Children Fiction posted January 3, 2014


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Everyone laughed at Bodger's dam

Bodger's New Friends

by sandramitchell

Bodger the Beaver was having a very busy day. He was trying to find some extra special twigs for an extra special reason. It was time to start building a new dam and enter the Best Beaver's Dam Contest, and this year Bodger was determined to win the cup.

First of all, he had to take a good look at his old dam. Last year, all the other beavers had laughed at it because the water had poured through and taken lots of his twigs with it. Bodger had been so upset, he had wished he could just disappear. He couldn't get it right and he didn't have a single friend to help him.

This time he wanted to make his dam the best dam in the whole wide world. He would win the competition and make all the other beavers jealous. They would have to stop calling him horrible names then; at least he hoped they would!

Bodger had just finished stripping the bark off the nice straight twigs he had found, and had them all bundled up ready to take into the water. He had sharpened his teeth ready for this day, and was really pleased at the way the twigs looked, but he still needed lots more.

He was about to go looking when he heard voices; giggles and chatter. Worse still, they were coming his way! Where could he hide? Bodger was frantic; what could he do? He slid into the water but it was so clear, if they came to the water's edge, they would surely see him!

"Oh dear! Oh dear!" Bodger was a very scared beaver, frightened of everyone. He was so upset, he could quite easily have cried.

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~

Timmy and Tommy Mouse were out walking with their friends, Millie the mole, Vicky the vole, Cyril the squirrel, and Reggie the rat. It was a lovely warm day and they were all wondering what they could do. Tommy suddenly ran ahead of his friends when he saw the sun shining off the water at Popsicorn Bog.

"The water looks lovely," he hollered over his shoulder. "Does anyone want a swim? I know I do!" As he got closer, something caught his eye and he went over to see what it was.

"Wow! Come and look what I've found!" Tommy called out to his friends. "I have never seen anything like this before!"

Cyril the squirrel came over and looked at the twigs Tommy had found. They had been stripped of their bark and cleaned and stacked neatly; it seemed that they had been made ready for something. But what?

"I have seen something like this before," Cyril said, thoughtfully scratching his head. "I know!" He clapped his hands, making everyone jump. "These twigs are ready for a beaver to build his home." Cyril turned around, looking to see where the beaver was.

"He must be nearby," said Millie the mole. "A beaver would never leave his twigs like this. I would think he is building his dam. It's that time of year."

"Perhaps he was frightened when he heard us coming and has hidden somewhere," Vicky the vole whispered, looking very worried. "We must let him know we are friends!"

Reggie the rat had wandered over to the edge of Popsicorn Bog, then beckoned his friends over. "I think I have found him."

They all came over and saw Bodger staring up at them. He looked very frightened.

"Hello!" they all said together.

Bodger looked at them all, and with a big sigh, he scrambled out of the water and looked over to where he had left his lovely cleaned twigs; he needed them desperately.

Reggie the rat went and picked them up then took them over to the beaver. "I think these are yours," he said, handing the lovely cleaned twigs to him.

Bodger stared at them for a long moment, then looked up at Reggie.
"Thank you," he whispered, shyly.

"Are you building your dam with them?" asked Timmy Mouse, coming over to look in the water. "How do you do that? You must be very clever. Will it be your home as well?"

Bodger stared at the ground and made a circle in the soft dirt with his toes, "That's what I am trying to do, but I am not very clever."

He sounded so sad, Millie went over and put her arm around him. "I am sure you are," she said, smiling at him. "Tell us what you have to do to build a dam."

They all sat down then, and Bodger told them all about his dream and why it was so important to him.

"Every year the beavers have a contest to see who can built the best dam and house with a food store. I try so hard each time, but I just can't build one. Then all the beavers laugh at me and tell me I am stupid. All I want to do is build the best one to show them all I am not." He looked up, his eyes glistening with tears that were ready to spill over.

All the friends moved closer to Bodger. "Don't be upset," Vicky the Vole, said kindly. "We will all help you. Won't we, everyone?"

"Of course we will!" they all replied firmly. "But we need you to tell us what to do," said Cyril the Squirrel. "None of us has ever made one before."

Bodger the Beaver's eyes opened so wide, they all thought they were going to pop out!
"You would do that for me?" He gasped. He just couldn't believe it!

"Why not?" laughed Tommy, "It will be fun, and it is a good way to learn how you make your home."

Building a Dam


Bodger stood up and told them, "I will need lots of branches to build my high wall. Once we have collected enough, I will have to scoop up mud from the bottom of Popsicorn Bog to fill the holes and make the twigs stick together. It must be strong enough, and tight enough, to stop any water getting through."

"I can swim down to the bottom and scoop the mud up," said Vicky the vole. "That's easy for me to do."

