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From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Age Rating 2 to 4.

Start of Story

"I smell strawberries," said Sally Snail. "They are somewhere across the road. I shall go and find them." "Nonsense!" said the others. "It is too dangerous a journey. There are always boys and carts and birds, and all sorts of monsters on the road. You will never reach the other side alive." "I am going," said Sally. She started off on her strong, creeping foot, leaving a shining wet trail behind her. Her curly shell covered her back, but her head was thrust well out, so that the eyes on her two long horns could see the roadway and give warning if danger were near. With her shorter horns she followed the scent of the strawberries. Half-way across the road a starling saw her. He flew down at once, thinking he had found an easy tea. But Sally Snail was too quick for him. In an instant she drew her head and foot into her shell, and sat down so firmly on the ground that the starling could not move her. He pulled at the shell, but he could not pull it off the ground. He pecked at it, but he could not pierce it with his beak. "I will wait till you come out," he cried. "You can't stay here always!" But a boy came running down the road, and threw a stone at the starling. The frightened bird flew off, and Sally Snail continued her journey. The boy did not notice her, so she reached the hedge in safety, crawled through, and found the strawberries. What a feast she had! She cut pieces out of the sweet fruit with the files in her mouth, sucked them in, and swallowed them. "If the others knew how good these are, I am sure they would all come too," she thought. She stayed there till all the strawberries were gone; then she had to go back to eating leaves again. "There is a cabbage garden through that next fence, I am sure," she said one day. "I shall go and see." So she travelled next into the cabbage garden. Here she found her cousins, the Slug family. "Dear me, how strange you all look!" she said. "Why don't you grow shells on your backs?" "Don't give yourself airs. We have as blue blood as you," said the Slugs. They were touchy about their soft backs. "How cross you are! I shall go and visit my cousins in the pond," said Sally. However, the cabbages were very good, so she stayed till they were all cut and taken away. Then she crossed the garden, slipped through the fence, and came to the pond. Here her cousins, the Water Snails, were gliding across the top of the water, shell downwards, like a boat, and foot up like a sail. "Oh! how lovely to be able to do that!" said Sally as she watched them. "I have found you again!" said the Starling coming down with a swoop and a sharp peck. Sally slipped into her shell, but this time she was not quite quick enough. The starling had caught one of her long horns, and now flew off with the eye from the end of it. "It doesn't matter," said Sally. "I can easily grow another." She crept under a bush and lived there for a time, and when she came out again another eye had grown at the end of the horn. "I shall go home now," said Sally. She went home and told the others all about her travels. "We must certainly cross to the strawberry garden next year," said the Snails, "but now winter is coming fast--we must bury ourselves." They crept into the ground, sealed up the mouths of their shells with lime so that no enemies could enter, and went to sleep for the winter.


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