by Cyn (age 7)

A family of mice lived by a raspberry patch. They got their water from puddles and if there wasn't any rain for a period of time they would travel down to a small brook nearby, usually the water in the puddles was clear. The family had 54 mouse children; two of them were favorites of their parents. These mice were, a boy named Bristle, and a girl named Thistle and they were twins. They were about a month old. Before they were born the favorite mouse child was a girl mouse named Sunflower, who now believed that the moment Bristle and Thistle were born she was her parent's least favorite. The rest of the mouse kids were the type that likes to run around and scream all the time. The parents were called Moonlight and Brooke. It was the time of the year when the raspberries were safe to eat. All the mice were joyful for they would have food to eat for a long time. The mice were wise and did not want to waste food. They had a feast that would last them a little while then they would begin to eat the raspberries. It was the day of the feast. Sunflower did not like feasts at all, she thought they were crowded and noisy and most of all she did not like the fact that the thing that the guests did most of all was complement on how cute the babies were and how cute the babies were, this annoyed Sunflower.

Sunflower felt like whipping the babies with her tail but she knew that it wasn't their fault that they were cute, she was just angry. Sunflower went out to collect nuts. Suddenly she heard something that didn't appear to be very close to her but she sensed danger. She saw something move among one of the bushes. Moonlight and Brooke had told her about dangerous creatures that lurked around these areas and though she had never seen any her parents described them. They called these monstrous creatures snakes, terror stricken Sunflower dashed into a berry bush hoping that the snake would not see her. Just then a terrible thought came to her. If there was one snake there just might be others. As soon as she thought it was safe she peaked through the berry bush, the snake must have heard her move among the dry leaves below her because it showed itself, Sunflower had never seen anything this big. Her parents had told her that they were big in size but Sunflower didn't know they were this big. As soon as she caught sight of it she fainted.

Time past and her family grew worried they went out looking for her, finally they found her. They brought her back to the nest. They layed her down on a bed of the softest things they could find, mostly bird feathers that were on the ground. Soon Sunflower awoke; she called to her mother. She thought of asking how long it had been before they found her but she stopped herself because she knew her family would wait a long time before thinking of her. She told her mother what had happened and everything she saw. "Heavens snakes"! Said mother. But why would they come here there is plenty of mice where they usually nest mother? "I do not know Sunflower but we have to warn everyone before they get eaten" said mother. "Quick! Sunflower call a family meeting," said mother. Sunflower told everyone about the meeting.

When they were at the meeting everybody was chattering, they had over heard that it would be something about snakes and they figured that it would be some sort of a story. It was said that no child could go out alone. An older kid asked why not but they thought it would scare them to know the truth. Brooke said that she would tell them later when they weren't in front of all the little kids. Another question was asked by Hazelnut, one of Sunflower's brothers the question was, "what about the feast?" They needed to gather nuts, drinks etc… Brooke did not know what to say. At first Sunflower was overjoyed that there would not be a feast since she didn't like feasts but the sadness of all the other mice was over whelming, she just had to find out why the snakes were here. Sunflower went to a secret tunnel that she had dug when Bristle and Thistle were born just to be alone. She liked to think there and this time she thought about how she was going to get out. She knew how she would manage not to be seen she would call upon her friend the sparrow hawk Bertook, who could fly her to her destination but who would cover for her. She knew she could not depend on Bristle and Thistle because they liked being the best, she thought that Moonlight and Brooke had spoiled them so they would go and tell them about Sunflowers plan. Then she had a perfect plan she would go out at night and peek into their nest. Moonlight had said that snakes would always write what they were doing, when they were doing it and where they were doing it by pasting leaves together with sap and writing it all down with the tips of their tails dipped in mashed berry juice. They would paste their plan onto the wall of their nest this would be easy. But if she got caught this would be an example of when she was being immature (she was always telling her parents that she wasn't immature).

