GETTING READY FOR THE BIG DAY
It all began at the beginning of the beginning of another day in the life of Mr. Pumpkinhead.
Mr. Pumpkinhead was a mischievous pumpkin who lived on Friendly Farm, in Wonderplace County.
He had a bit of pumpkin magic and some hard-to-believe pumpkin powers which let him to do things other pumpkins could not do. That was because there was something very special about his seeds. Whenever he was in trouble, or needed a little extra power, his seeds would join in to help him.
Mr. Pumpkinhead had some very special friends, too. One of those friends was Ruffled Rooster, the farm’s living alarm clock. Every morning, Ruffl ed Rooster started early, very early, fl uttering around, from one fence post to another, waking everyone. “Cock-a-doodle-a-doodle-do! Don’t doodle, there’s a lot to do! Get up, get up! Get up! The sun is bright! The day is light! Get up, get up… Get Up!”
Ruffl ed Rooster’s chest always swelled with pride when he glanced around and saw the barnyard alive with activity. He just knew that the day could not get off to a good start if he did not crow and do his part.
So, when he had finished crowing, he cackled away, eating his breakfast and enjoying the day.
Spring had come to Friendly Farm in the usual way. Ralph Robin arrived, showing off his beautiful red vest. Then summer came along, with busy baby bees fl ittering and fl uttering, buzzing their buzzers and humming their hummers. After summer came the news that the geese would soon be taking their winter vacation. That’s when everyone on Friendly Farm knew it was almost time for the greatest day of the year—the Fabulous Fall Festival.
At last fall arrived, and so did the day for planning and getting ready for the Fabulous Fall Festival. The grass in the meadow was no longer green. The shiny green leaves of the giant oak tree had turned golden brown. Tomorrow, children of all shapes and sizes, some with dimples, some with pimples, and all with lunch box cases, would arrive with smiling faces. They would come from many different places. They would bring joy to all the plants and animals on Friendly Farm.
Today, every plant and animal was doing its part to make this the best Fabulous Fall Festival ever. Songbirds were warming up their voices so that they could sing their best songs. Flowers were dusting and polishing their petals and leaves, getting ready to give out their sweetest smells. Butterfl ies were fl uttering around the fl owers, showing how their wings would fan the sweet perfume into the air. Crickets
were cleaning their legs so that they could make the loudest chirping sounds. Tomorrow would be a sweetsmelling, musical day.
In Fishy Pond, the fish were fanning their fi ns and tails. Nearby, in the tall blade grass, Tommy Tortoise was polishing his shell. And on the other side of the pond, the ant family was marching here and there. Tomorrow, they would march proudly from their anthill all the way to the barnyard fence and back.
Freddie Feline was scampering about in the dusty old barn. He would show the children how he played hide and seek with Rusty Rodent, the barnyard rat.
Goldie Retriever was lying on the porch of the farmhouse, washing her furry paws. She would show the children how she guarded and protected Farmer Rubenstein by following him everywhere he went. She would follow him into and out of the barn. She would trace his steps into the woods and out of the woods. She would shadow him into the pasture and out of the pasture. She would hound him into the farmhouse and out of the farmhouse. Whether it was in the meadow or in the forest; in the rain or in the snow; on top of the mountain or way down by the creek, she was with him wherever he went.
Henry Horse neighed as he shined his new horseshoes. Goatee Goat nannied as he trimmed his goatee. Madame Moo-Moo mooed as she washed her calves’ faces. Sheep were baa-baaing and combing their wool. Ducklings were quack-quacking and cleaning their feathers. Donkeys were hee-hawing. Chickens were clucking. And the smelly pigs? Well, they were getting even smellier because they were wallowing in
Every creature on Friendly Farm was happy. It was Fabulous Fall Festival Eve!
ALL WORN OUT
After their big day of work and planning for the children’s visit, everyone on Friendly Farm was worn out. Tomorrow would be a busy day. So, one by one, the animals said goodnight and trailed off to their own beds and shelters.
