A story for children aged 3 – 7
By : Peter Allchin
It was a warm sunny day in Orange Blossom Wood and two of Barnaby Rabbit’s best friends, Peter Partridge and Philipa Pheasant had called to see if Barnaby could go with them into the wood to play.
“Don’t go too far.” said Mrs. Rabbit, “There’s a Big Bad Badger out there and I don’t want you to get into any trouble.”
“We won’t,” they replied, and off they went.
“I wonder what a Big Bad Badger looks like,” said Philipa Pheasant.
“I dunno,” answered Peter Partridge. “Just like any other badger I suppose.”
”Only bigger and badder, I guess,” added Barnaby, then continued, “I wonder what we’ll do if we if we see him? I suppose I could dive into a small burrow and hide.”
“And I could fly away,” said Philipa Pheasant.
“And I suppose I’ll get eaten by the Big Bad Badger,” said Peter Partridge. “Because I’m not as quick as you two.”
Barnaby went up to his friend and put his arm around him. “You’ll be ok. Peter, I don’t think we will see the Big Bad Badger at all. I bet my mum is just trying to scare us, just so we don’t wander off too far.”
During their conversation they had walked far into the woods without realising just how far they had gone, and were totally unaware that they were being followed.
“It’s getting awfully dark,” Philipa Pheasant remarked, noticing that the path had become quite narrow and the trees and bushes were getting very dense.
“Did you hear that?” whispered Peter Partridge.
They all stopped and listened.
“Hear what exactly?” said Philipa, a little nervously.
Peter turned and looked in every direction. “That noise,” he replied. “Like a Big Bad Badger.”
“Don’t be silly Peter,” said Barnaby Rabbit. “The wood is always full of noises, and anyway, how do you know what a Big Bad Badger sounds like?”
Before Peter Partridge could answer, a big bellowing voice boomed out, “BOO!”
Philipa Pheasant flapped her wings and tried to fly, but the trees and bushes were too close and she couldn’t get off the ground.
Barnaby Rabbit saw a hole in the ground and dived for cover, but a large tree root had almost filled the hole.
Peter Partridge just stood where he was, eyes closed. “Please don’t eat me. Please don’t eat me,” he muttered
Something tapped him on the shoulder. “Who’s going to eat you?” asked the voice.
“Y, y, you are,” answered Peter, opening one eye then quickly shutting it tight. “Y, y, you’re the Big Bad Badger.”
“Why,” said the voice, “I’ve never eaten anyone in my life. I may be big, but as for being bad, well…a little naughty perhaps. I do go through the woods making people jump by shouting out ‘BOO!’ but that’s all.”
The three friends gathered in front of the Big Bad Badger. “Why don’t you play normal games like other woodland folk?” asked Barnaby Rabbit.
“It’s my size,” replied the Badger; “Nobody wants to play games with someone as big as me, so I just wander around the woods making people jump. It passes the time of day I suppose, although it isn’t really fun.”
The three chums looked at each other and smiled. “If you stop frightening people, then we will be your friends and play games with you,” said Barnaby Rabbit. “Do you know how to play football and hunt the acorn?”
The Big Bad Badger looked very thoughtful. “I don’t think I do,” he replied, “But I really would like to learn.”
And so, the Big Bad Badger, Peter Partridge, Philipa Pheasant and Barnaby Rabbit played football and hunt the acorn, which of course, the Big Bad Badger, with his strong claws, always won.
It was rumoured that the Big Bad Badger had left the woods and gone away, but each day, he and his friends would play games deep the heart of Orange Blossom Wood.