March 2013

There once was a morning that was very quiet. The big bright sun was shining and the flowers were dancing with the butterflies but the birdy birds were not chirping. The birds weren’t singing, tweeting, warbling, cawing, hooting, screeching, clucking, or even cock a doodle dooing.
It was very quiet and very still.
Birdy Chirp Chirp was sitting in her nest, knitting a cozy wool sweater for her friend Oscar the Ostrich when she heard something: nothing!
“Why it is so quiet and I can’t even hear myself think!” Birdy Chirp Chirp whispered to herself.
She opened up her window and craned her neck out to see that the morning looked very normal but it sounded very unusual. It was unusually quiet.
There wasn’t even the sound of the baby chickens saying ‘peep peep’ or the snoring of the Barn Owl who had just gone to sleep.
Birdy Chirp Chirp put on her traveling hat and her walking boots and set out to see what the source of all the silence was.
She looked for bird songs everywhere: the zoo, the museum, the playground, the elementary school, the beach, everywhere! She didn’t hear a single bird singing.
Birdy Chirp Chirp sat down and began to think.
“If I cannot hear any birds singing maybe it is because my ears cannot hear bird songs today.” She said to herself.
“I shall try an experiment! I will sing a bird song and see if I can hear it.” And she sang ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and Birdy Chirp Chirp could hear it!
“Well,” She said. “If I can hear myself, it might stand to reason that I would hear other birds singing–if they were singing. I shall conduct a survey! I will ask birds if they are singing and collect their answers!”
And she did so and when she was done she looked at her results: and she found that no birds were singing!
“Well, I shall conduct another survey to find out why they are not singing! And it probably would have saved me time to ask this the first time around!” So she flew around the world again and asked every bird why they were not singing.
Every bird that she talked to, the emus, the penguins, the parrots, the buzzards, the chickadees, the turkeys, everyone said the same thing: “What difference does it make? I’m just one little bird. What does it matter what I do or don’t do? Grump!”
It seemed that all the birds in the world had got a case of the Grumps. The Grumps come and go and are quite common and natural but never before had all the birds in the world got the Grumps at once!
Birdy Chirp Chirp spoke with her good friend Crow. Crow as usual had an idea:
“We could tell a joke and get all the birds laughing!”
And Crow flew around the world telling jokes. It helped a bit, and some birds whistled and chirped but again everything went quiet.
Then Birdy Chirp Chirp spoke with her friend Eagle and Eagle as usual had an idea:
“We could give every bird a trophy for each time they sang!”
And Eagle went around the world and gave trophies to the birds who would sing.
And it helped a bit and some birds sang very loud to get Eagle’s trophies but soon enough everything went quiet again.
Then Birdy Chirp Chirp, Crow, and Eagle went to the very wise Miss Cluck Edie Cluck Ba-Kaw, the smartest Chicken they knew.
“Hello Birdy Chirp Chirp, Crow, and Eagle!” She said and gave them all big hugs. Her feathers were warm and a little tickley.
“All the birds of the world have got a case of the Grumps, Miss Cluck Edie Cluck Ba-Kaw, and we can’t figure out how to get those birds all singing again!” Birdy said.
“Well, Grumps are normal and natural but never have I heard of all the birds in the world getting Grumps at once! Hmmm.” Miss Cluck Edie Cluck Ba-Kaw said then thought quietly.
“Birdy,” She finally said, “I know that you sing very well and you also like to knit sweaters quietly. And Crow can caw very loudly and crow can collect shiny things very quietly. And I know Eagle can screech nicely and Eagle can also soar quietly on the wind. Loud or quiet, every bird is unique. Nobody can be a bird just like you Birdy Chirp Chirp.” Said Miss Cluck Edie Cluck Ba-Kaw.
And Birdy Chirp Chirp understood and started to sing and dance in her own special way–like no other bird could. And Crow understood and started to hop in her own special way–like no other bird could.
And Eagle understood and soared in her own special way–like no other bird could.
And soon the other birds saw how much fun they were having being themselves that they began to understand.
“I’m not just any ol’ bird, I’m an ostrich and I like math!” Said Oscar the Ostrich.
“I’m not just any ol’ bird, I’m a pelican and I like to roller skate!” Said Mike the Pelican.
The next morning, when Birdy Chirp Chirp awoke, the big bright sun was shining and the flowers were dancing with the butterflies and the birds of the world were busy being themselves: Each one being a bird like no other bird could.
And Birdy knit a sweater. It was a very nice morning. It was a very birdy morning.