The plants began to fold their leaves around their stalks and stems. Flowers started closing their perfume factories. The bees went back to their hive and closed the door. The butterfl ies fl itted off to fi nd shelter in the leaves of the trees.
Farmer Rubenstein was tired, too. He and Goldie Retriever had spent the day feeding all the animals, cleaning all the stalls, and weeding all the gardens. Tomorrow would be another long day. With Goldie following close behind, Farmer Rubenstein went inside the big farmhouse and turned out all the lights.
The pumpkins were the last to snuggle down in their leafy beds. When it came to the Fabulous Fall Festival, they were more excited than anyone else. They had taken baths in sweet, spring rains. They had rested and grown plump and round in the warm summer sun. Now they were ready for pumpkin games the children would play.
The children would roll the smaller pumpkins on the ground, in pumpkin races. With
paints, they would add color to some pumpkin faces. They would turn the pumpkins on their sides and laugh at the lines they said looked like bunches of smiles. The pumpkins would be happy all the while.
Ruffl ed Rooster shooed the chickens into the hen house. They fl ew up to their roosts, stuck their beaks under their wings, and fell fast asleep.
The day before the Fabulous Fall Festival was coming to an end. Mr. Glow Circle had been shining all day. Now he slowly covered himself with the red velvet sky, getting ready for sleep.
Across the valley of Friendly Farm, through the lazy limbs of the weeping willows, the gentle wind whispered a sweet lullaby that lulled everyone to sleep:
“Sweet dreams, sweet dreams, how dark the skies;
Sweet dreams, sweet dreams, now close your eyes.
Night now has fallen. Dream-land is calling.
Sweet dreams to all… sweet dreams.”
Willie Whip-o-will called out, “Good-good-night! Good-good-night!”
When Mr. Glow Circle’s light could no longer be seen, the Twinkle Star Triplets came out to play. They twinkled brightly in the sky. Miss Manyfaces came out, too. She shined her light down on everything below. Sometimes, all that showed of her was a large golden smile, tipped one way or the other in the sky. But tonight, her face was round and full.
Soon there was complete silence all over Friendly Farm. But not everyone was sleeping…
THE PUMPKIN MAN
Mr. Pumpkinhead’s eyes popped open. He was the biggest pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. He was always thinking, so his pumpkin seeds were always churning. He had planned a wonderful adventure for this night before the Fabulous Fall Festival.
He looked around the pumpkin patch. Not a pumpkin was stirring. He looked at the farmhouse. The windows were all dark. He looked around the farmyard. The plants were all tucked in and sleeping. He looked around the barnyard. The light from Miss Manyfaces and the Twinkle Star Triplets fell on the barn and the sheds and the trees. Everywhere he looked, things were very quiet and very still.
With the pumpkin strength that only a pumpkin could have, Mr. Pumpkinhead tugged a little at his head. Nothing happened. He tugged harder. Snap! His pumpkin stem broke loose from its vine. He smiled his proudest pumpkin smile.
He rolled over and bumped a pumpkin named Squash. Squash yawned sleepily.
“What’s going on?” he asked. “Can’t you see I’m in bed? What are you up to, Mr. Pumpkinhead?”
“I have planned a great adventure for all of us on this Fabulous Fall Festival Eve night!” said Mr. Pumpkinhead.
“But, I’m so tired,” Squash said. “Besides, we must all get our rest for the busy day tomorrow. That includes you, Mr. Pumpkinhead!”
But Mr. Pumpkinhead was not listening. Instead, he was rolling all around the pumpkin patch, bumping into sleeping pumpkins as he went. One by one, the pumpkins woke. They rubbed their pumpkin-sleepy eyes with their pumpkin leaves.
“It’s the eve of the Fabulous Fall Festival,” said Mr. Pumpkinhead. “Hurry! Let’s wake all the animals! We’ll have a great time. There’s plenty of light, and we will have the barnyard all to ourselves! Who wouldn’t want to join in the fun?”
It seemed no one was listening. So Mr. Pumpkinhead cleared his seedy throat. Then he opened his pumpkin mouth and began to sing:
“Wake up, wake up, there is no sun!
The farmer sleeps! Let’s have some fun!
