An Animal Garden Story
The Safe Place
by Anne E Thompson
It was very cold. All night, soft snowflakes had fallen and now the garden was white and silent. The dogs were very happy. They had leaped around in the snow, eating great mouthfuls of it and had left big muddy footprints across the lawn. The cats were cross. They looked at the beautiful white snow and decided it was much too cold to go outside. They had found somewhere warm and curled up to sleep. The chickens stayed in the coop, they were safe in there.
Annie was worried about the ducks. The pond had frozen and the water was hard, so Mr Fox could walk across it. He could walk to the island and catch ducks there. He could walk across the frozen water and into the nesting box and could catch ducks there. He could even catch ducks on the actual water, where they stood in an unhappy huddle, wanting to be able to swim.
Annie went to the pond. She took the dogs and her family. They moved the ducks into the big cage. The ducks would be safe in the cage.
Every day, Annie went up to the big cage. The ducks needed clean water. They couldn’t swim in the pond or drink the water. Every day Annie carried big bowls of water into the cage. Some of the little call ducks jumped into it and splashed and swam. The big ducks dipped their heads into it and had a wash and a drink.
The ducks couldn’t sleep in the nesting box. They couldn’t poop in the pond. Every day Annie took away the dirty hay and cleaned up the duck poop. Then she gave them clean hay to sleep on.
The ducks needed food. They couldn’t catch insects in the pond or eat the plants on the bank. Every day Annie took them duck food and corn to eat.
When Annie went to the pond, she saw fox footprints. They went round and round the cage. They went round and round the pond. They went round and round the island. But the ducks were safe. The ducks lived in the cage for a long time. They were sad. They wanted to play on the pond. They wanted to eat grass. They wanted to swim. But they were safe.
After lots and lots of days, the sun started to shine. The weather grew warmer. The ice began to melt. Mr Fox couldn’t walk onto the pond when the ice had gone and he didn’t like to swim. When all the ice had melted and the pond had turned back into water, Annie opened the cage door. Out flew the call ducks. They landed ‘splash!’ onto the pond. Out waddled the fat white aylesbury ducks. They stepped carefully into the pond. Out ran little wood duck, she jumped straight into the pond. The ducks were all very happy. Now they could play and swim and find food, and they were all safe.
In some countries in the world, people are not safe in the places where they live. If there is lots of fighting in their country, sometimes they have to leave their homes and go to a safe place. This is called a refugee camp. The people need food. They need somewhere to sleep. They need clean water. They need toilets. Sometimes they need other people to help them. People in our country can give money to a charity to help people who have had to leave their homes. Tearfund is a charity that helps people. Ask someone to help you find tearfund.org on the computer and you can see pictures of some of the people they help.