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Amanda's Special Party

Children's Story
Amanda Squirrel hummed as she put the finishing touches to the icing on the huge cake she had made earlier that day. "Will this do?" she asked her friend Hetty Hedgehog.

"Do?" gasped Hetty. "Why, it's the best and biggest cake I've ever seen!"

Amanda had been planning this party for months. All the invitations had been sent out weeks ago, and Amanda and Hetty had been hard at it for several days, preparing the food and sweeping and cleaning and decorating the animal hall.

"I do so hope everybody enjoys themselves," sighed Amanda anxiously.

"Of course they'll enjoy themselves," responded Hetty. "After all, you've spent your life savings on this party, Amanda. You've engaged the weasel band at vast expense to provide music, the food is terrific, and I know you have some wonderful surprise entertainment in store. How could anybody fail to enjoy themselves?"

But Amanda was looking at her watch. "It's so late," she said. "I thought they would all be here by now."

Hetty Hedgehog straightened her prickles. "It was a long time ago that we sent out the invitations," she said. "I'll go and remind our guests. You'll see, I'll be back in a trice and the hall will be full in no time."

But Hetty wasn't back in a trice. In fact, a she didn't return at all. After a couple of hours Amanda began to feel very worried. She called little Derrick Dormouse. "Derrick," she said. "Will you go and collect my guests? My party is all ready, but I can't celebrate alone."

Derrick scampered off. Amanda waited and waited, but he didn't return. Amanda felt very forlorn. The hall with all its decorations and with the tables groaning under the weight of all the food, looked desolate and empty. In the end Amanda herself went out into the hedgerows and gathered in every tiny animal she could find. There were dormice and wood lice, ants and spiders, two worms and an elderly cockroach. There were wood pigeons and starlings (who made a terrible noise between them), and an old rat with one eye. They all came to the party, and had a whale of a time. None of them had ever been to such a wonderful party before, and it went on and on.

But there was a terrible sadness for Amanda, for she discovered that those guests she had originally invited had hurt poor Hetty and poor Derrick. Those big important animals that Amanda had invited to her celebration just couldn't believe that anybody would throw such a wonderful party for free, and they had attacked Hetty and Derrick for telling them lies.

Amanda was furious. She looked after Hetty and Derrick very carefully, and took them back to enjoy the rest of the party. When the big, important animals suddenly discovered what a wonderful celebration the tiny woodland creatures were enjoying, they all wanted to come to the party after all.

But Amanda slammed the door in their faces and they were left outside in the cold. "You had your chance," said Amanda, "and you didn't want to come. And worse, you were so very unkind to Hetty and Derrick. Now you must stay outside and watch while we all enjoy ourselves and have fun together. It's your own fault - you should have believed I spoke the truth when I promised you the party of a lifetime." And she went back inside without a backwards glance, to continue the party with her new friends.
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