"Ah," Mr. Bunners said to himself as he swallowed the last piece of fresh broccoli that he'd been given for breakfast. "That sure tasted good! I think I'll go outside and see what's going on." He jumped out of his nice, clean pen and hopped across the porch and down the steps.
He ran across the lush, green grass until he reached his favorite hiding place, under the flowers that were growing around the big rock. He nudged the leaves out of the way and quickly pulled his butt inside until he was well-hidden. He stretched out his body until his stomach was lying in the nice, cool dirt and he let out a long sigh of contentment. "This is the life, yes sir! It really is!" He had nice people to live with, plenty of good food and he never had to be afraid when he heard the wild Coyotes crying off in the dark forest late at night. He settled himself down next to the warm rock for a nice, long nap.
Just as he was about to fall asleep, he heard a lot of jibber, jabbering in the air above him. He jumped up and hopped out of his hiding place just in time to see his two friends, Bubber and Flubber Crow as they flew away into the cool fall air. "Gee whiz you guys! Didn't you know that I was fast asleep in my secret, hiding place?" Hearing Mr. Bunners yelling at them, Bubber turned sideways and looked down and then he turned around and flew back to where Mr. Bunners was standing beside the large rock.
"Oh, for goodness sakes!" Bubber exclaimed, "We didn't mean to disturb you dear friend. We were just excited because Farmer Dow is going to begin harvesting his crops this morning and we will have plenty of good things to eat by nightfall." Mr. Bunners, feeling very ashamed because he never had to worry any more about food, apologized to his friend. "That's ok," Bubber said. "We're just glad that you are so happy here with the Davids." Then, a loud cawing came sailing down to them through the silent morning air and Bubba said he had to go because his brother was calling him. Mr. Bunners waved to his friend until Bubba was out of sight, then he decided that he'd go around the lawn to see what his other good friends were doing.
First, he ran over to the mailbox to check if the mailman had come but the mailbox was empty. Then he hopped over to Mr. Snicky Snake's home which was in the corner of the rock wall by the mailbox and knocked on a large rock until his friend slid slowly out of his door. He looked at Mr. Bunners with his dark, beady eyes for several seconds and then he asked "What are you doing today Mr. Bunners?" Mr. Bunners looked down at his long, yellow and brown friend and replied, "Oh, not too much. I was just wondering if the sunburn on your belly was feeling better?" Mr. Snicky Snake pulled his long body up onto a rock and turned himself over so that Mr. Bunners could see his tummy. It was still a little red but it looked a whole lot better than the day before. "I guess you're on the mend my friend but just remember, next time, do not lie in the hot sun too long." "You've got that right Mr. Bunners. I've certainly learned my lesson. See you later." And Mr. Snicky Snake once again pulled his body back inside his dark home in the rock wall and waved goodbye to Mr. Bunners with his long, skinny tail.
Then Mr. Bunners spied another of his dear friends, Mr. Chippy Chipster, who was running along the top of the long, rock wall. "Hi Chippy!" Mr. Bunners called to his friend. Mr. Chipster, upon hearing Mr. Bunners calling his name, came to a halt and turned to look back at his friend. "Why Hello yourself Mr. Bunners!" he called. "Why are you in such a hurry on such a hot day?" Mr. Bunners asked. "Well, you know Mr. Bunners, summer has gone and all the leaves are falling and I have a very large family. Mrs. Chipster and the rest of my relatives are trying to gather as many nuts as we can so that we will have plenty to eat during the long Maine winter." "Oh yes," I remember, Chippy. I just wish I could help you gather the acorns." "Oh that's ok Mr. Bunners," Chippy replied, "We have lots of help and our den is nearly full. I doubt that you could fit inside anyway."
And as they both imagined Mr. Bunners trying to get his fat body into a Chipmunks door, they began laughing and Mr. Bunners laughed until he fell down onto the grass and Mr. Chipster laughed until he fell off the high rock wall and bumped his head on the ground. "Ouch, that really hurt!" Mr. Chipster exclaimed and Mr. Bunners ran over to help him get up. "Are you ok?" Mr. Bunners asked his little friend. "Oh, I've just got this little bump on my head but I'm just fine and thank you for asking. Now I have to run along and gather some more acorns, so good bye to you my friend." And with that, Mr. Chipster, scurried up the rocks until he was on the top of the wall again and he lifted his tail and waved goodbye to Mr. Bunners as he ran away.
It wasn't too long before he saw Chippy Chipster running back along the top of the rock wall and Mr. Bunners had to laugh and laugh when he saw how funny Chippy looked. He had stuffed his cheeks full of acorns and he had a big bump on his forehead and his little tail was standing straight up like the sail of a ship at sea.