Night came and Sunflower grew eager for dinner to be over. "May I be excused" she asked. Then she went to her secret tunnel, there she waited until everybody was in bed sleeping. After that she made her way through the tunnel to Bertook's nest, his nest was not far. When she got to his nest she got him to wake up. Startled Bertook woke up. "Oh it's you Sunflower, I wasn't expecting you here, you've got to make your instinct to wake up at the right time sharper or did you do it the opposite way, sleep in daylight and roam the forest at night like the troublesome raccoons?" Then Bertook said, " Really why are you here at a time like this?" Then Sunflower said, "Snakes they are now in these parts". "Great heavens!" said Bertook loudly. "Shush", said Sunflower softly "I know they are mean and vicious but we don't want the whole forest to wake up". "It's not that Sunflower", said Bertook urgently. "Us sparrow hawks know a lot about snakes and I can assure you that this is the time that they lay their eggs and if we let them lay their eggs here, snakes have a reputation of staying where they were born" "Oh no", said Sunflower. "So what's the plan Sunflower?" "Well the plan is for you to fly me to the snakes nest and me to creep in and look at their plan and figure out why they are here". "Nice plan except for one little glitch, how are we going to find the snakes nest?" "I never thought of that", said Sunflower. "That's OK", Bertook said. "I know the kind of habitat they live in and we can search there for them".

Off they flew to the only place snakes would live in. "This is the place", said Bertook. "I see it!" said Sunflower excitedly (her mother and farther had told her what snake nests looked like). Bertook swooped down quietly then they saw the huge snakes. "Don't come in Bertook you'll make to much noise." Then Sunflower creeped in, their size was over whelming, the snakes were all sleeping. There was a big pile of sleeping snakes blocking the plan. She was going to have to climb over them with great caution. She took a deep breath and started scurrying over to the pile. Being very careful not to wake them she started climbing. After some time she reached the top. Now she could read the plan. It said, big drought in homeland need to come here because of no water much water here much food also we plan with the lots of our big food from the mouse family that we have seen we plan to have feast by the brook nearby so that we can have much water we saw small mouse girl but left her alone because we do not want all the mice getting scared and going away so we left her alone so that she would think that she was just dazed and we have feast on day that the mice have there feast that we hear chattering about so that the mice will be nice and plump our leader knows the mouse customs and so we know that they will feast on the day that the raspberries bloom Oh gosh thought Sunflower that is this morning. She climbed down carefully from the snakes she needed to tell Bertook. Sunflower ran out and told Bertook all about the plan. They decide to fly back and tell everybody about the snake's plan. Just as they were leaving a snake suddenly opened its eyes, because he thought he heard flapping. He saw the sparrow hawk flying away with a mouse on its back. It looked suspicious so her followed them. If I see why they are there, he thought, the chief might give me a big promotion and if I catch them. Then the snake followed as fast as he could slither but snakes can't go as fast as sparrow hawks. When they were flying they noticed the snake following so when they got home they ran into their secret spider web stash. Sunflower got some spider webs and gave them to Bertook she told him to drop them on the snake from overhead. Bertook flew as fast as he could over to the snake and then when he caught sight of him, he flew a bit lower to be sure of his aim and finally he dropped the net of spider webs. Then they ran back to the house to tell mother and father.

The twins caught them seeking in and they called for mother and father. Brooke said " You could have gotten extremely hurt then Bristle and Thistle said,"No they couldn't have the whole snake thing was a lie to get her out of trouble". "No, No", said Sunflower "I can prove it to you I caught one of the snakes and I'll show him to you" Bristle, Thistle, Moonlight, and Brooke were so surprised to see the snake caught in Sunflowers trap and they thanked her. All the rest of the snakes became so scared that one of their snakes had disappeared that they decided to go somewhere else. The mice were very happy and got to have their feast after all.

To be continued..

"Sunflower" Copyright © Cyn 2001

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Last updated March 25, 2001