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Susan K Franklin

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Boundary Farm Tales by Susan K Franklin
By Susan K Franklin
Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Rated "G" by the Author.

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This is the first chapter of Boundary Farm Tales. Pickle hasn't been fed...all the animals on the farm try to help, but will the farmer notice?

Chapter 1

Pickle’s Hungry Tummy

It was early morning and Pickle was making a dreadful noise.
“Be quiet, Pickle!” Digby shouted.
“I can’t be quiet. I’m HUNGRY!” said Pickle.
“You can’t be hungry. We’ve just been fed.” Digby said.
“SNORT! The farmer forgot to feed me. He left the bucket outside my sty.” Pickle moaned and wiggled angrily.
“If you’re not quiet you’ll scare the children away,” Hermia said flapping her wings.
“The children aren’t here yet!” Sheila laughed.
“And they won’t come at all if they hear all that noise.” Hermia added.
“I don’t care,” Pickle squealed. “I’m HUNGRY.” Pickle rubbed his shoulder hard against the gate. It was firmly locked and would not open. “SNORT! SNORT! SNORT.”
“We’ll have to feed him,” Shelia said.
“But how?” asked Rascal as he hopped around.
“We could tie balloons to the bucket,” suggested Hermia.
“But we don’t have any balloons, we don’t have any balloons!” Rascal said.
They had to think again.
“If we help you, Pickle, will you be quiet?”
“Will you be quick?” Pickle asked, as his tummy rumbled.
The animals looked at each other and agreed.
“We’ll be as quick as possible.” They said.
“Then I’ll be as quiet as my tummy lets me.”
In turn all of the animals tried lifting the bucket, but the bucket was too heavy.
Feeding Pickle wasn’t going to be easy.

“If only Camba were here instead of being in the bottom field,” Hermia said.

“If only I were not tied to the post,” moaned Digby. “I could have lifted it easily,” and switched his long tail.
Oh, it was a problem.

All the animals looked at Pickle.
Pickle was rolling in the mud groaning unhappily.
The animals thought and thought. How could they get the food to Pickle?
“I have it! I have it!” Rascal hopped about excitedly.
“Well stop bouncing about and tell us?”
“There were some children playing with a long wiggly pipe at the back of my hutch yesterday. The workmen left it behind. We could use that.” Rascal’s nose was twitching with excitement.
“How will the tube help?” Hermia asked.
“We get the tube. Put one end in the bucket and give the other end to Pickle.”
“I’ll get the tube,” Sheila offered and trotted off towards the shed.
Garland was behind the shed. He’d been listening to the animals talking. “They’re not having my tube,” he mumbled to himself. After all, he thought. I found it. I’m sitting on it. So they can’t have it. He puffed up his chest.

Sheila went around the corner of the shed and stopped.
“Hiss, Hiss,” Garland hissed crossly.
“What’s wrong with you?” Sheila asked.
“You’re not having my tube,” Garland hissed from on top of the tube. “I found it, it belongs to me,” he snapped his beak at Sheila’s nose.
“What nonsense,” said Sheila. “We need it to help, Pickle.” She grabbed the tube in her teeth and pulled.
Garland began to hiss even louder. The more he hissed the more he wobbled. He couldn’t hang on with his webbed feet. He slid and fell off with a bump. Hiss, Hiss.
Sheila pulled the long length of blue tube into the farmyard.
“Now what Rascal?” She asked.
At that very same moment, Pickle’s tummy moaned and so did Pickle.
“SNORT! SNORT! Please hurry. SNORT!”
“We’ve got to hurry, hurry, hurry, we’ve got to hurry,” Rascal repeated.
Hermia flew up onto the fence post. Sheila pushed the tube up to Hermia and Hermia pulled. It was hard work. The tube began to slide down towards Pickle.
It dangled in front of Pickles nose.
“SNORT! SNORT! What’s that for?” he asked.
“Wait and see, wait and see,” said Rascal.
Rascal took hold of the other end of the tube and slid it in to the food bucket.
“Suck, Pickle, suck.” The animals shouted.
“What!” asked Pickle.
“Suck.” They said again.
“How?” asked Pickle.
“Like this,” they said and began to make slurping noises. “SLURP, SLURP.”
Pickle sniffed at the tube.
“It doesn’t smell very nice.” Pickle moaned.
“It will taste lovely once you start sucking.” Digby said.
Pickle put his lips around the tube and began sucking.
“It’s not working.” Pickle moaned.
“Keep sucking, keep sucking,” Rascal said. “The food’s going up the tube, the bucket’s nearly empty.”
Pickle sucked and sucked.
He sucked so hard that the tube stuck to the bottom of the bucket. Sheila grabbed the handle of the bucket and pulled. The tube came unstuck and the food flowed into Pickle’s tummy.
“BURP! Excuse me!” Pickle blushed.
Barnaby, the farmer’s prize bull appeared from behind the hayloft and bellowed loudly.
“What’s going on, Digby?” He asked.
“Trust you to turn up when all the work is finished.” Digby replied.
Barnaby, laughed. “I was busy eating the blackberries. I didn’t know that there was a problem.”
“Well, there isn’t a problem now, but there will be soon. Everyone back to their pens the Farmer is about to open the farm.” Digby said.
Hermia flew to her hen house. Rascal hopped to his hutch. Sheila remained in the yard and Pickle disappeared into his mud hole.

As farmer Brydan came back into the yard, he spotted the bucket and remembered he hadn’t fed Pickle. As he got closer to the sty, he scratched his head. The bucket was empty. He looked at the bucket. He looked at Pickle and shook his head again. I must have fed him after all, he thought.

But, we know better don’t we?

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Reviewed by Donna Chandler 11/11/2010
Very good. Each animal had it's own personality, even grumpy Garland. This could be the new and modern Charlotte's Web.


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