Mr. Bunners watched until his friend was out of sight and then he began hopping along the edge of the rock wall, stopping every now and then to nibble a piece of wild lettuce or some tender clover or some wild ferns that grew in little patches here and there. He hopped along until he reached his best friend Chu's resting place and then he hopped upon the rock that was Chu's memorial stone and sat for a while. He sure missed his best friend but he knew that Chu wasn't suffering any more. Chu had been nearly seventeen years old when he'd finally gone up to Heaven and that was really old for a dog. Mr. Bunners said a quick prayer for his friend and then he hopped away to look for another place to lie down and have a nice, little nap.
As Mr. Bunners headed across the lawn at the back of the house, he felt a shadow from above slide silently over him and he stopped running and looked up into the blue Maine sky. His friend, Mr. American Eagle, seeing Mr. Bunners looking up at him, tipped his majestic wings and turned round and round in the fresh, clean air giving Mr. Bunners an American eagle salute. Mr. Bunners immediately stood up on his fat, little tail and saluted the symbol of America as his friend glided off towards Streaked Mountain to the North.
Mr. Bunners hopped around the corner of the house and headed for his second favorite resting place which was beneath Mr. Christmas Tree's heavy green branches. He lifted an overhanging branch with his nose and slid down into the little hole he'd dug out during the summer. As a feeling of coolness spread over him, he sniffed the clean smell of the Spruce tree's branches a couple of times, sighed and closed his large, brown eyes and finally fell asleep.
Mr. Bunners had only been sleeping a short time when he heard a commotion and a rustling of the branches in the tree above him. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and crawled out of his hole under Mr. Christmas Tree's branches. He stepped back and looked up and he could see where all the noise was coming from. Mrs. Robin, Mrs. Sparrow, Mrs. Hummingbird and Mrs. Swallow were all discussing their upcoming plans for their long trip south before winter came once again. "Ladies!" "Ladies!" "Do you mind!" "I was trying to get a little sleep down here!" Mr. Bunners grumbled.
Mrs. Robin covered her beak with her wing and laughed to herself and then she said, "Oh, we're ever so sorry about disturbing you Mr. Bunners." Then she turned to her friends and said, "Come girls, lets fly over to Mrs. Lilac Bush and talk there so that Mr. Bunners can go back to sleep." With that, they all flew away across the lawn to the lilac bush on the other side of the property.
Mr. Bunners scratched his leg for a moment and then he crawled back under Mr. Christmas Tree. He settled himself down into his cool spot once again. He sniffed in the lovely air and closed his large, brown eyes. But as hard as he tried, he couldn't fall asleep. He yawned, he rubbed his eyes, he stretched, he tried everything but he just couldn't fall asleep! Then he felt a deep rumbling in his tummy. "Oh my goodness, now I'm hungry too!" Mr. Bunners pulled himself out from under the green branches and went out to look for something delicious for lunch.
As the weeks passed, Mr. Bunners could see that his friend Mr. Sun was growing weaker as the air was growing colder each day and when Mr. North Wind blew against his back, he was glad that he had such a nice thick coat.
"Yes sir, Mr. Winter's on his way and that's for sure!" Mr. Bunners said to himself and then he remembered hearing Mr. David saying that there might be heavy snow by nightfall. Mr. Bunners settled himself down in his pen and fell asleep to dream about all the beautiful white flakes that were on the way.
Mr. Bunners had a lovely nap and he'd dreamed that the wind was blowing outside and that his beautiful lawn was covered in snow. As he pulled himself up to look over the edge of his pen, Mr. Bunners was amazed to see that indeed, Mr. Winter had arrived from the far north that was his
Summer home and he'd opened his huge bag and dumped all the snowflakes out. Just then, Mr. Winter's cousin, Mr. North Wind, came around a corner of the house and sent a huge gust of wind swirling all across the lawn. "Oh me!" "Oh my!" exclaimed Mr. Bunners. I just love winter and all that snow! Think I'll go outside and say hello to my good friends. So, he hopped out of his pen, ran across the porch and down the steps to greet his friends.
"Well, well, well, is that you Mr. Bunners?" Asked Mr. North Wind. "Yup, it's me!" Mr. Bunners replied and he felt ever so happy that his friends had remembered him. Then Mr. Winter came over and dumped the rest of his bag of snow out onto Mr. Bunners and it felt so good to have the cool flakes slid down his nose. Mr. Bunners ran round and round in the fresh, white flakes till his little legs grew tired, then he waved goodbye to his friend and went back inside to his nice, warm pen.
As the days passed, Mr. North wind and Mr. Winter came to visit several times and Mr. Bunners loved playing in the fresh, white snow but he felt a little lonely too. Most of his friends were gone or hibernating for the winter. Mr. Snicky Snake was asleep down deep in his den next to the mailbox and no matter how many times he called his name and knocked on the door, Snicky would not come out.
