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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Work and No Play

It was one of those lazy days of summer. The sun was hot, the river was low and nobody felt like doing anything. Mrs. Hippo didn't think that way. She thought her four children should do their chores every day, no matter what. “Children, it's time to work,” she called.

Harry, Hugh, Hallie and Honey lay sleeping in a pile of soft grass.

Mrs. Hippo stood above them and shouted. “Wake up! It's time to work!”

The hippos grumbled and complained. “Mama, we don't want to work. We want to swim in the river and chase butterflies,” said Hallie.

“You can go swimming after you do your work. I'm going to make a special surprise for you tonight, sago pudding with coconut.”

The four hippos licked their lips. Mama gave them lettuce and carrots for breakfast and told them to get to work. They headed through the tall grasses and already the sun felt hot on their tough hides.

“Let's just go to the river and swim first and then do our work later,” Harry said.

The others agreed and off they ran. They splashed into the low water and lay down in the mud. “This is nice,” Hugh said.

Mrs. Hippo went to check on her children and saw them in the river. “Harry! Hugh! Hallie! Honey! I hope this means that you've done all your work. That was fast.”

“No, Mama. We haven't done our work. We wanted to swim first,” Honey said.

“Out of the river!” Mrs. Hippo made her children work all day until dark. They ate supper and sat waiting for the sago pudding with coconut. Mama poured herself a big bowl and none for the children.

“Don't we get any, Mama?” Hallie licked her lips

“You disobeyed. If you do your work tomorrow, I'll let you have some sago pudding and coconut after supper.”

The hippos went to bed. The next morning when Mrs. Hippo went to wake her children up, all she found was a note saying they'd left early to do their work. She found them working very hard. “Come children. Come and have some sago pudding with coconut.”

Each of them ate three bowls full and then Mrs. Hippo let them go swimming. Never again did they disobey.

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