Early one morning Freddy was awakened by the sound of a motor. Pete and his dad were backing the pickup truck into the barn. Pete’s father swung a couple of bags of corn into the truck and said, “Time to get this corn ground into chicken feed. Mom needs groceries, too, so we’ll have a busy day.”
“Good!” said Pete, “I like going to the elevator. Can we stop for ice cream, too?”
“We’ll see,” said Mr. Jones, and they climbed into the cab.
“I wonder what an elevator is?” thought Freddy. “It sounds interesting. Think I’ll go along!” and he jumped from the feedbox where he’d been hiding, right down onto the sacks of corn. He made himself comfortable as the truck pulled out of the barn. “This feels like a truly great adventure!” Freddy sat back and watched the tree branches passing overhead. First the truck went thumpety, thumpety down the lane, but they soon turned onto the smooth blacktop road.
It took a lot longer to drive to town than it did when Freddy rode on Randy’s back, and Freddy took a nap on the way. When he awoke, they were just pulling into the elevator. Pete and his dad got out, unloaded the sacks of corn and went into the office to talk.
Freddy couldn’t see much of anything from the pickup because the sides were so high so he climbed onto a shovel and sat on the side rail of the pickup bed. “This is an interesting place,” he decided. “I’ll just jump down and explore a little before Pete goes home.” He landed on a sack of clover seed. But before he could even look around, a strange man came toward the sack and Freddy had to leap to the floor and run for cover.
He scuttled under a pile of empty sacks nearby and peered out. The man picked up the very sack he had been sitting on and lifted it to his shoulder.
“Whew, that was close!” Freddy thought to himself. “Looks like I’ll have to find another way back into the truck.” Before he could make up his mind which route to take, Pete and his dad came out of the office. “Oh, no!” squeaked Freddy, “they’re leaving!” And sure enough, while the mournful little mouse looked on, the truck took off.
“Uh oh,” said Freddy in a very small voice. “I think I’m in trouble again. There goes the truck and I don’t’ know how to get home! What shall I do?” He sat down beside the nearest bag of feed and felt sorry for himself. “Maybe they’ll come back,” he thought. He waited patiently for a long time.
“I think I’m gonna be scared,” Freddy whispered to himself, and he absent-mindedly gnawed a hole in the sack. “Hey, that’s good and I’m hungry!” He ate some of the oats and molasses mash for lunch. “That’s tasty. I’ll have to remember where this is.’ He felt better now, so he curled up in his little hidey-hole and went to sleep.
The noise of a truck backing into the elevator woke Freddy, but it was not Pete’s truck. When it had gone, Freddy ventured outside. The same kind of blacktop road that lay along Pete’s farm, ran past the elevator. There were bins and other outbuildings and trucks parked here and there, but none of them looked like Pete’s truck. A large yellow cat walked slowly around a tall steel bin across the way. “I’d better not stay out here!” he said to himself, and scampered back inside
Freddy explored as much as he could without getting too far away from where Pete and his dad had been, but they still didn’t come. He got braver and climbed up the wall supports until he was so high he felt dizzy, and he looked out over the town through a knothole. By the time he got back to the office area it was getting dark. “Oh, I miss my barn,” sniffed Freddy. “I’d rather be home!” He was so sad and unhappy, but all he could do was eat more oats and molasses for supper and lie down to sleep.
He was a very lonesome and pitiful little mouse that night. He heard all kinds of strange noises and once he heard a cat meowing quite close to the little hole in the wall he had found.
My, he was glad to see the sun come up next morning! “I guess I’ll have to try and find my own way home.” And he went to the big doors and carefully peeked out at the morning. The wind had changed directions and a tantalizing smell came floating to his nose. Could it be? He ran around the corner of the building and there, in front of him, was an absolute mountain of corn! The elevator hadn’t had enough room for all the harvest, so they had dumped it therein a huge heap. Freddy had never seen so much corn in all his life! And corn was Freddy’s favorite thing to eat! he liked it even better than molasses.
He took a running dive and landed smack in the side of that corn mountain! He wriggled and wiggled until he was way down inside, and then he turned around until only his nose was sticking out. “Oh, boy,” he said, “I’ve got enough here to eat for years and years!” And he forgot all about being scared and lonesome. He began nibbling right and left. He nibbled until
his tummy was fat and round and almost beginning to feel wibboly.
Just as he was thinking about a nap, a big shadow passed over him and he thought the cat had found him for sure. But it wasn’t the cat. It was two great birds who had landed and were pecking at the corn. Freddy poked his nose out a little further so he could see better. One of the birds looked like Randy Raven but he couldn’t be sure.
Randy looked around, but he couldn’t see who was calling him. All he could see was a little dark something sticking out of the corn a ways over. Then that little dark thing hopped out of the corn and yelled, “RANDY!!”
“Who’s hollering at me?” said Randy. Freddy jumped up and began scrambling toward Randy. Randy stared in amazement. “What are you doing clear over here in town? and inside a pile of corn!”
“Oh, Oh my!” said Freddy. “Am I glad to see you! I rode to town in the back of Pete’s pickup and when we got here I just wanted to explore a little, not very long, and then Pete and his daddy took off before I could get back in the truck, and I had to s, s, sleep here all night, a cat almost ate me, and, and I’m so GLAD you’re here. I didn’t know how to get home!”
“Whoa! I can take you home,” said Randy. “But first, my friend and I are going to eat some of the corn. This is a great place for a meal, but we have to be careful because the town boys like to shoot at us with their BB guns. You get on my back so if the boys come I can take off real fast.”
Freddy was glad to get on his friend’s back and he held on tight while Randy ate corn. Soon, two boys came around the corner and the birds took off. Freddy heard a ‘pop’ and Randy gave a kind of hop, even though he was flying.
“What’s the matter?” asked Freddy.
“Oh! he got me in the leg!” said Randy. “My leg’s hurt.”
“Oh, dear, can you fly?” asked Freddy.
“I think so,” said his friend, “if it doesn’t bleed too much.”
It took a long time to get home for Randy had to rest now and then and Freddy could tell he didn’t feel well. When they finally got back to the barn, Randy stumbled as he lit on the bale. Freddy jumped down and saw that Randy’s leg was badly hurt. “Your leg’s bleeding! Let me go find something to put on it.” Freddy ran over to the picnic basket and pulled the bandanna from it. he tied it around Randy’s leg. “I think you’d better stay here with me for awhile until your leg heals,” he said. “I can bring you corn and wheat and you can get water in the morning from the dew that collects in that piece of tin there.”
“Thanks,” said Randy, “I’ll just do that.”
Randy stayed with Freddy three days while his leg mended and his friend brought him food and told him stories. They remembered all their adventures together and how much their friendship was. At last Randy’s leg was healed and he was ready to fend for himself. He hopped to the bale just inside the big window in the haymow, then hopped back to Freddy. “Thank you, Friend. You helped me just like I helped you. I guess that’s what friends are for!” And he flew off for home
Freddy sat on the bale and watched as Randy flew off toward his nesting trees. “I guess the world’s a dangerous place for big birds like Randy as well as little mice like me,” he thought to himself. “Some adventures are more scary than fun.”