a week!" He touched the rind. It felt cool compared to the hot, midday-heated sand. Wasting no time, his razor-sharp teeth dug into the melon. He scraped off some of the rind and gnawed at it for several minutes, then rested. "This rind is very thick," he noted, seeing that he still hadnít reached the flesh inside yet. He was getting tired, but kept on gnawing.

After a lot of hard work, Jafar broke through the rind. The scent of juicy, ripe watermelon wafted up through his nostrils. He could see the pink flesh. When he gnawed it, juice dripped all over his brown fur. He made a hole, barely big enough to crawl inside. Climbing into the melon, Jafar sat there, eating away at its flesh. It was so cool and juicy and tasted so delicious to the hungry mouse. All day long he nibbled on the watermelon. He spit all the seeds off to the side, into a pile, which was getting bigger and bigger. The pile of seeds wasnít the only thing getting bigger; Jafarís tummy was too. Instead of being a skinny little mouse, he was now a fat mouse.

As the day wore on Jafar found himself inside the empty rind. There wasnít one piece of pink melon left. A pile of black seeds taller than Jafar was piled high. Jafar looked up at the small hole heíd come in through. It was no longer right in front of him. It was way up at the top of the melon. He was puzzled, wondering how he was going to get out. He couldnít climb up the side of the rind. It was too slippery and wet. He tried to climb up on top of the pile of seeds, but was so fat that he sank down to the bottom of the pile. The seeds collapsed on top of him. He climbed out, brushed them all off, which wasnít easy. The seeds were sticky and clung to his fur and tail. He even had to pull seeds off his soft pink ears and his black wriggling nose.

Gazing up at the hole in frustration, Jafar began to jump. He jumped and jumped and jumped, but he always fell back down to the spongy bottom of the melon. Giving up, he decided to take a nap. When he woke up heíd figure a way out. He curled up into a ball and fell asleep.

While Jafar was sleeping, Zirak, a huge gray elephant, came walking by. He was headed to the river for a drink of water. He didnít see the melon lying on the ground. As he walked past, his tree trunk-like legs kicked it. It went rolling across the sand and landed with a thud at the bottom of a date palm tree. Jafar woke up to find himself being tossed around and around. "Whatís happening?" he called out. When the watermelon stopped rolling, he stood up. The seeds had flown all over the inside of the melon. They were stuck all over him again. It took him an hour to pull the sticky seeds out of his ears, off the bottom of his feet and off his long tail. There was even a seed stuck on his chin.

He was pulling the last seed off when he noticed that the hole heíd bore into the watermelon was right in front of him. He went over to it and stuck his head out. He saw the trunk of the date palm. He saw the blue sky above, the coral pink sand below and Zirak, the elephant, standing down at the river having a drink of water. "Ah, good. I can get out now," Jafar said. He put his front legs through the hole and tried to get out. "Uh oh," he mumbled. "Iím stuck." And stuck he was. He was still fat and full of watermelon. He was wedged tightly in the hole. As hard as he tried, he couldnít even pull himself back inside.

"Help! Help!" Jafar called out. "Zirak! Help me!" he called to the elephant. But the elephant couldnít hear him. He was too far away. "Help! Help!" he cried again.

Faruz, another mouse, was scurrying by. Heíd caught himself a juicy, emerald green scarab beetle and was holding it tightly in his jaw. He heard Jafar calling for help and ran over to see what the problem was. When he saw Jafarís body sticking half way out of a hole in the watermelon, Faruz dropped his beetle and started laughing. "Hee hee hee. How did you do that?" he asked the fretting Jafar.

"I made the hole when I was much skinnier. I ate too much melon and now Iím too fat to get out. Help me get out of here," Jafar begged.

Faruz walked over to the watermelon. He grabbed hold of Jafarís hands and pulled. He pulled and pulled and pulled, but Jafar wouldnít budge. His tummy was just too fat and too full of melon. He tried to push Jafar back inside, but he wouldnít move either way. "Youíre stuck! Youíre going to have to stay in there until you lose some weight," Faruz chuckled. Feeling very hungry at the site of the beetle wiggling about on the sand, and seeing he could do no more to help, Faruz ran off, leaving Jafar hanging half way out of the hollow melon.

"Help! Help!" Jafar called out once more. This time nobody came. "What am I going to do?" he whined. Several tears ran down his furry little cheeks. Then, much to his delight, he watched Zirak walk up the bank of the river, heading towards him. "Help! Help!" he called as loud as he could. Zirak didnít hear him. He came closer and closer. Jafar waved his little arms back and forth but Zirak was just too big to notice the tiny mouse. He started walking past, his trunk swinging back and forth. It bumped into the watermelon, which started rolling down a hill, straight towards the river. Poor Jafar was still stuck in the hole. He spun around and soon became rather dizzy. The watermelon kept rolling towards the river. Right before it reached the water, the melon hit a large rock. It burst open and Jafar was tossed out onto the sand. He landed with a thud on his head. The rest of the melon kept rolling and went into the river and floated away with the swift current.

Jafar stood up, feeling rather dizzy. He brushed the dirt off his fur, pulling more black sticky seeds off his tail and tossing them aside. He rubbed his plump tummy. "No more watermelon for me," he said. "I donít want to ever get stuck inside one again." He licked his lips and smiled, "Mmmmm, but it sure was delicious."

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