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A Too Small Christmas
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Tara Fox Hall
Little Bit opened her eyes and gave a great big yawn.
That yawn turned to a howl of excitement, as she ran to the door after her dog friends, Tawny and Hunter.
"Today is Christmas Eve!" she shouted, bounding out of the door and sinking up to her head in a fresh foot of snow.
She struggled, leaping up in the air out of the snow only to sink back down the moment she landed.
"Ha ha ha! You are too small for Christmas," Hunter laughed, coming over. "You'd better walk in my footsteps like Tawny does."
Little Bit followed Hunter around the yard, then back inside.
"Does it always snow so much? It didn't last year."
"Last year wasn't normal," Hunter said, all of his attention on his food bowl. "We get lots of snow here. Eat your food."
Little Bit ate her food, and then wandered over to Tawny, who growled at her.
"I don't want your food," Little Bit said. "I want to know if what Hunter said is true."
Tawny nodded, finishing a mouthful. "Yes. Some years it's so bad I dread going for walks. It's been up to my neck before. But there's nothing you can do about it. You'll have to walk last in line."
After breakfast, Little Bit didn't want to play; she was too upset. Instead, she went to the woodstove and lay down. "I've been looking forward to Christmas, especially the Christmas walk. I like to be first, to race around everyone! What am I going to do?"
"Hope for a thaw." a voice said from above her, on the chair.
The orange cat stretched, reaching out a clawed paw, and then jumped down.
"That's not helping, Mac," Little Bit said, as Mac lay down beside her. "But you're even smaller than I am. What do you do when it snows this much?"
"Go slow, and don't go as far. Wait for someone to shovel you a path, or plow one."
"I can't do that."
"You can follow the other dogs on the walk."
"I could ask Santa to make me bigger." Little Bit nipped at him. "I'd settle for longer legs."
Mac swiped at her with his paw. "Instead of always wanting to change what can't be changed, use your brain instead."
"To do what?"
"Bigger isn't always better in snow." Mac said, then put his head down, and went to sleep.
That day more snow fell; even as the temperatures warmed in the noon sun.
But by afternoon it was cold again, as the dogs prepared for their walk.
Little Bit ran back and forth on the plowed driveway, looking out nervously at the field full of snow.
There was so much snow! Hunter was right; she'd have to follow behind everyone.
Hunter went first, his huge body breaking a path through the snow. Tawny followed, making the path wider. But the snow kept getting deeper, and Little Bit struggled to walk, jumping from footprint to footprint.
It was very hard, and she got tired quickly. She sat down for a moment to rest.
As she did, she saw a small mouse poke its head out of the snow, a foot away from her nose.
In a blur, the tiny animal raced across the top of the snow, and then into another hole.
"How did the mouse do that?" Little Bit put out a foot, then another.
"Wait, this snow is different, this snow is hard!"
She carefully climbed up on the crusted snow and then inched forward, testing the snow with her paws. "The new snow is pure white, and not shiny.
The old snow thawed and refroze, turning to a layer of ice. It's shiny.
Most importantly, it's strong enough to support me!"
She moved faster, staying on the icy snow and avoiding the new snow, her paws leaving small indents as she raced across the surface, moving faster and faster.
"She's running circles around us." the man said proudly, watching Little Bit chasing a blue jay.
"Our little greyhound's lighter than all of us," the woman agreed. "She's got it much easier than we do with these snowshoes."
"You are still too small." Hunter panted. He lunged at her as she passed, his teeth snapping on air as he fell in the snow.
"No. I'm just right! You're too big!" Little Bit teased happily, as she streaked across the sparkling snow.
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