"You can cut the branches down," Reggie told Bodger, "and we will drag them over to the edge of the water."

"How long will it take to build?" asked Mollie. "It has to be your home as well, doesn't it?"

"Yes it does. It takes me a long time on my own." Bodger went on to explain. "All the other beavers have family and friends to help them; it's teamwork. I haven't got anyone. I don't have any family or friends, and I'm not clever at all." Bodger's head dropped sadly.

"Well, this time you do have friends. We will be your team!" Millie jumped up, ready and eager to get started. "So where do we begin?"

"It would be a good idea to have something to put the branches in. We could bring lots at a time then." Reggie twiddled with his whiskers as he thought about it.

Tommy, always ready with a good idea, burst out excitedly. "We could use our new cart!"

"Brilliant idea!" said Cyril. "I'll go and fetch it right now."

"And we'll go with Bodger," said Reggie. "He'll show us what to do."

Cyril wasn't gone long, but by the time he was back, he saw the others had all been busy. There were lots of nice twigs stacked up against a large tree and ready to go on the cart.

It took the friends a few days of hard work to build the dam properly. Early each morning, the friends met up down at Popsicorn Bog. The dam was beginning to take shape and they were all proud of the way it was looking. Vicky was busy diving in and out of the water as she scooped up the mud to plaster on the strong branches that Bodger had put in place. This time there were no holes for the water to leak through.

They had built a food store for the woody shrubs Bodger would need to keep him fed in the winter. He didn't need any yet, because he had lots of nice sweet plants and grasses in the water he could munch on. He didn't like the fish; he only ate the plants.

At last the work was finished. It was perfect! Bodger stood back and beamed with delight. "We've done it!" He was so happy. "We have finished in time for the contest too. I can't wait for the judges to come and see mine."

Everyone was so pleased with themselves as they had all worked so hard to get it just right. The dam was watertight, no water was going to get past this dam! The food store was all prepared and Bodger's home was lovely!

The Judges

At last it was the day for the judging. Bodger stood to attention by his dam. His friends were standing behind him as the judges went all over Bodger's creation. They looked at the dam first, taking their time making notes, prodding and poking to make sure it was firm. Next was the food store and lastly, his home.

They were there for quite a long time. This pleased Bodger, because in the last contests they had only stayed a few minutes. His dams had been so poorly built they needed only to take a quick look.

"Well, that seemed to go alright," said Tommy. "Do you think so?" he asked Bodger.

"They took a long time," Bodger replied, "That was a good sign."

Bodger slumped down onto the ground and took a deep breath. While the judges had been there he had hardly dared to breathe.

The next day, down at the Beavers' Hall, the room was packed out with all the beavers and their families and friends. Bodger sneaked his way in, not wanting to be seen. He didn't want them to start calling him names again. But he was out of luck.

The beavers all grinned when they saw him slink in, they knew he was trying to hide himself.

"You never give up, do you?" one shouted out nastily. Bodger just kept his eyes on the floor and said nothing.

All Bodger's new friends were standing outside. They were so excited, and nervous, waiting to hear who would win the contest. Tommy peeped through the door, while the others peeped through the windows.

At last the judges were ready. One stood up and looked at all the beavers in the room. He lifted the cup off the table and looked around the hall once more.

"Today, we have a winner," he told the hushed room. He smiled, deliberately keeping them waiting, to build up the drama. "And I have to say it gives me the greatest pleasure to announce...we have a surprise winner."

Everyone was holding their breath, waiting. Which team had won? The judge smiled again, and seeing Bodger's friends peeping through the window, beckoned them in and then turned to look at Bodger. "He is sitting down by the door at the back of the hall."

Suddenly all the heads turned and all the eyes were staring at Bodger. Bodger tried hard to sink down out of sight. He was sure he hadn't heard properly.

"Bodger! Come up to the front," the judge called. He was still smiling at him, encouraging him to come.

Bodger walked slowly up to the stage, he tried not to look at all the other beavers who were watching him in amazement. Then the judge picked up the big silver cup and turned to the crowd.

"Never before have we seen such a fine dam and home built. In all the years this contest has been held, we all agreed unanimously, Bodger and his team created the best dam ever built!"

The hall erupted in cheers as Bodger took the cup from the judge. He just could not believe it. Was it a dream? He pinched himself. No, it wasn't a dream. Now Bodger was grinning his head off. He turned around and saw his friends at the back of the hall. They were all laughing and cheering. It really was true, they had won the contest. Theirs was the best dam in the whole wide world!


Recognized


I have already written this story in rhyme, called, Bodger the Beaver, which a lot of you have already read from my Hedgerow Friends, book. I would really like some honest opinions about it in this format. It will be fully illustrated.
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