A Day In Slugville ©
Grandma Doris was a water rat who lived in a cottage by Harper’s Fork. By sunrise she was up and she knew it was going to be a glorious day. “Oh I am happy!”she said. “Is there anything I can do to make you happier, grandma?”asked Jamie her grandson. Silence. “Perhaps I can go to the town? run an errand for you?”
”You run along and enjoy yourself.” So Jamie took off instantly.
On the way he came across a slug with a woebegone face. “Never have I been put to shame as this morning.”
“Aha this sounds promising,”Jamie thought he was going to hear a story. “How did that come about?”Jamie asked helpfully.
Tim was his name and he replied morosely,”the gnome who tended the cabbage patch saw me stepping out prim and proper, and he tells me roughly, ‘don’t you run as if you own the whole place.”
“But you don’t run. You crawl at a snail’s pace.”
“What! I don’t run?”Tim looked as he was shocked and he asked,”am I going at a snail’s pace as you put it?”
“Of course!”Jamie replied,”snails are slow and they can never run.”
In reply to this Tim the slug burst out in tears.”Oh shame!” “come, come there is no shame in that,”Jamie said softly,” snails and slugs move very slow. It is common knowledge.”
“Common knowledge!” the snail raised himself on his belly and exclaimed,”Poppycock!” Jamie kept silent.
“We slugs have been vilified! Oh double shame!”
Jamie at first thought that Tim was pulling his legs. But Tim cried loud and tears fell thick and fast. “There, there take hold of yourself Tim!” Jamie said sharply. But Tim was not to be silenced. After he had dried himself he lashed out at everything in sight and in the end he accused the world had some grouse against the folks from Slugville.
“So you live in Slugville,”Jamie asked in excitement,”and there slugs are fast on feet. Is that what you wanted to say?”
“Of course we are the fastest creatures that have ever seen the daylight.”
“See, there you go again, with your unfriendly comments.”
“How can I comfort you then?”
“Plenty of ways I can suggest.”
“You can say slugs are intelligent.” “Are they?”
At this Tim did a somersault and said in a fury ,”You are bent on annoying me. Ask me anything.” “OK” Jamie said in seriousness,” Does a hungry bear watch salmon run?”
“A salmon can barely run !”replied Tim off-handedly,”with a hungry bear around.”
“Bravo!,”Jamie observed,”You are the sharpest slug I have ever come across. But do you run? Well. Ahem”.”
“ You are being unfair.”Tim said among sniffles,” Have you ever been to Slugville?”
“No, I have not.”Jamie replied. He said,”It is only fair that I see for myself.”
“Good,”Tim replied drying his tears. “I shall take you there.” Suddenly he stopped short and said,”You must know the password. Without which no one can come in.”
“Yes,”Tim replied,”Slow in reverse is wols.”
Tim took Jamie to the cabbage patch and whispered,”see that gnome, he has not moved even by a hairbreadth?”
“How can he?”the water-rat asked in amazement,”he is stuck on a pedestal and shall not go anywhere even if he wants to.”
Tim and Jamie stopped before the gnome who introduced himself as Gnome Bert. Jamie said the password and the gnome observed, “I guess I will have to let you in.”
As they were about to go in he called out,”Hey Tim you have been out for sometime. Ages I must say.”
Jamie thought it was some mistake. “The day has just begun. Tim only came out to say hello to me!”
“So? He took ages just the same!”
“Really?” Jamie thought something was wrong. He asked, “Bert tell me how many hours make your day?”
The gnome in red and blue dress with a cap almost crumbling at the point thought for a while,” A trillion and three hours and five minutes to be exact.”
Tim nudged Jamie to whisper,”Hurry up, my folks must be frantic with worry. I told them I shall be back for soup. It must be getting cold. ”
Later that night Grandma Doris wanted to know where he had been. Jamie replied:”Slugville”.
“So quickly you came back,”she asked with some concern, ”what, weren’t you sufficiently entertained?”
“I thought a minute in Slugville was the longest hour I spent.” He groaned and said,”I feel as some antediluvian!” His grandma snorted and said,”Whatever it is, you are using words with syllables that go on and on. Don’t spoil my day!”
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HOW HALF-HALF FOOLED MAN ©
The sun was so hot. For days and months. Without rains no grass, shrubs or trees grew. The landscape seemed dead. As far as eye could see there was nothing but red earth. Except for some rocks here and there the place was utterly an eyesore.
One morning there came a cloud drifting along. As if out of nowhere.