The moon is out, to give us light,
So we can party all through the night!”
Squash looked at the other pumpkins. “We all need rest,” he whispered. “But Mr. Pumpkinhead’s adventure sounds like fun.”
“It does! It does!” whispered a small pumpkin named Dimples.
“I’m in!” said another pumpkin.
“Me, too!” said another.
“Okay, Mr. Pumpkinhead,” Squash said, at last. “We’re ready. Just tell us what you want us to do.”
One by one, the wide-awake pumpkins unsnapped their stems from their vines. Snap! Snap!
Snap! Snap! Snap! Snap! Then Mr. Pumpkinhead led them in the pumpkin roll. They rolled around and around, until they had bumped into every pumpkin on the ground.
As they bumped each one, something magical happened. The pumpkin vines and leaves reached up and tied the smaller pumpkins together until there were four strings of pumpkins. Then the vines and leaves tied the larger pumpkins together. Last of all, they tied all the strings together. In no time at all, they had formed a pumpkin body, with arms and legs and a neck.
All together, the pumpkins shouted, “Okay, Mr. Pumpkinhead! We’re ready! Hop aboard, and let’s go!”
Mr. Pumpkinhead sucked in a deep breath. He called on his orange pumpkin power. His pumpkin seeds churned in his tummy. His pumpkin head swelled and started turning red. He pushed with all his orange pumpkin energy. At last, he began to roll.
Then, with a swish, he was up, up and away! Up he went and landed right on the neck of the pumpkin body. Suddenly, standing right there in the light of Miss Manyfaces, was a complete orange pumpkin man.
All the pumpkins in the pumpkin man shouted, “Hooray, Mr. Pumpkinhead! Where to?”
THE CRAZY PUMPKIN ADVENTURE
Off went the pumpkin man, with every pumpkin singing out, “We’re up! We’re up! There is no doubt! We’re off to play and sing and shout!”
It went to the stable, where Henry Horse was standing in the silvery light of Miss Manyfaces. It moved very close to Henry. Then Mr. Pumpkinhead whispered, “Now, all together, on the count of three…”
The pumpkins cleared the seeds from their throats. “One, two, three!” said Mr. Pumpkinhead. They all opened their mouths and sang. “Wake up, wake up, there is no sun! The farmer sleeps! Let’s have some fun! The moon is out, to give us light, so we can party all through the night!”
Henry Horse blinked his sleepy eyes and shook his head. He made a horsey noise that sounded like an extra long sneeze.
“Hello, Henry Horse,” said Mr. Pumpkinhead.
“Hello, Mr. Pumpkinhead,” said Henry. “What are you silly pumpkins up to this late at night? Is this another one of your crazy pumpkin adventures?” he asked sleepily.
“We are celebrating the eve of the Fabulous Fall Festival! Farmer Rubenstein and Goldie Retriever have gone to bed! This is our chance to have some fun before the big day tomorrow. Henry Horse, now please don’t fuss. Would you like to come out and join us?”
Henry put one horseshoe down hard. “Have you pumpkins no horse sense at all? Neigh, I will not go!” he said. He shook his mane back and forth and all about. “Neigh! Neigh! I won’t party with you tonight. I like to sleep when there is no light. Now trot along and have your fun, for I sleep best when there is no sun.”
Henry Horse sneezed again. Then he swished his tail, closed his eyes, and went back to sleep.
So the pumpkin man danced away, with the pumpkins singing all along the way. “We’re up! We’re up! There is no doubt! We’re off to play and sing and shout!”
From Henry Horse’s stable, the pumpkin man danced over to the hen house. Surely Hatchess Hen, Fluffy Feathers, and some of the other chickens would want to join in the adventure.
The pumpkins cleared the seeds from their throats. Then, on the count of three, they sang their pumpkin song again. “Wake up, wake up, there is no sun! The farmer sleeps! Let’s have some fun! The moon is out, to give us light, so we can party all through the night!”
Nothing happened. Not one little peep; not one little squawk; not one little squeak.
