FREDDY AND THE STICKER PLANT c.2010

 

One day Freddy was sitting under a burdock plant next to the barn.  The summer sun was warm and it left dapples on Freddy’s back where it shined through the big leaves.  The burdock plant was very tall.  It reached all the way up to the window in the big red barn.  The window looked out of a room Freddy could not get into from inside the barn.

“I wonder what is in that room.” Freddy thought.  “Maybe I can use this big weed for a ladder and look through the window!”  With that, the little mouse began climbing up the stalk and resting on the big leaves when he got tired.  Soon, he came upon some pretty flowers.  “Wow!  I didn’t know this weed had such pretty flowers,” Freddy thought to himself.  They were pink and white and instead of petals, they had stickers all over them.  Freddy touched one very carefully and found it quite prickly.  “I will just look at these!” he said aloud, “and I won’t get too close to them!

He kept climbing and resting and leaving the flowers alone until he was almost as high as the window!  He found the big burdock weed did not grow flat against the wall as he’d thought, but was quite a distance away as the top grew smaller.  Freddy sat on a leaf, carefully removed from the prickly flowers.  He thought about how he could reach the window.  He looked all around and thought some more.  Then, he had a very silly thought.

“If I stick some of these flowers together, I can make a bridge and make it fall against the window.”  Do you see how silly that thought was?  Can you imagine what will happen when Freddy begins to work with those pretty stickers

Freddy figured if he tore off a piece of the burdock leaf he could wrap it around one of the prickly blossoms and pull it off.  “I must be very careful!” thought Freddy.  “Don’t want to get any prickles in my fur!”  He carefully tore off a piece of the big leaf he was sitting on.  Then he turned to the flower and managed to get it covered.  With the prickles out of the way, he wriggled in to the stem of the flower and chewed it off.

The flower dropped to the leaf and Freddy picked it up by the wrapping and stuck it to the next flower.  Then, he carefully chewed off that stem.    Freddy was feeling very proud of himself!  Two flowers snipped off and no stickers.

As the flower chain got bigger, it got harder to manage, but Freddy became more and more proud of himself and his good idea and Freddy got careless.  He was chewing off prickly flower number ten when he wiggled around to get a better bite.  Suddenly his tail smacked right into the next flower and got stuck!   He turned his head quickly to see what had happened and his whiskers got caught in another flower!

“Oh, no!” squeaked Freddy.  “I’m stuck!  I must keep calm and figure this out!”  He carefully pulled on his whiskers and they came free.  Then he pulled on his tail, but it was stuck in several places.  Before he could pull it out he had to get into a better position.  He looked at all the sticker flowers above him and the ten he had chewed off.  There was very little room to move without touching one of them.

Freddy decided that if he jumped out and away from the big stem, his tail would come loose and he would land on a lower leaf.  Oh, my, that didn’t work so well!  His tail did not come loose and he swung right into the flowers he had just chewed off!  Plunk! Right into the middle of them!  Now he was stuck for sure.  And to make matters worse, the leaf gave way as well as the flower his tail was caught on and he and the sticker flowers fell flippity clip down to the ground; bouncing from leaf to leaf until Freddy was totally covered with prickly flowers.

There he lay looking for all the world like a little ball of sticker flowers.  And, to make matters worse, around the corner of the barn came big yellow Tom Cat!  “I smell a mouse!” meowed Tom Cat.  And he walked close by Freddy.  But all the cat could see was a ball of prickly flowers.  “I’m sure I smell a mouse, but where is it?”  Tom circled the burdock plant.  He poked his head in under the big leaves but no mouse was there.  He looked again at the ball of stickers.  “I sure do smell a mouse!” thought Tom and he came closer.  He poked his nose into the sticker flowers and jumped away with three prickles stuck in his nose!

Tom Cat ran into the barn to work on getting the stickers out of his nose, and Freddy breathed a sigh of relief.  But he was still stuck.  “Help!” he squeaked.  “Someone help me, please!”

Randy Raven flew into the hay loft through the big window.  He called out, “Knock, Knock!  Randy Raven here!  Where are you, Freddy?”  But no one answered.  He landed on a bale of hay and looked around.  Freddy’s voice wasn’t very loud so he might not have heard him.  He called louder, “Hey, Freddy, you in here?”  Again there was no answer.

He flew down into the lower part of the barn and looked around.  Freddy wasn’t in Clover the lamb’s pen and he wasn’t sitting on the sack of corn.  Randy saw Tom Cat in a corner licking his paw and rubbing it on his nose.  No wonder Freddy wasn’t in here!  Not with Tom Cat around!

Randy flew outside and sat on the board fence that surrounded the barnyard.  As he sat very still, he heard a faint cry, “help!”  He listened really hard.  Who had made that sound?  Again, he heard it, “Please help me!”  He flew down to the ground and walked toward the sound.  He kept a sharp eye out for Tom Cat as he walked!  Now he was near a big burdock plant and the sound came again.  “Help!”

That was Freddy’s voice!  Where was he?  Randy looked all around.  He poked his head under the big burdock leaves but Freddy wasn’t there.  He backed out and stumbled over a ball of stickers lying on the ground.  “Help, Randy!” came Freddy’s voice again.  “I’m here, all stuck up!”

Randy looked at the ball of stickers more closely.  He saw a tail sticking out from one side and, sure enough, there was Freddy’s nose sticking out of the other.  “What on earth are you doing now, Freddy!” exclaimed the big bird.  “How did you get all those sticker flowers stuck on you?”

“Just get me back to the hayloft and I’ll tell you!” said Freddy.  “That old Tom Cat is sniffing around down here!”

Randy grabbed the sticker ball with his big claws and flew off to the hayloft.  Soon he had deposited Freddy on a bare spot where the hay had been swept away.  He cocked his head to one side and though he tried very hard to be serious, he couldn’t help laughing.  “Oh, Freddy, do you look silly!”

“Quit laughing and pull these stickers off me!” cried Freddy.  “I can’t move!”

Randy began picking at the sticker flowers.  It was hard to pull them loose and he had to put each one in a spot far away from Freddy so they wouldn’t stick to him again.

While he worked Freddy explained what had happened.  “You see, I climbed that big burdock plant so I could see into the window of the room I wanted to see into but I can’t from inside the barn and I thought I could see if I was up high but I couldn’t and and  I thought I could make a bridge out of the sticker flowers and I was very careful but not careful enough and I fell into the sticker pile and I fell all the way down to the grass and Tom Cat came really close and smelled me but he got a sticker in his nose and and …..”

Freddy always talked fast when he was scared or nervous and Randy just had to laugh at his story. “I guess you’ll never learn to be careful or not to let curiosity to get the best of you!”  Randy pulled off the last sticker and Freddy stretched and flipped his tail and got all the kinks out from being stuck fast.

“I think I’ll just take a nap for a while, Randy,” said Freddy.  “I’ve had more than enough adventure for one day!”  And, while Randy dozed in the rafters, Freddy slipped under the bales to his safe spot and with a sigh, curled up and slept. 

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About dswan2

Poet, author, columnist, lyricist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife of 50 years. Born and raised in America's Heartland
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