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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