Trudge Carnival and Zippy Zippy was getting impatient. Today the carnival had cometo the great forest, and he had been looking forward to goingfor the past week. But it seemed like it had taken forever forhis parents and brothers and sisters to finally get ready. Nowthey were all waiting out by the road for him and his friend,Trudge. But where was Trudge? “Trudge! Trudge, where are you? You’re supposed to beready so we can leave early, so we can get around to all therides. Come on! Let’s go!”
A lily pad moved,and suddenlyTrudge’s head poppedout from under thewater. “Oh, hi, Zippy!Everything’s cool, I’mhere!” “Ahem.” “Uh-oh. I’m sorry,Zippy. I was justhaving so much funtaking my morningswim that I forgotwhat time it was.” “Ah, that’s allright, Trudge. We allforget sometimes. Butcome on! Everyoneis waiting for us. Mymom and dad wantto talk to all of us firstbefore we go.” “Oh, Zippy, you’re such a friend. Hey, on the way to the carnival you can ride on my back.” “Gee, thanks, Trudge!” “Ahh, no sweat, dude.”
You see, Trudge was a turtle and had “Okay, let’s go. I’ll tell the others we’re ready.” Zippy hurried back up the road,a nice hard back that Zippy could climb while Trudge lumbered slowly behind.up and sit on, with a spotted green and Everyone was excited. The plan was that they’d all go there together. Butyellow shell. Zippy, his friend, was a field Trudge and Zippy had permission to see the carnival on their own for a while.mouse. He was a dull gray color, withshort fur, cute little ears, and a long wirytail. He lived near Trudge’s pond, and theyplayed together every day.
When Trudge finallyreached the road, PapaMouse began. “Now listen,children, the forest andcarnival area will be packedwith animals today. The ridesand amusements are all overthe place, so it will be veryeasy to get lost in the crowdsand the confusion and theforest trails. So, in case weget separated, let’s agree tomeet up again at 4 o’clock inthe main clearing by ShadowRock. “Now, I’ve drawn out alittle map of the forest andcarnival grounds for eachof you to have. And Mamahas written your names andaddress on a slip of paper, incase any of you have troubleand need to ask someone forhelp.” Papa Mouse always likedto be sure everyone knewwhat to do if they ever hadany problems when they wereout. “Oh, and one more thing;everyone has agreed to beon their best behavior today,and be kind and considerateduring the carnival.”
“But I still want you tobe watchful. RememberGrandpa Mouse’swarning, ‘Cats are cats,even at carnivals.’” “Ooohhh!” “Oh, Papa, don’tfrighten the childrenwith too much talk aboutcats.“ “Oh, all right, MamaMouse. Okay, everyone,let’s go and have fun!” “Yay!” “Trudge and Zippy,stick together and becareful. I guess you’llprobably be behind us,but try to keep up if youcan, and remember tobe at Shadow Rock at 4o’clock.” “Hop on, Zippy, I’llgive you a ride!” Once Zippy wasseated, Trudge set off atwhat seemed like a jogto him, but his top speedwas still not fast enoughfor a mouse like Zippy.
“Oh, Trudge, can’t you walkany faster? I can hardly wait toget there.” “Oh, I know I’m a little slowcompared to you, Zippy. But atleast I’m steady and careful!Well, we’ll get there sooner orlater, don’t you worry.” “Well, let’s hope it’ssooner rather than later. Myfamily is out of sight already.” Zippy liked Trudge a lot,but one thing you need plentyof when your best friend isa turtle is patience, lots andlots of patience. As Zippylaid back and watched thefluffy white clouds float by, hesoon became drowsy and fellasleep, dreaming of a deliciousgiant cheesecake.
“Whoopee!” “Oh, this is so Zippy awoke to the sounds of shouting, cheers, exciting, isn’t it,and music. They had arrived at the carnival. Trudge? I can hardly “Well, we’re here, Zippy!” wait to see everything there is to do, and taste all of those delicious snacks!” “Popcorn, popcorn! Get your popcorn!” “Wow, this place is huge! It will take us ages to get around!” “Well, then, let’s get started! C’mon, Trudge, follow me!” “Zippy, wait. Slow down! You’re going too fast. I can’t keep up.” “Okay, Trudge. See that huge wheel over there? Let’s go on that!” “Sure, looks like fun to me.” And off they went, following the happy music coming from the big Ferris wheel.
The Ferris wheel took them way uphigh, high, high into the sky. They wereeven up above the trees. They couldsee far into the distance. And when theylooked down, everyone looked so tiny. “Wow! Look down there! That must bewhat we look like to the birds when theyare flying in the sky, Zippy.” “Yes! And look over there in theclearing, and the big rock in the center isShadow Rock where we need to meet thefamily at 4 o’clock.” The two friends did so many thingsthat day. They went on the merry-go-round. “Ain’t this fun?” They rode in bumper boats, and twirledin giant teacups. They even watched TomCat the Magician’s Magic Show. “Zippy, remember what your fathersaid about cats? We better keep a safedistance away.” “You’re right, Trudge. We can justwatch from the back.” “Look, Zippy, over there, some otters.Yes, they’re otters dressed like clowns.” “Otters! They’re so funny!”