There once was a tailor.
He was a tiny tailor who lived in a small room in the attic of a bee barn. His name was Tootoot LePetite, and he specialized in making sweaters for the honey bees that lived below him. Every night the Bee Keeper would say goodnight to the bees and then bring Tootoot a cup of sleeping tea with a spoon of honey in it.
“Buzzzzz Buzzzzz!” The thousands of bees would say in unison to Tootoot before they fell asleep.
“Goodnight Honey Bees!” Tootoot would say and then he would hear them begin to snore:
And then it would be Tootoot’s favorite time of day. He would sip on his sleepy tea with a touch of honey in it and look out his window at his tiny town. He would see the gentle grey smoke reaching up from chimneys and candles being lit inside the cottages. He could see the people saying goodnight to friends on the sidewalks and hear the lullabies being sung to good little children being tucked into bed.
Then the very best part: Tootoot would look up into the sky and say:
“Goodnight my friend!”
And his friend the Star Friend would twinkle back.
“Twinkle Twinkle!”
Tootoot had to look carefully for his Star Friend because every night he would appear somewhere new in the night sky. One night Star Friend would hide by the Big Dipper, then the next by Leo, then Orion, Libra next, and so on with a new hiding place each night but Tootoot always found him.
“Twinkle Twinkle.” He would always say.

One day when Tootoot was handing out sweaters to the Honey Bees the Bee Keeper came into the Bee Barn and told Tootoot that she and the Honey Bees were moving to to a new town.
“There is a new field of clovers over the hill and we’re going to buzz on over there. Thank you for keeping the Honey Bees so warm all these years Tootoot. The Honey Bees wanted to give you a gift before they go.”
And at once all the Honey Bees flew up and landed all over Tootoot and tickled him with their tiny little hands.
Tootoot sang:
“Ha ha ha and hee hee hee
I’ve been tickled by a barn full of bees!
They make me laugh from my head to my feet
their tiny tickles are honey sweet.
Ha ha ha and hee hee hee
I’ve been tickled by a barn full of bees!”
Then the Bees all gave one big flutter of their wings and lifted together and Tootoot felt his
feet leave the ground and soon the Honey Bees swung him to and fro near the ceiling.
Tootoot was flying!
They set him safely back on the ground and then zipped away out the barn and over the hill.
Tootoot waved until the very last Bee went out of sight.
That night Tootoot looked out his window drinking his sleepy tea without any honey.
He looked up to the sky and said “Goodnight Star Friend!”
Suddenly instead of a twinkle he saw the Star Friend zip down out of the sky like a falling star down down down towards the dark fields.
“Oh no!” said Tootoot. Tootoot gathered up all of his needles and all this thread and put on his traveling coat and headed towards the dark fields where he saw Star Friend fall.
Tootoot traveled many long days and many dark and cold nights. Everyone he met said that they hadn’t seen any stars fall to the ground so Tootoot kept walking.
One day he met a tiny spider named Ocho hanging from some Spanish Moss.
“Have you seen a star fall to the ground?” Asked Tootoot.
“No, I have not. Lo siento. (Which is how Spanish Spiders say ‘I am sorry.’) But I may have just not seen it. You see, my eyes are often filled with tears because I am so sad and I might have mistaken a falling star for just another tear drop.”
“Why are you so sad Ocho?” Asked Tootoot.
“Because all the other spiders tease me. They tease me because I don’t make webs. I don’t like to make webs. I like to count. I like to count the numbers one through eight over and over.”
“I see. Well, if you’d like to help me look for Star Friend you’re welcome to join me.” Said Tootoot.
“Si, si!” Said Ocho (which is the way some Spanish Spiders say ‘yes’).
So the two set off together, with Ocho riding on Tootoot’s shoulder and Ocho would count each step Tootoot took until he reached eight and then he would start over again.
At the end of each day, Tootoot would ask Ocho how far they had gone.
“Well I counted to 8 224 times today.”
And then Ocho would tell Tootoot a bedtime story and they would say goodnight.

