Kids Crossing

A Green Story 

Kids Crossing - the story:

Clean Green Meadow  

Written by Krisoula Horiates & Heather Philip

Photography by Heather Philip


It was a new morning, but the sun was not shining. The birds were not chirping. The air was still and dry. It was on this morning that all of the animals decided that they were tired of living in their polluted Meadow. Betty the Goose could hardly swim in the pond because of all the trash floating around. Billy the Goat was running out of green grass to chomp on. All of the animals were being affected by the pollution and they all knew they had to move.


Mystique the Horse had heard a story about a wonderful place where the grass was always green, the sky was always blue, and the water was always clean. The animals all listened eagerly to Mystique's tale of this beautiful home.
"How can we get there?" Bernie the Pig questioned excitedly. Mystique explained that it would not be easy to get to the Clean Green Meadow, but if all of the animals worked hard then they could accomplish anything.

The animals went to bed early that night, dreaming about their upcoming journey. Sandy the Dog was so excited, she woke up before the sun rose.
Sandy barked, "Get up everyone! Rise and Shine!" Betty the goose woke up surrounded by garbage in the pond.
“I sure am ready to swim in clear waters,” she said excitedly. All of the animals were refreshed and ready to take on the challenges that would come their way.

To leave the polluted Meadow, Mystique told the animals that they must cross a row of stepping-stones in the east.
"Will you come with us?" the animals questioned her.
"No, I'm afraid you will have to make this journey alone," Mystique nudged the animals with her nose.
"You will find the stones straight ahead. Remember, there are two paths, so choose wisely. You' may want to split up into pairs. Good luck!" Mystique winked down at the animals, turned and trotted away.

Bernie the pig, Sandy the Dog, Betty the Goose and Billy the Goat all set off towards the east. After walking for an hour, they saw before them a huge river, sparkling blue with stepping-stones floating on each side.
"I'll go with Billy," oinked Bernie.
"I'm with Sandy then!" Betty replied happily. The animals split up and walked to the edge of the river in front of the stones. Up ahead they could see an island full of trees with smoke rising towards the clouds in the center. Bernie hopped on the first stone. It was slippery and his feet started to slide.
"Be careful Bernie!" Billy shouted. Bernie took a deep breath, caught his balance and stepped onto the next stone. This was not going to be as easy as the animals had first expected.

Betty took two careful steps forward and landed on a stone with a lily pad on it. Suddenly, a big fat toad appeared. He started to sing in a croaky voice.

"I am the Master Toad.
Land on a lily pad, a rule I will say.
Break the rule, and I'll make you back away!
Land on a lily pad, you must obey.
Follow the rule, and I will allow you to stay!
I am the Master Toad."

"Are you okay Betty?" Bernie yelled over to Betty from his stone.
"Yes, I think so!" Betty honked. The toad opened his mouth and caught a fly with his tongue.
"Before you take a step, you must name a color. This rule is for all of the animals who travel through my waters. I make the rules around here and you animals will listen if you know what's good for you!" growled the Master Toad.
"Pink," Betty nervously took a step forward.
"Blue, brown," Bernie and Billy both hopped onto a new stone.

"Purple," Sandy hopped onto the next stone. As Sandy's feet touched the stone, she suddenly saw a school of dolphins jump out of the water. The dolphins started to sing.

"We are a school of dolphins!
We're not here to make a rule,
We just want you to do well in school.
Here we jump and give you a quiz,
Get it right, we'll call you a wiz.
Get it wrong, we'll give you a splash,
Unless you want to move back, don't be rash.
We are a school of dolphins!"

"What is five plus four?" one of the dolphins questioned Betty in a very high-pitched voice.
Sandy thought about the question and answered, "Nine."
The dolphins smiled and cheered, "You may continue on your journey. Good luck!" Sandy was so happy she nearly fell off her stone! The other animals were proud of her and knew the Clean Green Meadow was getting closer with every step.

