Once upon a time there was a little girl called Clara who lived in a lovely house with her mummy and daddy and her best friend Burger the chihuahua. Clara loved her parents’ house, which they had worked hard to make into a lovely, cosy, fun space for their little family.
But what Clara loved the most about their house was the woods behind it, with trees that were even taller than her daddy and grass so long that in some places all Clara could see was the tip of Burger’s tail. Clara and Burger went to play in the woods every single day when the weather was good.
Sometimes they played hide and seek, other times they played chasey through the trees, but Clara’s favourite thing to do in the woods was to explore.
“Ooh, look at this beetle, Burger!” Clara would cry, and Burger would trot over obligingly to have a look.
Some of the things Clara found seemed really interesting to Burger, but she never let him try to eat anything.
One morning, Clara woke up feeling extra energetic.
“Come on Burger,” she said, “let’s go exploring!”. Burger whuffed agreeably.
“Have fun!” called mummy as they walked down the path to the woods.
“Be careful!” daddy yelled after them.
Off Clara and Burger went, running, jumping and skipping all the way. After a fun morning racing through the woods, Clara collapsed to the ground giggling uncontrollably. Burger trotted over barking his enjoyment and giving her very enthusiastic kisses.
When she caught her breath, Clara sat up and looked around.
“We must have come a really long way, Burger,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve ever been this far away from home before!”
Burger looked at her calmly. They were a long way out, but he knew he could find their way back, following their tracks with his sensitive nose.
“I wonder what we’ll find this far out!” Clara said as she got to her feet. “Come on Burger, lets explore!”
Burger whuffed his agreement and trotted after her.
In this part of the woods the ground was barer and the trees grew closer together. It felt different too, quieter and more still.
Clara and Burger ducked and weaved their way through the trees, the woods getting thicker as they went.
It was hard going, and soon they were both growing warm. But just as Clara was about to suggest they turn back, something caught her eye.
It was definitely wood, but it looked different to the trees.
“Burger, come look!” she cried, speeding up to investigate.
Stumbling into a small clearing in the woods, Clara gasped, while Burger stood in silent puzzlement.
There in the centre of the clearing stood a tiny, run down house. It looked solid enough, but was clearly very old, with no glass in the windows and weeds growing through what once were flowerbeds.
Clara was spellbound.
“Oh Burger,” she breathed, “it’s beautiful”.
Burger cocked his head at her. He couldn’t quite see the beauty in the dilapidated old house, but then he was often bemused by the things his humans got excited about – like that strange stone dog that mummy seemed to love so much. Burger had tried sniffing him, and didn’t think him much of a dog at all – his nose wasn’t even wet!
Still, Burger loved his humans and was quite happy to follow along with all of their adventures, and this strange old house would be no different.
While Burger was musing on the oddities of humans, Clara was in raptures over the house.
“Oh Burger, there’s so much that we can do! If we find some glass for the windows we can seal it up and add some cute curtains. We can paint the house and the shutters and plant flowers in the garden beds and lay down some floors and make a path… come on Burger, we need to get started!”
To read part two of Clara’s House, click here!