Fairytales
Fairytales

Childrens Stories and Fables.
by Jan Luthman

The Meadow
Fairytales

WINTER
MATILDA Finds a New Home

Jan Luthman
 
A few nights later, it snowed. 

It snowed and snowed and, in the morning, when Farmer Jack woke up and looked out of the window, the whole countryside was quite white. The trees were white, the bushes were white, the grass was white; even the little bird-table in the garden next to the Farmhouse was white. And, up above it all, the sky was a brilliant, glorious blue. Farmer Jack sighed: it all looked so pretty

The days went by, and winter got colder and colder. In the mornings, the grass was stiff with frost, and the pond at the bottom of the meadow began to freeze over. It seemed as if the whole world had gone to sleep: even Andy the ant had stopped working, and his latest hill stood silent and still, all covered in snow.

Late one afternoon, as he trudged back across the fields towards the distant lights of the Old Farmhouse, Farmer Jack could see the dull red wintry sun sink down behind the far off trees. A sharp icy wind knifed through his thick warm jacket, and he hoped that Robbit and all his friends were tucked up safe and warm in their burrows and nests: tonight, he could feel it in the air, would be especially cold.


It was midnight.

Millie snuggled deeper under her thistledown blanket: it felt so snug and warm. Across on the other side of the nest, the little fire that she and her mother had lit earlier in the evening had died down to just a faint flicker, and the air had grown cold.

Outside, in the moonlight, the snow lay silvery white under the black of the night and, far away in the forest, an owl hooted in the cold winter darkness. Millie sighed sleepily: she felt cosy and safe.

All of a sudden, there was a knocking at the door.

Millie jumped: nobody knocked on their door at night. She turned over, and tried to go back to sleep.

But the knocking came again. And, with it, came the faint sound of a tiny and desperate voice.

"Millie," The voice pleaded, "it's me: let me in: please."

The voice sounded like somebody Millie knew, but she couldn't quite think who. She just couldn't imagine who could possibly be out and about in the middle of a winter's night.

Slowly and carefully, Millie stuck a toe out of her bed. Brrrr! it was cold. She pulled her toe quickly back under the blanket again.

The knocking was still there: and it wouldn't go away. But Millie was warm and cosy, and did not want to be disturbed. She wrapped her tail tightly around herself, and tried to go back to sleep.

"Millie," The voice came beseechingly, "Please help."

Millie sighed loudly.

"Who is it?" She called blearily.

"It's me, Millie," Said the faraway voice, "Matilda."

"Matilda!!" Millie couldn't believe her ears.

She leapt out of bed and scurried across the floor and opened the door - there, in a nightdress, and with only a blanket draped over her shoulders, stood Matilda, her teeth chattering with cold.

Millie stared in amazement.

"What on earth are you doing out in the cold in the middle of the night?"

"Oh, Millie," Matilda wailed, "A great big animal stood on our nest in the middle of the night, and squashed it flat."

"Oh!" Millie gasped and put her paws in front of her mouth in horror, "How awful!"

"And now I've got no home," Matilda's voice shook, and she almost began to cry, "And it's cold, and I'm freezing."

Millie reached out and took hold of Matilda's paw and pulled her in through the doorway.

"Come in where it's warm," She said kindly, "I'll go and make a nice hot cup of bramble juice: that should help thaw you out."

Matilda followed Millie into her nest, and stood shivering in the middle of the floor. Millie tossed some more sticks on the fire and poked it back into life, then bustled off to the kitchen. Moments later, she came back with a large mug full of hot sweet drink.

"There," She said, "That'll warm you up a bit."

Matilda took the steaming mug gratefully and clasped it in her shaking paws. Millie waited patiently while Matilda finished drinking the steaming hot juice.

"What happened to your family?" She asked eventually.

Matilda stared into the bottom of her mug.

"They were so frightened," She said miserably, "They all ran away in the dark," Her lip began to tremble, "And now I've got no-one and nowhere."

Matilda sat silently, with her shoulders hunched: she looked so forlorn, Millie put an arm around her.

"You've got us," She said comfortingly.

Matilda gazed up gratefully at Millie.

"You're so kind," She said quietly, "I don't deserve it after being so horrid to you."

"Never you mind about that," Declared Millie, "The most important thing right now is to get you tucked up in bed."

Matilda yawned: all of a sudden, she felt really tired.

"And tomorrow," Millie continued, "We can go and see Mrs Katie: the old farmhouse is full of nooks and crannies and I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you made a little nest in one of them for the winter."

Matilda sniffed and tried to smile.

"Thank you, Millie," She said, "Would you come with me? 1 don't know Mrs Katie as well as you do."

"Of course 1 will," Agreed Millie, "She's very kind: I'm sure she'd be happy to help."

Millie opened a cupboard and pulled out a great big soft thistledown quilt.

"There," She spread the quilt on the floor next to her own, in front of the fire, "You can sleep next to me."

The two mice snuggled down together under the deep soft quilts.

Matilda lay quietly beside her new friend, watching the soft firelight flicker gently on the ceiling. It felt very calm and peaceful. Millie's little nest was a very humble one, not at all like the grand place that Matilda had been used to all her life. Yet, somehow, Matilda felt more comfortable and more welcome in Millie's little home than she'd ever felt in hers. She felt almost as if the little nest had put its arms around her and given her a great big comforting hug.

Matilda sighed contentedly, and turned over on one side. Moments later, she was fast asleep.

Don`t forget to click on the thumbnails for full size pictures!!!

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Copyright January 19, 2007ndDate --> ndDate -->ndDate -->ndDate -->ndDate -->ry 4, 2004