Author Topic: Grace’s Farm Down Under - Edited Version in Chapters  (Read 7285 times)

Offline mccarter

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Grace’s Farm Down Under - Edited Version in Chapters
« on: January 07, 2006, 07:53:56 AM »
Grace’s Farm Down Under

Chapter 1

Grace enjoyed riding in the truck with Dad, as they usually shared an ice cream on the way. They sang songs and sometimes he’d let Grace sit on his lap and they'd roll the truck down the driveway of the property. The bush landscape was wondrous and with each new season brought an ever-changing view.

However, today's trip was different. Dad suddenly stopped the truck with a jerk and stepped on to the road. "There is a lamb over there that has lost its mother, let’s take it home and nurse it back to health." The urgency in his voice conveyed that there was little time to waste.

Grace had never looked after a lamb before and was very excited. "Can we keep it in the house forever?"

As Dad laughed his eyes twinkled, "Well, I think the lamb will have something to say about that; lambs live outdoors, eat grass and sleep under the trees at night."

Dad carefully picked up the weak animal and handed it to Grace. The lamb snuggled deep into her arms, closed its eyes and nuzzled its nose into her belly, causing her to giggle with delight.

When they arrived home, Dad prepared a bottle of milk and Grace feed the lamb without hesitation. Her steady hand enabled the lamb to drink quickly and before long has finished two bottles and a small cup of grain.

 “What will we call our new farm friend Grace?” Dad asked. Grace was quick to answer “Lucy” after her favourite doll.

“Can Lucy lamb sleep in my room tonight?” Grace pleaded.

“She can sleep right outside your bedroom window on the balcony, it will be almost the same.” Dad returned. Grace nodded her head happily.

Each day Grace looked after Lucy lamb, feeding her bottles of milk and brushing the soft ripples of wool that caressed her thick hide. As she became stronger she played in the paddocks and chased butterflies with Grace, and every night she slept outside Grace’s window as Dad promised. Grace always slept soundly knowing that her best friend was at her side.


Chapter 2

In the mornings, the sound of the hens laying their eggs could be heard from the house. It triggered a daily ritual involving Grace and her Mother collecting the eggs from the chick pen. However, today's trip was different. When they arrived there where no eggs!

Mum scratched her head in disbelief; “The chicken pen has been empty for a week, yet can we hear the hens laying eggs each morning.”

Mum turned to the hens and whispered so that only they could hear her.

“You better start producing eggs my lovelies, otherwise Dad will make chicken soup with you!” The chickens panicked in the pen, clucking madly and flapped their wings in a flurry of fear.
 
That night, Grace heard her name being called in a whisper. “Grace, are you awake?”

She crept out of bed and peered outside the window and gasped with shock. It was Lucy Lamb!

“Lucy, lambs can’t talk what are you doing?”

“Grace you have shown me such kindness that the Queen of the Night has allowed me to speak as a special gift to you.” Lucy explained with glee in her voice.

“Who is Queen of the Night?” Graced asked curiously.

“Baa baa would you like to meet her?” Lucy bleated with excitement and at that moment a furry possum climbed on to the balcony.

“Behold, I am Queen of the Night, Pippy Possum, I am pleased to meet you Grace.” The possum showing due reverence to Grace, bowed her head politely.

“Well Pippy Possum who then gave you the gift of speech?” Grace was mesmerised and thought she must be in a dreaming.

Pippy returned, “That was the King of the Bush, Cooky Kookaburra.”

Grace queried, “ and did someone show kindness to you too Pippy?”

 “Ah well no, it seems that the good king needed an assistant and I was apt for the job” Pippy puffed her chest with pride, “I would introduce you, but the King does not like to be disturbed at night; he needs more beauty sleep than I!” As she laughed, Pippy’s eyes shone like dark pearls in the moonlight.

Grace frowned, “’mmm, best I go to sleep before my mother catches me.”

At that moment, Grace, Pippy Possum and Lucy Lamb stopped to hear a strange sound. “Baa baa, look down there, the chickens are crying, I wonder what has happened?” Lucy bleated.

“I will find out.” Pippy Possum said purposefully.

Chapter 3

When Clara Chicken saw Pippy she was whimpering, “we are in the depths of despair” and began to relay her grave problem.

“Each morning after laying our eggs, Bertha our mother hen counts our eggs and proudly holds them in her wings to weigh each one. You know, they have doubled in size this year.” The chickens puffed their chests with pride.

“However, recently while Bertha is weighing our eggs, a magpie is swooping into our pen and stealing them. Grace’s mother has not collected our eggs for over a week.”

“Mmmm this is quite a problem Clara Chicken, let me speak to Maggie Magpie she is a friend and owes me some favours.” Olley was trying to reassure Clara.

When Olley returned to relay the story to the others, Grace interrupted before Olley could even finish,

“Goodness gracious, what shall we do? If Dad thinks that the chickens are not laying eggs he will turn them into chicken soup!” Grace was gloomy.

Lucy lamb yawned and peered at the moon to see what time it was; it must be close to midnight, soon the magpies would be awake and causing trouble for the chickens again.

