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Cathrine and the River
It was a hot summer day and all of the animals in the forest were trying to cool down, but it was impossible… well, almost. There was a small town right at the edge of the forest, and in the middle of that town, there was a pond. The animals used to go to the pond regularly to drink, bathe, and cool off, but then the humans came and built a town around it. When they first came, the humans started to hunt the animals and so they were forced to hide deep in the forest. The Council of Animals banned any of the animals from going near the edge of the forest, but every decade or so, a brave and adventure seeking animal from the forest would try to get to the pond, and none of them came back.
There was a river a mile away from the animal village, and that was the animals’ only source of water. They would live closer to the river, but the predators lived there, like the foxes and bears. The birds would fly with bowls and collect the water from the river because they were faster than most of the predators, but the water would weigh them down so they couldn’t carry too much at a time.
There was a family of 21 bunnies (and seemed like this number was always increasing), and this family was very poor. They made their money by growing berries and selling them to the other animals, but they didn’t have a very big farm and without enough water, their berries would die. The middle bunnie sibling in this family was named Catherine. She always had to work very, very hard, but she always got the smallest amount of the family’s rations. The smaller bunnies were growing so they needed lots of water and food, but so did the older bunnies because they needed to keep up their strength to work on the farm. Catherine had to work on the farm just as hard, and do lots of other jobs, but her skills and strength were never noticed or appreciated.
One day, Catherine was collecting bright green chamomile leaves to make tea because her mother wasn’t feeling well. Then her older brother Hank came and said, “What are you doing, Cathrine?”
“I’m collecting chamomile leaves to makes tea for Mother, for she isn’t feeling well.” She replied, and Hank laughed. “What?” She said defensively.
“Why do you always say ‘for’? Why can’t you just be normal and say ‘because’?” Hank always did these things to her and she was sick of it, all of her older siblings did it. She wanted to give him a piece of her mind, but she decided not to because he would for certain tell mother. She hopped away with her basket full of chamomile deciding that if she needed more she would go back later. When she got to the kitchen, she made the tea, she saved a little for herself because she also felt a tiny bit under the weather. She went to her mother’s room with tea and a few small berries on the bright silver tray that her mother had gotten her that tray for her birthday. It had a matching tea set that fit atop the tray, and she cherished it always, it was her most prized possession.
“Mother?” She said.
“Yes? Is that you Catherine?” Her mother replied, she was in her bed reading a book.
“I’ve brought you your tea and some berries, Mother.”
“Oh, thank Catherine, dear. Now, I think I am going to rest, could you close the door on the way out?”
“Of course Mother” She replied, and left to tend to the flower garden. The garden consisted of bright and dark purple violets that smelled absolutely wonderful, she would never be able to explain the smell. The pinkish-white and purple clovers swayed in the breeze, the smell was even stronger now, it was almost as good as violets, but calmer and airier. They had little string-like petals that formed a ball, like a bunny’s tail. Catherine had always loved this about clovers, it made her feel like they did it just for her, for she was the only one who tended to the garden, she had started it. The other animals in the village would say that she did a lovely job, but nobody in her family. She would probably be mad about this, but her garden always made her feel calm. Just then, she not about to be calm.
“What are you doing now?” Hank said to her.
“I am tending to my garden, for it needs to be tended to.” She exclaimed with much dignity.
“Okay then, Cathrine.” Hank had a huge grin on his face, and anyone could tell he was about to do something, and not something good.
“What are you going to do, Hank? Please don’t do it, please don’t.” Then before she could do anything, he hopped on the three front rows on her garden. She couldn’t take it any more.
“HANK! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?”
“Well, I hopped on it, for I wanted to hop on it.”
“YOU ALWAYS DO THIS TO ME, YOU BIG, BIG BULLY RABBIT!” By now some of the other animals were watching, wondering what was going on. She wanted to scream some more, but she didn’t want to make a scene, which she had already done. She hopped away to her room and gathered some of her things. She got her school bag and put a thermos filled with chamomile tea in it , an extra dress, and a few berries. She wrote a note saying that she would be gone for a while and left it on the dining room table. She went out of the house as quietly as she could, trying to avoid anyone who was near her. She made it successfully into the forest without being spotted, now came the harder parts.
Catherine was never that great at sneaking, or going through a forest not knowing where she was going, but being on their berry farm and gardening all the time sure helped her strength. Catherine had run into many obstacles, for example, there were many towering logs that had fallen down that she had to scale, and she had to somehow avoid the many poisonous plants that were in her path, but by the time she got to the edge of predator’s land she was fine.
By now she had drank all her chamomile and eaten all of her berries, but she was very thirsty, s she snuck to the river and started to drink. The water was cold and fresh, and when she drank it, she felt refreshed and aware. It was A good thing too because if she hadn’t been so aware, she would have been eaten by that fox.
“Who are you?” The bright orange and white fox asked her. He was very beautiful, and he had a very fluffy tail too, which made her feel a little better, but her mother always told her to stay away from foxes and that they were very clever, but she was too.
“I am Catherine, a very famous and rich farm owner.” She told him. “Who are you?”
“I am Jerry, a very dangerous and hungry fox that is going to eat you.”
“Eat me? Oh, you don’t want to eat me, I feed all of the other animals in the village.”
“What does that have to do with eating you?”
“Well, if you eat me, then my crops will die, and then the animals of the village will die from starvation. Then you wouldn’t have any food and you would die.” It was true that they had the only farm in the village, but there was lots of other food that the animals lived off of.
“Well, I suppose that I shouldn’t eat you, but why are you here?”
“I am here to dig an above ground tunnel from the river to the village, so then I can grow even more crops. Say, would you like to help me dig?”
“Sure, but what do I get in return?”
“You would give you fame of course. You would be the star of the village, the animals would love you, even the predators will be jealous.”
“Well, okay I’ll do it.” Said the vain fox.
“Wonderful! We can start right now.” She was very proud of herself for thinking up such a brilliant plan, and it worked too. Jerry and Catherine started digging, and by dawn, they had reached the village. The water ran through the small river and the animals were amazed.
“Catherine! Did you do this all by yourself?” Asked her little sister Bonnie.
“Not quite, I had a little help from a new friend.” Jerry popped out of the bushes and smiled.
“Yes, I did help dig this small river.” Then Hank came out of the house and he was shocked.
“You said I could never amount to anything, but I have Jerry and I have saved the village, and anyone can tell that you are amazed, Hank, admit it.”
“I am not, I am just surprised.” With that she knew that he would look up to her now, not down.