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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Big Pumpkin

Every autumn Jiggles, the mouse, waited patiently for the pumpkins to turn orange. Orange was his favorite color. The tangled vines and large leaves grew around the pumpkins. Jiggles ran through the pumpkin patch trying to decide which one he wanted for his own this year. “This is it! This is my pumpkin! It's the biggest, the orangist, sweet smelling pumpkin in the whole patch.”

Jiggles saw a few other mice running around in the garden, looking for their favorite. He didn't want any of the other mice to claim his pumpkin, so he stayed at the pumpkin to guard it from all the other mice. He climbed up on top and snuggled in between the cracks and bumps.

All day and all night he stayed on that pumpkin. His tummy growled with hunger and his lips ached for a drink of water, but he was too afraid to leave. “What if another mouse comes along while I am off getting a drink? No, I can't leave.”

A crow flew by and saw Jiggles on the pumpkin. “Whatever are you doing lying on that pumpkin?”

“Guarding it. You see, this is my pumpkin. It's the biggest in the whole pumpkin patch and I want it for myself. If I leave, then some of the other mice might come along and claim it as their own.” Jiggles explained things to the crow.

“I'll watch it for you. I'll stand right here and guard it while you run along and find something to eat and drink. I'm sure your tummy is growling with hunger pains,” the crow said.

Jiggles thought about it. “All right. If you'll guard it for me, I'll go and find something to eat. Thank you.” Jiggles ran off.

The crow, being a tricky old bird, waited until Jiggles was gone and then pecked at the pumpkin. “This is delicious.” He let out a loud caw and several more crows flew down. They gobbled up the pumpkin, even all the seeds inside of it too. When they'd finished, they flew away, leaving nothing but the stem.

Jiggles filled up on cheese that he found behind Mr. Jones's house and ran back to the pumpkin patch. He felt much better now that he'd had something to eat and drink. When he saw the stem and no pumpkin, he sat down and cried. “Tricky crow. You ate my pumpkin.”

Jiggles had no choice but to look for another pumpkin. He ran all through the patch, but every pumpkin that he saw was already claimed by another mouse. “Jiggles, there is one pumpkin left. You can have it,” one of the mice said, giggling.

The only pumpkin in the whole patch that belonged to nobody was a small, scrawny pumpkin that was barely bigger than Jiggles. The mouse sighed and climbed on top of it, found a comfortable spot and lay down. He heard the crows cawing as they flew overhead. “Caw, caw, caw. That's what you get for being greedy. Caw, caw, caw.”

Every year from then on, Jiggles didn't try to get the biggest pumpkin in the patch. He was content having a middle-sized one and the crows never bothered him again.

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