A story for children aged 3 – 7
By : Peter Allchin
There was a loud ‘Rat a tat tat’ at Mrs. Rabbit’s front door. It was Mr. Hare, Orange Blossom Wood’s finest, and only, postman.
“I’m very sorry Mrs. Rabbit,” said Mr. Hare. “ There will not be any letters again today. The pesky fox took my post-bag, as I was about to put a letter through Mrs. Titmouse’s letterbox.”
“Well I’ll be blowed,” said Mrs. Rabbit. “That’s the fifth time this week! Something really must be done about that pesky fox.”
Word quickly spread through Orange Blossom Wood about how the pesky fox was taking the post-bags from Mr. Hare the postman. Everybody was very annoyed.
Barnaby Rabbit called a special meeting of all his friends, to take place at their secret hideout near Barnaby’s house.
“Right!” said Barnaby. “We’ve got to stop this pesky fox. Has anyone got any ideas?”
“We could go round to the pesky fox’s house and ask him, very nicely of course, to stop what he is doing,” replied Timothy Titmouse.
“Or we could guard Mr. Hare, the postman, as he delivers the letters,” added Willy Weasel.
“Erm… I don’t think either idea would work,” remarked Barnaby Rabbit.
“Firstly, the pesky fox is bigger and stronger than us, and I don’t think he would be happy if we all turned up on his doorstep. Secondly, who wants to get up as early as Mr. Hare the postman and try to guard him all morning, every morning?”
For a long while, nobody said a word.
“I think I know what we should do,” said Peter Partridge. “If we follow Mr. Hare the postman without being seen, we could all jump on the pesky fox when he takes the post-bag.”
“Even better than that,” added Barnaby Rabbit. “As the pesky fox takes the post-bag from Mr. Hare, Harry Hedgehog curls up into a ball then we roll him towards the pesky fox, knocking him over. That would give him such a fright.”
“That’s a great idea,” they all said, and agreed to meet Mr. Hare the postman, early the next day.
The following morning, Barnaby Rabbit and his pals gathered outside the post office and told Mr. Hare of the plan to stop the pesky fox. Mr. Hare then set off to deliver the letters.
It was now quite late in the morning, and nothing had happened. Barnaby Rabbit began to think that nothing would happen, when, keeping watch from a high bank as Mr. Hare walked along a ditch near farmer Brown’s sheep field, he saw the pesky fox rush out from behind a bush and grab the post-bag.
“Quick Harry, curl up into a ball,” whispered Barnaby. Then, as Harry curled into a ball, all his friends pushed him and rolled him down the slope towards the pesky fox.
Faster and faster he rolled, until Harry Hedgehog finally landed on the pesky fox’s back!
“Argh…That hurts,” shouted the pesky fox.
“Serves you right!” said Barnaby Rabbit as he took the post-bag from the fox and gave it back to Mr. Hare. “Why do you keep taking the post?” he asked.
The dazed fox sat down and explained that he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, but he needed the post-bags for Mrs. Fox to lay on before she gives birth to the new cubs. “I’m very sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused,” he said. “All the letters are safe, and I haven’t read any of them…Honest.”
“There must be something better than post-bags for Mrs. Fox and her cubs to lay on,” said Barnaby. Then he noticed all the lamb’s wool stuck to Harry Hedgehog’s spines. “That’s it. That’s what we need,” he exclaimed. “If we roll Harry along the fence by farmer Brown’s sheep field, all the loose wool will get caught on his spines.”
The pesky fox hung his head in shame. “You’d help me, after all the trouble I’ve caused?” he said.
“What you did was wrong,” answered Barnaby Rabbit. “You cannot take things which do not belong to you; that is stealing. But Mrs. Fox needed help, so why should we not help you? ”
All Barnaby Rabbit’s friends and Mr. Hare the postman agreed. Soon, lots of soft lamb’s wool had been gathered and taken back to the pesky fox’s home. The post-bags, which had been stolen, were gathered up and the letters put back inside them. In their place was a warm woollen bed for Mrs. Fox to lay on.
The pesky fox insisted on delivering the letters himself, so he could say sorry to all the people he had upset.
A few days later, Mrs. Fox gave birth to the cubs. The pesky fox, now no longer pesky, was a very proud father, and never took any post-bags, nor anything else that didn’t belong to him, ever again.