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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Sounds of Silence

Laura and Catherine moped the entire drive. They didnít want to campout. They didnít want to sleep in a tent, or eat roots of lilies and drink dirty water from a stream. They didnít want to run into any scary animals, but most of, they didnít want to sleep in the dirt. All they wanted was to be home in their nice warm beds, with no bugs, wild animals, or dirt.

Their mum and dad often went camping by themselves but this time they decided to have a family camping trip. "Mum, you know we donít like to camp out!" Laura whined, but here they were, walking along a mountain trail, brushing twigs and leaves out of their hair every chance they got. Earlier they crossed a river and now their socks and shoes dripped with water and squished with every step.

At last they stopped for the night. Dad set up the tents. "Girls, go and gather some firewood so Mum can start supper. Iím starving."

"I hate camping!" Catherine complained, as she and Laura picked up dead branches from the ground.

Laura dropped the gathered bits of wood on the ground. "Whatís for supper?" she asked. "Whereís Dad?"

"Heís off catching supper for us," Mum replied.

"What is he catching? Butterflies? Lizards? Fish?" She saw the look on her mumís face. "Fish? We have to eat fish?" Catherine griped.

"I brought some snacks in my backpack, but yes, weíre eating fish for supper," Mum growled. She was getting fed up with the girlís constant complaints.

Dad appeared an hour later. A roaring fire popped and sent fiery embers into the air. "Get the frying pan ready, Mum. The fish were biting tonight." The girls watched in horror as he gutted the fish, cut off their heads and tails and threw them onto a heavy black pan. They sizzled away, sending fishy-scented smoke into the night air.

"Iím not eating that!" Catherine said. "You cut its head off. What if you didnít get all the guts out? Thatís disgusting!"

"Donít be silly, Catherine. Of course itís clean. If you donít eat the fish, youíll have to go to bed hungry," Mum warned.

Reluctantly the girls ate the fish. They enjoyed it much more than they let on.

Laura and Catherine went down to the stream and washed the fish scales and tinned beans off their faces and hands. They went back to their tent, pulled their wet shoes and socks off, and put on their soft, clean pajamas.

Mum and Dad made up their beds in the dirt. "Arenít you sleeping in your tent?" Laura asked.

"No. We want to be out in nature," Mum answered.

"Iím glad we donít have to sleep in the dirt," Laura said. She lay down in her sleeping bag next to Catherine. "Theyíll get eaten alive by midges and mosquitoes."

Catherine tossed and turned. "Mum, thereís a rock poking into me," she whined.

"Mum, thereís something tickling my nose. What if itís a spider?" Laura feared.

Dad removed the rock from below Lauraís blanket and Mum checked Lauraís bag for spiders. The girls were told to get to sleep right away, which is what they did, at least for a while.

"Whatís that noise?" Laura asked, shaking her sister awake. They sat up and listened. Clouds moved across the moon, making it look rather spooky.


"What was that?" Catherine asked, pulling the blanket up around her neck.

"I donít know," Laura answered.



Mum and Dad jumped up from their bedrolls. Dad bumped his head on a low hanging branch of a tree. "What is it girls? Whatís the matter?" he asked.

"Thereís a ghost hiding in that rowan tree over there!" screamed Laura.

"Itís a monster!" cried Catherine.


Dad laughed. "Itís only an owl girls. An owl is a bird and that is the noise it makes at night. It wonít hurt you, I promise. Now go back to sleep, please!"

Mum got up and tucked the blankets around them. They fell back to sleep quickly.


"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" screamed the girls.

Dad jumped up, bumping his head again. Mama sat up, rubbed her eyes and asked, "What is it this time, you two?"

"Mum, Dad, thereís a monster over there. I know there is," Laura said, pointing toward the stream. "Listen," she begged.


"Thatís just a frog. It lives near the stream. Itís small and eats flies. It wonít hurt you. Please, girls. Please go to sleep," Dad pleaded. Mum tucked them in again and soon all were sleeping once more.

AAOOOOOOOO! AAOOOOOOOOO! AAOOOOOOOO! A wolf in the forest howled.

Laura sat up in bed; her eyes wide open. "What was that?" she screamed, knowing that it wasnít an owl or a frog. "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Catherine, Mum and Dad were all awake now.


Mum shook her head. Dad sat up, but this time he was careful not to bump his head again. "Girls, itís only a wolf. Itís like Jimmyís dog back home, except it lives in the forest and comes out at night to hunt," he explained.

"Will it hunt us?" Catherine asked.

Dad sighed and answered, "No girls. See the fire. We build a fire each night and it scares the wild animals away. They wonít come near us because theyíre scared of fire."

"I didnít know that," Catherine said, satisfied with the answer.

"What if the fire goes out?" Laura asked.

"It wonít. One of us will get up and take care of it. Weíll make sure it keeps burning through the night. Relax and go to sleep. We have a long day ahead of us," Dad warned.

Laura woke up again, this time to the snapping of twigs and branches near the tent. She looked over to see if the fire was burning. It was, but she screamed anyway. "EEEEEEEEEEEEE! Itís a wolf, Dad. Help!"

Catherine woke up and looked at the looming shadow approaching. "EEEEEEE!" She screamed even louder than Laura. "Itís not a wolf. Itís a monster!"

"Girls, itís only me," Mum said. "It was cold so I went to get another blanket out of my pack."

Seeing this was going to go on all night, Dad and Mum asked their daughters move their tent closer to them. Finally they would be able to sleep.

When the sun rose the next morning, breakfast was already cooking. The girls smelled the food and jumped out of their beds. "Fish again?" Laura asked.

Without complaining, they ate the fish. They both felt a little silly about the way they had acted that night. "Weíre sorry, Mum and Dad, for keeping you up all night," Catherine apologized.

"We feel like babies," said Laura, head hanging low.

"Itís all right, girls," Dad said. "At least tonight you wonít be scared because you know what those noises are and that nothing will hurt you. Come and eat your breakfast." He hugged each daughter tightly.

After breakfast, Dad loaded the backpacks. They hiked a long distance that day. Everyone was tired because of the lack of sleep the previous night. When they stopped, Mum set up their tent once again. After another meal of fried fish, the girls happily climbed into their beds. Dad hoped they would all get a good nightís sleep. He kissed the girls good night.

HISSSSSSSSSSSSS! HISSSSSSSSSSSS! HISSSSSSSSSSSS! A snake in the distance made his presence known.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" screamed Laura and Catherine.

Dad looked over at Mum and sighed, "Here we go again!"

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