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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Town By the Sea

Shalamar is a tiny town that sits at the bottom of a hill facing the sea. The houses are all different shapes and sizes and are squeezed together behind a wall that protects it from the storms and large waves.

Lili and Manon live in Shalamar. Their house sits right in the middle. It has a brown tin roof, a red door and two windows on the side. It also has a chimney. Every day Manon goes to work as a fisherman. He has his own boat and catches shrimp, oysters, cod, haddock and plaice. Lili spends her days going to the shops to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and bread.

One morning Lili kissed Manon goodbye and stood at the door watching his boat sail out of the harbor. She blew him a kiss and waved, knowing he couldn't possibly see her. It was a tradition, something she did every day. Somehow Manon knew. Lili put on her coat, as it was rather windy that day, and headed to the bakery. A gust blew from the sea and her hat went flying down the street. She chased it for a few minutes but the wind whipped it high into the sky and it disappeared. Lili simply shrugged her shoulders and went into the bakery.

The aroma of roasted almonds and vanilla icing mingled with chocolate cake and hot loaves of rye and pumpernickel breads. She bought a loaf of rye and two vanilla cakes with cherry filling and layers of flaky pastry, so she and Manon could have them after supper.

Manon had promised her a bucket of fresh shrimp. She bought some carrots and broccoli at the grocers and then picked up a bottle of creamy milk to drink. She hurried home, noticing the sky growing darker with storm clouds.

No sooner had she shut the front door behind her when a gale blew in, throwing the waves high against the sea wall. Lili thought about Manon out in his boat. Surely he was being tossed about like a cork.

All day long the gale raged. Manon' s boat didn't come back to the harbor when it should have. Some of the townspeople walked down to Lili's house to keep her company while they waited.

The storm lasted all night. Lili put the vanilla cakes in the cupboard and the carrots and broccoli into the pantry. She was too worried about Manon to eat and she could hardly sleep.

When the sun's rays shone through her window in the morning, Lili knew the storm was over. Seagulls flew through the air, screeching. They knew when the fishing boats were due to come in. Lili put her coat on and tied a scarf around her neck. She walked down to the harbor and stood at the wall, watching for Manon's boat to come in. An hour later she saw it. Her heart leapt with joy. Manon was safe. He tied to boat to the dock and climbed out of it, carrying a bucket.

That night Lili fixed the shrimp Manon had brought back. She washed his clothes and cooked carrots and broccoli for him. They feasted on rye bread and vanilla cakes with cherries and flaky pastry. They sipped milk in front of the fire. Lili glanced at Manon. He looked up at her and winked and then smiled.

All was quiet once again in Shalamar. The fishermen were home safe, the storm had passed and life went back to normal in the quiet little town by the sea.

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