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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Come And Talk To Me

The sun's gentle rays broke through the tree, spilling onto the forest floor. Mushrooms sprang to life here and there, acorns fell from the trees into the leaves scattered about the ground. Mice ran about, gathering seeds and taking them to their burrows under the tree roots. The air smelled of pine and decaying plant life. A trickling stream made its way through the forest, inviting all creatures to partake of the fresh, cool water.

Stanley, the bear, opened his eyes. The cave walls greeted him with a sheet of emerald moss and dripping water. He yawned and stretched his furry arms and went outside to see what sort of day awaited. “The sun's out. Sunny mornings make me hungry. What should I eat today, honey, or berries?” Having made no decision, he wandered down a trail toward the stream. “First, I'll get a drink.”

When Stanley arrived at the stream, he saw a raccoon, a beaver, assorted birds and a few butterflies. They dashed away when they spotted the bear. “Why do they always do that? The minute they see me, they run. I've never done anything to hurt them.” He lapped up the water and looked around. “It's sort of a lonely day today. Raccoon, won't you stay and talk to me?”

The raccoon stayed hidden inside the hollow log. “I'm not going out there. He's just tricking me so he can eat me.”

“Oh, beaver! Will you come and talk to me?” Stanley walked over the beaver lodge in the middle of the stream. He stuck his nose inside. “Come out, beaver.”

The beaver, horrified at the bear's presence, backed up into a corner at the very back of the lodge. “I'm not answering him. He just wants me to come out so he can eat me.”

Stanley looked up into the trees. “Oh birds, will you come and talk to me, or sing me a song?”

The birds scattered to the higher branches. “We're not going to talk to a bear. Bear's eat everything.”

With no animals to talk to, Stanley walked away. He wandered through the forest, stopping now and then to call to an animal. “Wait, don't run away! Stop! I won't hurt you.” But all the animals ran and hid from him.

Stanley sat on an old tree stump. Ants crawled over his claws and centipedes wriggled over his paws. “I wish someone would talk to me. It's lonely being a bear.” He grabbed a handful of blueberries from a bush and popped them into his mouth. “I don't eat raccoons, beavers, birds, or butterflies. I eat honey and berries and fish.”

The raccoon had followed Stanley to see who or what he was going to eat. When it saw the bear eating berries and heard him talk about eating fish and honey, he thought maybe he'd made a mistake. Even though he was scared, he came out of his hiding place. “Hello, Stanley. I've come to talk to you, but you have to promise not to eat me.”

“I don't eat raccoons. Will you really stay and talk to me?” The bear smiled.

“Yes. I'll stay.” For the next hour Stanley and the raccoon told jokes and learned a lot of things about each other.

When the beaver heard them laughing he went to investigate. “It's the raccoon. It's talking to the bear. Bears must not eat raccoons. Maybe the bear won't eat me either.” The beaver climbed out of its lodge and ran over to join the bear and raccoon. “Can I stay and talk to you both?”

The bear clapped his paws together. “Yes, come and talk with us.”

The three of them chatted away, giggling and telling stories. Soon some of the other animals of the forest heard and came to join the group. Mice, butterflies, foxes, squirrels and even a rabbit came to laugh and talk to Stanley.

As the sun set, the animals had to go back to their homes. “Come back tomorrow,” Stanley said. “I'll tell you some more stories.”

Every day the animals of the forest got together for a few hours to listen to Stanley's stories and told their own. Stanley never was lonely again.

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