The pumpkin man sang again, this time a little louder, this time a little livelier. “Wake up, wake up, there is no sun! The farmer sleeps! Let’s have some fun! The moon is out, to give us light, so we can party all through the night!”
This time, a sudden gust of wind stirred up a puff of feathers. Ruffl ed Rooster came crowing outside. He scratched the ground. He fl apped his wings. He beat his chest. “Crawk-awk-awk! Crawk-awk-awk! What is this pumpkin noise all about?”
“Oh-oh,” whispered Mr. Pumpkinhead. “I think we have just ruffled Ruffled Rooster’s feathers.
“H-hello, Ruffl ed Rooster,” he said softly.
Ruffled Rooster fl ipped his red comb to one side. “Crawk-awk-awk! What are you pumpkins up to, I say?”
“Farmer Rubenstein and Goldie are sound asleep,” said Mr. Pumpkinhead. “We have the whole barnyard in which to play. We’re off to have some fun. Would you like to come?”
Ruffl ed Rooster fl apped his wings again. He beat his chest again. He crowed, “You should know that chickens don’t party at night. We like to sleep till early light. Quiet down now, before the hens all wake! Skedaddle away, for goodness sake!”
So the pumpkin man skedaddled way, looking for someone else to play.
This time, the pumpkin man went into the cow barn. The pumpkins cleared their throats and were all ready to sing their song when Madame Moo-Moo whispered, “Sh-sh-shmooo! Do not dooooo this silly thing! My babies are sleeping. It has been a big day. Please do not wake them. Be on your way!”
So the pumpkin man slipped away, in search of someone else to play.
The pumpkin man danced into Goatee Goat’s stall and found him fast asleep in his bed of straw. His eyes were closed tightly. “Naa-naa,” he was nannying in his sleep. The pumpkin man tapped lightly on one of his horns.
Goatee’s eyes slid open slowly. They glowed as he looked at the pumpkin man with an eerie glare.
“Aaah, maaayyy I help you?” he asked.
“Hello, Goatee,” said Mr. Pumpkinhead. “We are off on a fun adventure. Let us tell you about it in our song.
“Wake up, wake up, there is no sun! The farmer sleeps! Let’s have some fun! The moon is out, to give us light, so we can party all through the night!”
Goatee butted his head on the wall of his stall and replied, “Naaa, naaa, naaa, I will not arise. Naaa, naaa,” he said, blinking sleepy eyes. “Naaa, naaa! I think I’ve heard enough! Naaa, naaa,” he grumbled with a voice that was gruff.
Now all the pumpkins had sad, sad faces. Their orange cheeks turned red in places.
Sadly, the pumpkin man shuffl ed away, in search of someone else to play.
Likely Lamb was in the sheep shed. When she heard the pumpkins’ song, she said, “It’s baaaad to plan an adventure at night. I will not play till Mr. Glow Circle gives his light.”
They found Eonky Donkey in the meadow, where he stayed. “Hee-naw! I do not want to play! I need my rest!” he brayed.
So the pumpkin man crept away, in search of someone else to play.
NO ONE TO PLAY WITH
With no one to play, the pumpkins were ready to go back to bed. But Mr. Pumpkinhead would not give up so easily, for he was a little hard pumpkin-headed. Seeing the other pumpkins so sad, he said, pumpkinastically, “Let’s fi nd Onlia Owl! She is very wise. I’m sure she will want to play with us.” So the pumpkin man danced over to the giant oak tree.
Onlia was perched very, very high, on a crooked limb. Her shadowy form and glowing eyes showed in the light of Miss Manyfaces.
Standing beneath the limb, the pumpkins lifted their voices and sang. “Wake up, wake up, there is no sun! The farmer sleeps! Let’s have some fun! The moon is out, to give us light, so we can party all through the night!”
Onlia Owl screeched back. “Who, who, who are you singing to? I am too busy to play with you. Nighttime is when you all should rest, for rest helps you to do your best. All of you should be in bed. That goes for you, Mr. Pumpkinhead. If you’re not careful, you’ll miss the fun, too tired to play with everyone. Play is for day, as you should know. Go back to your beds. Now, off you go!” She made one fi nal screech.
