A Birthday Story
*©winnie caw (6th September 1991)
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(*For Amy)

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Amy lay in her bed, remembering that tomorrow was her birthday. She looked up at the butterflies on her wallpaper. They were all the colours of the rainbow; blues and yellows and reds. Once, Mummy had explained that butterflies all have different names, and they had such lovely ones - Painted Lady, Large Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Purple Emperor. But, best of all, she liked the Peacock butterfly. If you looked at it upside-down, it looked like a wise old owl. And the Adonis blue butterfly, Lysandra Bellargus, was the same colour as her turquoise pram. Gran had bought it for her last birthday. She remembered that birthday so well.

She had been lying on the lawn in the garden, looking up at the butterflies flitting in and out of the bushes; like tiny white, blue and red kites, jumping in the wind. She was just wondering what it felt like to be a butterfly, when her mummy called her from the kitchen.

"Amy! Gran's here! Come and see what she's got for you."

Amy had jumped up quickly and run into the house. She had shown off her new bicycle. Then Gran went out to the car and brought in a large silver parcel, mysteriously wrapped, with a purple ribbon. A pram! Now her dolls had somewhere to sleep.When they all slept on her bed, they would fall off in the middle of the night. Mummy and Gran helped her put Dolly and Molly and Sarah and Clare to bed in their new pram; telling them both to be very careful not to wake her babies up.

Just then Miss Chief, her blue cat, had strolled into the kitchen. Miss Chief was accustomed to being made a fuss of wherever she went. This time, everyone was ignoring her. Miss Chief was peeved that Amy and Mum and Mum-Mum were too busy looking at some large new shiny object. Even her pitiful mew drew her no sympathy. Amy's new doll's pram was the centre of attention. Pausing only to give her ears a cursory wash, she walked across to the large intruder and jumped into it. The grown-ups laughed, but Amy was cross.

"Miss Chief! Bad girl! You must not jump in the pram when my babies are in it. It's very dangerous! Pram are for babies." Miss Chief looked up at Amy and narrowed her eyes in submission.

Amy knew that her cat understood and that she wouldn't do it again.

She smiled at the memory of her last birthday, and fell asleep.

*

"Amy! Wake up! Happy Birthday! Come and see your presents."

Amy sat up in bed. She could hear a funny squeaky noise, coming from her pram in the corner of the bedroom. It couldn't be her babies. She had given them a celebration bath yesterday, ready for her birthday. Mummy had said she could put them all in the airing cupboard, to dry them off and prevent them from catching a chill.

What was that noise? She had never heard anything so strange. But she remembered that she was a brave girl, so she got out of bed and crept over to the pram. She couldn't believe her eyes.

Inside the pram, Miss Chief was blinking up at Amy. Cuddled into her tummy were three tiny kittens - all different colours. Cream and blue and black. They were beautiful.

"Oh! Miss Chief! You are a clever girl. You remembered that the pram is for babies. What a lovely present!"

Miss Chief purred, proudly; agreeing with Amy.

It was a lovely birthday. WMC

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