The mystery of the missing toys
There was once a park in a little village. Although it was not very big, it had almost everything to make a child happy. It had swings, slides, jungle gyms, merry-go-rounds and even a swimming pool. After school, the children loved nothing better than playing in the little park with their toys.
One day, however, they noticed that their toys began disappearing. This only seemed to happen when they were near a big tree at the bottom of the park.
After a while, the children’s mothers refused to buy anymore balls, bats, marbles and dolls. Soon, the children had almost no toys left.
The children were very upset and could not understand why the toys kept on disappearing near the tree. John, a very shy child, who always played on his own, decided to investigate. After all the children had gone home, he climbed into the tree and waited. He did not have long to wait. Just before dark, he heard a little noise and looked down.
A squirrel with a big bushy tail, appeared from a hole near the tree trunk. John waited till the little creature had scampered off, and then jumped down from the tree. Can you imagine his surprise when he could not find the entrance to the squirrel’s hole. He tapped near the place he had seen the squirrel but could find nothing.
Just as he was about to give up, he heard something hollow. Scratching over the hollow area, he found a little sliding trap door.
John pushed it aside and to his amazement, found all the missing toys. At that moment, the little squirrel returned but, before he could turn away, John caught him. The squirrel was very scared and looked up at him with large eyes.
“Please, I did not mean any harm, I just love playing with toys. I did not think anyone would play with me and so this was the only way I could win the children’s attention.”
John was very cross, but the squirrel looked so scared, he couldn’t shout at the little fellow.
“You know, it is wrong to take other people’s things – you must return them and perhaps the children will forgive you and allow you to play with the toys.”
“Alright”, said the squirrel – “Would you return them for me and ask the children if I could play with them?” “Well, give them to me and I will speak to the other children”, John said.
The squirrel helped him to pack the toys into a big box and they returned them to John’s house.
The next day, John showed the other children what he had found and, of course, they were delighted. They all cheered, and shy John became a hero. The little squirrel apologised for what he had done and the children forgave the squirrel and gained a most unusual playmate.
Barbara Louise Gillman