Then, with a fl apping swoosh of her mighty wings, she fl ew away, whoo-whooing into the night.
Mr. Pumpkinhead watched Onlia fl y away. Then he said, “I wonder why no one wants to play. It seemed like such a fun thing to do.” Now Mr. Pumpkinhead was feeling blue.
Mr. Pumpkinhead had to think quickly. If he had not talked the other pumpkins into this nighttime adventure, they would all be sleeping in their pumpkin patch beds. He called on his pumpkin seeds for help. He thought pumpkiny-hard. Suddenly, he came up with another plan for the pumpkin man. “Since no one will join in the fun we wanted to share, we’ll play anyway. Why should we care? The moon is out and the night is still new. Come on! You play with me, and I’ll play with you!”
The pumpkins all agreed. “Mr. Pumpkinhead, you are so right! Young is the night and the moon is bright. It is their loss, but we tried with all our might. Let’s play together into the night!”
So they sang with their pumpkin voices and made joyful pumpkin noises. “We’re up, we’re up! There is no sun! The farmer sleeps! Let’s have some fun! The moon is out, to give us light, so we’ll play and party all through the night!”
While the wind gently rustled the leaves in the night, the pumpkins played and partied, with no end in sight. They danced and sang all over the barnyard grounds. They twirled and danced, making joyful pumpkin sounds. They danced until they could dance no more. They sang and danced and then sang some more. They laughed until their tummies hurt and sang until their throats were sore.
Then, one by one, the pumpkins said, “We are sleepy, Mr. Pumpkinhead. May we please go back to bed? We really need to get some rest, for tomorrow we want to be at our best.”
“You’re right. I must agree with you. I must admit, I’m tired too,” said Mr. Pumpkinhead. “Let’s end this adventure and go to bed.”
THE BIG DAY ARRIVES
Back at the pumpkin patch, Mr. Pumpkinhead sucked in his pumpkin breath. He pushed with all his pumpkin power. Squash-plop! He popped himself right off the body of pumpkins. Through pumpkinsleepy eyes, he watched as the other pumpkins squash-plopped themselves from each other. They rolled here and there around the pumpkin patch. Snap! Snap! Snap! Snap! Snap! Snap! Each pumpkin snapped its stem back onto its own special vine. Then they all snuggled down in their leafy beds, closing their eyes and nodding their heads. Soon they all were fast asleep, so tired they did not make a peep.
Finally, Mr. Pumpkinhead rolled over to his own pumpkin bed. In an instant, he snapped his green stem back onto his vine. He cuddled down in his pumpkiny-soft bed. He pulled a large pumpkin leaf over his head. Soon Mr. Pumpkinhead and the other pumpkins were sound asleep.
Miss Manyfaces had been shining full and bright. Now she slipped behind the clouds and was soon out of sight. It was time for Mr. Glow Circle to end the night.
In no time at all, Mr. Glow Circle peeked his shiny face over the golden horizon. He pushed the clouds back and rose slowly into the sky. At the same time, Ruffl ed Rooster began his morning task of waking all the barnyard animals. “Cock-a-doodle-a-doodle-do! Don’t doodle, there’s a lot to do! Get up, get up! Get up! The sun is bright! The day is light! Get up, get up…Get Up!”
Soon the barnyard was alive with animals squawking, peeping, squeaking, mooing, chirping and bleating. Everyone and everything was greeting everyone else and everything else in its own special farm language. Everywhere, everyone was saying, “A very Fabulous Fall Festival morning to you!”
So, the Fabulous Fall Festival was fi nally here! Soon happy children would be arriving. They would want to play with the animals. They would want to pick fruits and vegetables and fl owers. They would want to romp and play all over Friendly Farm. And they would surely want to see the beautiful, orange pumpkins. But…where were the pumpkins? Only one feathered friend knew for sure.
