Bean produced three berries from his pocket, but seemed disappointed with the result.

 

Without letting Coco see his worried eyes, he reached in for more and was alarmed when his small paws felt nothing but the seam of his coat pocket.

“The berries! The berries are gone!” exclaimed Bean.

Coco watched her friend search his coat. In the bottom corner of his right-hand pocket was a small hole.

Coco looked at Bean with sympathetic eyes and then at the three small berries in his hand.

Winter story cheri cottrell illustrator children's story

 

“At least we have something.”

 

But Coco, what are we going to do with –’ however before Bean could finish his thought, Coco let out a loud squeal.

“Look!” yelled Coco enthusiastically. In the distance was a fallen tree. “We can use some of the bark to build a shelter.”

 

The two Hammies trudged through the snow to investigate the tree. At the base was an old wooden door.

Winter story, children's story, cheri cottrell illustrator

 

“I think someone lives here,” cautioned Bean. “We shouldn’t intrude.”

 

Coco was less polite.

 

“But where else can we go?” Coco asked as she curled her tiny paw and rapped on the thick wooden door.

 

The door creaked open, revealing an empty chamber. The floor was covered in dry grass and beach rose decorated the dry dirt walls.

winter story, children's story cheri cottrell illustrator

 

It’s an old root cellar!” shouted Coco.

Protected from the cold wintery elements, Bean carefully placed each berry in a chipped seashell and offered them to his friend.

winter story, children's story, cheri cottrell illustrator

 

“You have them, “ said Bean.

 

“No, we’ll have them.” Whispered Coco, the joy of sharing with her friend made her nose wiggle and her whiskers bounce with happiness!

 

 

That night the wind whipped and the snow blew, but Coco and Bean were none the wiser. Exhausted and drowsy from the trek, the two fell asleep easily in spite of their hollow tummies.

Watercolor illustrations Cheri Cottrell

 

The following morning, Coco and Bean were awakened – not by a Boondoogle – but by the sound of Papa Dubois and Papa Higgins banging on the wooden door.

 

“Hello, is anyone there?” bellowed Papa Higgins through the great door.

 

Coco and Bean awoke from their makeshift grass beds and ran towards the door. Coco reached for the doorknob but before she could turn it, the door swung open.

 

Papa Dubois and Papa Higgins scooped up the little Hammies in their arms and hugged them tightly.

“How did you know we were here?” asked Coco.

 

“We followed the trail of berries,” said Papa Dubois. “We found one by the snowman and then another and another and another, until they led us here.”

Cheri Cottrell storyteller chilrens illustrator

 

The weather had become much nicer and the sun was shining high in the sky. The four Hammies went back home. “Mama is making a berry pie,” said Papa Higgins in a loud, cheerful voice. Bean and Coco looked at each other. “Berry pie!” The two Hammies could hardly contain themselves and started laughing.

~ The End ~

winter story, cheri cottrell illustrator, children's stroy

Warmly ,

Cheri

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