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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Sunflower Seeds and Crows

Crawford, the crow, lived in a garden filled with giant yellow sunflowers with black centers. Some of the leaves were bigger than he was, which was good when it was very hot outside and he needed to find shade. Everywhere he looked in the garden, he saw bright yellow petals. The center of each of the sunflowers was filled with seeds.

Crawford tended to every flower, keeping them watered, weeded and free of bugs. At harvest time he picked each seed, examined them for perfection and then put them into a burlap sack to save for winter. He had a special place in his garden where he kept the burlap sacks. They were stacked on top of each other, reaching almost as high as the giant sunflowers. The imperfect seeds were put aside and eaten everyday for snacks.

Crawford lived happily in his garden. Some days he stood in the dirt, looking at the colors surrounding him. There were yellow petals, as bright as the sunshine, green leaves and stems and brown dirt under his feet. He also loved the blue color of the sky, the whites and grays of the clouds and he even loved the glossy black of his own feathers.

One day, as Crawford was weeding with his hoe, another crow flew down from the sky above and landed on top of the biggest of all his sunflowers. To his horror, it began to peck at the seeds in the center. "Caw! Caw!" Crawford cried out, dropping the hoe and running over to the flower. "My precious seeds! Leave them alone! Caw! Caw!"

The crow looked down at a frantic Crawford. It flew down to the ground next to him. "Iím sorry," she told him. "I didnít know it was your garden," she apologized.

"Caw! Caw!" Crawford squawked again, trying to calm down. "It is my garden! Iíd appreciate it if you left right now!"

"Iím Cynthia. I flew many miles and Iím tired and hungry. May I please rest here for just a little while? Iíll leave soon, I promise," she pleaded.

"No! You must go right now. I canít risk my precious sunflowers being ruined, even on accident!" Crawford demanded, very worried about his garden.

Sunflower Seeds and CrowsCynthia hung her head low. "Iíll leave then," she said, sadly. She walked away, leaving Crawford standing among his garden of sunflowers. She turned and looked back at him, sighed and then walked over to a nearby patch of dandelions. They were soft and fluffy and made her feel better just by touching them. She smiled, happy to have a place to rest. She lay down on the soft petals and fell asleep.

Crawford stood, watching Cynthia walk away and then went back to watering, hoeing and weeding. He had a hard time concentrating on his work. He kept picturing how sad she had looked. "Maybe I was a little bit mean to her," he said. He put his hoe and water can down and went looking for her. He found her sound asleep in the bed or dandelions. Crawford let her sleep and walked around to think. He came upon a patch of green striped watermelon, growing among thick and tangled vines and leaves. He thought they looked ready to eat, so he searched for a rock or stick to break one of them open. He picked up a big, speckled rock with his wing, walked over to the watermelon and began hitting it. It took only a few strikes before it burst open, exposing the juicy, reddish-pink flesh, full of little black seeds.

"What have we here?" he asked. "My, oh my. What a delicious looking melon." He took a deep breath. "Ahhhhhh. It smells even better than it looks." With his wing he scooped out a big chunk.

"Excuse me! What are you doing? This isnít your watermelon patch too, is it?" Cynthia asked, surprising Crawford.

He turned and looked at her. She seemed to be very angry. Crawford dropped the chunk of watermelon on the ground. "I came looking for you. I found you asleep in the dandelions. I saw these watermelon over here and no, they arenít mine." He continued, "Would you care to join me?" He scooped another chunk of the juicy melon out and handed it to her. "Here you go," he said.

The starving Cynthia gobbled it up, letting the juice drip all over her black feathers. Crawford joined her and the two of them ate the whole melon, right down to the rind. All that was left, besides the rind, was a pile of slippery black seeds. Both crows rubbed their fat little tummies and then sat down on one of the thick vines. "I think I need a nap now," suggested Crawford. He stood up, stretched his wings and yawned. His big yellow beak opened wide.

"Me too," giggled Cynthia.

Crawford said, "Cynthia, why donít you come with me to my garden to stay. You can help me weed and tend to my beautiful sunflowers. We could do things like this every day."

Cynthia smiled and answered, "Thank you, Crawford. Iíd like that."

The two of them flew back to Crawfordís garden, found some soft dirt under one of the giant sunflower leaves and took a short nap. As they slept, a gentle breeze blew the erupting dandelions, scattering their little white feathery helicopters through the air. Some landed on the pile of sticky watermelon seeds that Cynthia and Crawford had eaten earlier. Others floated across the deep blue sky, heading towards the horizon. The sun looked down on the two napping crows and began to follow the floating dandelion seeds into nighttime.

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