Bernie the Pig was starting to rush along the stones when all of a sudden the toad appeared again.
"You forgot to name a color!" the Toad growled, "I order you to go back a step."
Bernie didn't want to go back, "Why should I?" Bernie bravely shouted.
"GRRRRR," the Toad croaked angrily as he jumped onto Bernie's stone.
"Ahhhh!" Bernie screamed and took a step back. Bernie quickly realized the Master Toad was a serious ruler not to disobey.

All of a sudden the animals came upon a gate. It was locked.
"How are we going to get past?" Betty wailed. The school of dolphins jumped up again.

"We are a school of dolphins!
This gate is locked with the power of the sea,
You must answer a question to get the key.
Every animal must answer a question on their own.
For you must enter the gate alone.
Get it right, we'll give you the key to open the gate
Get it wrong, stay where you are, try again, or wait
We are a school of dolphins!"

"How do you spell goat?" the dolphins questioned Bernie.
Bernie became nervous and blurted out, "Umm, I think goat is spelled G-O-T-E."
The dolphins screeched "No, G-O-A-T" and splashed Bernie the pig, "Let the other animals have a try. You must wait here until you get a key."
Betty's turn came next. "Spell 5," squeaked the dolphins.
Betty smiled and honked "F - I - V - E!" The Dolphins splashed and a key appeared in the lock.
"Did you know that horses uses their tails to swat away bugs?" the dolphins screamed happily. The gate opened, allowing Betty the Goose to pass. A couple tries later, all of the animals had successfully answered the dolphins' questions and made it to island.

The animals were relieved to see beach towels laid out around a fire pit. It was the perfect place to sit down and take a quick rest.
"This is so much fun," Bernie oinked as he warmed his tail by the fire.
"I know, I hope we get to the clean green meadow soon!" Sandy replied with a bark.
"Well, we better get moving then," said Billy "Let's go!" Billy took a step off the island onto a rickety wooden bridge. The animals followed.
"Yellow," Betty took a step forward and landed on another lily pad lying on the bridge. Suddenly the Master Toad hopped up and croaked.
"AHHH, good job animals. You have been following my rules excellently! You no longer have to name a color for every step you take, but instead you must do a silly dance for every step you take." The Toad gave them all a serious look and jumped away. Sandy wagged her tail and bobbed her head up and down as she took a step forward.
"This isn't too bad," Bernie oinked as he wiggled his tail and ears.

After taking a few more steps and doing silly dances, the animals reached another locked gate. The dolphins appeared and flipped their fins up into the air again. They sang.

"We are a school of dolphins!
This question we ask, is your last,
But soon after this, you'll enjoy the green grass.
Get it right, we'll give you the key to open the gate,
Get it wrong, stay where you are, try again, or wait.
Every animal must answer a question on their own.
For you must enter the gate alone.
This gate is locked, but never fear,
The Clean Green Meadow is very near.
We are a school of dolphins!"

"Name all the vowels," the dolphins squeaked to Sandy.
"A, E, I, O, U!" Sandy barked. A key appeared in the lock and allowed Sandy to go through the gate.
"Up in a tree there was a nest with six eggs. If two eggs fell out of the nest, how many eggs would be left?" the dolphins squeaked again, this time to Bernie.
"Hmm, six minus two is four, right?" Bernie oinked.
"Yes!" the dolphins screamed and another key appeared at the gate.

Bernie walked past the gate and stepped onto a thick, white sand. Betty and Billy followed shortly after to join the group. They all stood in the sand and looked at the view, for in front of them, the animals could see the clean green meadow at last.
“Wow!” Sandy barked.
“Look at all the blue water!” Betty honked.
“The grass is so green!” Billy said with a belch.
“Hip-hip-hooray! We made it!” Bernie oinked loudly.
The animals ran ahead to the meadow and played in the ample green blades of grass.

The grass was green, the flowers were plentiful, and the water was shining all around. The animals had finally found the clean green meadow. Bernie rolled around in some wet sand as he oinked happily. Sandy barked and ran up and down the hills. Betty the Goose joined splashed around in the clear blue pond. Billy the goat followed, smiling and running toward the happy land. The animals all lived happily ever after.