Danny Says So


Danny’s favorite birthday present was his red fire fighter’s hat. It had a light and siren on the front. The light flashed, and the siren rang loud and long. It was the perfect hat for any emergency.

One day Danny went next door to play with his friend Joe. Danny wore his new hat.

“Come on, Joe,” Danny said when Joe answered the door. “There’s a fire in the supermarket, and we have to rescue the people in there!” Danny turned the switch on his hat. The light flashed bright red. “Whirreee … ,” shrieked the siren.

“Here I come, Danny!” yelled Joe as he jumped down the steps two at a time.

They ran to the big tree in Joe’s front yard. Danny reached up and shouted, “Here’s the first victim!”

“Let me help,” said Joe.

After the boys rescued everyone in the supermarket, they sat down to rest.

“That was some fire!” said Danny.

“A real hot one,” said Joe. “Now it’s my turn to wear the hat.”

“No,” said Danny. “I’ll wear it. You pretend.”

“That’s not fair. You have to take turns.”

“It’s my hat, and I say no,” said Danny.

“Then play by yourself,” said Joe. And he turned to go home.

On his way home Danny rang his siren and flashed his light. He put out two fires and saved everyone just in time. But he wanted someone to play with. I’ll get Matt, he thought.

Danny found his little brother upstairs in his room. “Hey, Matt,” Danny said, “come and play fire squad with me. The barn at Green Valley is on fire. We have to get the horses out fast! Hurry!”

“I’m coming, Danny. I’m coming!”

Danny turned the switch on his hat. Matt followed him out the door. They fought the fire and smoke in the hall and down the stairs.

“Over here, Matt. Bring the hose!”

“I have it, Danny!” said Matt.

“Good work, Matt. I’ll go into the barn and lead the horses out.”

Danny ducked behind the sofa. “Here they are—all safe!” he cried as he crawled back out.

“My turn,” said Matt, pulling at the shiny red hat on Danny’s head.

“It’s not for little kids,” said Danny. “It’s my hat, and I say no.” He jerked the hat away from Matt, who ran back upstairs, crying.

Danny put out a fire in the kitchen and one in the backyard. But he wanted someone to play with again.

He went down the street to Sara and Susie’s house. Two friends are even better, he thought. He found them outside, playing ball.

“Want to play with me and my fire fighter’s hat?” asked Danny.

“Sure,” said Sara. “What’s the game?”

“There’s an oil spill on the lake. It’s dangerous. We have to put out the fire and save the crew on the tanker. You two go around this way. I’ll go over there.”

“Let’s hurry!” said Susie.

Danny switched on his hat. Flash! “Whirreee …” it wailed.

“Be careful!” called Sara.

They raced to where the oil spill burned and hosed it down. Sara spotted a sailor in the water. She signaled to Danny.

“Got him!” yelled Danny as he made the rescue.

“OK, now we want a turn wearing the hat,” said Sara, reaching for it.

“That will take too long,” said Danny. “I’ll keep the hat. You can be my crew.”

“That’s not right,” said Susie.

“We want turns, too,” said Sara.

“It’s my hat, and I say no,” said Danny.

“Then you can have all the turns you want without us,” said Susie. They left Danny alone on the sidewalk.

Danny went back home. He flashed his light and sounded his siren along the way. But it wasn’t much fun anymore.

His mom was on the porch when he got home. “Did your friends like your hat?” she asked.

“Yes,” said Danny. “But they all wanted a turn wearing it.”

“Of course they did. Sharing’s the very best part,” she said.

“Well, it’s my hat, and I said no.”

“You’ll have plenty of turns that way,” said Danny’s mom. “But you may have to play by yourself.”

Danny sat on the porch. He heard his friends playing and went to take a look. He could see Sara, Susie, and Joe down the block, playing keep away. Danny ran down the street to join them. “Can I play?” he asked. “I’ll be in the middle with Susie.”

They stopped their game and looked at Danny. They all saw the new red fire fighter’s hat on his head.

“It’s my ball,” said Sara. “And I say no.” She threw the ball over Susie, who leaped to try to reach it. Joe caught it and threw it back quickly, before Susie could tag him.

Danny turned to go home again. He didn’t put out any fires or rescue anybody along the way. When he got there, Matt was in the backyard by the sandbox, crying. “What’s the matter, Matt?” asked Danny.

“I saw a snake,” cried Matt. “I’m scared of snakes.”

“Hey, Matt. Don’t be scared. It’s probably just a garter snake. It won’t hurt you.”

“What if it comes back?” asked Matt.

Danny reached up to his head and took off his new hat. “Wear my hat, Matt,” he said. “If the snake comes back, turn on the siren. When I hear it, I’ll come chase the snake away.”

“You mean it, Danny? Can I really wear it?” asked Matt, managing a small smile.

“Really,” said Danny. “It’s my hat, and I say so.”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Robyn S. Officer