The Old Oak at Farmhouse Fables
Chapter 2 from the story
Matilda Finds a New Home
A Children’s Fable by Jan Luthman
The old oak at Farmhouse Fables stood at the edge of the meadow, on the way down towards the little stream at the bottom.
Nobody knew exactly how old the tree was, not even Jonathan, and he knew more than anyone. It had been there for ever and ever, perhaps even longer than the Old Farmhouse itself. It was all twisted and craggy with age, and one of its branches was missing, blown down in a great storm years ago.
On one side, as high as Farmer Jack’s shoulder, the bark had been rubbed completely off by horses and cows scratching their backs against it during long, hot summers.
For hundreds of years, the old oak tree had been home to many of the creatures that lived in the meadow – it was like an old and trusted friend.
“It’s lost all it’s leaves,” Said Robbit, “They’ve fallen off.”
“Yes,” Agreed Jonathan, “But they haven’t gone far. They’re all underneath: on the ground.”
And so they were. On the ground underneath the old oak, in amongst its roots, lay piles and piles of golden brown leaves.
Jonathan nosed carefully under a large heap of them: they smelt all musty, warm and damp.
“M’mm,” He breathed happily, “That’s nice.”
Jonathan turned round and pushed his way out into the sunlight again.
“I like it in there, Robbit,” He said, “it’s all soft and warm and just a little bit damp.”
But there was no answer.
Jonathan gazed around, looking for his friend: but there was no-one there.
“Robbit?” Jonathan called out, puzzled.
All of a sudden, Robbit’s head popped up out of the ground beside him.
“I do wish you wouldn’t do that,” He said crossly, “You know it upsets me when you bounce up out of nowhere like that.”
Robbit brushed bits of earth off his fur.
“It’s nice here,” He said, flicking more earth out of his ears with his paw, “The ground’s all soft and easy to dig.”
“And the leaves are all soft and warm and damp,” Said Jonathan dreamily.
“Funny how when it gets cold it makes you sleepy.”
“Nature does that,” Jonathan began another explanation, “When it’s a cold winter, you sleep all through it. It’s called hibernating.”
“Oh,” Said Robbit, too tired to be impressed again: all he really wanted to do was curl up in his cosy new burrow.
Jonathan turned and began to slide back under his pile of leaves.
“I’m tired,” He announced, “G’night, Robbit.”
“G’night, Jonathan,” Robbit rubbed his eyes sleepily, “See you in the Spring.”
Go to Chapter 3 of this story of
Matilda Finds a New Home
Snow arrives at The Old Farmhouse