One day as they walked along, they met a Firefly sitting on a Volkswagen Beetle named
“Have you seen a star fall to the ground?” Tootoot asked.
“Nein (Which is how German Fireflies say no).” He said. “But that doesn’t mean one didn’t. For you see, I am often so angry that I shoot sparks out of my tushy and I may have mistaken a falling star for just another of my tushy sparks.”
“Why are you so angry Heinrich?” Tootoot asked.
“Because all the other fireflies tease me because I don’t like to light up at night. I like to describe every thing I see using only the color blue.” Heinrich said.
“Well, if you would like to help us look for Star Friend you’re welcome to join us.”
“Ja ja!” Said Heinrich (Which is how German Fireflies say yes)

So they walked on and on and each day Heinrich would ride on Tootoot’s shoulder and would describe the scenery:
“That tree over there is a rich blue green and the sky is a wispy azure and the fence is a light Alice Blue and the reeds by the river are a bold Prussian Blue.” and so on like that.
At the end of the day Ocho would add up how far they went.
“Today I counted to 8 397 times.”
And they would tell each other stories at bedtime and fall asleep.

One day they met an old turtle sitting by a pond named Turtle Monk.
“Have you seen a star fall to the ground?” Asked Tootoot.
“I did not see it fall, but I saw where it landed.” Turtle Monk said.
Tootoot, Ocho, and Heinrich gasped: “Where!?”
“Right there in your eyes!” And Turtle Monk pointed at their tiny little eyes.
They bent down and looked in the pond and yes! They could see in each of their eyes there was a Twinkle! They had been looking for so long and the Star Friend had been twinkling right in their eyes the whole time!
They laughed and hugged each other.
Together they moved to the Big City Ant Hill where Tootoot would make sweaters for all the ants and Ocho would count Tootoot’s stitches up to eight over and over and Heinrich would describe the sun to the little ants who were to young to play outside: “It is a big round ball of bright Periwinkle” he would say.
And each night Tootoot would sing to them this lullabye:
“Twinkle twinkle little eyes
My love for you can fill the skies
I love you for who you are
and always will whether near or far
twinkle twinkle little eyes
my love for you can fill the skies.”

