For the Busy Business-Parent

Whimsical Bedtime Stories for Children of All Ages

Lavinia's Treasure

Lavinia Mudwallow lay flat on her tummy in the midst of Grandma’s neatly planted flower garden, contentedly thumping her tail.

Lavinia was watching butterflies. Lavinia LOVED butterflies. Almost as much as she loved rolling in the dirt. Which is how Lavinia Mudwallow had come to earn her name in the first place.

For Lavinia, there was simply no better place in the whole wide world to watch butterflies, than Grandma’s garden. Filled with vibrant colors and soft sweet scents, Grandma's yard was truly a magnet for the most beautiful of those gracefully fluttering creatures. Lavinia sighed happily, then yawned and thumped her tail some more.

"Neek?" came a plaintive sound, interrupting the tranquil scene, causing Lavinia perk up her ears and still her tail in mid-wag.

"Neek?" came the sound again, louder now, from somewhere beneath the fragrant lilac hedge.

Lavinia cocked her head to one side, as a puzzled look crossed her face. It certainly sounded like an "I'm Lost!" to her.

Quietly, the roly-poly Lavinia Mudwallow got to her feet and stretched. She ambled slowly towards the spot from whence the sound had come. A twig crackled, and Lavinia paused, listening intently.

All of a sudden, amidst a great mass of lavender flowers, there appeared a tiny, amber-eyed little creature. As it struggled to extricate itself from the last bit of blossoms, the tiny thing stumbled, landing smack on its chin near Lavinia's feet.

"Neek!" it complained loudly. "Neek!"

Lavinia Mudwallow’s tail began wagging a mile a minute. She approached the tiny bit and sniffed it ever so carefully to make certain it was what she thought it was.

It was indeed.

Lavinia opened her mouth very wide. You could see ALL of her sharp teeth.

"NEEK, NEEK, NEEK!" the frightened little thing screamed, and threw itself to the ground, paws over its eyes. Lavinia picked it up ever so gently in her mouth, the same way she’d have carried a new puppy. It flailed wildly about, twisting and turning and trying to escape.

Lavinia turned and trotted back towards the house, going very carefully through the dog door so that she didn’t harm her treasure. Gently she climbed the stairs, taking care not to jostle it, as she padded down the hall towards the sunny playroom.

Amanda Grey sat on the floor, busily sorting through the toybox. Her brother Timothy was sprawled sideways in an oversized wingback chair, knees draped casually over the arm, deeply engrossed in a book. Sam Cat, perched comfortably on Timothy’s stomach, appeared to be helping him turn pages.

At Lavinia’s approach, Sam Cat abruptly flung himself off Timothy, and rocketed across the room to see what was struggling, and flapping about so determinedly, in Lavinia’s mouth. Whatever it was, it was beginning to get pretty soggy, that was for sure.

Sam gave it one startled look and then tore out of the room, in search of Timothy and Amanda’s Grandma.

Timothy, still deeply engrossed in his book, was not paying the slightest bit of attention, and Amanda was mostly upside down as she leaned over the side of the big wooden toy chest.

Lavinia walked silently up to Timothy and unceremoniously dropped the gooey mass onto his stomach. "NEEEEK!" it screeched indignantly, at the very top of its little lungs.

"Aaaaaaaa!" yelped a startled Timothy, and shot straight up in his chair. Tiny, sharp nails gripped Timothy’s t-shirt as the terrified little thing tried to keep from being catapulted into the air.

Sitting up now, his book in a heap on the floor, Timothy’s hands firmly gripped the arms of the chair as he leaned over and peered intently into the bright amber eyes of the disheveled little thing on his lap.

"What the heck is THIS?" he demanded of Lavinia, who at the moment was looking extraordinarily pleased with herself.

Amanda Grey backed out of the toybox to see what all the commotion was about. "Oh, WOW!," she said excitedly, "Lavinia found a kitten." Without bothering to stand up, she quickly scurried across the room on her knees, stopping at the side of Timothy’s chair.