“All aboard.” “Freakiest ride ever. It will scare youstraight out of your shell! Turtles only.” Rides “Popcorn, popcorn! Get somepopcorn!” “Natural juices.” “Caramel for sale. Caramel, comeand get your caramel.” “Boy, I’m hungry. Let’s go over to thatfood bar and get something to eat.” “Food! Yeah, let’s go. I’m hungry too.” “What would you two boys like toeat?” “Hmm, I’ll have that yummy-lookingcheesecake and some popcorn, please.” “What about you, Trudge?” “Let’s see. Oh yeah, I’ll try some ofyour bug-in-a-bun special.” “Coming right up. Anything else?” “Well, on the side, I’ll have an orderof fried algae, please.” “Here you are, boys.” “Thanks a lot!” “Mmm, this cheesecake is delicious!” “Try this bug-in-a-bun special; it’sreally good.”
What a wonderful time the twofriends had. The day came andwent all too quickly. The sun hadmoved well down in the sky, andit was time to head for ShadowRock. They were about to set off Tangledfor the big clearing when theynoticed one more amusementthey had not seen yet. Trails “Hey, Trudge. Look at that sign over there by the forest. It says, ‘Tangled Trails.’ We haven’t been there yet.” “Well, uh, it looks a little dark and spooky to me. Besides, I think we need to start making our way back to the clearing. You know it takes me a little longer to get to places than you.” “If my guess is right, the clearing is directly on the other side of this overgrown forest. Tangled Trails would be the shortcut to where we want to go.”
“Well, I don’t know. What if it isn’tand we get lost? Let’s look at the mapyour father gave you.” “Well, okay. Hmm, I’m sure it’shere somewhere. Umm. It’s gone! Imust have dropped it on one of thoserides or something. Oh well, who needsa map. I’m a mouse, remember? Ican find my way around in the dark.Where’s your sense of adventureanyway, Trudge?” “Sense of adventure. Well, I think Imust have lost it on one of the rides aswell.” It took some serious coaching, butfinally Trudge agreed to try out TangledTrails. “Well, all right, I guess if you sayso.” Deep into the thicket the trailsbecame much more confusing thanZippy had imagined they would be. “Uh, Zippy? Where are we? Uh, I’mnot sure where we’re going.” “Uh, I think it’s this way.” “Oh.” “Or maybe over there. Uh, I thinkit’s this way. Or maybe over there!”
They were all turnedaround. Which path or pathswould take them back to theopening in the forest? Thetrees and bushes grew sothickly all around them andup above that they couldhardly get a peek at the sky orsee for any distance. “Oh no! How do we getout of here, Zippy?” “Uh, I know, I know, let’sgo this way. Quick, quick,back, left, no, right Let’s gostraight, quick, quick, it’s thisway…” Zippy would zip first inthis direction and then thatway and then another way,peeking here, peeking there,trying to see if there wasanything familiar that wouldhelp him find the way. PoorTrudge would turn and wouldwalk and walk and walk upone trail and then downanother until he was so tired.Still, they could not find theirway out. “Oh, Zippy, it’s nouse. We’re lost! I know weshouldn’t have come thisway.”
“It was sort of fun at first, but now it’s scary,and it’s getting late, and I want to go home.” “Me too, Trudge. Me too.” “What are we going to do?” “I-I don’t know, Trudge. I’m sorry I didn’t listento you. You were right. It was wrong for us to go intoTangled Trails when it was so late. N-n-n-n-now thereisn’t even anyone else around to ask for help!” “Wait, Zippy. There is someone we can ask forhelp.” “Wh-who-who?” “Well, my mommy used to tell me if I get intotrouble or have a problem and need help that Ishould tell Jesus about it.” “Good idea. He for sure knows the way out ofhere. Let’s pray and ask Him to help us.” “Okay, let’s pray.” “Dear Jesus, we’re lost, and we need somehelp. Please help us to find our way back to themeeting place.” They stayed silent with their heads bowed forseveral moments.
Suddenly Zippy lookedup, all happy and smiling. “Do you hear that?” “Hear what, Zippy?” “Music. I hear music fromthe Ferris wheel, coming fromthat direction. And the Ferriswheel is not far from ShadowRock!” “Yeah, that’s right.” “So if we just head forthe music, we can find wherethe Ferris wheel is. Then itwill be easy to find the bigclearing.” “That’s a great idea. Let’sgo, Zippy!” Stopping every nowand then to listen and try anew path going in the rightdirection … “This way!” … the two friends at lastcame out on a well-beatenforest path. “Look, up above thosetrees. It’s the top of the Ferriswheel!” “Yes, I see it too!”
Zippy and Trudge were so relieved. “Let’s go!” Zippy took off running toward the Ferriswheel in excitement, and even Trudgemanaged an amazing speed for a turtle. Atlast they reached the base of the wheel. “Look, Trudge, there’s the way to theclearing. It’s right over there! Jesus helpedus to find our way.” In a few more moments, they werehappily reunited with the rest of the mousefamily. “We were starting to get so worriedabout you! Weren’t we, Papa?” “My goodness, yes. I was about to callthe woodpecker patrol for help.” “Thank God you’ve made it heresafely.” “Okay, is everyone ready to headhome?” “Yes, we sure are!”