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A Story for 3 - 6 Year Olds
Helen Elizabeth Rawlinson

Cousin Barney was coming to stay. Rufus and his brother Albie were waiting for Cousin Barney to arrive. They were getting very excited. Cousin Barney has a magic hat. It is bright red and has a white flower sticking out of the side. Albie likes Cousin Barney, he makes him laugh. Rufus likes Cousin Barney, he brings good things to eat!

"When is he coming?," asked Albie.

"He should have been here 10 minutes ago," replied Rufus.

Just then Bert the sparrow flew into the garden.

"Cousin Barney is coming along the road, he will be here in a minute," said Bert.

Just then Cousin Barney slid under the garden gate and came up the path carrying his old battered suitcase but there was no sign of his hat!

Albie's eyes lit up when he saw Cousin Barney and he started to giggle.

"Where have you been?," asked Rufus. "We thought you weren't coming."

"My hat blew off," said Cousin Barney, "and now I can't find it."

This made Cousin Barney very sad, not only was it a magic hat but it kept his ears very warm. Cousin Barney looked like he was going to cry. Albie also looked sad as he really liked Cousin Barney's hat.

"I know", said Rufus, "Bert the sparrow can help us look for it."

"Sure," replied Bert the sparrow.

So after putting Cousin Barney's suitcase in their hutch Rufus, his brother Albie, Cousin Barney and Bert the sparrow set off to look for the magic hat. They looked everywhere but it was nowhere to be found.

"Where could it be?" asked Albie looking sad.

"There's only one place now where we haven't looked," replied Rufus.

"Where?" asked Cousin Barney.

"Why Farmer Frank's field of course," said Rufus. Albie and Cousin Barney looked at each other.

"Well come on then," Rufus said as he slid under the garden fence.

Albie and Cousin Barney followed Rufus into Farmer Frank's field. Bert the sparrow flew on ahead of them. Rufus likes Farmer Frank's field can you remember why? It's full of juicy carrots!

When they reached the carrot patch Rufus stopped. "All this searching is making me hungry," said Rufus. "Let's stop and have some carrots and then we will carry on looking for the magic hat."
Rufus's brother Albie and Cousin Barney agreed, they were feeling hungry too.  

Bert the sparrow said that while they ate carrots he would go and ask Clive the grasshopper if he had seen Cousin Barney's magic hat.

Rufus, Albie and Cousin Barney started to eat the lovely juicy carrots and forgot all about finding the magic hat. Rufus burped loudly and his brother Albie giggled.

"Pardon me," said Rufus looking slightly embarrassed. "I think I have eaten too many carrots."

"Me too," said Albie.

Cousin Barney didn't say anything as he had fallen asleep in the sun and was snoring very loudly.

Just then Bert the sparrow flew down to where Rufus and Albie were standing and in his beak he had Cousin Barney's magic hat!

"Where did you find it?" asked Rufus excitedly.

"Clive the grasshopper had found it and was busy filling it with bugs to save for his supper," replied Bert.

"Urgh," said Albie.  "I hope you have got them all out."

"Oh yes," replied Bert.  "Some of them were very tasty."

Just then Cousin Barney stirred, he was waking up.

"Quick," said Rufus. "Hide the hat in this long grass I want to play a trick on Cousin Barney."

Bert the sparrow hid the hat in the long grass and Albie started to giggle.

"Cousin Barney close your eyes again I have something to show you, a surprise," said Rufus.

Cousin Barney did as he was told. Rufus very carefully placed the magic hat on Cousin Barney's head without him knowing.

"Abracadabra," shouted Rufus as he tapped Cousin Barney on his head.

"Open your eyes now," said Rufus's brother Albie.

Cousin Barney opened his eyes. Rufus and his brother Albie started to giggle. Bert the sparrow was smiling.

"What's funny?" asked Cousin Barney.

"Your hat Cousin Barney, it's on your head," said Albie. Cousin Barney felt on top of his head and sure enough there was his magic hat.

"That's magic!" shouted Albie.

"No," smiled Cousin Barney as he lifted his hat off his head to reveal a big red juicy apple underneath it.

"That's magic!" cried Cousin Barney.

Rufus, Albie and Bert the sparrow looked at Cousin Barney in amazement.

"Wow," said Albie

"Yum yum," said Rufus.

Cousin Barney laid the apple on the grass. Rufus, Albie, Cousin Barney and Bert the sparrow all enjoyed eating it.

© Helen Rawlinson, December 2000

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