There once was an lagoon. It was a deep blue ocean and it was clear and clean.
Octopi gave each other big, complex sailor-knot hugs, and squid raced each other in figure eights.
Everything was very nice and calm. Until one day when Bumpy the Grump showed up.
Everyday Bumpy The Big Ol’ Grump would lounge in the lagoon and splash the manatees. He would wiggle his nose at the herons and would crawl around on the beach and make faces at the seals.
Bumpy would kick sand at the clams, and do silly dances behind the Sandpiper’s backs. Bumpy was a Big Ol’ Grump.
One day all the animals came to Monkey to ask him to do something about Bumpy.
“Have you asked him politely to stop?” Monkey asked.
“Many times, Monkey.” Said Mr. Walrus and everyone nodded except the Sea Cucumbers who just wobbled a bit.
Monkey got a plan to make banana smoothies for Bumpy everyday so that Bumpy’s Grumpies would go away and he would smile more and not be a Grump.
So the next day Monkey climbed up a tree to get bananas for Bumpy’s smoothie.
Oops! Monkey dropped the bunch of bananas and they fell down down down right on top of Bumpy’s head!
“Ouch!” Said Bumpy.
Monkey was so embarrassed and sorry! He felt really bad and chattered his teeth and scrambled down the tree to apologize and say “I’m Sorry Bumpy.”
But when Monkey got to the bottom of the tree Bumpy was talking to a Kelp.
“Wow! I just got hit on the head by the Sun!” Bumpy was saying.
The Bananas had squished on his head and now his eyes were covered up by banana peels.
“The whole world is now dark because the Sun fell down and hit me on the head!” Bumpy was getting really upset and even when Monkey tried to calm him down, Bumpy wouldn’t listen.
Suddenly, Bumpy got an idea.
“I’ve got the bestest mostest perfect idea in the whole big entire world! Bestest idea in the solar system! Even bigger! The Universe! The Multiverse!”
Monkey thought to himself, “This must be a pretty good idea by the sounds of it.”
Monkey watched as Bumpy proceeded to get onto his hands, kick his feet into the air and begin walking around the beach on his hands.
“Aha! Now the Sun will never hit my head again!” He proudly announced as he hand-walked away along the lagoon.
Bumpy seemed happy enough to walk every where on his hands so Monkey and the other animals let him enjoy himself.
And things returned to normal again. For a while.
Then one day Bumpy hand-walked over to a Pelican and made silly noises at her and wiggled his toes like a Big Ol’ Grump.
Soon he was right back into his old ways of bothering all the other animals, the only difference now is that he was on his hands. Monkey thought to himself: “Tonight I will make Bumpy a Banana Smoothie and he will be happy and not a Big Ol’ Grump.”
So that night Monkey climbed a tree to get some bananas.
Oops! Monkey dropped the bunch of bananas and they fell down down down right on top of Bumpy’s butt!
“Ouch!” Bumpy said. “The moon has just fell down on my butt!”
Bumpy became real upset and wouldn’t listen to Monkey when he tried to tell him:
“It was bananas. Not the moon!”
Bumpy did a hand spring into the water and hid hear the rocks.
“I’ll be very very very safe in the water between these rocks!” Bumpy said.
Monkey called out to Bumpy, “Bumpy! It was bananas! Not the moon!”
Bumpy stayed in the water.
He stayed there so long in fact that his feet turned into a big fishy fin and in three days he turned into a Mermaid!
Through the years, Bumpy the Mermaid would convince other animals in the lagoon that the sky was falling and they too would hide between the rocks with him and he would tell them for hours and hours about the time the Sun and the Moon fell down on him.
And it made Monkey and all the other animals happy to see that Bumpy was no longer a Big Ol’ Grump.

There once was a piggy bank.
It was pink and the size of a mango.
It had no money in it.
Every night Panda would look at the piggy bank and shake it and there was never money inside.
Panda would look at Puppy and say: “Puppy, there is no money in this here piggy bank. My study has confirmed it.”
And Puppy would wag her tail and say, “Well, let us first allow me to also experiment on the piggy bank and we will then collect and compare our data findings.” And Puppy would then shake the piggy bank and there would be no money in it. They would then make a chart of their piggy bank studies and would write with a big red crayon “No Money!” and then they would laugh and kiss and hug. Then they would think about how much they liked yummy tummy apple pie with dreamy creamy vanilla ice cream and then they would go to bed with their tummies growling.
“Growl growl” said their tummies.
“Snore snore” said their noses.

