Title: "The Sleepless Night" Rating: G Synopsis: Little Joe has trouble sleeping so he wakes his oldest brother to see what he should do.

Little Joe rolled over and looked over at his big brother. "Adam,"he said in a loud whisper. "Adam, you awake?" Joe got no response, so he tried again, a little louder. "Adam, you awake." Adam groaned. "I can't sleep, Adam."

"It's no wonder anyone can sleep with all your racket,"Adam replied wearily.

"I wasn't making racket before I woke up."

"Go back to sleep, Joe."

"That's just it. I can't."

Adam rolled over and looked across the room. "Why not?"

"Don't know. Just having trouble, that's all."

"Have you tried counting sheep, like Pa tells you?"

"Yeah, but that's the problem."

"What's the problem?"

"The counting sheep all ran away."

Adam tried to hide a chuckle but didn't succeed. "What do you mean they all ran away?"

"A wolf was chasing them. That's howcome they were jumping over the fence."

"Let me guess, the wolf caught up with them and ate them?"

"No. The wolf fell in the puddle on the other side of the fence and the sheep got away."

Adam laughed out loud this time. He couldn't help himself. His brother had such a wild imagination. "Try counting something else."

"Like what?"

"Pigs,"Hoss said wearily from the top bunk. "Something so you'll go back to sleep."

"Pigs don't jump, Hoss."

"Neither do sheep, if you think about it."

"Yes they do."

"Little Joe, I don't want to argue with you. Just go to sleep before you wake up Pa."

"It's a little too late for that,"Ben said. He stood in the doorway of the bedroom. "What seems to be the trouble Little Joe?"

"Can't sleep Pa, and Hoss wants me to count pigs."

"Pa, I was just trying to give him something else to do instead of keep me and Adam up."

"Joseph, I don't mind you laying in your bed quietly, but your brothers want to get some sleep."

"Yes, Pa."

"I'm going back to bed. See you all in a few hours."

"Night, Pa." the boys chorused.

After Ben had shut the door Little Joe lay down again. "Adam, you asleep?"

"Uh huh,"Adam mumbled.

"If you're asleep, then how can you be talking to me?

"I'm sleep talking."

"Oh. Is that anything like sleep walking. Pa says Hoss used to do that when he was little."

"No."

"What's the difference?"

"I can't get out of my bed when I'm sleep talking."

"Oh. What else can you say when you're sleep talking?"

There was a short silence. "How about, if you don't go back to sleep I'll go tell Pa?" Everything went silent once more. After about a minute Adam spoke again. "Joe?"

"You told me to go back to sleep."

"I was just making sure you heard me."

"You sleep talking again, Adam?"

"No, he ain't,"Hoss said."Now, go to sleep Little Joe."

"Hey Adam, Hoss sleep talks too."

"Neither one of us is asleep because of all your talking. Now, be quiet."

"What's gotten into him?"

"He's tired like me. You should be too."

"I'm tired, but I just can't sleep."

"Don't think about sleeping. In fact, think about not sleeping."

"How's that gonna help me go back to sleep?"

"If you don't think about it, you'll fall asleep faster."

"Are you thinking about going to sleep, Adam?"

"Yes."

"Then how are you gonna fall asleep, if you're thinking about it."

"Little Joe,"Hoss moaned.

"Okay, I'll think about not sleeping."

All fell silent for a while. Adam rolled over and noticed that his plan had worked, but now, he was awake. "Joe?" he whispered. "You awake?"

---THE END---