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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Rose, the Raccoon

Rose yawned and stretched her furry arms, waking up after a long nap. She looked around. "Where is everyone?" The hollow log that she lived in with her family was empty. "Mom! Daddy!" she shouted. "Randy! Ricky!" Nobody answered. Rose crawled out of the log and stood on the grass. "I guess Iíll have to go and look for them. Maybe they went down to the river," she sighed.

The azure sky was dotted with puffy white clouds. Robins and bluebirds flew overhead, some carrying worms in their beaks. A bush, covered with ripe, juicy blackberries that looked delicious to Rose, guarded the entrance to the woods. Unable to resist, she picked a few berries and popped them into her mouth. "These are delicious," she mumbled. Juice dripped down her chin onto her paws. The succulent berries were sweet. She picked a few more to nibble as she searched for her family.

"Mom! Daddy!" she called as she climbed over the roots of several aspen trees. Their leaves flickered in the gentle breeze. She was so busy eating the berries that she tripped and fell flat on her face. The berries smashed in her paw and made a sticky mess.

A ladybug landed on Roseís nose. "Youíre just a baby raccoon. What are you doing in the woods alone?" she asked.

Rose sat up and giggled. The ladybugís tiny feet ticked her nose. "Iím going to the river to find my family," she answered.

"Be careful. The woods are no place for a young raccoon," the ladybug warned and flew away. As Rose sat watching the bug fly away, several other insects came crawling out from under the roots of the trees. A green beetle, a roly-poly bug, an orange and black caterpillar and a snail climbed onto Roseís leg. "That tickles," she laughed, reaching down to pick the bugs up.

"Youíre all sticky," the caterpillar said, trying to wipe blackberry juice off himself.

The roly-poly bug curled up in a ball and rolled back to the ground. He was covered with blackberry seeds and sticky syrup. The green beetleís antenna stuck together. "Put us down!" the beetle shouted.

Rose put the bugs back on the ground. "Youíre a mess, little raccoon. You need a bath!" the snail said, wiping juice off his shell.

"Iím going to the river right now to find my mom and daddy." Rose stood up, brushed the dirt off her fur, and headed further into the woods, leaving the dirty bugs behind.

A rabbit, white and fluffy, came hopping past. Three tiny bunnies hopped behind her. "Bunnies," Rose smiled. She reached down to pet one.

The rabbit, seeing how sticky and dirty Rose was said, "Donít pet my bunnies. Youíre covered with blackberry juice and are very dirty." She rounded up her bunnies and hopped away.

Rose started feeling sad. She wanted her mom and daddy. She started to cry.


She looked up into the tree. "Who are you?" she asked.

"Iím an owl, thatís who. HOOT! HOOT! HOOT! Why are you crying, little raccoon?" he asked.

"I was taking a nap and when I woke up I was in the hollow log alone. I donít know where my mom and daddy and Randy and Ricky are. I was going to go to the river to find them."

"Youíre all dirty and sticky. Why is that?" the owl hooted.

"I ate some blackberries. Iím sticky and messy and nobody will help me," Rose sobbed.

The owl flew down and landed next to Rose. "Iíll help you get home," he said. "Follow me. I know where the hollow log is." Rose wiped the tears away and followed the owl. They walked past pine trees and mulberry bushes, dark caves that frightened her, and oak trees covered with green acorns. "Here we are. HOOT! HOOT! HOOT!"

"Itís my hollow log! Thank you, owl," she smiled and ran into the log. The owl flew away and Rose curled up in a ball and fell asleep.

"Rose! Rose! Are you going to sleep all day?" her mom asked, shaking the baby raccoon. "Weíve been out gathering nuts and berries. Why are you all sticky and dirty?"

Rose rubbed her eyes and let out a big yawn. There was her mom and daddy and brothers, Randy and Ricky. "Youíre back!" she laughed, happy to see them. She saw the berries and the nuts. "Blackberries?" She looked at her paws.

"Iím taking you to the river to wash up and then weíll have a feast," her daddy said.

Rose didnít mind. Her family was back and she wasnít alone any more.

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