Olley Owl ruffled his feathers and scratched his back against the trunk of the tree, “Maggie Magpie will reason with the troublesome bird, don’t you worry.”

Lucy had her doubts that Olley could make a difference, she had heard that magpies were very proud and stubborn creatures! It is so much easier being a lamb, she thought to herself. Yet Lucy did not caution Olley, she had few words of wisdom at this time of night…...zzzzz (snore).

“Lucy, Lucy” Olley shook Lucy Lamb “Well heavens above, Lucy Lamb has fallen asleep standing up…she must be very tired.”

Turning to Grace, Olley whispered, “Maybe you should sleep too this is my time to guard the farm, and your time to sleep Grace.”

Grace shook her head, “I want to help Clara Chicken and her family. I would love to come with you to see Maggie Magpie, but Mum and Dad won’t let me walk around the farm at night.”

“Well then, I will go by myself and will be back with good news soon enough.” Said Olley as she flew off into the night sky.

Grace put her head on the pillow and waited for Olley to return, her eyes became heavier and heavier, as Grace drifted into a deep sleep.


Chapter 4

When Olley reached Maggie’s tree nest, she shook the branches to let Maggie know she’d arrived.

“Rustle, rustle, rustle.”

When no answer came, Olley tried again.

“Rustle, rustle, rustle.”

Finally, an answer ventured from the tree nest. “Yes, who is it?” Maggie moaned, “Do you know what time it is?”

Olley cringed as she could see Luna Moon’s face was showing a midnight shadow. “Its midnight Maggie, sorry to come by at this hour, I have important business to discuss” Olley spoke with some trepidation.

“Well it had better be earth shattering business - my babies are asleep!” Maggie muttered under her breath.

Olley became nervous. She did not remember Maggie being this grumpy perhaps she could not reason with her, despite the favours she owed Olley.

Olley began to stutter with nervousness. “Y – Y - Yes, Yes, Maggie, it is very important. Your magpie friends are stealing eggs and the chickens are in dire straits. If there are no eggs left for Grace’s family, her Dad will feast on the chickens for dinner.”

Maggie squirmed, “Well Olley, it is the spring season, my babies need food. I am afraid it is not my friends that are stealing the eggs, it is I.”

Olley was horrified. “You must stop Maggie, I implore you to stop taking the eggs the chickens are going to suffer a terrible fate.”

“And let my young suffer? No, I’m sorry I can not stop.” Maggie stood very tall and put her wings on her hips. “Please Olley, be off with you and do not bother me again with this nonsense.” Maggie turned on her claws and fluttered back to her nest.

Olley was very disappointed. What terrible news she would bring to Grace, Lucy and Clara Chicken.

Just at that moment, Olley thought about the King of the Bush, Kinka Kookaburra. Olley must tell him all about the egg crisis, and Maggie’s stubbornness. It is up to Kinka to fix this mess without delay!

Olley set off to write a note at Kinka’s tree nest, she found a clear piece of bark right beside his nest. “He is sure to see this note” she assured herself.

Once finished, Olley realised that it was indeed past her bedtime. Luna Moon had gone to bed and Sammy Sun was just peeking its happy face above the clouds. Olley could now sleep soundly knowing that the problem was in Kinka’s good hands.

Chapter 5

The following day, Kinka read the note whilst eating his morning worm. “This is terrible?” He exclaimed and set off to see Clara Chicken directly.

The chickens were in a terrible fluster, there were feathers all over the hen house and Clara was pecking the ground nervously.

Kinka entered flapping his wings madly and the feathers on his head were upright. “This is a dreadful situation Clara, I will meet with the bird council this morning and put a stop to this mess. Don’t you fear Clara Chicken, I have a solution to your problem!”

Meanwhile, Grace and Lucy were awake and wondering what would happen to the chickens. Grace knew that her mother would be seeking to collect the eggs as usual, and it would not be long before Dad would learn that the eggs were missing. Grace shook her head despondently.

At that moment, Kinka Kookaburra was bringing the bird council meeting to order and declaring a state of emergency to fix this recent problem.

“My fellow flock members an egg crisis has occurred never before seen on Grace’s farm. Maggie magpie is thieving eggs from the chickens and we must put a stop to it immediately.”

As the council nodded in agreement, Kinka proceeded to tell them how they would teach the Magpie a lesson.

Chapter 6

Later, in the hen house, Bertha was merrily counting her eggs and weighing them in her wings as usual, when Maggie Magpie lunged at the chickens to steal their eggs.

However, from above a small pebble stone dropped on her head, then another stone and another.

Grace and Lucy Lamb watched from the balcony as small pebble stones began falling from the sky like rain.

“What the devil is going on?” Maggie Magpie cried and was forced to leave the hen house and seek refuge under a tree. But wherever she flew, a stream of pebble stones followed her.

Bewildered, Maggie looked up and saw hundreds of her fellow bird friends carrying pebble stones in their beaks and promptly realised that the stones where targeted at her.

The birds chanted together…
 
“Stealing is the wrong thing to do, Maggie we will be watching you.”
 
Maggie Magpie began blubbering, “I was only trying to feed my young, there has been a drought you know, times have been very tough on Grace’s farm.”

