Ireland's Owen

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By Pat Boulton 

The gentle swish of water as it flowed down the river bumped Rory’s creaking bows against the side of the bank.

Poor old Rory rowboat was showing signs of wear and neglect, as it had been left tied to a post, for a long time. Now, it bumped up and down all day and every day by the side of the river.

Rory rowboat used to be a busy little boat; it would take people back and forth across the river, or take them for a ride along the river. Rory’s proud owner, a strong young man, would hold firmly onto two oars, and safely steer the boat.

As time went by, the strong young man stopped coming to see his rowboat, and he no longer used Rory to ferry people across or down the river.

It wasn’t long before Rory knew the reason why. All the people that Rory’s owner used to take for rides in the rowboat were now whizzing past in noisy big boats, which made the river swell as they came past, and almost turned Rory upside down many a time.

Rory felt sad and upset, to see that one of the big noisy motor boats was being steered, by none other than his owner, the big strong young man.

The strong young man was shouting over the noise of the engine, and pointing to Rory, telling his passengers, “You see that little wooden rowboat over there, I used to take people for rides in that, but its old now, and people much prefer to ride in the motor boats.”

SWOOSH, SWOOSH, went the water as it went past, covering Rory with water, making it sink and them pop up again. All the people on the big motor boat laughed at the sight of the little rowboat popping up out of the river.

Nobody is ever going to want to ride in me again, Rory, thought. I will just stay here and bob about in the water, until I just fall apart. Rory felt so sad, and unwanted.

Poor old Rory, the days and nights passed, and no one even looked at him as they walked along the river bank. The constant banging on the side of the river bank was breaking up the little wooden rowboat, and big holes were beginning to appear.

Then, one day, just as Rory was beginning to think that he would soon break up and sink to the bottom of the river, he heard a child’s voice. “Dad, come and look at this little boat,” a young boy shouted. The young boy’s dad came running over to where the boy was standing and took hold of his arm. “Come back from the edge of the river bank, or you will fall into the river.” “But look, dad,” Rory said, pointing to the side of the little boat. “The little boat has my name painted on the side of it. LOOK, LOOK, dad, can you see the name Rory?” “So it has,” answered his dad, sounding as surprised as the little boy. “I wish it was my little boat,” the little boy Rory, said longingly.

Rory and his dad both stood in silence for a while. Rory wishing he could own the little boat, and his dad, wondered why someone could leave the boat to fall apart in the river, and not take care of it. “I won’t make any promises, but, I will try and find out who owns the rowing boat, and why it has been left in the water to rot away.”

Rory’s dad patted his son’s head, and suggested they make their way home. Rory’s dad made endless phone calls, trying to find out who owned ‘Rory, the little old rowboat’, but in the end Rory had to go to bed, still not knowing who the owner was. The next morning, Rory was up early, and raced down the stairs, to find out if his dad had found the owner, only to find that his dad had already left for work. As he made his way into the kitchen for his breakfast, his mum called out that there was a note for him on the kitchen table. It was his dad’s writing. It read, in big letters. HAVE FOUND THE OWNER, GOING TO SEE HIM AFTER WORK. It seemed a very long day, until his dad came home from work. At long last, Rory heard his dad’s key turn in the door and he ran to meet him.

The glum look on his dad’s face didn’t look very promising, but, before Rory had a chance to say anything, his dad suddenly gave a big smile, and said, “Rory the little rowboat is ours now. The owner doesn’t want the little boat anymore.” The next few weeks were so busy for Rory and his dad. They first had to get help to take the little old rowboat out of the water, and find a dry place to do all the repairs and paint the boat, making sure that the name RORY, was painted again in bright colours on the side of the boat.

At long last ‘Rory the little old rowboat’, was ready to go back into the water on the river. It wasn’t long before they were taking passengers across the river, and on trips up and down the river. There wasn’t just one Rory, who was happy, but two Rorys, because ‘Rory the little rowboat’, was very happy too. The little boat had a new owner, who would look after it now. 

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BE NICE TO SPIDERS!

In China they build houses – for spiders! Because the winter kills most spiders, in the rice and cotton fields farmers build small, waist-high huts out of straw where the spiders can safely hibernate. Then in the spring the spiders scuttle out into the fields to kill the harmful insects which feed on the precious rice and cotton plants.

Spiders are an insect’s worst enemy. It’s reckoned that spiders devour enough insects worldwide in a day to out weigh the human population.

The extra ordinary brownish grey Banana Spider lives in warm countries. It likes eating cockroaches and this spider will quite happily keep a house free of these pests.

In Central America the Banana Spider is a welcome visitor, eating insects and small lizards that crawl up the walls.

In California, to increase the spider population, enterprising farmers plant grass between the trees in their orchards. The spiders feed on the moths which would otherwise damage the apples.

