Maggie and the Pink Rat Märt Saar Maggie is a young girl who lives in the small country of Estonia. Her biggest dream is to have a pet. But to her misfortune, her parents won't allow it since she is allergic to animals. Big is Maggie's surprise when she finds a letter from elf Erik, who promises to bring whatever she wishes…. That's how the adventures of 8-year-old Maggie and Pink Rat start. The book is enjoyable reading for elementary- to middle-school age children and is a great collection of goodnight stories for parents who want to spend some quality time with their kids. Märt Saar Maggie and the Pink Rat But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16, NIV 1. Un-be-lieve-a-ble! There was a girl called Maggie. She had been looking at her windowsill for quite a while. Her eyes were as large as cucumber slices, though normally they were average-sized – about like roasted almonds. On Maggie's windowsill were a whole lineup of shoes, and she would have happily begun playing with them again, but something was wrong. Someone had moved the shoes around, making a pyramid-shaped tower of them. But Maggie had no idea who that someone could be, for she had no brothers or sisters. There were just her mother and father, but they certainly wouldn’t have been playing with her shoes. They didn’t have time for such things. What made Maggie most amazed was the shoe at the top of the pyramid. It was a shiny, black, highheeled dance shoe. One of her favorites. Of all the shoes in the tower, it was the most suspicious, because into it had been placed a note written on brown paper. It had been rolled up and tied with a piece of red thread. Certainly the work of dainty, skilled fingers. It couldn’t be Dad, thought Maggie, his fingers were too thick to manage anything so fine. The letter had been stuck longways into the shoe right where Maggie's little toe would go. And since it clearly must be written just for her, on that spring morning in the month of March, that same little girl put two fingers into the shoe. Cautiously, as if fearing that the shoe tower would collapse, she removed the scroll from the shoe. Undoubtedly this was a very special moment! As special as getting a big piece of earwax out of her ear, or digging a long, dried-up booger out of her nose. But the letter was much prettier than earwax or a booger. The paper was made of a marvelously thin material, and the thread was so soft that it felt like it had been crafted by fairies. She looked over her shoulder to be sure the door was shut and untied the thread. And the scroll opened! “Hi Maggie! I wuanted two say I’m very sorry that I havin’t ben very gud. Please don’t be madd at me eny mor. Santa Yugo was alredee upset with me a buntch of tyms. He sed I was a lazee worker and I gots two do beddr. He sed I have to mayk it all beddr by bringing you a grayt big present. Please rite two me and tel me wut I shud bring you. It can be wutever you want, but Yugo said it haz to fitt in your room. I reely want to be your elf and I promiss I’ll be gud now. Your elf, Erik.” Maggie was in second grade, so she could already read quite well. But since the content of the letter was so unexpected, she had to read it several times to be sure she understood what the elf was saying. “I can wish for whatever I want!” whispered Maggie to herself, as if saying it out loud would help her understand it. “Just as long as it can fit in my room?!” The girl flopped down into her easy chair and gazed out the window, looking far past the clouds. Her thoughts took flight over the lakes and forests of Estonia. Over the Gulf of Finland to the French fries and meatballs at the IKEA store. Over Sweden and Norway and back around through Denmark, where they stopped for a moment at Legoland. Then they took off again like a rocket, up past the airplanes, diving into the darkness of space and landing on the moon. She did two laps around it, then looked back at the waiting Earth. Her thoughts zipped back down into the Pacific Ocean and dove into a pod of dolphins, then rode on the back of a blue whale. She took a ride on a pirate ship in the Caribbean where she and Johnny Depp drank lemonade from bottomless cups, then she stretched out on the world’s softest pillows. She imagined opening her eyes again and seeing herself in the mirror wearing Elsa’s icy gown and patting Olaf on the head… There was so much. So much to wish and long for. Maggie's mother sometimes had girlfriends over and when they were talking excitedly about something they would say, “Unbelievable!” Maggie thought they said it too frequently and about too many things, but she figured now would be just the right time for that word. “Unbelievable!” “Un-be-lieve-a-ble!” “Gracious, it’s so amazing!” Maggie actually knew already exactly what she wished for. It was, of course, the thing she had never gotten, though she had been asking her parents for it for several birthdays and Christmases. But the girl’s pleas had always ended with her parents’ reply that she had allergies and it simply wasn’t possible. “I want a pet. A pet that I’m not allergic to!” As Maggie said it, she didn’t know if it was possible. But since she was dealing with Santa’s own elf, who else could fulfill a wish if he couldn’t? “It doesn’t matter if it’s a cat or a dog or a guinea pig! Any kind of animal as long as it doesn’t make me itch or sneeze!” Without any further thought, Maggie sat down and wrote her wish to Erik the Elf. She folded the letter, put it back into the shoe, and walked out of the room. Because Maggie, of course, was not a silly girl. She knew that elves only come when nobody else is in the room. Yes, even when spring has come and most other elves would be resting from the busy season and sunbathing on the beach. 