Favorite Campfire Stories for all ages! These aren't scary, but will be entertaining all the same...
A TALE OF TWO PETS
I remember it was about that time that Jim Sloane used to work at the YMCA. Now that was a character. He was, in my opinion, an unusual individual who was interested in some rather exotic subjects. The most unusual thing about him was his pet, (rumored to have been captured somewhere in Africa) which reminded me of a piece of granite with eyes, which he called Teddy. Teddy typically just sat there, doing nothing, but sometimes it lifted a lower edge and sucked in powdered sugar. That was all it ate. No one ever saw it move, but every once in a while it wasn't where people thought it was. There was a theory that it moved when no one was looking.
Tim Bellamy, a lifeguard, constantly ridiculed poor Teddy, saying mean and nasty things about it. Laverty's pet looked like an iguana, and to me, at least, was the ugliest looking thing that you would ever want to see. He called this 'iguana' by the unlikely name of Dolly.
Well, one day Sloane had had enough of these comments, and challenged Bellamy to a race. His Teddy against Bellamy's Dolly. And to make things a bit more interesting, he suggested a rather hefty wager on the outcome, which Bellamy quickly agreed to. Soon everyone got into the act. Every one of them bet on Dolly. At least it moved. Sloane covered it all. He'd been saving his salary for some time (for some exotic project, no doubt) and put every penny of it on Teddy.
The race course was set in the basement garage. At one end, two bowls were set out, one with powdered sugar for Teddy, and another with ground meat for Dolly. Dolly started off at once and began moving along the floor slowly toward the meat. All in attendance cheered it on.
Teddy just sat there without budging.
"Sugar, Teddy, Sugar." said Sloane, pointing. Teddy did not move. It looked more like a rock than ever, but Sloane did not seem concerned.
Finally, when Dolly had 'ran' half-way across the garage, Sloane said casually to Teddy, "If you don't get out there, Teddy, I'm going to get a hammer and chip you into pebbles."
That was when people realized how truly different Teddy was. Sloane had no sooner made his threat when Teddy just disappeared from its place and re-appeared smack on top of the sugar.
Sloane won, of course, and he counted his winnings slowly and luxuriously.
Bellamy said bitterly, "You knew that it would do that."
"No, I didn't," said Sloane, "but I knew he would win. It was a sure thing."
"How come ?", said Laverty.
"It's an old saying everyone knows. Sloane's Teddy wins the race."
FARMER JONES AND THE BIG QUAKE
On a bright and sunny morning in May, Farmer Jones went out to plow his fields. He led old Bessie, his plow horse, out of the barn and hitched her up to the plow. The aroma of newly plowed earth wafted behind him as he produced a ruler straight furrow across the field. Suddenly his reverie was broken as a strong earthquake struck. As the ground shook beneath his feet, he fell to his knees. His plow fell over almost on top of him, as did old Bessie. But, beyond the fence in the next field, the bull remained standing.
Farmer Jones stood, dusted himself off, and grabbed the reins to right old Bessie. He pulled the plow upright, hitched up the horse again and began to plow. Shaken somewhat by the strange experience, the furrow began to zig a little from side to side as Bessie pulled the plow blade through the fertile ground. After only a few seconds a strong aftershock rolled through the farm. Again it was strong enough to knock Farmer Jones from his feet, topple his plow, and with a loud protest, drive old Bessie to the ground. This time the farmer looked back across the field toward the house and noticed that the goats and cows had fallen over, too .... But, beyond the fence in the next field, the bull remained standing.
Shaken and puzzled, Farmer Jones picked himself up and dusted off his overalls. Righting the horse and plow, he quieted old Bessie as best he could. She seemed more rattled by all this that he was. As strong as the two earthquakes were, Farmer Jones could not understand how the bull remained standing. So he started toward the other field to see if he could find out what was going on with the bull. As he crossed the field, and climbed through the fence into the field where the bull stood, a very strong aftershock struck -- much worse than either of the preceding earthquakes -- putting him on the ground flat on his face. Looking behind himself he saw Old Bessie and the plow had fallen down again. Down toward the house the goats and cows had fallen down again. In fact, this aftershock was so strong that the chickens had fallen over as well. The front porch on the farmhouse had crashed down and the walls looked as though they would not last much longer. But, only a few feet away from him, the bull remained standing.
