Tiny Ginger kitten lived in the barn with her Mommy and her brothers and sisters in a box filled with straw. Ginger and her Mommy, and her brothers and sisters were barn cats. She was the tiniest baby in the family. Mommy called her Ginger because her fur was yellow with brown highlights.
Ginger was very hungry. She always seemed to be hungry. Her bigger brothers and sisters pushed ahead whenever Mommy said it was time to eat. So Ginger never got enough. Ginger was always very cold, too. She always got pushed to the edge of the pile when her brothers and sisters curled up together to keep warm.
Today, she was too cold and hungry to try to sleep at the edge of the group, and she couldn’t push her way into the center. So Ginger decided that she would go see if there was milk somewhere else. She peered around the door of the box. Everything she saw was bigger than she was.
She saw Tony the horse, and Sally the cow. They were so big! She was smaller than Tony’s foot. She was smaller than Sally’s foot. She saw piles of hay, a bucket, and a pitchfork. She didn’t see anything she could eat. She shivered because she was a little afraid of all those big things. But then she remembered how hungry she was.
Ginger slowly stepped out of the box.
Ginger was ready to run back into the box at the slightest noise. She was only two months old, and everything scared her. But she had to find more to eat. So Ginger slowly crept away from the box. As she got farther and farther away, she began to notice that it was very cold – even colder than in her box. She started to shiver again. She looked back at the box. It seemed very far away. What if she got lost? Maybe she should go back. But she knew there was nothing to eat there. And Ginger was very hungry.
Ginger went over to Tony the horse. “Meow,” she said. “Tony, I’m so hungry. Meow. What can I do?”
Tony lowered his head and looked at Ginger out of one eye. “Neigh-gh-gh,” he said. “You can have some of my hay,” and he pushed some toward Ginger with his nose.
Ginger bit into a dried, brown grass stem. But it was hard and dry, and it had no taste. And the sharp hard piece she bit off hurt her mouth when she tried to chew it. Ginger knew she could never swallow it. “Meow,” she said. “Thank you, Tony, but I can’t eat this.”
Ginger left Tony and went over to Sally the cow. “Meow,” she said. “Sally, I’m so hungry. Meow. What can I do?”
Sally lowered her head and looked at Ginger out of one eye. “Moo-o-o,” she said. “You can have some of my feed,” and she pushed some out of her feed box and down to Ginger with her nose.
Ginger picked up some of the dry flaky feed with her tongue, and tried to chew it. But it was dry and it had no taste either. And it made her mouth feel as if it was full of dust. Ginger knew she could never swallow it, and so she tried to spit it out. But it stuck to her tongue, and she had to clean it off with her front paws. Finally, the stuff was gone from her mouth. “Meow,” she said. “Thank you, Sally, but I can’t eat this.”
Sadly, she turned away. Maybe there would be food somewhere else. She looked around, wondering if she should just go back to the box she called home. But, as she looked around the barn, Ginger saw light coming through a space in the wall. She went over to the space and looked out. A cold wind blew through the hole, and it made Ginger shiver even harder. But it smelled very different from the barn. Maybe the new smell was food.
The space was very small, hardly big enough for her head to go through, but it did, and Ginger’s whole body followed. Cats are like that, you know. A cat’s whole body can go through anything its head can.
There was a very narrow ledge outside the wall, and as Ginger forced herself through the space, she slipped off the ledge and fell.
The fall was very short, and before she could even be afraid, Ginger landed all sprawled out in something soft, and fluffy, and white – and very, very cold. It covered all of her, even her head.
Ginger scrambled to her feet and stretched her head up as far as she could. She shook her head and sneezed. The white stuff flew everywhere, and Ginger could see. But everywhere she looked, Ginger saw only white. And it was falling through the air!
The white stuff fell in big soft flakes that tickled her nose and then melted. She licked her nose and looked around again. There! Right behind her was the barn wall! Everywhere else there was only white stuff – in the air and on the ground. And it was cold! So very cold!