include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for The Little Hedgehog by , available in its entirety at Smashwords






The Little Hedgehog



By

Sophia DeLuna



SMASHWORDS EDITION


*****


PUBLISHED BY:

Sophia DeLuna at Smashwords, Inc, Los Gatos

www.smashwords.com


The Little Hedgehog

Copyright © 2018 by Sophia DeLuna


Cover design

Copyright © 2018 by Sophia DeLuna


Thank you for downloading this free eBook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to Smashwords.com to discover other works by this author


Your support and respect for the property of this author is appreciated.



*****






The Little Hedgehog


In a beautiful sprawling park on the outskirts of a big city lived a little hedgehog.

Over the summer he had learnt to find food for himself, and for some time now he had been entirely on his own. In the evenings, when he woke up, he stretched himself thoroughly. Then he would set out to find beetles and earwigs and millipedes and earthworms and various other creatures in the grass of the meadows and in the thicket under the hedges. Once he was sated, he would search for a sheltered place in the shrubbery to take a nap. And when hunger wakened him again, he would once more set out to find food before the sun began to rise.


The previous nights had been uncomfortably cold, but the ground was littered with colourful leaves under which the little hedgehog could find many delicious treats. And during the days, as the hedgehog slept, the sun had shone and warmed his sleeping place in the fallen leaves. Alas, the previous day, humans had come with huge, loud machines, and the little hedgehog had hidden under a hedge in the farthest corner of the park.

In the evening, when the sun was already quite low in the sky, and the little hedgehog carefully dared to peek out from his hiding place, he discovered that his world had completely changed. There were no colourful leaves on the meadows any more, and all the many flowers and grasses had vanished. Instead, there were only short grass stalks and beheaded flower stalks as far as his eyes could see. The little hedgehog had experienced such a sight before, in the little gardens around the park. But such a huge area of grass over which he could look, he hadn't seen before. But since his little stomach was grumbling, he didn't spend a lot of time wondering but began his search for something edible.

That evening it took the little hedgehog a long time to find enough food. The whole park he roamed, from one end to the other.

As the sun had set and the little hedgehog finally had a nicely filled tummy, it grew very cold and an icy wind began to whip over the meadows. So, the little hedgehog crawled under a hedge and rolled himself up to take a nap.

Alas, there no longer lay fallen leaves under the hedges, and the autumnal leaves that had still stuck to the hedge, were blown off by the wind. The bare twigs didn't provide much protection from the icy wind, and when the little hedgehog awoke from his nap, he really didn't feel like stretching, because it was bitterly cold. But since his little stomach was growling, he finally opened his eyes grumpily. Bewildered, he blinked, because it was unusually bright although it was the middle of the night and the stars were shining in the sky. Curious, he unrolled and peeked through the twigs of the hedge. The formerly jet black meadow was now shining all white in the light of the full moon. Like a sparkling, glittering sea of blossoms it lay in front of him.

Amazed, the little hedgehog poked his nose though the twigs to sniff at the glittering blossoms. Brrr, was it cold! And wet! The little hedgehog shook himself, and as he licked his nose, he hesitated surprised, because the wet, cold, glitter-blossoms tasted like water. He wanted to sniff at the strange water-glitter-blossoms again, but the hoot of an owl caused him to freeze abruptly.

A few steps ahead of him a little mouse darted over the white meadow as suddenly a large shadow appeared behind it. With almost soundless wing beats the owl swooped down on the little mouse. Alas, its claws grasped at nothing, because the little mouse had, at the last second, escaped into its mouse hole. With soft wings the owl rose back into the air and disappeared into the night.

The little hedgehog breathed a sigh of relief. Suddenly, a familiar scent reached his nostrils, and sniffing, he took a step to the side, where a piece of bark peeked out from under a plastic bag, which had been blown under the hedge by the wind. Noisily sniffing, the little hedgehog pushed his little nose under the piece of bark and turned it upside down with a nudge. His sense of smell had not betrayed him. To the underside of the bark clung a delicious fat grubworm.

Loudly chewing, the little hedgehog devoured the tasty titbit.

He also ferreted out a little beetle and a rolled-up pill bug, but more was not to be found under this hedge. Therefore, the little hedgehog set out to find more food and plodded through the water-glitter-blossom-sea.

