Christopher appeared in the kitchen, breathless and excited. ‘Dad! Dad, come and see!’
‘What is it, Kit?’ Don left installing the cooker and followed his five year old son into the garden. Kit led him to the end of their long garden and down the little path that ran behind the houses onto some waste ground.
Don frowned, ‘Kit you shouldn’t come out here on your own.’
‘I know, Dad, but it was a ‘mergency, you’ll see,’ and he ran across to an old elder tree surrounded by long grass and brambles. Kneeling down he reached into the tangle and hauled out an old sack.
‘See, Dad, it’s a ‘mergency!’ he said, handing it over. The sack wriggled, and Don heard a faint squeaking. He cradled it carefully, and turning towards home said, ‘You’re right, Kit. Let’s go home and see what you’ve rescued.’
Kit danced along beside him, delighted with the warm feeling of having saved something which had been left to die. He hoped it was a puppy – he’d wanted one for ages – and as its rescuer he hoped he could keep it.
‘Did you see who took it there?’ Dad asked.
‘Yes, old mister grumpy from down the road. That’s why I followed him. He’s really, really, old, so it wasn’t dangerous, really it wasn’t Dad.’
‘Well it might have been if he’d had his stick. He could have hit you with it,’ Don replied, thinking that fifty probably seemed ‘really, really old’ to Kit.
‘But he didn’t see me, ‘cos I crept along slinkily in the long grass. I was perfeckly safe, Dad.’
‘Alright, but next time come and fetch me first and we’ll go together.’
‘Yes, Dad,’ Kit replied, though he thought, ‘you’re too big not to be seen.’
Back in their garden Don laid the squirming, squeaking sack on the grass, and cut the string which tied the neck. He put his hand into it and felt around for a moment, while Kit hopped from one foot to another, too excited to keep still.
‘I’ll let you get them out in a minute or two,’ Don said. ‘They’re too little to do any harm, but first let’s go and find something to put them into.’
‘Them? How many are there, Dad?’
‘Three. Come on,’ and he led the way into the house. Ten minutes later Kit carried a shoe-box out into the garden. It was heavy, because they’d put a hot-water-bottle into the bottom and covered it with a towel and the remains of Kit’s baby blanket.
‘They’ll like it,’ he’d insisted when Don questioned his choice, ‘it was meant for babies.’
Setting the box down he opened the sack and reached inside. His fingers met something warm and wriggly. He lifted it out. It was a black and white kitten. ‘Oh . . . ‘ he said, but smiling at Don added, ‘He’s pretty, isn’t he.’
Don gave a silent cheer at Kit’s determination to hide his disappointment. ‘Yes, he is, though he might be a she. The vet will tell us whether they’re boys or girls. Put him in the box.’
The second was a tabby, and nuzzled Kit’s fingers as he was put beside the first. ‘He’s hungry,’ Kit commented. ‘Can the vet feed them?’
‘Oh yes, they have milk and little droppers, and the nurses are expert at feeding baby animals.’
When he pulled out the last kitten, Kit exclaimed in delight, ‘Oh, look at this one! It’s stripy just like a tiger.’ He held him to his cheek before putting it into the box, and grinned when it nuzzled against his face. This kitten was perfect, and he’d saved its life.
‘Can I keep this one, Dad? Please!’
‘If the vet says so. You must wait till he’s strong enough, and he’s had all his jabs. But I think Mum will agree to having a little kit to keep her big Kit happy.’
She did, and when he came home little kit played with big Kit, slept on his lap at story times, and even went for walks on a lead.
‘Will you take some pictures of us?’ Kit asked his dad. ‘I want to take them to school to show how important it is to save animals and look after them.’
I liked the idea of having two Kits in this last story. A good one to read to a child.