The following mini-story is based upon the characters in the new book, Tales From The Glades Of Ballymore.
This past weekend, Petunia Porcupine held her annual pumpkin festival. On Saturday morning everyone was invited to help harvest the final pumpkins and apples of the season. The day was sunny and cold. By 10 bongs (10 am) her fields and orchard were full of animals running this way and that with baskets. It was quite disorganized, but everyone seemed to like that. The mood was spontaneous. Eventually, there were a lot of bright orange pumpkins of all sizes piled on one side of her well. On the other side were hundreds of shiny red apples.
Petunia served hot apple cider to everyone. The cider was meant for drinking, but some of the younger animals had another idea. They found a large pumpkin that had been hollowed out and filled it with some of the cider. Now they had a cider-pumpkin swimming pool. Since the pumpkin was next to Petunia's back porch, the moles and chipmunks were able to jump from the porch into the pumpkin pool. It was great fun, but it created quite a mess. Eventually, everyone had had enough jumping and splashing and bathing. The parents made their now sweet and sticky children rinse off in the pond.
Later in the afternoon, some animals left, and those remaining moved indoors. Petunia offered hot tea, small sandwiches, and pumpkin pie. Reginald Rabbit sat on the hearth and began telling those who were interested about a Halloween he had many years ago. It was mostly the younger animals who seemed interested. A number of the adults pretended not to listen, but they were listening with one ear.
"I was hopping home through the woods on a Halloween eve many years ago. It was quite windy and near dusk. I wanted to get home quickly. I don't believe in ghosts and I'm not superstitious, but it was Halloween and it is best to be careful."
Several of the "not listening" adults nodded their heads.
"Gusts of wind blew through the evergreens. The wind seemed to be coming from all directions. Suddenly, I came upon a fog covering the path. It was about three feet deep. Despite the wind, it did not move. I stopped immediately and stared. It was very strange. I really wanted to be home but what could I do? I was too afraid to hop through the fog that shouldn't even be there. While I was trying to decide what to do, the fog slowly drifted off the path. There was now enough room for me to get by. I waited. The fog didn't move. The wind blew. It got darker. I waited. The fog didn't move."
All of the adults had moved into the parlor so that they could hear better.
"I had to do something, so I began to slowly hop down the path towards the fog. As I approached, nothing happened. It remained motionless until I had passed. As soon as I passed it, I hopped away as fast as I could. When I looked back, I saw the fog coming after me. I was terrified! In a few minutes, I reached the edge of the woods and ran into my home. I slammed the door shut and went to the window. The fog had stopped at the edge of the woods. I continued to watch as darkness closed in. I don't know if the fog left or if it just became too dark to see."
"Then what happened?"asked Finn Frog excitedly.
"I didn't go out again that night, and I've never gone out on a Halloween night since then. I just don't know what's out there. The next morning I went to the edge of the woods. In the area where the fog had been, there was a small amount of green slime covering the ground. I don't know what it was. I don't want to know."
Morris Muskrat shuddered as he remembered his recent dream about slimy goblins. The weasels also shuddered as they recalled a similar fog they encountered last Halloween. The Ballymore residents didn't need this story to get them to be cautious on Halloween. Everyone claims they don't believe in ghosts, but there is no trick-or-treating and very few put out a lighted pumpkin. They ageed with Reginald that is best to stay in. The story made everyone uneasy, and they all decided it was time to leave. The animals warily made their way to their homes on the moonless, windy night.
Halloween is still to come.