Are you ready for a 5 minute bedtime story ? Then let’s start the clock, get comfortable and imagine that it was the night before Christmas.
Della and John had one wish every Christmas Eve. Each of them stood before the Christmas tree, lit a candle, and made their wish. Then, they ate a cookie each and shared a glass of milk. Even though it didn’t seem to work, they did this every year. Tonight was no different. After dinner and a bath, they did their usual ritual.
Della woke at the sound of a thud an angry growl downstairs. She was adventurous, curious and loved to explore. Before John was fully awake, Della was already making her way down the stairs. John always consulted with Mum before he did anything. When he awoke to see Della’s bed empty, he woke his Mum. Together, they descended the stairs, with her leading the way. John sucked on his thumb and clutched nervously to her nightgown. He was much younger than Della and always afraid of the dark and strange noises at night.
They found Della crouched over the fireplace with one of the steel prods used to stoke the fire in her small hands. As John and Mum came up behind Della, they saw small huddled inside the fireplace. Della touched the shape; it moved, and she shrieked. Mum used one of the steel rods at the fireplace to prod the shape further, and she heard an angry meow. It was a familiar meow.
But the cat itself was very dirty, and John wrinkled his nose. The cat was also overgrown with hair, and badly needed some of Mum’s clipping skills, he thought. Although, he liked cats and always enjoyed playing with the litter of strays in their neighbourhood, this one was very ugly and yucky.
Mum suggested that they waited for the cat to shake off the soot on its own since it was already so angry. Della knew who it was. Or she at least suspected. Their cat had gone missing a year ago. Although they had searched and put up their handmade posters, the beloved cat, Sophie the Catastrophe did not return to them. They had decided that no other cat would do.
The cat looked at Della, John, and Mum for a few moments, then casually strolled to the window sill, hopped up, and fell asleep immediately. Now, Della was the one who was angry. That was Sophie’s favourite spot, and no other cat was going to take it. She marched toward the cat to shoo it off the sill.
“Mama, Sophie is back!” cried John and excitedly jumped up and down. The window sill was the cat’s favourite spot at night. “Oh, don’t be silly, John, said Della. Sophie was prettier, cleaner, and gentle.” John looked like he was about to cry, and held on to Mum a little tighter. He wanted his wish to come true.
“Maybe…maybe Santa dropped her down the chimney because he couldn’t fit but he wanted to give her back to us like we wished”, he said, sniffing back tears.
“John, it might be one of the strays. We can’t have it in the house without it being to the vet first. It might make us sick.” Della, don’t touch it yet. We need to find a way to get it out of the house before the morning.” said Mum.
Before Della could reach the cat, the cat shook off all the soot, turning Della’s nightgown into a black mess. She cried out, and mum reached to grab her. Before Mum pulled her away, she thought she saw a familiar marking on the cat. Before Mum could stop her, she went closer for a look. It was then that she looked deeply into the cat’s house. Actually, she caught the cat staring at her first.
The angry growl turned into a purr as Della reached to part the cat’s fur. It was true! She was overgrown and wildly furry, but it was Sophie! “You were right, John! It’s Sophie!, she said in quiet excitement. John rubbed his sleepy eyes, left Mum’s grasp, and went to where Della was. The cat also purred as he stroked the mangled fur. He too saw the familiar marking that had made them notice Sophie in the first place and adopt her.
Suddenly John and Della were in a heap of giggles on the lounge floor, the cat in between them, and licking their faces in turn. Even Mum knew this was a Christmas miracle.
It wasn’t long before they were both asleep, with the cat between them. She made a bed on the lounge floor for her two children. She kissed them goodnight again, and took her place in her fireplace chair. They did not have enough money that year for gifts, but it was the happiest Christmas they would ever have.
This 5 minute bedtime story has been written by Lisa Tomas, a Bedtime Stories For Kids contributor