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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
A Night In the Woods

Jonas went for a walk in the forest. The afternoon sun sat above the horizon, casting its warming rays on the trees. He heard birds chirping in the trees and raccoons and squirrels rustling in the leaves. “I love going for walks in the forest. It's so peaceful and quiet.” He hummed a song as he walked along the path. In fact Jonas got so caught up in the peace and quiet that he didn't pay attention to how late it was getting and when he finally noticed, he could hardly see, it was dark.

Instead of being quiet and peaceful, Jonas heard strange noises. Frogs croaked, owls hooted and strange things slithered through the leaf litter and sticks on the ground. “What was that noise?” He looked down at his feet and could hardly see them. “I'm lost. How will I ever get home.”

It got darker and darker. Jonas noticed there was no stars or moon, and if there were, he'd never see them because of all the tall trees.

A pair of eyes glowed in the dark. Jonas gasped. “What's that?” He bit his fingernails. “What if it's a wild animal that wants to eat me?”

Another pair of eyes glowed, and another, and another until there were dozens of pairs of eyes staring at Jonas. “Who are you? What do you want?” He backed up against a tree and clung to it with fear. “Go away!”

He shut his eyes and hoped when he opened them that it would be daylight and this would all have been a bad dream. It was still dark and the eyes were still staring at him. “What if they're spiders and are spinning webs around me?”

Suddenly a light flashed in Jonas's face. “Jonas, what are you doing out here in the forest all by yourself in the dark?” His brother Tody shined the light all around. “Look at all the animals. They've come to watch over you and keep you safe.”

Jonas smiled when he saw the raccoons and the mice and the chipmunks and squirrels. None of them wanted to hurt him. He felt rather foolish. Jonas followed his brother back home. They lit a fire and sipped some soup. That night Jonas slept well. The next day he gathered a bowl of nuts and pieces of apple and pears and took them into the forest. “Here you go, my friends. This is to thank you for watching out for me last night.” He put the bowl down. Soon all the animals gathered round and nibbled on the food.

Jonas never went walking alone in the woods again at night and he always remembered the forest animals were his friends.

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