One day Puppy was out sniffing around in hopes of finding some scraps of bamboo to bring home to Panda. Puppy came across a giant tree that was bigger than an elephant–bigger than a house!–bigger than an elephant’s house!–Bigger than an elephant hotel!
Puppy saw a small little door open in the side of the tree and Puppy trotted closer while wagging her little tail back and forth, back and forth, like windshield wipers on the school bus: “Swish Swish!”
A tiny Wood Nymph stood at the door and invited Puppy inside. She waved her hand and Whooosh! Puppy was shrunk to the size of a squirrel.
Inside there was a birthday party for the Oldest Wood Nymph Ever and there were lots of animals dancing and playing. There was a Coyote, a Fox, A Crow, a Spider, an Especially Large Earthworm, and in the livingroom there was a man snoring on the couch.
“Snore snore” Said his nose.
It was a great birthday party with lots of games to play and music to dance to.
In a small quiet room carved into a branch halfway up the trunk was a strange looking Grumpy Tree Troll with tiny little eyes and a beard that reached to his hairy toes sitting on the floor playing jacks.
He offered Puppy to play a game and Puppy did so.
Puppy won the first game of jacks. Yay Puppy! Go Puppy!
Then the Tree Troll pulled out a treasure chest of gold coins. Shiny gold coins!
“I bet you all this gold that you won’t win this next game of jacks.” Said the Grumpy Tree Troll.
“Okay.” Said Puppy.
And Puppy won the second game of Jacks! Yay Puppy! Go Puppy!
Then the Tree Troll said “I bet you all your gold coins that you won’t win this next game of jacks.”
“Okay.” Said Puppy.
And Puppy lost the third game of jacks. Oh, sorry Puppy!
Puppy knew that it was late and that Panda was probably at home waiting for her to come home so they could play fetch. Puppy needed to go home, but she really wanted all that shiny shiny gold!
“I have a bet for you.” Said Puppy.
“Name it!” Said the Grumpy Tree Troll.
“I bet you I can make you say your name.”
“Okay. I bet you a big fortune you can’t make me say my name.”
“What’s your name?”
“I’m not going to tell you my name you silly Puppy!”
“Shucks. Okay. I lose. Who should I write the check out to?”
“Leaf Bottom. Arrrgh!” Leaf Bottom the Grumpy Tree Troll covered his face in shame.
“You got me you sneaky Puppy! Here is my fortune.” And Leaf Bottom tugged at his beard.

Puppy carried the gold all the way home as fast as she could.
When she got to her and Panda’s house, it looked very different.
When she let herself inside there was a very Old Panda Bear sitting in a rocking chair with a big warm blanket over his shoulders.
“Oh, I’m sorry! I must have the wrong house.” Puppy said. “I used to live here with a young and handsome Panda.”
The Old Panda Bear looked up over his glasses. “Huh? The only young and handsome Panda that lived here was me. Many years ago I lived here with a young and beautiful Puppy.”
Puppy wagged her tail. “That was me! I mean that is me! Panda! I’m Puppy!” and they laughed and hugged and kissed.
“See, I brought you home a fortune!” She pointed at the gold with her front paw.
“But I missed you so much! Where have you been?”
Puppy explained the Wood Nymph party.
“Time is different inside trees.” Panda said.
“Yes,” Said Puppy. “I’m sorry I was gone longer than I thought but now I’m back and we’re rich!”
She went to put the gold into their piggy bank but when she lifted it up, it was heavy and full.
She shook it and discovered it was filled with tears.
“I would cry every night because I missed you.” Panda said and sniffled back a tear.
“Sniffle sniffle” said his nose.
Puppy started to cry and ran back to the Big Tree and talked to the Wood Nymph.
She shrunk her down and talked about Puppy’s predicament.
“Yes, time is different in trees,” She said “but there is always a solution to fix any problem. You see, because we burned birthday candles the last time you were here all we have to do is unburn them to get you back.”
So the Wood Nymph lit the birthday candles and had Puppy blow them out. They did this again and again and the candles got bigger and taller each time. At the sixteenth time, the candles were brand new and the Wood Nymph said “That’s it!”
Puppy thanked her and ran home. Yay Puppy! Go Puppy!
Puppy came around their street corner to find Panda cleaning the rain gutters.
When Panda saw Puppy running down the street he leapt down from the ladder.
They met each other by the mailbox and gave each other a big, big hug.
“Puppy,” Said Panda, “Let’s grow old together.”
Puppy licked his face.