Yet, as much as he searched between the grass stalks, he couldn't find anything edible; and his tummy became very wet, and his little feet became icy cold. Thus the little hedgehog hurried as quickly as he could over to the big old fir. The fir's heavy branches with their evergreen needles bent low and created a sheltering roof so that the ground below had remained dry.

The thick layer of fallen dry needles warmed the feet of the little hedgehog a little, and he began to scrabble in it in search of food. But he only found two tiny beetles and a little spider. Freezing and still hungry, the little hedgehog quit his search and rolled himself up. He wanted nothing more than to just sleep, but his hunger and the wet cold kept him awake.

As he had lain under the fir, awake and freezing, for a while, he suddenly recalled a small garden he had discovered the previous night.

There, a small plate with a big pile of delicious food had stood. The little hedgehog had, contentedly munching, dug into it. A bowl with water had stood there too.

Perhaps, thought the little hedgehog, perhaps he would be able to still his hunger there again today. And he unrolled himself and headed for the small garden.

Again, he had to walk over the large meadow with the cold, wet water-glitter-blossoms. Then a bit on a small path, past the place in whose vicinity he avoided sleeping, because during the day many small humans were romping around there, loudly shouting and screaming. Next, he had to walk over a smaller meadow, and pass underneath a dense hedge. Finally, he reached the picket fence, in which the lower piece of a slat was missing. The gap was just about big enough so that the little hedgehog could sneak through.

Passing underneath large fern fronds and autumnally wilting perennials, the little hedgehog made his way to the place behind the house where the plate with the pile of food had stood the last time. And before he could catch sight of it, he could already smell that, just as the last time, food was already waiting for him. Eagerly, the little hedgehog snuffled and followed the scent as quickly as his little legs could carry him.

Starved, the little hedgehog pounced on the plate and noisily gobbled down the delicious mashed food.

Once he was thoroughly sated, the little hedgehog looked around. Behind the shed, he spotted a big white mound that glittered in the moonlight. He hadn't noticed this mound the previous night. Many branches and twigs protruded from it, and now that the little hedgehog focused on it, he could also smell the scent of fallen leaves.

Curious, the little hedgehog waddled towards the mound to inspect it more thoroughly.

When he came closer, he noticed that the mound was a big pile of leaves and brushwood. It was only partly covered with water-glitter-blossoms; the bigger part, sheltered by the roof of the shed, had remained dry.

Carefully sniffing, the little hedgehog walked around the pile; and when he didn't smell any scent of an enemy, he burrowed himself - shoving, poking and pawing - deep into the pile.

Surrounded by cosily warming, sheltering leaves, the little hedgehog turned around a few times, and finally, tired and exhausted, he rolled himself up to sleep. With a contented sigh he closed his eyes and shortly after fell into deep slumber.

And he dreamt of extensive summer-flower-meadows that smelled of autumn leaves; of fat beetles and worms that danced on a plate in the moonlight; and of cosily warm water-glitter-blossom-mounds.



###


Thank you for reading this eBook!


My Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SophiaDeLuna

My website: www.sophiadeluna.com


Other books by Sophia DeLuna:


Taxi series:

Taxi (Book 1)

Taxi - Trials (Book 2)

Taxi - Trauma (Book 3)

Taxi - Timing (Book 4)

Taxi - Talk (Book 5)

Taxi - Tuxedo (Book 6)

Taxi - Tactics (Book 7)

Taxi - Trip (Book 8)

Taxi - Telephone (Book 9)

Taxi - Traditions (Book 10)


Taxi - 1992 (Books 1-10)


Taxi - Teamwork (Book 11)

Taxi - Threats (Book 12)

Taxi - Torment (Book 13)


Fantasy short stories:

Footprints in the Sand

Desert Wind

Fénya and Elynor

A Matter of Faith

An Unusual Gift

Alternatives

The Fool


Other short stories:

Summer Holidays (young adults, short story)

A Christmas to Remember (short holiday story)

Fire and Ice (short love story)

That's What Friends Are For (short story)


Novels:

Hidden Secrets (science-fantasy novel)

Laments and Liaisons (romance-mystery novel)


Children's stories:

Once upon a Dragon (children's fantasy story)

The Witch and the Fiddler (fairy tale, short story)

The Little Owl (children's and language learners' short story / English)

Die Kleine Eule (children's and language learners' short story / German)

A kis bagoly (children's and language learners' short story / Hungarian)


Download this book for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-9 show above.)