Fred and Sam's Adventure to Freedom

By: Grace (written when I was 10 or 11)

Once there were two gophers. Sam Gopher and Fred Gopher. They never lived together, for they were both different. Sam was the foolish and curious one. Whenever he heard a sound up on top, he never was far behind. Then he'd always come down scared to death, but he would never learn. Fred was the smart and intelligent one. Whenever he heard a sound, he'd stay down. Usually Fred made B+'s to A's in school, while Sam always made C-'s to D's. In spite of that, they were always good friends. Fred would help Sam on school, but it wouldn't matter. Sam would always make C-'s to D's.

One time they were in Fred's room when they heard laughter up on top. Before Fred could say "No!" to stop Sam, Sam was gone. Fred just sat there waiting for Sam to come back down, but he never came. After thirty minutes of waiting, he decided to go and see what kept Sam. He went carefully, for he had only been up top twice before. He poked out of the ground and he was in a grassy piece of land that looked delightful. He looked everywhere around him. Then he spotted Sam's mound.

No Sam.

He scurried under ground over to it. He poked out of it. Still no Sam. He could see footprints around. Then he had a thought. Sam might have gone back down to his room. He scurried fast down to his room, the same way Sam had taken while going up. He popped into his room. No Sam. He was beginning to get worried, for it had now been forty-five minutes. He sat there thinking a moment. Then he had a thought. He ran back up to the top.

Yes, the footprints were right up next to Sam's mound. He couldn't be sure, but he saw the evidence. They had taken Sam! He about fainted. He was so scared, it took him a while to get back down to his room. Although he didn't have full proof, Sam could have done elsewhere. Although he would never go anywhere without telling him. Fred went back up top. It was beginning to get dark. He could do no more that night. He went back down heavy hearted. He just couldn't understand why they had taken Sam. Why not have taken a different one? Then he scolded himself. He should never think nor say such things. For they could have taken a brother or sister and the father and mother would feel the same as Fred did. He was in his room. He ate supper, brushed his teeth and went to bed. He didn't have a good night, he tossed and turned. More than once he woke up.

Then he was awake! It was morning! He jumped out of bed, then he stopped. All the events of the day before came back to him. He sat down on his bed. He sat there for at least five minutes then got up, got dressed, and ate breakfast. He went up on top. There was a hill right in front of him. He made a trail to it under ground, then he went up. It was the hardest climb he had ever had, but he finally made it. He surfaced and found a house about 3 hundred feet in front of him. It was three stories high! Fred couldn't believe his eyes.

He had never seen anything so big! There was a picnic on the lawn and many people were there. They had games going on too. Croquet and a race. Then he saw two boys about fifteen years of age come out the front door. They split up going to people telling or asking something. He couldn't tell what they were saying, but they seemed interested in what the boys said. Two people got up and went inside. More followed. The boys kept going everywhere and gradually everyone went inside.

Fred had no time to waste. He rushed over to the flowers and hid. Everyone started coming out. They had smiles on their faces. Fred caught the word "gopher" in a sentence and shuddered.

They had Sam in a cage!

He sat there. The last of the people came out, but the boys didn't. The doors were open. He didn't have any time to waste. He rushed into the house and underneath the couch. Just in time, too, because the boys suddenly appeared out of a doorway. They stopped and looked at each other.

"What was that?" asked one.

"I don't know." said the other.

Fred froze. They had seen him! Maybe not all my body he thought. The boys shrugged and went out the front door. Fred crept out. Then he smelled something. Cat! He jumped back under the couch. Just in time too, because a paw almost grabbed him! Fred sat there breathing hard. That was close he thought! Too close! A cat came into view. It sat down right in front of him and just stared at him. He was relieved that the cat couldn't fit under the couch. He sat down too and just stared at the cat too. The cat just twitched his tail, yawned and licked his lips.

Suddenly, the door opened and in cat a man.

"Ready for meal time, Puss?" said the man.

The cat meowed and yawned again. He went over picked up the cat and took him into a room. Fred breathed a sigh of relief. He knew this was his chance. He raced over to the door and hurried inside the room everyone had come out of. He couldn't believe what he saw! He saw an aquarium. It wasn't filled with water, but with dirt. And on it it said 'Chestnut's Cage'. He looked at it for a minute. Then he looked around him.

The aquarium went from wall to wall. Fred went closer. Then he saw the earth move inside, and then a furry figure popped out and was moving along the cage wall. Fred knew instantly who it was. It was Sam! Sam stopped and looked at Fred. A puzzled look came over Sam's face. Then he started jumping up and down and pointing upward.

Fred understood. He raced over to the cage, but before he got there, he heard the man's voice humming and coming closer. Fred hurried over to the potted plant and hid behind it. The man came in, turned off the light, and walked out. Sunlight was still coming in through the window for Fred to see. Fred ran over to the cage. He stood there thinking. Soon he spied a small table over by the other side. He could climb up it, because it had knobs all the way up. Carefully he climbed, and when he was on top, he saw that Sam had gone around to the other side. Sam was now standing in front of Fred in the cage.

