Bedtime Stories for Children: Birthday Flowers by Jo Antareau

“Quick! Mum’s coming home! Hide the mess!”

But which mess first? There were two to take care of.

The kitchen looked like an explosion in a paint factory. And it had only taken Dad and Tyler and me twenty minutes to make. Who would have thought cooking Mum’s surprise birthday dinner would get it so dirty? But Dad was taking care of it. With a mop in one hand, a cloth in the other, he was cleaning so fast his arms were blurry.

Which left the other mess in the hall. The hall looked like an explosion in a florist. Thanks to the Destroyer. I never thought one rabbit could make such a disaster, but the Destroyer loved flowers. Loved to tear them to bits and gobble them down. When we first got him, he dug in our garden as if looking for treasure. So ever since we kept him indoors or in his hutch.

Except today we’d had a bunch of flowers waiting for Mum. I had bought them with my pocket money. And when we’d been busy in the kitchen, the Destroyer had found them.

The poor flowers. Now they were like confetti all over the hallway.

But Tyler was taking care of that with a broom and a dustpan.

“Oh no! The back door’s open. Did the Destroyer get out?”

I rushed out, and froze when I saw the mess. An enormously big one.

The Destroyer was digging into the flower bed as if tunnelling to China. I grabbed him and locked him in his hutch.

He’d left a huge crater where Mum’s roses had been. I tried to stand a plant back into the hole, but it was no use. Mum would be heartbroken.

Something metallic glinted deep in the hole, and I dug it out. It was a rusty biscuit tin. Before I could open it, the front door banged. Mum was home. I stomped back inside, and tried to pretend everything was ok.

“Happy birthday!”

“Thank you, darling. What’s that?”

I was still holding the old tin. I hoped she didn’t think it was her present, but she looked delighted, and took it.

“The time-capsule! You found it!”

“What time-capsule?”

“We buried it after my birthday ten years ago. But I forgot where.”

“Um – under the roses,” I said, hoping she wouldn’t ask how I found it.

With a huge smile, she prised it open. We laughed at the old photos, and she passed me a card.

“Look, I saved my birthday flowers that year. I pressed them.” It had a real gerbera and some daisies stuck to it.

“They’re pretty.”

“Thank you for finding them, Kate. What a lovely birthday surprise.”

She picked up a mangled flower from the floor and smoothed it. “We might press this one, too. The Destroyer, huh?”

I nodded. She seemed to be in a good mood.

“Um, Mum, can you press a whole rose bush….?”


©Jo Antareau 2011, photo courtesy GirlyTwitter


Bedtime Stories downloadable tales for children are an AWO initiative, run in support of the National Year of Reading 2012. We encourage you to print and read these stories with your kids, and revel in the joy a wonderful story can bring. All stories are original and have been penned by established and emerging Australian authors. Every month, we will publish four stories running to a central theme, each on a Monday morning. See here for more.



  1. Phoenix says

    Delightful! I do believe we’ve all had a Destroyer or two in our lives, eh? No kids here, but the pups went straight to sleep after hearing this, no doubt dreaming up new mischief for tomorrow.