Max the Marsupial -- Max Gets Lost
by Stephanie Wong

This is a story about Max, a marsupial who lives on the planet Mars.  Max lives with his mother and father on a desert plain.  His house is a bright red with blue trimming and a tall brown chimney.  All day and all night, puffs of smoke can be seen coming from the chimney because there is always a warm fire burning in the fireplace at Max's house.  Mars can get very chilly!

Max's favorite toy is his swing set.  He can swing up and down and up and down and way UP and way DOWN.  Sometimes Max can swing and jump right into his sandbox.  When he lands, he spews a lot of sand out onto ground, but that doesn't matter.  Max lives by two very large sand dunes, and whenever Max runs out of sand, his father brings back some new sand for him to play with.  In his sandbox, Max has ten toy trucks, a shovel, a pail and his favorite plush animal, a cockatiel named Io (pronounced eye-oh).

It was a bright sunny day on Mars and Max was in the kitchen, helping his mother bake a sweet apple pie.  When the pie was assembled in the pan and put into the oven, Max sat impatiently, looking through the oven window, rubbing his tummy.

"Why don't you go outside and play?  When you're done, the pie will be ready," said Max's mother.  Max thought that was a good idea and so he went outside.  He quickly hopped to a nearby crater to see what treasures he could dig up today.  Max couldn't find anything interesting buried, and so he looked out to the valley a distance away.

"Maybe I can find some shiny rocks there," Max thought.  "But I'm not supposed to go so far from my house."  He looked back at the house and he could see his mother through the window.  "She won't know," said Max, mischievously grinning.

And so Max went bouncing, off farther than he'd ever been, off to the valley in the distance.  He continued hopping, up over large boulders, and down some slopes, until he was halfway to where he wanted to go.  But, all of a sudden the pink Martian sky went dark.  Max stopped and looked around.  He couldn't see anything wrong.  So he continued hopping along the rocky road path.  Then Max felt the wind, a very strong wind.  And before he knew it, the wind picked him up into the air.  He swirled and swirled in a dark dust cloud, being lifted up high in the sky.  Max was in a dust devil!

Max tried as hard as he could to stop tumbling, but there wasn't anything to hold on to.  Suddenly, the wind died down, and Max plopped right onto the ground.  He rubbed his eyes and looked around.  Where was he?  Max did not recognize where he was.  There was no red house, no sandbox and no swing set.  Max was scared.

"I'm lost!" he cried.  Max bounced around his new surroundings, trying to find something that he could recognize.  Nothing.  He was truly lost.  Max didn't know what to do.  The wind began to pick up again and Max found a large boulder to hide behind.

"Ssssssss!"  Max heard a sharp slithery noise behind him.  "Ssssssssssss!"  Max turned around and yelped.  On top of the large boulder was a long snake, so long that Max could not see the end of its tail.

"Who are you?" shouted the angry snake.  "Why are you blocking the entrance to my home?"

Max looked at his feet and there he saw a small hole.  That must have been the entrance to his home.  "Oh, I'm very sorry!  I did not see the hole under the boulder!  I'm Max the Marsupial.  I was looking for somewhere not windy and found that very nice boulder to hide behind."

"But why are you here, Max, looking for ssshade?" asked the snake.

Max replied, "Because I'm lost.  The wind picked me up and put me here.  I live by the two big sand dunes.  I tried looking for them, but they're no place in sight!"  Max began to sob.

"Now, there there," comforted the snake, wrapping his long, long body around Max.  "I will help you find your home.  I'm a desert sssnake.  But you can call me Desi."

"Desi?" whimpered Max, "will you really help me find my house?"

"Sssure thing," said Desi.  "Just hold onto my tail and I'll take you home.  A dust devil must have picked you up.  Dust devils leave large ssstreaks on the ground of where they went, and you can follow these trails to find where you came from."

And so Max did just that.  He looked from the snake's head, down his shiny grey scales, around the boulder, and down a crevice, and Max finally found the end of Desi's tail.  He grabbed on and Desi zigzagged down steep slopes, through large vast spaces, and even through narrow holes, some of which Max could barely fit through.  Soon, Desi found a freshly-made dust devil streak.

Max hopped along, holding his paw tight on Desi's tail.  Desi slithered for quite a while and Max was getting tired.  He though he would never get home!  Far off in the distance, though, Max could make out two large hills.  The two travelled a bit more.  Now Max could see puffs of smoke streaming up above the horizon.

"It's my house!" exclaimed Max.  "You brought me back home!"  The pair moved closer and closer towards the puffs of smoke, and soon they saw that the smoke came from the chimney of a red house.  Indeed, Desi had found Max's house!  They could smell a hint of apples in the direction they were going.  As they approached the red house, Max thanked Desi for helping him find his house.

"I must get going now," said Desi.  "Try not to wander too far from you house next time.  Sssee you!"

With that, Desi slithered up a rocky path and went out of sight.  Max was so glad to be back home again that he hopped with all his might to his doorstep.  Max's father was tending the garden.  "Where did you go?" asked Max's father.  "I couldn't see you."

"I was digging for treasures in the crater," replied Max, who thought it was best to keep his little adventure a secret.

"Pie's ready, come and eat," said Max's mother from the kitchen window.  Max's eyes grew bright with joy and he bounced up the steps and went inside, enjoying a freshly baked apple pie.

The End.

  Stephanie Wong
2004 - Imagiverse Educational Consortium

The Max the Marsupial Series, and its entire text, is the sole property of the author, Stephanie Wong.  Permission is granted to print out an appropriate number of copies for non-profit educational use only.  Each copy MUST contain this copyright notice and the text " Stephanie Wong" and " Imagiverse Educational Consortium".  Use, copying or transmission via electronic or other means of the Max the Marsupial Series for any other purpose is strictly prohibited.  Questions regarding permission to use the text should be directed to: Imagiverse - Team


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