The Night The Animals Talk

This is a story that I wrote. It’s meant to be a picture book but it hasn’t found a home with a publisher, so I am sharing it here.

Clark Farm by moonlight

photograph by Steve Golson

The Night the Animals Talk
by Terry Golson

Hannah Rose looks out of the kitchen window into the dark night.

What are the animals doing now Papa? asks Hannah Rose.

They are going to sleep, says Papa. Like you.

But that’s not what Grandma told me, says Hannah Rose. She said that tonight is special. 

Yes, yes, says Papa impatiently. It’s Christmas Eve. All the more reason for you to get to bed!

But, Papa, Grandma said that the animals will talk tonight, insists Hannah Rose.

Hmph! Old folk tales, says Papa. Off to bed with you!

Hannah Rose tries to sleep, but the stars shine brightly through her window. They light a sparkly path to the barn. She wraps her quilt around her and puts her feet into her slippers. She tiptoes to the barn, slides the heavy door open a crack and steps inside.

Hannah Rose is here! says Buffy, the brown hen.

You do talk! says Hannah Rose.

Hah, she never stops! says Daisy, the goat.

Well, I’m awake and hungry, says Ginger, the spotted hen, as she hops down off of the roost. Would you be so kind as to give me some corn?

Some for me, too, says Buffy.

A tiny voice squeaks, Drop a little extra for me, please. The mouse’s quivering nose pokes out from its hiding place. Over here, the mouse says, away from the cat.

Oh, says TomTom, I won’t chase you tonight, not on Christmas Eve. He rubs against Hannah Rose’s legs. A scratch behind my ears would be nice, he says in a gravely voice.

I would like some hay, says Daisy.

Brownie, the old mare, shakes her head. Staying up late has made me hungry. A handful of oats in my bucket will do.

Hannah gets corn for the chickens, hay for the goat, scratches the cat, feeds the horse and tosses a few grains for the mouse.

Thank you, say the hens.

Thank you, says the mouse.

Delicious, says the goat, talking with her mouth full.

Ah, that feels good, says TomTom.

Thank you, says Brownie. I do like a midnight snack. The horse sighs and lies down in the deep straw of her stall.

Hannah Rose yawns and shivers in the cold.

Come and warm up next to me, says Brownie.

Hannah Rose curls up on the horse’s round belly, pulling her quilt over her. She soon falls fast asleep. 

The sun is just rising in the sky when the barn door rattles opens and startles Hannah Rose awake.

Hannah Rose! says Papa, So here you are! It’s Christmas morning. There are presents under the tree to open!

I heard the animals talk! says Hannah, rubbing her eyes.

Really, and what did they say? asks Papa.

They wanted corn and oats and hay. TomTom wanted a scratch and even the mouse asked for food, says Hannah Rose.

Hmmph, says Papa. That’s what they always say. I don’t need to stay up in the dark and cold to hear that.

But they also said thank-you! says Hannah Rose.

Of course they did, says Papa. They always do. Each animal says thank you in its own way. TomTom purrs when he’s happy. And haven’t you heard Brownie do that low nicker when she gets her grain? Why, all of the animals thank us.

Now let’s get you back to the house, says Papa. He picks up Hannah Rose and swings her onto his shoulders.

As she leaves the barn she hears TomTom purring, Brownie nicker and the chickens cluck. Daisy bleats meh-meh. Hannah Rose waves good-bye, and as Papa heads for home, she hears the tiny squeak of a tiny mouse.

You’re welcome, whispers Hannah Rose.


  1. Excellent story! :) I hear my animals talk too. Merry Christmas!

  2. I love that. Very sweet. I will read it to my boy tonight. :) Thanks for sharing.

  3. Perfectly magical for this Christmas Eve. Thanks for sharing, Terry & Steve. Blessings for a joy-filled, healthy, and fruitful New Year!
    Judy in Southern California
    (where the weather reporter said that it was going to be a “tank-top and fllp-flop-kind of Christmas tomorrow”)

  4. When I was a little girl, my Mom would tell me that the animals would talk on Christmas Eve after everyone went to bed. She said it with so much conviction, that I believed her. I still do. :-)

  5. Thanks for the lovely story. What a nice way to end Christmas eve.
    I’ll miss your blogs – but enjoy your family time. See you next year.

  6. My favorite post at hencam. You truly are gifted. We had a wonderful holiday and I agree with everyone else, this just tops it off. Happy Holidays to you and your family Terry. Thanks for a great year of information and entertainment. Still believe Hencam best blog on the net. God Bless all of you at Little Pond.

  7. Great story! My animals didn’t verbally talk to me, but I confess, I sure talked to them! I gave them all extra treats for Christmas, too!

  8. I remember my grandma reading me a similar book as a child, The girl wandered out with her doll or something and got lost and at midnight the animals started talking and helped her get home. Then when everyone didn’t believe her she realized she lost her doll and then it was on her doorstep or somethiing like that. I don’t know if the stoory went exactly like that though, it was a long time ago.

    This is a great story! I love ALL your writings.

  9. Very sweet. Don’t give up. This will be published and kids (and parents) will love it.

  10. Love this story. I can only imagine how beautiful the illustrations will be in this book. I love your blog and visit several times a day. Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous New Year..