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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2231005
Because they didn't get to go to camp. Proud to win Cramp!
"Please, Mom, please!"

"I said no, dear. It isn't safe."

"I'll be careful, I promise."

Sarah and her mother stopped arguing as they heard the key turn in the lock. Dad was home! Sarah ran to the front door as he entered, and gave him a big hug.

"Now, now, let me have a look at you!" he said. "You've grown taller in just a week, haven't you? And you look so tanned."

"We were outdoors the whole time at camp," the child replied. "We six-year -olds had to only go into our tents to nap for a couple of hours. You know, Dad, the ten-year-olds didn't even have a compulsory nap time!"

"Wow, to be ten years old," her father laughed, accompanying the child to the kitchen. "And what's all this?"

"I was going to set up a campfire for my dolls like we had at camp but Mom says no."

The father gazed at the little heap of matchsticks the child had put on a plate in the middle of the table. It was, actually, quite an accurate imitation of a campfire. She was observant, his Sarah.

"Mom says no, does she?" he glanced at his wife, then added hurriedly, "I agree with her. It's not safe."

"But I want my dolls to eat dinner near a campfire, like we did every day at camp. It's so much fun, Dad! And I couldn't take my dolls with me and now they'll never know what a campfire looks like!"

The parents glanced at each other over the child's head. The mother raised an eyebrow in a 'don't-you-give-in' sort of way. The father thought for a moment, then a smile appeared on his lips. "I know," he said, mysteriously, and walked to the store-cupboard.

"You go dress up your dolls and bring them here," he told his daughter. "Mim and I have to get the campfire ready meantime."

"Just what do you --" his wife began, as the child dashed happily up the stairs to her room.

"Where are those birthday candles?" he asked. "The ordinary ones and the sparkler-type ones. We used them on her last birthday."

"Oh, darling, what an idea!"

When Sarah re-entered the kitchen, clutching two dolls, a teddy bear and a soft doggie to her chest, the candles were clustered together in a bowl, held in place by some dough.it looked just like a campfire, and she gasped in delight.

The family sat around the table, with the dolls sharing one chair and the teddie and doggie perched on the table-mat. Sarah's Dad was famished after a hard day at the office, and he devoured his toasted cheese sandwich hungrily. Sarah had one too, and she shared with her toys, taking a bite for each of them in turn. Mom had a slice of papaya and an apple. As they ate, Sarah taught them the campfire song she had learnt, and soon, everyone was singing lustily, as the candles sparkled on.

"We've had a happy day, we've been at work and play
And, as we tire, we snack by the campfire!"
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