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Lost in Turkeyland

"I thought I had made plenty of stuffing!" said Mrs. Burton. She was making a turkey for a special dinner. Grandma and Grandpa were coming up from Florida for a visit.

Tim watched while his mother shoved the last handful of stuffing into the turkey. "I'm going to have to go to the store to get some more bread," she said. "Tim, watch the turkey. Don't let the cat get at it."

After Mrs. Burton left, Tim watched the turkey for a few minutes. Then he wandered into the next room. He turned on the TV and sat down to look at a cartoon. Suddenly he heard something fall in the kitchen. When he raced in, he saw the cat with her head inside the turkey. By the time he reached the turkey, only the cat's tail was sticking out.

Tim grabbed hold of the end of her tail and tried to pull her out. Then something strange happened. It seemed as though the cat was falling into a deep hole and Tim was being dragged along after her.

It was dark inside the turkey. With a gentle bump, Tim landed at the bottom of the mysterious hole, right on a pile of stuffing. He had let go of the cat's tail, but he could hear her meowing up ahead. The cat led him down a slippery tunnel. Soon he saw some light up ahead.

At the end of the tunnel, Tim blinked in the bright light. Things seemed strange. He was standing at the edge of a field. The grass was brown. The sky was brown. The trees were brown. Everything seemed brown.

Tim noticed some turkeys in the field. He walked toward them. Their heads were bobbing up and down. At first it looked as though they were eating grains from the field. But when he got closer, he saw that they had sacks on their backs. They were actually planting seeds.

"Why are you doing that?" Tim called to the closest turkey.

"We're planting our crop," said the turkey. "We're growing the finest grain so that we can get nice and fat. Only the plumpest turkeys are chosen to go to heaven."

"How do you get to heaven?" Tim asked. "Why, every turkey knows that. The way to heaven is through people's stomachs."

"That can't be true," said Tim.

"Well, how did you get here?" the turkey asked.

"Through a turkey's stomach."

"See?" said the turkey, and he turned back to his work.

Tim wandered around the field talking to other turkeys. He visited Turkeytown. Mother turkeys were scurrying about with their chicks trailing behind. In the schoolhouse, young turkeys were studying recipes. The Turkey Movie Theater was playing "The Best Thanksgiving I Ever Had." Just outside the ticket office, he saw a girl sitting on the curb. She was crying.

Tim asked her what was the matter. "I've been here since last Thanksgiving," she sobbed, "and I can't find a way back home."

"That's simple," Tim said. "We'll go back the same way we came."

"The tunnel is too slippery," the girl replied. "I tried to climb up it, but I couldn't."

"Let's go and see," said Tim. "We'll think of something."

They started back across the field. Suddenly there were squawks and gobbling from the turkeys as they dashed madly about in all directions. "The turkey hawk is coming! Run for your lives! You can't get to heaven through the stomach of a hawk!"

A dark shadow passed overhead. The boy and girl dashed toward the tunnel. But before they could reach it, the turkey hawk swooped down and seized the girl with its claws. With flaps of its giant wings, it began to lift her up into the air.

What could Tim do? He had to act fast. In a minute the hawk would carry the girl up into the sky.

On the ground nearby, Tim noticed a large stone. He picked it up and threw it at the hawk. He hit it right on the head. The hawk squawked and let go. Tim grabbed the girl's hand, and the two of them raced into the tunnel.

Tim tried to climb up. It really was too slippery. Were both of them going to be stuck in Turkeyland forever?

Then Tim got an idea. He gathered together his mother's stuffing. "It's a good thing my mother uses a lot of eggs in her stuffing. This is real sticky stuff."

Tim stuck handfuls of the stuffing to the wall of the tunnel, making a ladder all the way up to the top. They climbed up the stuffing ladder. At the top they found a row of round openings. Through each of them they could see a different kitchen. "That's mine," the girl shouted happily. She wriggled through.

Tim crawled through the hole leading into his own kitchen. He was so tired that he fell asleep on the sofa in front of the TV.

"Tim! Tim!" his mother shook him. "The cat's gotten into the turkey!"

"That's right, Mom," said Tim, rubbing his eyes. "How did you know?"








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