Once upon a time there were two field mice who were best friends. Their names were, Henry & Jack. Henry and Jack lived in a big hole in the middle of a big tree out in the woods. Every day Henry & Jack had an adventure, and this day was no different from other days. After breakfast Jack said to Henry, “What do you want to do today?” Henry responded, “I don’t know, what do you want to do today?” Jack said, “I have an idea, let’s go across the creek and pick some of those big, big berries” “I don’t know,” said Henry, “I’ve never been across the creek before.” “Don’t worry,” replied Jack, “I’ll help you all the way.” So they cleaned up their breakfast dishes and crawled out of their hole, then scampered down the path to the creek.
This time of year the creek is very full and very fast. When Henry and Jack got to the creek they saw how high the water was. Jack was very excited about going to get those berries. Henry, however, was a bit more unsettled. Henry did not want to fall in the water. He did not know how to swim. Jack was very excited to be by the water, because he knew what was on the other side of the creek.
“Jack?” asked Henry a little nervously, “How are we supposed to get across the creek?”
“That’s easy, Henry” replied Jack, “Do you see that branch sticking out over the water?” Henry did, but he also saw that that branch did not go all the way across the water. Jack continued, “We climb up that one, then make a small jump to that other branch and climb down to the other side to cross the creek.” Henry did not think that was a small jump from one branch to the other, but before he had a chance to protest, Jack was already at the top of the first branch getting ready to jump.
Jack made the jump easily and soon he was on the other side of the creek. Just as soon as he got to the other side he called back to Henry “C’mon Henry, let’s go get those berries.” Henry was scared, so he called back to Jack, “What if I fall in? I can’t swim.”
Jack said back, “You won’t fall in, just move quickly, and do what I did.”
Henry wasn’t sure he could do this, but he started up the first branch anyway. The first branch was shaky, the further he went out on the branch, the shakier it got. The shakiness made Henry very scared. Jack was very encouraging he kept saying to Henry, “You’re doing great Henry.” “Keep going Henry”, “You’re gonna make it Henry.” Henry liked that his friend was helping him that way.
Finally, Henry made it to the end of the shaky branch. “Now all you have to do is jump to the other branch, you’re gonna make it!”
Henry wasn’t so sure he would make it. The branch he was standing on was very shaky, and the other branch was so far away. Henry looked down, the water was rushing under the branches so fast. Henry knew that if he didn’t make it across the jump, he would surely fall into the water and get washed away. He got scared some more. Jacked called up to him, “Don’t get scared Henry, all you have to do is pull your legs up under you, and jump your best jump. I promise you will make it.”
Henry thought about Jack’s words for a long time. Finally, he pulled his legs up under him, and then jumped his best jump. Henry flew through the air. He saw the water below, and then he saw the branch coming at him. He grabbed it with his front paws, and then his back paws landed on it. Henry was safe. He quickly found out that the second branch was much sturdier than the first branch. Henry was very happy about that. Jack cheered for his friend, “Great jump Henry! You made it!” Henry couldn’t help smiling as he marched down the branch to solid ground.
“Let’s go find those berries.” Said Henry, he had worked up quite an appetite on this trip.
The berry bushes were hidden across a field and behind some bigger bushes. Jack knew just where to find them. He was excited to show Henry these berries. Henry was amazed by all the berries he saw. There were blackberries, and blueberries. There were boysenberries, raspberries and even strawberries. They were the biggest berries Henry or Jack hand ever seen. They tried every berry bush they found; after some time Henry and Jack were very full. They decided to curl up under a shade tree and take a nap in the soft grass.
When they awoke from their nap, Henry and Jack knew it was time to go home, so they started walking back to the branches. Henry didn’t want to climb on that shaky branch again, so he asked Jack “Isn’t there some other way to get back?” Henry knew the answer was probably “no”, but he really wanted a different way home. Jack said he didn’t know any other way across the creek.
Henry was disappointed. Just to be sure he looked down the creek, but saw nothing that would help. Then he looked up the creek. Up the creek he saw a tree that had been knocked down. It lay right across the creek. That tree made a perfect bridge. Henry was very excited, he said to Jack, “Look, look at that tree! Wouldn’t that make a perfect bridge for us?” Jack looked, he had never seen that tree before. “Yes”, he said, “I think that tree would make the perfect bridge for us.” So they ran through the grass to that tree. They looked it over for a minute to be sure it was safe, then they scampered right across the tree.
Henry and Jack had had quite an adventure that day, but now it was time to go home and rest. The pair of field mice scurried up the path to their tree, climbed in their hole and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening talking about the biggest berries they had ever seen.
Copyright 2007, Brian V Burris
Brian lives in Illinois, USA.
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