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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Mystery of the Missing Keys

Mungo had to use his imagination each week to come up with stories for the bairns. He liked to do different types of things and make learning a fun experience for them. The bairns loved Mungo and he loved them too. "Where did I put my keys?" he said to Ginger, his cat. "I’m always losing things, aren’t I, girl?"

DING DONG! "Hello, Mr. McGee," Gregor said, opening the door before Mungo could get to it. "Can I come in?"

"Certainly, come in lad. Help yourself to the sandwiches while I look for my keys," Mungo said.

"Can I help you?" Gregor asked.

DING DONG! "Get the door, would you, lad. Let the others in."

Gregor opened the door. Wee Fiona, Gavin, Morag, Andy and wee Hamish were all there. "Mr. McGee’s lost his keys," Gregor said.

"We’ll help you find them," wee Fiona offered.

The bairns lifted up the cushions to the couches. There were no keys there. They looked under the chairs. There were no keys there either. "Bairns, let’s not worry about them right now then. We’ll find them later on," Mungo told them. "Come on, eat something and then we’ll begin the story."

The bairns gobbled down the sandwiches and were ready for the night’s story. "Now, where has my book gone?" Mungo asked. He stood up and searched for his book. "Everything’s turning up missing tonight. I don’t understand it. First it was my watch and then my keys and now the book. What we need is a detective!"

"A detective?" wee Hamish asked. "What’s that?"

"It’s someone who solves clues and puzzles," said Morag.

"My mum does puzzles," said wee Fiona. "She does the crossword in the newspaper every night."

"Not that kind of puzzle," said Gavin, laughing at his younger sister. "Mr. McGee means its someone who finds lost things or missing people."

"I lost my homework once," Andy said.

"Do you bairns know who was the greatest detective of all time?" Mungo asked.

"No," said wee Hamish.

"It was Sherlock Holmes, but he wasn’t real. A man named Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes. He was born in Edinburgh. He loved mysteries and had a vivid imagination," Mungo explained.

"What did Sherlock Holmes do?" asked Andy.

"He solved murders and many other things," Mungo answered. "The man that caused Sherlock Holmes the most aggravation was called Moriarty. He was a villain."

"What’s a villain?" asked wee Fiona.

"He was a bad man. Mr. Holmes had many adventures and Arthur Conan Doyle created them all," Mungo said.

"Tell us one of his stories? What were they called?" Gavin asked, curiously.

"One of his most famous stories was called ‘The Hound of Baskervilles’. Did you know Mr. Doyle believed in fairies?" Mungo asked.

"Fairies?" asked Gregor. "You mean the kind with wings that fly around, like Tinkerbell from Peter Pan?"

"Yes, he believed in ‘little people’. I think it helped him with his imagination. Now, why don’t we become detectives for the night and find my watch, my keys and the book, so I can read you a story. Let’s look at the clues. First of all, where did I put my watch? When was the last time I saw it?"

"Where were you then, Mr. McGee?" asked Gregor.

"I was in the kitchen. I was ready to wash the dishes and took off my watch. When I finished washing them, I turned around and my watch was gone. That’s a good place to start." They went into the kitchen and searched everywhere. There was no sign of Mungo’s keys. "This is very unusual. I wonder where it went?"

"What about your keys?" asked Morag. "Where did you last see them?"

"When I came home from the market, I put them on the wee table near the front door. After I unloaded the groceries and went back into the living room, the keys were gone. Very unusual!" Mungo said.

"What about your book?" asked Andy.

"I set the book down on the table next to my reading chair. I remember doing that. When I went to read to you bairns, it wasn’t there. My, this is strange indeed."

"Let’s all look in different places and find Mr. McGee’s things," Gavin suggested.

The bairns each took a room and started looking for the three missing items. Suddenly Gregor started laughing. "I found them," he giggled. The others ran into the bedroom. "Ginger has them in her basket."

Ginger meowed. "Ginger? Girl? You took my watch, my keys and the book?" He reached into the basket and picked them up. "How on earth did you drag the book in here?" He petted his cat.

"That’s funny, Mr. McGee. A catnapper," laughed Morag.

The other bairns laughed too. "All right now. We’ve found the book. Let’s go and read that story," Mungo suggested. They spent the next half hour listening to one of their favorite tales.

DING DONG! "It’s our mums and dads," wee Hamish said. He ran over and opened the door. He was very anxious to tell his mum and dad about the mystery of the missing keys, watch and book and how it was the cat who had stolen them.

"Good night," Mungo said as the last one walked down the path. He sat down in his chair with Ginger on his lap. "We’ll have no more of that thievery," he said, petting her softly. "I’m no Sherlock Holmes," he laughed. Ginger meowed and then purred. Mungo laughed again and lay back and shut his eyes. The bairns would remember this night for a long time. So would he.

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