Chapter Two: Muffin's Big Trick
It was spring, and the weather was warmer. Out for a roll, Muffin saw the old woman walking in the park.
"Hi!" he said. "There's a nice ice cream cart near here. Do you want to get some?"
"Well ... okay." Although she had not forgotten his rudeness, he sounded friendly now. Besides, she loved ice cream.
So Muffin led the old woman to the cart, where she bought an orange Popsicle with vanilla ice cream. The vendor did not even ask Muffin what he wanted, because he could not see him on the ground in the shadow of the cart. The old woman sat down on a bench, with Muffin at her feet, and started to lick the delicious Popsicle.
After a few moments, Muffin told her a riddle: "Who do lions, tigers and all the other animals hate to take tests with?"
"I don't know," she replied. "Who?"
"Cheetahs! Because they cheat!"
"Ha ha," said the old woman. Shaking with laughter, she dropped a small piece of Popsicle on the toe of her shoe, and some more on Muffin. He rolled on the ground to wipe the ice cream off, and then ate the piece that had fallen on her shoe.
"Yummy!" he said. "Thanks for the ice cream."
The old woman was angry. "The only reason," she said, "you told me that stupid riddle was so you could steal a taste of my ice cream."
Muffin did not reply. A golden brown smile spread across his round face.
When she had finished the Popsicle, the old woman asked Muffin a question: "Tell me," she said. "How did you become so tricky?"
Muffin looked up at her, cleared his throat, and explained.
"There was once a baker of muffins and bagels. Since he liked bagels much better, he would always bake at least twice as many bagels as muffins. I decided to teach him a lesson. One night, while he was asleep in his room behind the bakery, I crept up to his bed and gave him a bagel haircut! You know, I shaved off all the hair in the center, but left some around the edges.
"The next morning, the baker looked in the mirror and said, 'Hey! Who's that bald guy? Yikes! It's me. My head looks like a ... a bagel. Maybe, this is just a dream.'
"With a big yawn, he went back to sleep. I crept back to the bed, dyed the baker's hair, and changed the style. When he woke up, refreshed from his extra sleep, he looked in the mirror again.
'Wow!' he said. 'Look at that beautiful haircut!' His hair was now all even and golden in color, with the hair from the edges combed over the top to hide the bald spot. His head looked round and beautiful. 'Hey!' he said. 'My head looks like a muffin! Hmm, maybe, muffins aren't so ...'"
Muffin smiled up at the old woman. "Hee, hee," he said, with a wink. "That day, the baker baked ninety-eight muffins and only two bagels."
"Well," said the old woman, "that was a clever trick. But I hope you won't play any more of your muffin tricks on me." And she gave him a sly look.
"Hmm," Muffin thought to himself, "I'd better watch out, or soon this old woman will be playing tricks on me."
Article © Leo Siegel and Ron Singer. All rights reserved.
Published on 2019-12-09
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.