At that moment the birds felt for the magpie and remembered that she broke her wing last summer, and then noticed the grey feathers erect on her head. Maggie was not as young as she used to be.  The birds conceded that although Maggie Magpie was the proudest and stubbornest bird on the farm, she needed their help and right away!

They dropped the pebbles and began swooping across the farm collecting worms to take back to Maggie Magpie for her young.

The birds screeched, “Maggie, if you promise to leave the chicken eggs alone we will give you this nest full of worms.”

Maggie was over whelmed and dried her eyes with a soft sheet of tree bark. “Well that is very king of you my friends. Yes, I do promise and will apologise for taking the eggs.”

Grace and Lucy watched as the commotion on the farm continued. The birds were squawking at once, and the chickens were dancing with glee. Kinka Kookaburra laughed merrily so that all the animals could hear him, and know his authority over the farm.

Grace’s Mother shook her head “my goodness the birds are very feisty this morning, I wonder what is the matter?”

“Sometimes the birds can be lively too you know Mum, not just little girls and little lambs.” Lucy winked at Grace acknowledging the secret they shared.

They entered the hen house and clapped their hands with delight. All the eggs were there!

Grace’s mother shrieked with excitement  ‘My lovely hens, you have been busy this morning.” Although Clara chicken knew they had been laying eggs all along, she was grateful that their eggs would never be stolen again.

The chickens sang in unison.

“Kookaburra sings in the old gum tree
Merry King of the Bush is he
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must be.”

Chapter 7

That night, Olley Owl tapped at Grace’s window seeking an update on the day’s activities. Lucy and Grace joyfully spoke of the adventures and declared that the egg crisis was over for good!

Lucy offered a final point of wisdom for the group. “Well perhaps Maggie Magpie will not be so proud in the future; we are all one big family on Grace’s farm and we should help one another.”

Olley nodded his head in agreement and sighed, “I will return to my watch post now and survey the farm for any other strange happenings. Good night Grace. Good night Lucy.”

Grace and Lucy returned the gesture. “Good night Olley, you were marvellous to alert Kinka so quickly. Every time we look at the night sky, we will know that you are protecting us!”

Olley nestled herself onto a comfortable branch and vigilantly watched over the hen house. She knew that although peace reigned again there could always be trouble ahead.

At a distant she expected that the foxes would have their eyes on Clara’s eggs. But, not to worry, as long as Olley was around they would never stand a chance on Grace’s farm.

The End.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2006, 11:58:53 PM by mccarter »

Offline mccarter

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Re: A story for 5-6 year olds
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2006, 08:36:08 AM »
I am yet to receive comments on the story. Is it too long? Have you purged the story before its completion?
Where do I go from here to get it published?
I know I need to seriously edit the text.
Has purchasing the Nick Daws course been useful? comments please.

SuzieHarris

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Re: A story for 5-6 year olds
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2006, 08:39:45 AM »
Hi,

Relax, don't try to run before you can walk. Purchasing Nick's course is always useful, I will testify to that, as I own it personally.

However, with the regard to the story. You will find the critique more useful if you post the 'finished' article for us to view, rather than the 'work-in-progress'. At present, I can see potential, but the errors in it are shouting at me first. Remove them and people will read the story.

Suzie x



Offline mccarter

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Re: A story for 5-6 year olds
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2006, 08:58:31 AM »
Getting a bit excited arent I?
Thanks very much Suzie, I will get started now!

SuzieHarris

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Re: A story for 5-6 year olds
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2006, 11:23:00 AM »
You're welcome. That's what I'm here for  ::)

SuzieHarris

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Re: A story for 5-6 year olds
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2006, 04:08:09 AM »
I forgot to mention yesterday, if it is an American market you are looking for to sell your stories, I recommend the book Writer's Market. You can purchase it via Amazon.com and it lists all American publishers, both magazines and books. A useful addition to your book shelf.

Suzie x

Offline patentspending

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Re: A story for 5-6 year olds
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2006, 06:48:35 PM »
I enjoyed your story and would like to read the edited version. Being American I find it very colorful. I've never heard of a ute (tractor? car?), a magpie (maybe a crow or blackbird), or a kookaburra (no clue on that one). JT

Offline renee

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Re: A story for 5-6 year olds
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2006, 03:03:01 AM »
A good story but I think the language is a bit advanced for 5-6 year olds, there's a lot in there that they wouldn't understand. Good luck with it anyway. :)

Offline Wantabe

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Re: A story for 5-6 year olds
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2006, 04:55:11 AM »
I'm no expert by any means, but I enjoyed your imagination.  It does seem a bit advanced for the age, but hone it, put illistaration with it and it might do well.  Keep at it.   :)

Offline mccarter

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Re: A story for 5-6 year olds
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2006, 07:28:47 AM »
Advice accepted. I think it is more appropriate for a 10 year old?

Offline mccarter

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Re: Grace’s Farm Down Under - Edited Version in Chapters
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2006, 06:33:19 AM »
I have posted a completed version of my book. It is aimed at 10 year olds. Would you mind giving me your opinion?