Here was another problem: four more feet to the top and Fred knew he couldn't climb glass!

Sam sat down in the cage. Fred looked around. He noticed some string on the table. Fred walked over and picked it up. He motioned for Sam to go upwards, Sam did. One thing that Fred had overlooked was the glass top, one part could slide open. Fred motioned for Sam to push back the panel with his head or hands. Sam managed to slide it open some, enough for Sam to fit through! Fred threw the string up and Sam caught it. Sam was standing on the edge now. As he slid the panel back into place, taking care not to smash his toes, he secured the string in the cage top. Sam had never known that there was a panel that slid back and forth.

All this time Fred was watching to make sure Sam didn't slip or that no one came in. Now Sam was coming down the string. His body was too heavy for the string and it snapped. He fell legs first on the table. Fred

rushed over hoping that his friend wasn't hurt and that he could walk.

Sam wasn't hurt.

Then Sam started asking questions how Fred found him or how he got in.

Fred hushed him just as the door opened. Fred froze and Sam started shaking. Then quickly they slid down the legs onto the floor and ran under a chair. The door opened and in came one of the boys carrying a pan of water and food. Sam whispered that the food must be for him. The boy opened the glass top and noticed the string on the table. Then he just shrugged and opened the glass top and set the food and water in the dirt, closed the top, and left. They both breathed a sigh of relief. They both looked at each other.

Sam had tears in his eyes and was saying 'thank you' over and over again. Fred just hugged him tight. He could not say anything ether because he was all choked up about having his friend back.

He finally said, "You're welcome."

Sam kept saying, "How did you find me?"

Fred hushed him and told him he would tell him when they were safely back in his room. Sam understood. They hurried over to the door and looked out. No one. Not even the cat. They hurried over to the couch.

"Now we have to wait until the door opens," said Fred.

Sam nodded.

They waited for about twenty minutes for the door to open. A woman came in, pushed the door closed and walked off. Fred saw it and with Sam behind him, they hurried over to the door. They managed to pull it open. All the people were on the lawn laughing and talking. They hurried out and scurried over to the flowers. Still safe. No one saw them. They stayed there for an hour waiting for everyone to leave. Finally everyone did leave. The owners went inside and Fred and Sam quickly crept away. It was beginning to get dark and they had to reach their hole. They hurried into the hole and plopped into the room.

After they rested, Fred fixed Sam something to eat. When they had finished eating, Sam leaned closer and said, "I have learned my lesson, Fred. I will never go up on top again unless I am forced. Because of what I did, I put you in danger of losing your life and I'm sorry. Won't you forgive me?"

"Of course I will Sam." said Fred gently. "I'm not sorry you went up on top Sam. I'm actually glad. Because of this, you've made me realize how close you are as a friend to me. I thank-you."

They were silent for a while. Then Fred said, "Do you want to move, Sam, to a different place?"

Sam stared in amazement. "Why?" he asked.

"Because it is kind-of dangerous here. We are so close to the house, you know."

"We've lived here all out life though?" said Sam.

"I know, but would you rather go through that adventure again?" said Fred.

"No." said Sam. " Let me think it over and I'll see you in the morning."

They both said good-bye and Sam went home. Fred sat there thinking about where they could move. Then if going to the house was north, then right and left are west and east. And they couldn't move north, east, or west because that would make them going into the fields of corn and wheat. He figured the house owned them all. They didn't own anything behind them, so they could move to the house. Although all this depended on Sam's choice to move or not.

He blew out his lamp, got into bed, and went to sleep. He slept hard and woke up with Sam smiling over him saying, "Get up Fred, it's nearly 9:00!"

Fred blinked hard and looked at the clock, yes it was 9:00. He jumped out of bed and got dressed while Sam made breakfast from the other room. He hurried to get dressed. He came out just in time to see Sam setting breakfast on the table. They sat down and ate. When they were finished Sam leaned back and said, "I'm willing to move if you are."

Fred was so excited, he nearly made the table fall over. They were both laughing when they cleared the table. Then they sat down with a map and decided they would move a half a mile to the south. There was a nice place underground where the earth was neither hard or soft. They planned the moving day to be the 12th of March as it was March 1. They had to build a long tunnel to the spot. After planning the details, Sam and Fred went home to pack.

The days went so fast that they were surprised when the moving date came. They had dug the tunnel and packed everything. They met in a fork in the tunnel. Fred went first pulling his boxes behind him. Sam did the same. It was a tiring journey, but they finally made it. Fred went first into the room. He lit a light and they started unpacking. When they were finished, they went to their bedrooms and set them up. Then they went to the kitchen and all around the house. When they were finished, they took the boxes, folded them up and put them away.

"I like this house." said Sam.

"Me too." agreed Fred.

And they sat back in their new house in peace.