Many spiders help farmers protect their wheat fro destructive insects. Weaving their large webs among the stalks, spiders catch the pests as they fall. Although some spiders, like the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse are dangerous, most spiders are harmless to man. Reports of people being bitten by spiders are usually exaggerated.

For more amazing facts about spiders and other creatures check out Ireland’s Own

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scarecrowHave you ever wondered why scarecrows don’t have a name? It’s because nobody cares enough about them to ever give them one. That’s why. Farmers just want them to do a job; scare crows. If they don’t keep those big black ugly birds away from the crops, then the farmers will simply get angry. Then they will make new scarecrows, and the old ones will be thrown onto a bonfire.

Farmers think scarecrows have no brains, and no feelings. But they are wrong. The following story is about a scarecrow that finally had enough of being picked on, and picked at, by everyone and everything he knew.

Once upon a time, there was a big field of corn next to a dark forest. In the middle of this field there stood a scarecrow. He wasn’t the biggest or most frightening scarecrow in the world, but he tried his best to do what the farmer asked him to do.

Every day he tried hard to scare birds, so that they wouldn’t eat the corn. But just because he tried to scare them, it does not mean that he did scare them. Some birds, you see, have no fear.

One day, in the middle of the hottest summer for fifty years, the scarecrow was getting really angry. He stood all day under the blistering hot sun without taking a moment’s rest. A group of bad crows that lived in the nearby forest had been flying over and picking lumps of straw from his arms, legs, belly and even his bum. They showed him no mercy. In fact, they enjoyed teasing him.

What they didn’t know, however, was that all the time they were biting and pulling and ripping him to pieces, the scarecrow was using his brain to make a plan. ‘I’ll wait until the time is right,’ he thought, ‘and then I’ll have my revenge.’

That night, just after the sun went down for its sleep and the bright moon was almost completely covered by clouds, the scarecrow made his move. He climbed down from his pole in the field and began to walk towards the farmer’s house. The moon made his shadow look very strange. It was the weirdest of sights. Step by step, he strode through the darkness.

His light feet and legs were made from straw. They did not make a sound. When he reached the farmhouse, he stopped. Then he took a deep breath. The scarecrow had never done anything like this before.

He tried the back door handle. The farmer had left it open. He always did. The scarecrow sneaked his way into the house and towards the kitchen. There was nobody there. Everybody was sleeping. He made his way over to where the radio sat on the dresser, lifted it and carried it outside. There he placed it into an empty wheelbarrow. He went back inside, into the sitting room.

The scarecrow carefully lifted down the farmer’s television set, and carried it out to the wheelbarrow too. Then he crept his way up to the farmer’s bedroom and opened the door. The farmer and his wife were sleeping in their bed.

The scarecrow tip-toed his way past them and took down the second radio that Farmer listened to when he was having his afternoon rest. He carried it outside and put in the wheelbarrow. His plan was nearly complete. But there was one more thing that he needed.

In the farmer’s son’s bedroom he found the biggest CD player in the house. That was the last thing he wanted to get. He started pushing the wheelbarrow down the path, across the field, and into the dark forest. He did not stop until he was in the middle of the forest.

The scarecrow stopped and looked up into the trees. On the branches he could see the bad crows. Asleep. Their heads were tucked into their chests and they were snoring. “Perfect,” he whispered.

One by one, the scarecrow turned up the volume buttons on all the machines, until they could not be any louder. Then, with his straw hand, he hit the play buttons on the remote controls, all at once.

The loudest noises you have ever heard came blasting from the speakers. Screech, screech, screech. Wail, wail, wail. Crash, crash, crash. It was so painfully loud that the scarecrow had to put his hands over his ears. Farmer bolted upright in his bed. His wife stayed asleep, however. She could sleep through anything.

The bad crows jumped up out of their nests and started to scream and squawk. They were terrified. They had no idea what the noises were.

Daddy crows bumped into Mammy crows. Uncle crows crashed into auntie crows. Brother crows fell into sister crows. Sharp beaks scraped off sharp beaks. They screamed and yelled, and flapped their wings. As fast as they could, they started to fly their ways out of the dark forest. Screaming and squawking, screaming and squawking.

They flew and flew and flew and flew, until they were miles away and there was not one crow left in the entire forest. Out across the Irish Sea they flew, searching for a quiet and peaceful place, far far away from the dark forest.

And there, in the middle of the forest stood the scarecrow. Cackling. His eerie laughter echoed through the empty trees. His plan had worked. He had given the bad crows such a fright that they would never come back again.

His revenge was sweet.

So remember, the next time you pass a field of corn and see a scarecrow hanging there on a stick beneath the sweltering sun, have a little think about his feelings.

After all, you wouldn’t like it if nobody bothered to give you a name.

Would you?

The End

 

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