"I don’t THINK so, Amanda," her brother said levelly, as the tiny thing made itself at home on Timothy’s knee. It was trying to shake some of Lavinia’s drool off of one downy wing which seemed to have appeared from nowhere.

Amanda’s eyes grew big and round as she met her brother’s equally startled gaze.

"GRANDMAAAA!" Amanda shouted over her shoulder. "Come QUICK!"

Grandma, led by Sam Cat, who had already alerted her, appeared, as if on cue, at the door.

"Grandma," said Amanda Grey matter-of-factly, "You had better come look at this. You’re never going to believe what Lavinia just found."

"Oh my!" Grandma said to Lavinia, pausing to reach down and pat her head. "What a good girl you are!" Lavinia smiled happily and wagged her tail even harder.

"Neek!" the little voice protested to Grandma. "Neek!"

"I had thought they were all gone by now," mused Grandma, as she knealt and stroked the delicate little head. It arched its little back to meet her gentle touch.

"It’s purring," said Timothy, thoroughly fascinated by whatever this was, perching precariously on his knee.

"They all do that," Grandma replied. The three of them watched as the little wings fluttered and it raised one paw to wash its intelligent little face.

Sam Cat stood on his hind legs to take a closer look, then turned and looked into Grandma’s eyes. Sam Cat had thought they were all gone as well.

"May we keep it?" Amanda asked quietly.

"It’s welcome to stay," replied her Grandma.

"Do you have a name, dear?," Grandma inquired of the pretty creature, "Would you like to stay?" Grandma leaned forward so she could hear the reply more clearly. Obligingly the little chin raised and appeared to whisper something into Grandma’s ear.

The ghost of a smile played around the corners of Grandma’s mouth as she turned and told Amanda, "She says her name is Isadora LeChat, and yes, she’d like very much to live here."

Timothy’s finger gently traced the outline of one little wing, folded now against the fur, all but invisible to those who had not seen it extended. The purring grew louder when the creature made its way back from Timothy’s kneecap, and curled itself into a contented ball on his lap.

"What IS she Grandma?," asked Amanda, totally captivated by this pretty little creature. "She’s pretty rare, isn’t she?"

Grandma nodded, her eyes alight with both delight and amusement.

"Yes, dear, she is. Very rare."

"She’s a Catterfly."

Lavinia's Treasure by Cynthia Gurin - Copyright 1997 - All Rights Reserved

Quick Vocabulary
Vibrant - Energetic, vigorous, (as used here; brightly colored)
Plaintive - Expressing a subdued sadness
Tranquil - Calm, quiet
Amber - As used here, the color of amber, which is clear, and rather golden
Wingback chair - The back of a chair with wing-like sides towards the top. Pictures are best. Look HERE
Engrossed - Completely occupied by the matter at hand.
Disheveled - Messy, disordered.
Downy - DOWN is the softest of feathers. Downy is used to describe something very SOFT.
Precariously - Precarious means "at risk." Something "perched precariously" means it's sitting where it might easily fall.

About the Author:

Cynthia Gurin lives in South Florida with her husband Bob, a quartet of cats, two dogs, a remarkably wise duck, and a bear or two. She has achieved recognition in both the Miami Herald and The Wall Street Journal for innovative marketing techniques. She considers the Personal Ad, through which she met her husband, to be her most rewarding literary endeavor. She holds a senior corporate position in the real world. Send Mail

For other stories by Cynthia Gurin:
Next in the Series: The Flying Lesson
See Author/Illustrator Index
Profound Quotations. Or Not.

Profound Quotations. Or Not.

Animals are such agreeable friends--
they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

George Eliot (1819-1880)

'Tis education forms the common mind:
Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) Moral Essays

To have a respect for ourselves guides our morals;
and to have a deference for others governs our manners.

Lawrence Sterne (1713-1768)

Cultural enrichment lies in learning to speak another language.
Ducks, for example, tell some of the funniest stories.

Cynthia Gurin

Next in the Series: The Flying Lesson

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