The Magic Sleigh Bell

      "Not yet," their father replied. "There are more leaves right to the corner."
      The cold winds penetrated Jim Kirkland's sweater and numbed his fingertips. He was at the top of the extension ladder, necessary for reaching the eavestroughs which overflowed with fallen autumn leaves.
      Still retaining some of the beautiful colours they had turned to before falling off the towering maple trees, the leaves achieved flight one final time as Jim scooped them out and onto the lawn.
      "Look out, Nat, or you'll get clobbered!" instructed Travis, brandishing the rake with the confidence of someone who had finally conquered yard equipment still taller than he was.
      "It's Natalie, N-A-T-A-L-I-E, not Nat. I don't respond to nicknames!" an indignant Natalie countered. She was a bubbly, optimistic 7-year-old, who had a growing confidence in herself and her place in the world.
      "Yeah, yeah, right... just bag the leaves before it starts snowing." He liked to tease his sister, but it was in good fun, as he really did like her.
      She was admiring all the colours of the leaves as she stuffed them into the plastic bag, when the momentary glint of something shiny caught Travis' eye.
      "Hey, hold on. What was that?" he asked, as he came over and started searching through the leaves.


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