At Ruffl ed Rooster’s crowing, the pumpkins had rolled over in their beds and pulled their leaves up over their heads. When they paid no heed to his very fi rst crow, Ruffl ed Rooster jumped onto the fencepost to give it another go. He sucked in his breath, puffed out his chest, and crowed his best. “Cock-a-doodle-adoodle-
do! A good, bright morning to you! It’s time to wake and greet the day! Get up, get up! Get up, I say!”
The pumpkins still did not move. Not one of them even blinked a pumpkin eye. Not the slightest roll did they make; not one seed did they shake.
Ruffl ed Rooster had never been ignored before. And no one should be sleeping at a time like this! So he squawked over to another post that was near. He wanted every pumpkin to hear him loud and clear.
He hopped up on the fencepost to give it his best. He fl apped his wings. He beat his chest. With all his feathered power, he crowed again, “Cock-a-doodle-a-doodle do! A good, bright morning to you! It’s time to wake and greet the day! Get up, get up! Get up, I say!”
It was no use! The pumpkins still did not budge. There was not even a pumpkin grunt. Only Mr. Pumpkinhead opened one orange eye and whispered, “Please, Ruffl ed Rooster, go away. Please, no more noise; not one more peep. I am so tired; I just want to sleep. I danced and partied all through the night.
I should have waited for the light.” Then he closed his eye and rolled over. He pulled the pumpkin leaf tighter over his face and head and snuggled down deeper in his pumpkin patch bed.
So, while the pumpkins slept in their pumpkin patch beds, Ruffl ed Rooster strutted away, shaking his head. He tucked in his feathers and went on his way. He was off to enjoy the farm’s special day.
When the children arrived, Friendly Farm came alive as quick as a fl ash. Mr. Glow Circle’s rays made things warm and cheerful. Onlia Owl stood guard over all, watching the fun from her front perch in the giant oak tree.
The birds sang their songs, and the fi sh splish-splashed. Goldie greeted the children with a special bowwow.
The ducks quacked their quacks. The kittens meowed. The children rode the donkey and petted the sheep, milked the cow, fed the chickens, and heard little chicks peep. They ate apples and tasted goat’s milk cheese. They laughed every time Henry Horse sneezed.
Farmer Rubenstein’s face beamed with Friendly Farm pride. Goldie Retriever stood proudly at his side.
It was the most wonderful day ever on Friendly Farm. Everyone had such fun. Everyone made new friends.
But, in no time at all, the day came to an end.
Only one thing was missing on this Fabulous Fall Festival day. Not a single pumpkin had come out to play. There were no pumpkin smiles for the children to see, and no pumpkin games to fi ll them with glee.
The pumpkins had slept the day away in their pumpkin beds, as had their leader, Mr. Pumpkinhead.
When the pumpkins fi nally woke, they heard about all the fun they had missed. Now they were sad all over again. They all cried, “Boo, hoo, hoo, hoo, Mr. Pumpkinhead, we never should have listened to you.
Last night, we should have stayed in bed. But we were foolish and played instead. Now we are sad. The fun is through. Boo, boo, hoo, hoo, hoo.”
Mr. Pumpkinhead said, “I was wrong to plan an adventure that lasted so long. And I talked my pumpkin friends into going along. I’m sorry,” he said, “for waking everyone. But I thought the adventure would be so much fun. Now we have all missed the Fabulous Fall Festival. But, worst of all, the children didn’t get
to see our smiles or play any pumpkin games.”
There was neighing, and braying, and mooing, and boo-hooing. There was cawing, and crowing, and nannying, and baaing. The animals all agreed that the pumpkins had indeed missed the best Fabulous Fall Festival ever.
The next day, after Ruffl ed Rooster crowed his morning song, Mr. Pumpkinhead rolled over to the giant oak tree. The animals all gathered round.
“Last night,” he said, “when I could not sleep, a pumpkinny song came to my head.” Then he cleared the seeds from his pumpkin throat and sang for all to hear:
“When it’s time for sleeping in my bed,
I will not play; I’ll use my head.
I’ll go to sleep and get my rest,
So when I wake, I’ll be my best.
Then, when the children come to play,
I’ll have energy throughout the day;
The children, too, should rest in bed,
And not be like Mr. Pumpkinhead!”