Thursday, March 18, 2010

As the foxes tell it... (part 3)

So the little squirrel sat alone by the bank of the river and thought about what the fox had said (…listen to the birds …a reason to live) and instantly he became aware. It took only a few moments for him to hear the chirping off in the distance and so, having nothing better to do, he began to walk. At the edge of the woods he found the source, a lone sparrow standing on the rail of deck calling out to the sky. For a bit he simply watched and pondered what the bird was doing, why it spoke out to only air… but then he understood. Other birds began to arrive, first a few and then many more, types of birds he had never before seen were joining the group but he still he not why. Closer he crept to the building, slowly he climbed the post and peered out on the deck. Upon the deck were seeds, so many kind of seeds all together in piles and the birds were dancing and prancing and eating their fill.

Hungry as he was the opportunity could simply not be passed up and so he approached and began to eat as well. The birds, both small and large, payed little attention to him for there was far more than enough for all. Late in the afternoon, after he was full and could eat no more, the little squirrel went home. He was of course teased by the others, offered scraps to dance for their amusement, but unlike every day of life before - today he was not hungry, he felt no need to beg, he felt himself to be whole. For the next few days he continued to follow the birds and avoided the other squirrels. With such high quality food he began to become healthier, to get stronger, to be more confident in the way he carried himself and his coat began to shine more brightly than any other squirrel. Before long the other squirrels began to follow him and Albert (the first squirrel to follow) gained a position of authority within the group.

For a while all things seemed wonderful, especially for Sam and Albert. The birds and the squirrels both had plenty of food and life just seemed a little bit better than it used to be in the past. Eventually though (as in all stories) problems began to develop. The squirrels ate far more than the birds and being perhaps a wee bit lazier tended to hang around the piles of seeds making it very hard for all of the birds to get a full meal. As more and more squirrels followed Albert and more and more birds followed Sam the problems got worse for the birds. Something had to be done - if they called then the squirrels would come but if they stayed quiet then only a few birds would find a meal. Standing on the rail and caught in uncertainty of whether or not to call out, Sam saw the owl watching him out of the corner of his eye.

Flying across to the owl he explained his dilemma. "I am glad when you call" said the owl who then explained that he benefitted as well since when the squirrels came to eat there was always at least one that could become his lunch. Before the squirrels the owl would hunt rabbits in the fields at night. He knew the fox would usually hunt field rabbits in the day and that when the squirrels came to the seed the fox would sometimes wait by the edge of the wood to pick one off. He suspected that the fox had devised this plan of calling to make it's life easier. Realizing that if the birds stopped calling, the owl himself would have to work harder to eat he decided that is would be fun to upset the fox for amusement.

After a moment the owl spoke "The answer is to have a call that the squirrels can not hear. If you choose a place down by the river where the mud is thin you can write the location of the seeds each day. The other birds will then know where to go and the squirrels will hear nothing. Silent messages are the answer you seek."

Sam flew back and explained the plan to the other birds. The plan worked perfectly, and after a few days one did not see the squirrels sitting on branches with their ears to the sky. Occasionally a squirrel may come across the house with seed, but only a few squirrels posed no problem at all for the birds. For the squirrels though, life was becoming harder again for not all were fed equally well and even Albert was going to bed hungry most nights.

Copyright 2010 Chris Thoburn (Tanukifu) - All rights reserved. Do not republish without consent.