by Mary Grace Mauney
Sam and Hazel both turned and started to run in the opposite direction, but before they could make more than a few steps each, the coyote jumped and pinned them down with a paw each. They squirmed and struggled and tried to bite him, but to no avail. The coyote looked from one to the other with his gleaming yellow eyes.
“Which first, which first…” he wondered aloud, savoring the choice, “Hmm…the big one for the main course, the rodent for dessert!”
With that, he opened his jaws wide over Hazel…
“Wait!” yelled the tiny dog, “Eat us up if you must! But, please…take off my Migrubbie bandana so it doesn't get bloody and chewed up!”
“Mig-what?” The coyote paused, curious. He was used to his dinner make last-ditch desperate pleas, but he’d never heard one that asked not for the sparing of a life, but for a…what had the dog said?
“My bandana, from Mister Migs,” explained Hazel, “Turn me over and you'll see.”
The coyote had knocked Hazel over on to her back when he had pinned her, so that she was belly-up, but now he deftly flipped her, in such a way that she could not escape even while he was doing so, to get a look at her back. Once he did, he saw the high-quality handmade denim bandana that was around her neck. Why, it was like nothing he’d ever seen before! He’d seen lots of dogs with collars and with cloth bandanas, but never something as unique and stylish as this!
“I want this!” he exclaimed, just as Hazel knew he would, “Take it off and give it to me, now!”
“Will you let us go if I do?” Hazel asked.
The coyote laughed, “No! I’ll just take it and still have you both for dinner! Why should I choose?” Hmm. Hazel had been hoping to make an exchange, but she could still work with this. She affected a sigh, “Well, fine...I guess you can have it, if that means at least it won't get messed up when you eat me. Sam, help me take it off.” The coyote let Sam up, but he held on to her tail with his jaws so that she couldn’t run away. Trusting that Hazel had a plan, Sam used her clever ratty paws, which are much like human hands sans a pair of thumbs, to untie the double knot of Hazel’s bandana.
“Now put it on him,” Hazel instructed, “Remember to do it properly and slide it over his nose first for a smooth fit on his neck instead of just tying it on from behind; you’re always forgetting that.”
Sam realized what Hazel’s plan was now, and she nodded, promising to do it the right way, out of respect for the item. The coyote presented his snout for her to slide the bandana over and on to his neck, just as instructed, but instead, Sam tied the bandana strings---Migrubbie bandana came with these built in for easy knots!—around his jaws! He tried to open his mouth, but the denim was too strong! He couldn’t bite them now! But Sam could still bite just fine, and she jumped on the paw that was holding Hazel down and began to do so furiously! The coyote tried to howl in pain, but couldn’t even do that, so tightly was the banadana wrapped around his mouth. He brought both his paws to his face and began trying to tear and push the denim prison off, but to no avail. As for Sam and Hazel, they wasted no time jumping to their paws and running out of the woods, down the dirt road, and all the way back to the barn!
As for the coyote, well, he got to keep the bandana, just like he wanted!