Linda peered from the window of her cottage. She hoped the milkman would come soon. He had promised to bring her a present. She could not wait to find out what it was.
“Oh, these horrid roaches!” her mother exclaimed.
Linda looked up to see her mother sweep another roach out the door.
“I can hardly stand them,” her mother continued. “I hate the sight of the beetles, and I like crunching them underfoot even less.”
Linda nodded sympathetically. Then she lifted the yellow-flowered curtains to the side and peeked out of the window again.
“He’s here!” Linda shouted. She watched the young milkman slowly make his way up the path, pushing his cart.
The milkman’s name was Howard. He was a very nice young man, and he always walked with a limp. He was usually very quiet, but all the children liked him.
Linda stood behind her mother as she greeted Howard at the door. He handed them two jars of milk. Then he knelt down and reached in his baggy coat pockets.
Linda held her breath. She could not imagine what Howard had brought her.
Slowly, Howard pulled his hand out of his pocket and showed Linda what he had brought.
It was something small and alive. It peered up at Linda with two bright beady eyes. It was so cute! Linda loved it already.
“It’s a hedgehog, Miss Linda,” Howard said. “It will help your mother with the roaches.”
“It will?” Linda asked, breathless. She wanted to hold the little creature.
“It will,” Howard confirmed. “A hedgehog loves to eat roaches. It’s a special treat for them.”
Howard gently handed the little hedgehog to Linda. “Be careful,” he warned. “He’s soft now, but they can be mighty prickly if they are frightened.”
Linda cupped the baby hedgehog in her hands and looked into its bright beady eyes. “Don’t worry,” she promised the creature. “I will take care of you.”
Linda thought it was the best present ever.