2. An unexpected gift Maggie didn’t know when it happened, but it might have been sometime before dinner. When the little girl returned to her bedroom and went over to her windowsill to look at the shoe pyramid again, her letter was no longer there. It was gone! Oh, how Maggie wished she could see Erik the Elf. There was no longer any doubt that the little rascal was actually for real! Before falling asleep, the girl pondered for quite a while what kind of animal Erik might bring, but truthfully, it was very difficult to guess. It could be any animal at all! If it was a dog then it could be very shaggy and big enough to take up half her bed. Or maybe one small enough to fit in her purse that would bark its tiny bark at every little thing? But if it happened to be a cat, there were so many different kinds. Those that only sleep, those that climb all over and prowl around. Some only want to be outside and fight with other cats at every opportunity. How would Erik know which kind would be the best and most suitable for her? Would he even think about all these things, or would he just take whatever animal happened to be closest? Maggie was even starting to get a little worried, but she comforted herself with the thought that since she liked all cats and dogs, then she was sure to be pleased with whatever Erik would bring. That evening the girl fell asleep later than usual. The last thing she remembered for that day was looking at the drawing that hung on her wall. She had drawn it several years ago while in kindergarten. It was a pink cat with a slightly pointed nose and short legs, but was a pretty cute. The next morning, Maggie woke up to something that felt like a fly crawling around on her face. At first, it felt ticklish and fun, but after a while, she tired of it and scratched her face. She wasn’t allergic to flies, but they made her itch anyway. She thought sometimes that there might be some type of substance on a fly’s legs that made her itch, but she hadn’t had time to check it out. Maggie rushed back over to the windowsill to see if a letter had arrived from the elf. “There is! Unbelievable!” said the girl. And without further thought she pulled the next brown scroll out of the shoe. She was terribly curious, and her tongue danced from one corner of the mouth to the other. The letter said: “Hi Maggie! Deer gurl. I hop you lyk this liddl aminul and that you wont be madd at me. I lookt arawnd your room and saw that you wud lyk him. Santa Yugo sed you cud have wisht for sumthing bedder, but I stuk up for you and sed its what you wantid. Yugo sed ok. Lort willing and the crik don’t rise, I’ll see you next Crissmuss. Your elf, Erik.” As soon as she had finished reading the letter, she heard a scratching near her knee. It seemed to be coming from the desk, somewhere in a drawer. She didn’t have time to read the letter more than once and started opening drawers. The top drawer held her school supplies; nothing else was there. The second drawer had her crafting things, and nothing else was there either. That left the third and fourth drawers, but Maggie knew there couldn’t be anything in the fourth. That one was completely filled with bars of soap that she had collected, and it smelled like a delightful summer flower garden. That meant the scratching had to be coming from the third drawer, which held only a puzzle, if she remembered correctly. Then the drawer opened! As soon as it cracked open, a nose poked out. It was long and had a sharp tip, and Maggie knew that shape was called a cone. It started sniffing here and there, gathering information about the room, as if wanting to find out what was in store. The girl’s heart pounded in her chest like a drum solo, but she had to pull the drawer open wider. The cone crept out farther and farther until suddenly, out popped a head. It was pink! Squarish ears, buttonlike black eyes, and long red whiskers. And that same long, pink nose that never stopped sniffing. The animal seemed somehow strangely familiar to Maggie. She opened the drawer all the way and finally the creature appeared in all its glory. It twitched on the puzzle box, its nails making little scraping noises. It almost looked as if it was ready to jump out, but as soon as it saw the girl, it held itself back. They just stared at each other. The animal’s body was long, and its legs short like a Dachshund. But at its hind end was a long wriggling tail, which was suspiciously rat-like. And finally she recognized the animal! It was the same one she had drawn in kindergarten! She had named the picture Pink Cat, but looking at it now it seemed more like a pink rat. Maggie had to admit that the animal did have similarities to her picture. “Come here, let me hold you.” She gathered her courage again and lifted the animal carefully onto her knees. It yielded and stood there on four legs. Its feet felt warm, and Maggie liked it. “You’re the Pink Rat!” declared the girl, just like that, and looked at it with admiration. Okay, so it looked a little funny, a bit like a kindergartner’s doodle, but since it was her very own pet, that made it very special! Maggie realized suddenly she didn’t itch and didn’t sneeze. For her, that was a big deal. 3. Eight pieces of popcorn Maggie showed the Pink Rat to her parents in the morning, when they were in the kitchen. Mom was drinking coffee and Dad was making porridge. “Look what I got!” Maggie beamed. “What is that?” Dad asked. He seemed not to notice the sticky drips from his spoon that were falling the floor. “It’s my new pet, Pink Rat,” explained Maggie and pet the animal. It had buried its snout under her arm. It seemed to be afraid of her parents. Now Mom chimed in: “Where did you get that? Did someone give it to you?” “Erik the Elf gave it to me. It’s straight from Santa Yugo.” Her eyes shone with joy. But her parents didn’t appear to be very convinced. They had more questions. And they did not want to even hear about, let alone believe, any stories about elves or that this was a real live animal. “But look! It’s breathing! Here, see its tummy! It's going in and out! And feel how warm it is!” explained Maggie. “Maggie, sweetie,” said Dad, and laid his hand on her head. Another glob of porridge dripped off the spoon, this time landing on Dad’s sock. “No real animal looks like that. We understand how much you want a pet but I’m sorry, we can’t do it. We’ve told you over and over.” “Dad! It is a real animal. It’s breathing! It was in my drawer and scratching with its nails. I know it. I heard!” Dad and Mom exchanged a look, as if forming a secret pact to let their daughter believe whatever she wished, and returned to their activities. But Maggie saw it all, and what aggravated her most was how her parents had smiled at each other. As if she were just some naïve child. “Anyway. It’s Pink Rat and from now on it’ll be in my room,” Maggie replied and took the animal back to her bedroom. Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/pages/biblio_book/?art=40263684&lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. 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