This story is my entry for the  In Just Spring Contest let me know what you think. The challenge: write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 350 words. The only other requirement is that the last line must be “[Character Name] knew Spring was really here!” or “[Character Name] knew Spring was here at last!”

Just before winter’s frost could nip his rabbit nose, Mr. Poppenfuss planted bulbs in his garden.

Winter lasted a long time, even for rabbits.

On long winter nights he pictured the globe-shaped bulbs nestled in the soil.

On short winter days he imagined green leaves poking through patches of late snow.

But the days did grow longer. Newborn bunnies cried in their dens. Chickadees whistled. Nuthatches honked tiny tin horns. Woodpeckers hammered against hollow branches. Spring would soon be here.

Catkins, covered in fine, grayish fur, flowered on pussy willow branches.

One after another, Mr. Poppenfuss’ daffodils rose from their short stems.

Every new day he examined every golden bloom.

One evening, he grazed on tender greens in a nearby meadow.  When he returned, he found many of his beloved daffadown dillies had been plucked!

“Oh, dear!” he cried.

In the morning he called on his neighbors.

“Mrs. Pockets, have you by chance…”

“Happy Spring!” winked Mrs. Pockets. “Do come in. Look at the lovely daffodils my Billy brought me.”

“Why, yes, they are quite lovely,” he noted.

Billy peeked out from behind his mother, with a rather long face.

“Billy, would you come to visit me? I’d like to show you something.”

“Of course he’ll come,” answered Mrs. Pockets. “Run along, Billy. Now.”

All the way to Mr.Poppenfuss’ house they were quiet.

Finally, Billy piped up, but before he could speak, Mr. Poppenfuss stopped him.

“My boy, I am very happy to share my golden treasure, but I would like to be asked first.”

Pirate treasure? Is that what you wanted to show me?” asked Billy with a melon-sized grin.

“My daffadown dillies are my spring treasure. When they bloom I am rich as a king.”

“I’m awfully sorry. I didn’t mean to steal your treasure. I wanted to surprise Mother.”

“Shall we take her on a walk, then? We could look for more spring treasures, like new yellow willow leaves, soft red maple buds, robins hopping about. Maybe even a rainbow?”

Billy’s smile shone like the sun. Mr. Poppenfuss knew Spring was really here.

The London Eye rises above daffodils blooming in the sun in London March 19, 2011. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

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