There once was a Circus. It was called “Meow Meow Circus” because all the performers were cats. The cats traveled all over the American South, each night setting up their Big Tent in a different town.
They were busy cats and had hardly anytime at all for all the things they liked to do: scratching, purring, licking, napping, staring out windows, looking at flowers, sleeping, and meowing.
But they all loved their jobs in the circus because they brought so much joy to the families who came to see them.
When “Meow Meow Circus” came to town, even the angry dogs would stop their barking. Everyone loved the hard working circus cats.
One day after all the big circus tents were packed up and loaded onto the train the train conductor said “All aboard!” and blew the whistle “Woooo Woooo!” and the train went over the hill “Chugga Chugga Chugga Chugga Meeeeow Meeeow!”
But Oh No! There were Three Circus Cats still down by the river playing dice under the light of the Big Full Moon.
Rusty the Fire Eating Cat, Misty the Cannonball Cat, and Captain Butterfly the Trapeze Artist had been so busy rolling rice and having fun they missed the train!
“Oh boy oh boy oh boy when they go to hand me a burning torch I won’t be there to eat the fire!” Said Rusty.
“You think that’s bad, when they shoot the cannon nothing will happen! It will be a cat-less cannon! This is bad news for the circus!” Said Misty.
“The air. The air calls to me to swing through it. And here I am with my feet firmly planted on solid ground! A tragedy! A disaster! A CAT-astrophe!” Bellowed Captain Butterfly.
So the three cats got their paws trotting in purrr-suit of the Circus Train but soon it was out of sight and they walked along the train tracks, watching their tiny furry footsteps in the light of the Big Full Moon.
But Oh No! They came to a fork in the train tracks where they could go left or right and they didn’t know which way to go! Their kitty whiskers twitched and their kitty tails twirled.
“A train…left you…right?” Said a sloooow voice from the shadows.
“Step out into the open, you shadowy voice!” Captain Butterfly yelped.
Very slowly, a round mound stepped into the light. It was a giant turtle!
“Hello,” She bowed. “I am Turtle Monk…I didn’t mean to frighten you.” She wore a saffron colored robe and sandals.
“Which way did the train go!?” Said Captain Butterfly.
“Please..?” Added Rusty.
“The way the train went…Was the way you will not go.” Turtle Monk said.
“Of course it is! Just tell us left or right!” Said Captain Butterfly.
“Well…Train tracks are not for cats…Very dangerous you see…So if you walk down the wrong track I will make…a little sound that will make you think you chose correctly but you will suspect that I misled you…and you will think to go down the correct track…until you suspect that I misled you to go down that track…so you will then go back to the wrong track and…you will end up in Cleveland.” Said Turtle Monk.
“You are sure are sneaky!” Said Misty.
“But I will tell you where you can find Kitty Cat Trail. It is an easy walking path lined with pretty flowers and will take you directly to where you want to go.” Said Turtle Monk.
“Gee thank you!” Said Rusty.
“This going to be a riddle, I can sense it.” Said Misty.
“To find Kitty Cat Trail…to begin you must first look behind you.” Said Turtle Monk as she tucked her legs and arms into her robe and shell.
“Aha!” Said Captain Butterfly. “I’ve figured it out. Turtle Monk means that we must look within our memories and together we will find a pussy cat patchwork pattern of archetypal dreams!”
Rusty turned around and look behind himself. “No, she just meant that we had to look behind ourselves.”
