Monday, August 3, 2009

Have You Seen My Stripe?

by Madison and Anastasia

Patches the kitten licked herself all over until she was perfectly clean and then went out to play. It was a warm, bright day, and Patches felt happy. She saw a yellow flower growing beside the house and went over to smell it. She heard baby birds chirping in the tree, and ran toward the tree to see if she could climb it to see them, but when she had climbed only two feet, she was frightened, and climbed back down. She saw a grasshopper and pounced on it, but it got away.

“Ha, ha!” said someone.

Patches looked up and saw a large, tan cat walking along the top of the fence.

“Who are you?” asked Patches.

“I’m Butch, and I live around the corner, and I see you can’t even catch a grasshopper or climb a tree.”

Patches didn’t know what to say.

“And look at you!” said Butch. “You have gray stripes all over your back and sides but look at that spot on your right side. You’re missing a stripe! Ha, ha!”

Patches ran back indoors, jumped up on a dresser in the big bedroom, and turned her right side to the mirror. She saw gray and cream-colored stripes running down her sides, but in one place, there was only a cream-colored patch, just like the one on her forehead and the ones on her ears. There was a stripe above it and a stripe below it, but there was no stripe in the cream-colored place.

“I AM missing a stripe!” said Patches. “Oh, no! Where could it be?” Did I drop my stripe somewhere? Has somebody taken it? What shall I do?”

Patches was so sad she climbed back into the kitten basket with Mother and Fluffy, her sister, and Spot, her brother, and snuggled as close to Mother as she could, to hide her missing stripe. Soon she fell into a sorrowful sleep.

When she awoke, Patches knew what she must do. She must find her stripe!

“Goodbye, Mother,” she said, “I’m going out for a walk. “Goodbye, Fluffy. Goodbye, Spot.”

The first person Patches met as she walked along the road was Sammy the Skunk. He had two big, beautiful, white stripes.

“Excuse me,” said Patches, “I’m looking for my stripe. She showed Sammy her stripeless spot. “Have you seen my stripe?”

“No,” said the skunk. “But finding it won’t do you any good. You still won’t smell as good as I do.” And he walked away, waving his striped tail in the air.

Patches walked sadly on. Soon she came to the zoo, and there she came upon a tiger in his cage. The tiger had as many stripes as Patches had. “Excuse me,” said Patches, “Have you seen my stripe?”

“No,” said the tiger, “but finding it won’t do you any good. You still won’t be ferocious like me.” And he growled as loudly as he could.

Patches hung her head and walked on. After a few minutes, she came to the zebra. The zebra had enough stripes to spare.

“Excuse me,” said Patches. “Have you seen my stripe?”

“No,” said the zebra.

“Do you think I could borrow one of yours?” asked Patches.

“No, I need all mine. Anyway, having that stripe won’t do you any good. You still won’t be able to gallop, like me.” And she galloped away.

Near the giraffe enclosure, Patches noticed a kindly looking man with a white beard. He was sitting on a stool in the pathway, painting a picture of the giraffes.

Now Patches was almost ready to cry. She went up to the kind man and mewed as fetchingly as she could, then said, “Have you seen my stripe?”

The man laughed. “No, I haven’t, little thing,” he said, “But I can give you a new stripe if you like.” So he picked up the kitten and set her in his lap. Patches began purring loudly. The artist dipped his brush into some gray paint and painted a brand new stripe on her side.

Patches stretched her neck around to see it. Yes! It was perfect. It connected the stripe above the patch to the stripe below the patch, and it was an extra good stripe, too, because it was darker than all the rest of her stripes.

"Thank you so much!" Patches said to the nice man. Then she jumped down from his lap and ran home.

“I can’t wait to show everybody,” she thought as she danced up the sidewalk to her house. “Now nobody will know I lost my stripe. Now I’ll look beautiful!”

“Woof, woof! Woof, woof!” Patches heard Archie, the family dog, barking.

“Woof, woof!” said Archie again. “Go away! No strangers allowed in this house!”

“But Archie, I’m not a stranger!” cried Patches.

Archie began to snarl. “Go away, stranger!”

“It’s me, Patches!” said the kitten.

“No, you are not Patches! Patches doesn’t have an ugly stripe like yours. She has a cream-colored patch on her side. Go away!” And he moved closer to Patches, to scare her away.

Patches was terrified. She arched her back. Her fur stood up on end. Her eyes grew wide. “Help, help!” she screamed. “Mother! Fluffy! Spot!”

Fluffy and Spot came running out of the house.

“Go away!” said Fluffy. “Chase her, Archie!”

“No, no, I live here!” said Patches. “It’s me, your sister!”

“You are not my sister,” said Fluffy. “My sister doesn’t have an ugly stripe like that. My sister is beautiful.”

“Spot,” cried Patches. “You recognize me, don’t you? It’s me, Patches!”

“No,” said Spot. “Patches doesn’t look like you. She has a lovely cream-colored spot on her side.”

A large, long-haired, calico cat came out of the door. It was Mother!

“Patches, dear,” said Mother, “what have you done to yourself?”

Patches hung her head. She did not know what to say.

“Come, children,” said Mother. “Let’s all go to the kitten basket and have supper and a nice snuggle. And we’ll see if we can get little Patches cleaned up.”

After supper, Mother licked Patches. She licked and licked, but the stripe would not go away. “I know you’re tired,” said Mother, “so we’ll stop now. I can’t get that stripe out. You'll just have to live with it for a while. But don’t worry; it will grow out in time and you will look like yourself again. Now it’s time to go to sleep. Good night, children.”

“Good night, Mother,” said all the kittens.

Patches nestled closer to Mother. Fluffy and Spot came and cuddled beside her, and Patches felt warm all over. She could feel Mother purring, and she started purring, too. She was so happy she kept on purring until


elizabeth said...

That’s a great story! I would love to see it published with illustrations! :)