On the third night the turtle stayed up all night until dawn, but the coyote never appeared. He fell asleep at dawn and the dog woke him up with excited barking in the afternoon.
“It’s almost new toy day!” The dog jumped up to peer over the edge of his tank excitedly.
“New toy day?”
“Two more days, then the master gives me a new toy!”
“Because I’m such a good boy.” The dog said, factually. He disappeared and the turtle climbed up to the edge of his tank, and down the ramp to the floor. The man had made the floor warm already, so the turtle enjoyed his walk to the couch. The tree was covered in shiny objects and blinking lights. Underneath were a few boxes, but they were too tall for the turtle to climb on, and he didn’t want to explore the tree anyway.
He climbed up onto the couch and over to the window, peering at the hill in the distance. The coyote was sitting there, staring at the house. He disappeared on the other side of the hill with a sharp bark, and the turtle climbed back down onto the sofa.
“Hey little fella, want something to chew on?” The man sat down next to him and offered him a piece of carrot. The turtle took it from his fingers and managed to bite a chunk out of it. “Still have to figure out what to get you. I’ll go into town tomorrow and pick something up.” The man patted the turtle’s shell and laughed as the turtle took another chunk out of the carrot piece.
When the coyote didn’t appear that night the turtle began to wonder if he had truly imagined it. The next day the man went away and the turtle stayed on the couch for the day, relaxing. He didn’t once look out the window or worry about the coyote.
He managed to crawl back into his tank on his own that night and settled down to rest. A noise woke him and he opened his eyes to find the coyote staring at him.
“Aha, turtle friend, so you are awake.”
“I knew you were coming in here, what are you up to?” The turtle would have growled if he were capable of such a thing. Instead he stretched out to look bigger.
“Hehehe, so suspicious.” The coyote tapped him on the shell and the turtle tried to snap at him, “No worries, friend turtle, tonight’s the night for something marvelous.” the coyote dropped down to the floor and disappeared into the other room. The turtle crawled out of his tank and made his way to the other room, in time to see the coyote tearing at a package by the fireplace.
“Why are you wrecking that package?” The turtle asked, looking around for the dog.
“I’m not wrecking it, I’m unwrapping it. This one is mine.” The coyote pushed a smaller package over to the turtle, “And this is yours.”
“What is it?” The turtle studied the package suspiciously. It was round and wrapped in plain paper.
“Well you have to open it to find out. The dog never gets up this early to open his, but they’re best before the sun comes up and the magic disappears.”
The coyote finally managed to open his package and poked his head inside. When he came back out he had a floppy red hat in his mouth. He struggled to get it on his head, giggling maniacally as it slid over his ears.
“What is that?” The turtle watched the giggling coyote, bewildered.
“A year ago today, my friend, I met a jolly older man.” The coyote began singing, “He had this hat upon his head, oh such a lovely shade of red. The white ball bouncing to and fro, everywhere the man did go. I told that man, that very night, that I would wish with all my might. The wish I made was simply that I’d get my own red magic hat.” The coyote let out a loud barking laugh and danced towards the door with his hat, leaping up to push the dog’s button.
The turtle forget about his package for the moment and hurried up onto the sofa to look out the window. By the time he could see out into the night the coyote was merely a bouncing shadow in the distance.
“What’s all this racket?” the dog came out of the man’s room finally, plodding up to the turtle.
“The coyote was here. I told you he could get in.”
“Then what was he doing here?”
“He got a magic hat.” The turtle said, still staring out the window.
“Go back to bed turtle, you must have imagined it. Coyotes can’t wear hats.” The dog padded back to the man’s room. The turtle looked away from the window at the opened package, and his little package on the floor. He couldn’t shake the feeling something amazing had happened, although he wasn’t sure what that was. He made his way down to the floor again and tore open his package slowly, revealing a little ball with a tiny turtle in it. He poked at the ball with his leg and managed to push it back towards his tank.
“Something marvelous, he says.” The turtle managed to lift the ball into his tank after a couple tries. He couldn’t help smiling as the tiny turtle whirled and spun, bobbing on top of the water.