“You sure are sneaky!” Said Misty.
“How long will it take us to get to the next town from here?” Asked Captain Butterfly.
“It depends…It depends on how fast you go. If you rush quickly you’ll make it by morning. If you take your time you’ll get there in an hour.” And with that, Turtle Monk tucked her head in her shell. A moment later, the Cats heard the song “Can I Get To Know You Better” playing from a radio inside.
So the Three Circus Cats set off on their way to the next town walking down Kitty Cat Trail.
“Come on you two! Hurry up! If we hurry we’ll get there in an hour and we’ll have time to get some sleep before tomorrow’s big show!” Yelled Captain Butterfly.
“Actually, Turtle Monk said that if we hurry, we’ll get there by morning. If we take our time we’ll get there in an hour.” Said Rusty.
“That’s ridiculous!” Said Misty. “Think about it. That doesn’t make sense!”
So they started running and hurrying and passing by all the pretty flowers that were dancing in the Big Full Moonlight. Lightning bugs whirled and whizzed and did a tiny fireworks display by a patch of honey suckle but the cats never saw it because they were running so fast.
Suddenly, Misty and Rusty got their tiny feet stuck in a mud puddle.
“Squishy! Squishy! Meow Meow!” They said.
Captain Butterfly grabbed a branch of a nearby Pussy Willow Tree and swung over the mud puddle and grabbed Misty and Rusty and landed them safely on the trail.
“Thank goodness you know trapeze!” They said.
They ran and ran and ran some more and suddenly they came across a fire that blocked Kitty Cat Trail and they couldn’t get past.
Rusty stepped close and took three big bites “Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!” and ate up all the fire and they started running again.
“Thank goodness you eat fire!” They said.
And they ran and ran and ran some more until they got to a very high mountain that blocked Kitty Cat Trail and they couldn’t go any further.
Suddenly, Misty saw a cannon and she had Captain Butterfly hold on to her tail as she shot herself out of the cannon and landed on the top of the mountain. She set Captain Butterfly down safely and walked back down the mountain and had Rusty hold onto her tail as she shot herself back up to the top.
“Thank goodness you’re a kitty cannonball!” They said.
They ran down the other side of the mountain and got to the Circus just as the morning sun lit up the Big Circus Tent.
“Morning! Already! Oh No! But Turtle Monk said if we hurried it would only take an hour!” Said Misty.
The Big Circus Boss saw the three cats and said “Shame on you! You missed the train and you are very late! You weren’t here to get a good night’s sleep like all good cats need! I am very disappointed.” Said the Big Circus Boss.
“But a Turtle Monk said that if we would hurry we would get here hours ago and we ran the whole way!” Said Captain Butterfly.
“No, no, tut,tut.” Said the Big Circus Boss. “He told you if you took your time you’d be here in an hour and if you hurried it would take all night. That is just what we told him to say when we saw him by the train track. We then sent out the Lightning Bugs from the Insect Parade Brass Band to signal to stand still so the Owls from the Owl Cabaret could pick you up and fly you back here. But you just kept running and running and running some more.”
“Oh.” They said.
“Hoot! Hoot!” Said the Owl Cabaret.
“You’re fired.” Said the Big Circus Boss.
So the three cats went down by the river and began to play poker. Just as they were beginning to have a real good time, it was getting too dark to see.
Suddenly the Big Full Moon came up over the trees.
“Thank goodness for your moonlight!” They said.


