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Kids Bedtime Christian

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. Her name was Rana, and she lived on a farm. Her family was made of a dad, a mom, six brothers, eleven cows (Bessie died last fall), two dogs, and three cats. 


This day started off quite ordinary. Her brothers were milking the cows.


Rana took her little bucket and walked carefully to the first milking stall. Annabelle, the biggest cow, looked at her with big, solemn eyes. Randy, her brother who was leaning against the cow’s side with his hands working the teats, looked at her with sleepy eyes. “Go ask one of the other boys today.”


“But they don’t give me enough. My kitties are thirsty all day then.”


Randy sighed. “Hold your bucket closer.”


She obeyed, and he filled it almost to the top. “My kitties will say thank you, Randy.” He mumbled something. She held the bucket with both hands and walked to the corner of the barn. Taffy, Shaggy, and Ruffles came to her right away, and she petted them while they drank their milk. When they were done, the boys were done milking, and everyone went inside for breakfast. 


Mama asked the same question every morning. “What are you guys doing today?”


Randy said he and Rey were going to work on the treehouse. Ricardo was going to draw pictures of all the birds he could find. Rowan, Rudy, and Ryan were going to go fishing. Rana wasn’t sure. 


“Do you want to come grocery shopping with me?”


Rana shook her head. “Maybe I’ll go fishing too.”


Rudy protested. “You always splash around and scare the fish away.”


“No need for loud voices at the breakfast table.” Daddy didn’t like arguments. “I noticed a weak spot in the fence this morning, so the cows have to stay inside today. I’m going to walk the fence and see how much lumber I need to get. We’ll need all hands on deck tomorrow for repairs.”


Later that morning, Rana found herself walking down a deer path through the woods. She could hear the creek to her left. She followed the path until the trees opened up to a meadow. She could see the creek now, bubbling happily into the pond. Ripples made the reflected sky look magical, and she smiled. 


There were a lot of sweet williams blooming at the tree line. She picked a handful and brought them to the pond’s edge. She picked off the individual flowers, put them gently into the water, and watched them dance on the ripples. 


Farther away, the pond was as smooth as glass. She could see the boys across there, sitting on the bank with their lines in the water. She watched Rowan get up and hand his pole to Ryan. 


Rowan made his way to a big maple tree that grew close to the pond. He jumped for the lowest branch and caught it on his first try. Rana watched as he pulled himself up and wiggled along a big branch that hung over the water. He motioned for Ryan to hand him back his pole. 


Ryan held on to the tree trunk and leaned out with the pole. Rowan bent from his branch and reached. He grabbed the pole, lost his balance, and pulled Ryan into the pond with him. 


They made a wonderful splash. Their big ripples came all the way across the pond and fought with the little creek ripples. Rana giggled as they climbed out, dripping wet and shivering, and Rudy groaned about “for sure not catching any fish now”. 


All four made their way back to the house. Rudy cleaned up the poles while Rana ran inside for dry clothes. She came back and threw them into the barn, where Rowan and Ryan were changing. 


“What do we do with our wet stuff?” Rowan wrung out his tshirt. “Mama wouldn’t want it in the house.”


Ryan shook out his hair like a dog. “We can hang them up in Bessie's stall.”


“But it’s so humid.”


“What if we turned on that little heater? Just until our clothes are dry.” 


This course of action was adopted, and the extension cord was run to Bessie’s stall for the little heater. The boys left to see how the tree house was coming along, and Rana climbed up to the loft to find her cats. 


She dug a little nest in the hay and waited. Soon Taffy and Shaggy were purring happily as she scratched around their ears. Ruffles curled up beside her and fell asleep.


A weird sound came from down below; like popcorn, almost. Rana frowned and stood up, sending the two cats away. She walked to the ladder. “Boys? Are you down there?” She caught a whiff of air that smelled like winter: woodsmoke. 


The cats followed Rana as she clambered down the ladder into a haze of smoke. Annabelle and Clara were shifting nervously on either side of the empty stall. Rana could see tongues of fire licking up the straw around the heater. She unplugged the extension cord, then ran for her little bucket and filled it up at the water trough. She sloshed it over the heater, but the fire was spreading fast through the hay. She dropped the bucket.


Rana ran for the big door and threw her weight against it. She pushed it all the way open, then grabbed the morning bell and rang it twice, the same way Randy always did when they were finished milking. The cows stirred and started backing from their stalls, but the fire had reached the wall and was racing up it. 


Barking caught her attention as Guardian and Lassie dashed past her into the barn. They pushed the cows, nipping at their legs. Rana watched in relief as the cows exited the barn one by one until Lizbeth was out and the barn was empty. The whole ceiling was on fire now.


Rana sent the dogs, and thereby the cows, to the other end of the pasture. Then Mama got home from grocery shopping, and she got scolded for standing so close to the barn. It was all burning now.


The boys came running, and Daddy came up from the field. Everyone wanted to know what happened, but Rana was busy coughing. The barn turned into a pile of ashes. 

 

Evening came. Daddy and the boys set up a makeshift fence to keep the cows from getting too close to the scene of the fire. They did the milking into extra pails from the garage. Rana got a container from Mama to give milk to her cats, but only Taffy and Shaggy came running. 


Rana suddenly remembered Ruffles, curled up in the hayloft. She burst into tears and ran into the kitchen. Mama let her cry until the boys were washed up, then dried her tears and led her to the table. They prayed.


“I don’t want to eat.” 


“I want you to eat a little bit, at least. Do you want to tell us what happened first?”


She told the whole story, but broke down when she got to the end with poor Ruffles. Daddy looked at her very seriously before getting up out of his chair. 


“Rana, I want you to switch spots with me.”


She halted mid-sniff. “What?”


“This spot is for the protector of the family. You did a lot of protecting today. Your quick thinking saved all the cows, and two of the cats.”


“But Ruffles—”


“Rana,” he pulled back her chair and gave her a hug. “You did everything you could. I’m proud of you. Go sit in my chair.”


She felt very small in Daddy’s chair. The boys all looked like they wished they had been at the fire. Rana wished they would have been there, too. Maybe they could’ve saved Ruffles. 


But Daddy was proud of her. She wiped her nose and sat a little straighter. Maybe she could eat some supper after all. 

May 28, 2022 03:49

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5 comments

Dave Braun
22:02 Jun 08, 2022

I loved this story!! This is one of my favourites! As I read all the names I wondered, if the family were ever to sign their initials on one page, it would look like one person signed every spot😅. The names were an interesting detail. 😊

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Keri Dyck
15:08 Jul 01, 2022

Aww thank you! Little nerd rant about the names--they are in alphabetical order according to age. Randy, Rey, Ricardo, Rowan, Rudy, Ryan. Rana is the first girl, so she got to start at the top. I went with all R's to give it some uniformity; so that so many names wouldn't be overwhelming. The cows were also named like that. Poor Bessie's neighbours were Annabelle and Clara: A, B, C. I actually named the other cows too, but couldn't think of a way to bore my readers with listing them all too. The only other one named is Lizbeth, the last o...

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Kenneth Allan
22:43 Jun 01, 2022

Utterly brilliant. I felt as if i was actually part of it. You managed to put a lot of emotion in there. Good one.

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Keri Dyck
14:56 Jul 01, 2022

Thank you very much!

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Anissa Waterman
14:13 May 28, 2022

I like how Rana was the hero. The story is good.

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