Then he ran over to Chippy Chipster's den and Mr. Bunners called his name and rattled the snow-covered rocks but Chippy wouldn't come out to play either. He did catch a glimpse of Bubber and Flubber as they sailed out of sight into the trees across the valley but he never got to talk with them. Mr. American Eagle had moved to a warmer winter home too and Mr. Bunners really missed his old friend.
Finally, sad and lonely, Mr. Bunners took himself over to Mr. Christmas Tree. "Might as well have myself a little nap," Mr. Bunners said to himself as he pulled the large branch aside and crawled into his nappy hole. Try as he might, he could not fall asleep. It was quiet, way too quiet for him to go to sleep. All of his bird friends had long since flown away to the south and they wouldn't return to Maine till all the snow had melted in the spring. "I'd even be happy to hear all those females gossipin up there in the tippity top of this tree!" Mr. Bunners thought to himself as he finally fell asleep.
The next morning, Mr. Bunners took himself outside once again to check the mail and just as he came around the corner of the house he spied something strange on the hill next to Mr. Christmas Tree! It was very tall and white and fat and round! Mr. Bunners stopped running and sat back on his heels to have a better look at this strange creature.
Mr. Bunners didn't quite know what he should do. "Should I just go up and say hello?" he asked himself. Ever so slowly Mr. Bunners made his way closer to the odd creature and as he got closer he called out, "Say, what's your name anyway?" The creature turned his head sideways, looked down at Mr. Bunners and never said a word.
"Say, can't you talk?" Mr. Bunners asked and once again the round figure turned his head and looked him over and it still didn't make a sound. As Mr. Bunners got closer, he saw that the creature's face was rather odd, well it seemed odd to him and he was a bunny!
The creature had two eyes but they were two lumps of coal and then Mr. Bunners saw something that he did recognize, the nose seemed to be very familiar to him. It was a carrot! "Why in the world would anyone want to have a carrot for a nose?" Mr. Bunners said out loud. "Why I eat carrots every day and I've never seen one that looked so pathetic! It's all wrinkled and it smells too! I'd never want to eat that!"
This time the creature answered him. "Yes, that's true and my nose is rather stuffed up too but sometimes we don't get to pick how we look, we just are." Said the creature and he turned his face to the south.
Upon hearing the deep voice of the strange being, Mr. Bunners stepped back and said, "How come you're here anyway? This is my property and I've never seen you here before. Where did you come from?"
The creature answered, "I'm Mr. Snowman and my old friends Mr. Winter and Mr. North Wind told me that this might be a good place for me to come and stay for the winter because all you folks are friendly around here. But I guess they were wrong and I'll be looking for another place in the morning."
Upon hearing that, Mr. Bunners felt very ashamed of himself that he hadn't treated the new visitor better, so he sat down and told his new friend all about himself. He even told Mr. Snowman that he could stay for as long as he liked. Then, he hurried away because he had something very important to do.
He ran around the corner of the house, up onto the porch and into his pen. He pushed this and that aside and finally, he found just what he'd been looking for, a nice, fresh carrot. He quickly washed it, dried it and holding it in his big front teeth, he hurried back outside.
He hopped over to Mr. Snowman and stood in front of him. "Mr. Snowman, here's a little gift for you." Mr. Snowman looked down and when he saw what his new friend was holding in his soft, white paws, a large tear, slid slowly down his face. "Oh thank you Mr. Bunners! I'm ever so grateful. Do you think you could hop up on my tummy and take out the old nose and put in my new one?" "I'd be delighted!" Mr. Bunners said and he hopped up on the large tummy, reached up and gently pulled out the old, dried up nose and carefully put in the new one.
Mr. Snowman breathed the cold, Maine air in through his nice, new nose and he exclaimed, "Oh, my new nose is ever so nice and I can smell all the fresh, clean air around here! Thank you Mr. Bunners for being my friend!"
Mr. Bunners had to wipe a very small tear away from his eye too and then he had a thought. "Mr. Snowman, would you mind if I crawled up and sat 9.) on your head for just a little while?" Mr. Snowman laughed and replied, "Not at all Mr. Bunners, my dear friend, not at all." With that, Mr. Bunners scampered up his new friend's round belly, onto his friend's strong shoulders and up the back of his head.
When he reached the top, Mr. Bunners was amazed at all the he could see that he'd never seen before. He could easily see the magnificent Streaked Mountain off to the west and he could now see all the way down the valley to Rumford in the north. There was so much that he's been missing.
And from that day on, Mr. Bunners and Mr. Snowman were fast friends and all the neighbors had to laugh a little to themselves when they came up Mountain View Drive and saw Mr. Bunners sitting on the very top of Mr. Snowman's head and they were gazing at the beautiful mountains off in the distance. It was a lovely sight indeed!
Martha Stevens-David 2010
Martha Stevens-David Column Magic City
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