A sudden drizzle and the cloud was gone.
A steady trickle of water made its way along a rockface. Gluk,Pluk Gluk,Pluk Gluk,Pluk! Drops of water went on and on. Along came others, marching columns of water. Each falling in without missing a step into a trickle; and loud grew the patter of feet. Unstoppable they were. An army seeking out every crevice, and fissure along the scorching rock. Before lay the land cracked all over. Mud didnot stand a chance before the extending column that took control of the land. The army spread itself out. Gurgle,Gurgle. Its steady beat was unstoppable. Having descended from large boulders dotting the arid landscape it steadily marched on. PITTER-PATTER PLICK-PLOCK The trickle had become a stream! And the stream went on to become a river! One of the mud-holes in the shadow of a rock suddenly came alive. Two yellow toads peeped out. “Life begins at forty,”said Half-Half. ’Hurrah!”cried his mate also Half-Half. They had heard the raindrops beating on their roof. The toad couple had settled themselves in that part long long ago. At a time everything was wonderful. Mr.Half-Half was the one who spotted that mud-hole but his mate made it a home. He hunted flies of all sorts and brought it home while the other cooked and set the table. These they did by turns. One read while the other lolled in a hammock. One cracked jokes while the other laughed. Also by turns. One slept while the other tossed and turned. As a rule since settling down there it fell upon Mrs. Half-Half to lay out plans while her companion put them into action. She was not so much good as her friend in drawing. So she let him do the drawings which she colored it as no other could. There were so many talents they could pool together but the drought had put all that to rust. The chance rain called for a celebration. With great excitement they leapt out of their home. They waded through the stream wondering how far it would go. It led to a river. There lived a crocodile who said,”I shall eat you up. Do you come here? Or should I come and get you?” Half-Half knew he had to have a plan, fast. “O dear, have you a plan?”he asked her. She said “yes.” So Half-Half made some mudballs which her mate threw at the hungry crocodile. From where they fell, rabbits by dozens leaped. So many rabbits! and they multiplied by minute. Suddenly coming face to face with a hungry crocodile was a rude shock to them. He managed to eat half of those rabbits while others scampered to safety. “Never mind, I shall get them sooner or later.” The crocodile was still hungry. They nervously made off while the crocodile shouted at the toads, ”I shall reserve you for the last.” The toads were afraid. They went far and they found themselves blocked by rabbits who were unruly and wild. “What a nuisance!”Half-Half cried. One asked the other,”Too many rabbits. How do we control them?”His mate told him how. So Half-Half drew outline of a wild dog with a twig on the ground His mate applied color. This they did a number of times. At last one Half-Half warned the other, ”Run for cover.” Instantly there was a great uproar. Some ten wild dogs shook themselves up and looked about. By the time they spotted the toads they had gone so far away. They growled and ran in circles not knowing where to find their food. At a distance they saw the rabbits. The wild dogs managed to kill so many while others escaped. The toads were tired from running. They could not rest since the yelpings of wild dogs carried by the wind reached them. They shuddered. “How shall we get back to our mudhole?” one asked the other. Half-Half told her mate a plan which he liked. He drew on the earth with a burnt twig some stick-men, long legged; and he also gave them spears, bows and arrows. His wife applied as usual colours. Thereafter they waited for nightfall. Morning came. The sun shone brightly. Along came a band of hunters carrying spears and bows and arrows. Half-Half couple looked at each other to warn,”We got to be careful.” “Oh yes,”she replied. Mr.Half-Half ran a little forward to greet them. He said friendly,”You are looking for meat. Aren’t you?”. “Yes,”one said. “I know just the place.”The toad said,” I shall take you to the river where you can get a crocodile or two. Will that suit you?” “Oh yes,”they were hungry and they yelled, “hurry up!” The toads hopped as fast as they could and the men followed. After some time the hunters found it too slow. “We shall carry you, and you give the direction. It is quicker.” “We give you a beast like Croc! You can feast on him alright.”Half-Half said conversationally. The toads saw how wild dogs ran for cover at the sight of hunters. Half-Half looked at his mate and smiled. By nightfall they came near the river. Half-Half said,“ You shall listen to reason, Won’t you?” The hunters nodded,”Mr. Crocodile should not know we were the ones who brought you here.” “Why not?”The hunter asked. “We Half-Half got to live here for many many more years to come.”One said,”Catching a crocodile is your own affair. Finding our way home is our own affair.”They hopped quickly and ran into their mudhole. Even before the band of hunters could blink.
They were smart.
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