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It's important to look after your teeth

 Hope Squirrel had a terrible toothache. In fact, it was so bad that infection had set in. Hope's little face was so swollen that she no longer looked like a squirrel, but a pudgy ape.

 Hope was so embarrassed about her appearance that she hid in a hole in the tree. Her friends kept calling to her to come play and she kept making excuses.

 "Can't come right now," she would call down. "I am reading a really good book and I want to finish it." Her friends would look at each other and then run away to play.

 By the time three days had passed, her friends were very concerned about Hope.

 "Come on, Hope," they pleaded. "You must be finished that book by now. I bet you would love to go over to the meadow for some real juicy nuts, right?"

 Chewing nuts was the last thing that Hope had on her mind. With her swollen face, eating food was the last thing she could possibly do. She was getting very hungry, but pride made her stay where she was.

 "Not today!" she mumbled.

 "What did you say?" her friends asked. "You sound funny."

 "I said not today," she mumbled. The vibration of her words thumped through her jaw.

 "There is something wrong," said Simon Squirrel. "This has been a long time without Hope being around. What if something is wrong and she isn't telling us?"

 "Maybe one of us should climb up there and look in," suggested Ashley Beaver. "We could see if she wasn't well then."

 Simon, being the oldest, decided that he would do the chore and quickly scampered up the tree. He looked in the hole and almost fell down the tree. Hope had a terrible mask on, and it was really scary.

 "This isn't Halloween," said Simon. "Take that mask off. You almost scared me out of the tree."

 "It isn't a mask," said Hope sadly.

 "What happened to your face?" Simon asked with concern.

 "I have a bad tooth," said Hope.

 "You have to go to the dentist," said Simon. "You will get really sick if you leave your tooth like that."

 "I'm scared," said Hope with tears in her eyes.

 "We will all go with you," said Simon. "It won't be as bad if your friends go with you."

 Hope came down the tree and her friends could see their friend was in a lot of pain.

 Dr. Crow, the dentist, was just closing up when Hope and her friends arrived. He took one look at Hope and rushed her inside. She had to take special medicine for the infection and some painful work had to be done on her tooth, but finally the tooth was removed and Hope found relief again. What she had suffered was an abscess.

 "It is important to look after your teeth," said Dr. Crow. "Your teeth can make you very sick if they are not properly tended."

 Hope promised to look after her teeth from that time on and Dr. Crow gave her dental floss and a new toothbrush as she left his office. Ashley Beaver made sure that she brushed every day.

 Question about the story: What was Hope suffering from?

 Winner: Erica Allen of Lilydale received her prize in the mail.

 Send answers to: Storytime, c/o Verna Dunlop, RR#1 Moser River, NS, or e-mail the answer to Prizes will be sent to those sending in answers. State age.

  October 26, 2005  
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