He picked himself up, dusted off, and without bothering to right either horse or plow, marched toward the bull. Shaken to the core, puzzled and angry, Farmer Jones shouted, demanding to know why everything on the farm had been knocked over by the earthquakes and the bull had remained on his feet. Much to Farmer Jones' astonishment, the bull replied, "We bulls wobble, but we don't fall down!"
HOW BEAR LOST HIS TAIL
Back in the old days, Bear had a tail which was his proudest possession. It was long and black and glossy and Bear used to wave it around just so that people would look at it. Fox saw this. Fox, as everyone knows, is a trickster and likes nothing better than fooling others. So it was that he decided to play a trick on Bear.
It was the time of year when Hatho, the Spirit of Frost, had swept across the land, covering the lakes with ice and pounding on the trees with his big hammer. Fox made a hole in the ice, right near a place where Bear liked to walk. By the time Bear came by, all around Fox, in a big circle, were big trout and fat perch. Just as Bear was about to ask Fox what he was doing, Fox twitched his tail which he had sticking through that hole in the ice and pulled out a huge trout.
"Greetings, Brother," said Fox. "How are you this fine day?"
"Greetings," answered Bear, looking at the big circle of fat fish. " I am well, Brother. But what are you doing?"
"I am fishing," answered Fox. "Would you like to try?"
"Oh, yes," said Bear, as he started to lumber over to Fox's fishing hole.
But Fox stopped him. "Wait, Brother," he said, "This place will not be good. As you can see, I have already caught all the fish. Let us make you a new fishing spot where you can catch many big trout."
Bear agreed and so he followed Fox to the new place, a place where, as Fox knew very well, the lake was too shallow to catch the winter fish--which always stay in the deepest water when Hatho has covered their ponds. Bear watched as Fox made the hole in the ice, already tasting the fine fish he would soon catch. "Now," Fox said, "you must do just as I tell you. Clear your mind of all thoughts of fish. Do not even think of a song or the fish will hear you. Turn your back to the hole and place your tail inside it. Soon a fish will come and grab your tail and you can pull him out."
"But how will I know if a fish has grabbed my tail if my back is turned?" asked Bear.
"I will hide over here where the fish cannot see me," said Fox. "When a fish grabs your tail, I will shout. Then you must pull as hard as you can to catch your fish. But you must be very patient. Do not move at all until I tell you."
Bear nodded, "I will do exactly as you say." He sat down next to the hole, placed his long beautiful black tail in the icy water and turned his back.
Fox watched for a time to make sure that Bear was doing as he was told and then, very quietly, sneaked back to his own house and went to bed. The next morning he woke up and thought of Bear. "I wonder if he is still there," Fox said to himself. "I'll just go and check."
So Fox went back to the ice covered pond and what do you think he saw? He saw what looked like a little white hill in the middle of the ice. It had snowed during the night and covered Bear, who had fallen asleep while waiting for Fox to tell him to pull his tail and catch a fish. And Bear was snoring. His snores were so loud that the ice was shaking. It was so funny that Fox rolled with laughter. But when he was through laughing, he decided the time had come to wake up poor Bear. He crept very close to Bear's ear, took a deep breath, and then shouted: "Now, Bear!!!"
Bear woke up with a start and pulled his long tail hard as he could. But his tail had been caught in the ice which had frozen over during the night and as he pulled, it broke off -- Whack! -- just like that. Bear turned around to look at the fish he had caught and instead saw his long lovely tail caught in the ice.
"Ohhh," he moaned, "ohhh, Fox. I will get you for this." But Fox, even though he was laughing fit to kill, was still faster than Bear and he leaped aside and was gone.
So it is that even to this day Bears have short tails and no love at all for Fox. And if you ever hear a bear moaning, it is probably because he remembers the trick Fox played on him long ago and he is mourning for his lost tail.
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