How To Make A Piggy Bank

There once was a little town with pointy tops of warm little homes that poked at the blue sky.
One day on the edge of town a man named Mr. Pockets came in a loud rolling carriage that breathed out smoke that smelled a bit like the time that the Naughty Kids Frauda and Kaye set fire to the Old Shoe Pile by the ladder factory.
Mr. Pockets looked at the land and thought it looked like a good place to dig up all the ground, pull out the shiniest rocks, sell them, and become rich.
And that is exactly what he did.
People from all around came to the little town saying, “I need a shiny rock! I need a shiny rock!” And they would decorate their brooms, rakes, and mops with them.
Soon all the shiny rocks were gone from his ground and Mr. Pockets thought: I’ll need to get more ground to dig up if I’m to get more shiny rocks to sell and get more rich.
So at night when everyone was asleep except for the Naughty Kids Frauda and Kaye who were always up sneaking around and stomping on flowers, Mr. Pockets would carefully set houses on his big loud smoking carriage and quietly wheel them over onto the nearby hill.
After a few short weeks, the entire town had been carefully moved and Mr. Pockets began digging up all his new ground.
Until one day he came to a very big tree whose roots were very deep and he couldn’t pull it up to get at the ground underneath. He grumbled and gave the tree a kick.
“Ouch!” Said a voice.
The voice belonged to a Little Girl who happened to be sitting among the roots reading a book.
“Well! It wasn’t my fault I kicked you. I meant to kick the tree.” Said Mr. Pockets.
“The pleasure was all mine, I’m sure.” said the Little Girl with her hands and teeth clenched.
“I own all this land around here and possession is nine tenths of the law.” Mr. Pockets snapped back. The Little Girl put down her book and growled.
“What are you doing here sitting on roots anyway?” Mr. Pockets asked.
“I’m reading. A book.”
“What book are you reading?” Mr. Pockets asked.
“Its called ‘The Scientific Laws of Kindness and Superstition.'”
“That’s nice. Why don’t you finish it somewhere else? I’m going to chop down this tree and then dig up all the ground. Shoo! Shoo!” And he waved and pushed the Little Girl on her way.
He picked up an axe and was about to set to work chopping up the roots when he saw a tiny Wood Nymph walking into a door set into the side of the tree.
Mr. Pockets was just about to tell her “Shoo! Shoo!” when she looked up, said hello, and invited him inside to a party being thrown for the Oldest Wood Nymph Ever.
Mr. Pockets was just about to decline when the Wood Nymph made a motion with her hand and Mr. Pockets suddenly shrank to the size of a teacup and was being ushered inside.
Inside he saw sat a long dinner table a Prairie Dog, a Fox, a Coyote, a Spider, and an especially large Earthworm.
“Have a seat!” Said one, “Eat up!” said another, “Dig in!”
Mr. Pockets set in and made polite conversation as well as he could with people who didn’t like to talk about shiny rocks.
When the others finally excused themselves to listen to the Coyote play the banjo in the livingroom, Mr. Pockets gulped down as much food and tea as he could.
“Oh, and what pretty silverware!” He thought.
And inside his head his brains spun like gearworks.
He thought about how all these animals had been living free of rent in a tree that was on his property and how much they owed him for living in his tree.
He slipped some of the silverware in his coat pocket and then slurped up the last of the tea.
“Guh.” Mr. Pockets said. “Me feel sleepy.”
Prairie Dog came in from the living room when she heard Mr. Pockets slump onto the table.
“I think he had too much of the Sleepy Tea.” She said.

When Mr. Pockets awoke he gathered his things up and looked around with embarrassment, his hair a mess, and his mouth feeling dry. “Pardon me,” he said and put on his overcoat. He secretly worried that he had been snoring loudly during his nap.
“Must have fell asleep there. I’ll be going.”
When he opened the door and stepped outside the Wood Nymph motioned with her hand and he zipped back up to his usual height.
Bonk! A football hit Mr. Pockets in the back of the head.
He looked around him and his shiny rock field had been somehow magically changed to a park where children were eating sandwiches and playing.
“What is this!?” He gulped.
Prairie Dog jumped up on a large mushroom. “Well, you see, time inside the tree gets a little–well–stretched. So when you took a two hour nap it was really a ten year nap.”
“Ten year nap!” Mr. Pockets gasped.
I should never have trusted a muskrat!” He growled.
“I’m a Prairie Dog.” said Prairie Dog.

Mr. Pockets ran through a town that looked completely different. There were no holes in the ground anywhere, except an occasional few made by Prairie Dog families which were marked with tiny mailboxes. The people didn’t recognize him but thought he looked a little silly jangling about with stolen spoons and forks spilling out of his pockets. He found that no one had any interest in shiny rocks.
“Oh, they were just silly. Made my broom real heavy, so I got rid of them.” They would say.
Mr. Pockets became sad.
He walked all day and found no one who was interested in shiny rocks or felt like listening to his big bullying voice.
He sat down in a mud puddle with a sign. “This world has passed me by I guess.”
Just then The Naughty Kids Frauda and Kaye jumped out from a cave and threw mud at him. Only Frauda and Kaye were all grown up now and threw a lot harder and laughed a lot louder.
Mr. Pockets threw the mud back and soon enough they had all moved into the cave to live together where they stole silverware from each other at every meal and became a happy little mud covered family.

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