(Archived) 7. Wendy the Water Vole – by Isobel Chaplin (aged 10)

Wendy was a water vole. She lived in a burrow next to a clear river. She ate plants, roots, fruits and bulbs. But her very favourite was blackberries. Wendy was very happy living there on her own in her burrow, when one day something happened.

She was munching on some grass one afternoon when she heard a faint, rumbling sound in the distance. It suddenly became louder and louder. Then she saw a huge green monstrous lawn mower with a big, bearded man driving it! And he was coming towards her!

Wendy scurried away as fast as she could under a thick bramble plant. She watched the man mow around, heading straight towards Wendy’s burrow! She watched the man mowing over her burrow, mud flying in everywhere.

She saw the man head back to his house, park the mower up and walk inside.

Wendy scuttled out of the brambles, thinking. She couldn’t stay here any longer, she would have to find a new home. But it was getting dark, and she was too tired to go now so in the morning she would set off and see what she could find.

So, Wendy settled down in her burrow to sleep, dreaming of lawn mowers and brambles.

When she woke up the sun was shining brightly and children were walking to school. Three boys were walking by the side of the river, eating chocolate bars. When they had finished, they chucked the wrappers behind them into the river.

Wendy had to move now, people were destroying her habitat.

She waited till the boys were gone, then she came out to find some breakfast. She found some ripe blackberries and an old bulb. Then she had a quick drink in the river.

After that Wendy set off to find a new home. She wandered through the little village on and on till it ended at a lake.

Wendy wondered if this would be her new home. But just as she had made up her mind to stay a huge white heron crept up on her!

She hurried away just in time and ran away as fast as she could.

Wendy was getting hungry now, it was her lunch time. She hunted round for something to eat and saw a patch of grass. She ate it up. Then it was time to look again.

She soon came to a wood where it was very cold. Suddenly there was some rustling in a bush nearby. Was it more danger?

She hid in a bush and waited as quiet as a mouse. Then he came out, it was not a predator. It was another water vole! Wendy crept out, slowly, towards him.

Then they made friendly noises to each-other, and Wendy told the other water vole (in water vole language of course) that she was trying to find a new home. And then the other water vole, whose name was William, explained that he was in the same situation. Then they had an idea to travel together, so they did.

They came to the end of the wood where there was a wide field with children playing football. There were gates all around the field but then William saw something. “Look,” he said, “there’s a tiny hole over on the other side. I think we could get through.”

They ran along the side of the gate to the hole on the other side. They could just manage to squeeze through and on the other side there was a long footpath with a sign saying, ‘this way to the nature reserve’. Though the water voles could not read it.

Just then an old couple came along the path, coming from the nature reserve.

“Perhaps we should go the other way so we don’t bump into them,” said Wendy.

“Good idea,” said William.

So they went along the side of the path, watching out for any humans.

“Look!” said Wendy, “There’s some blackberries!”

They had a good meal, then they carried on walking along the path.

After a few minutes they came to a large archway saying, ‘Welcome to the Nature Reserve.’

“I wonder what’s through here,” said William, “it looks nice.”

They made their way through the archway, where there was another path, and it was a bit different. It was covered with white stone and the one before had grey, white, red and yellow stones.

The path led to a building and Wendy and William crept through a narrow hole at the side till they came to the path again.

“Look, there’s a lovely lake!” exclaimed Wendy, “There isn’t any danger at all!”

They wandered up to the lake and saw that she was right. There was no danger at all! Now this could surely be their new home!  

And there were loads of grass and plants for them to eat, it was just perfect!

So, Wendy and William lived there for the rest of their life and friendly people came to admire them every day.

After a few weeks Wendy and William had 3 babies and named them Willow, Wilbur and Whisper. They grew up to be brave, clever water voles, just like their parents.