Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Tale Of Two Squirrels

Everybody in the animal kingdom knew of Earl the Squirrel. He lived in a majestic forest in which the tall dark green trees seemed to reach into the clear blue skies. As everyone knew, Earl lived at the top of the tallest of those trees, and his home was chock full of nuts.

When it came to lady squirrels, they often lined up outside of his tree, as did many other squirrels that wanted to befriend Earl, for his popularity was unmatched and all the critters envied him.

In a neighboring forest not nearly so majestic lived Willy the Squirrel. His tree was simple and small and Willy had to work hard to collect nuts, always having just enough to meet his needs and a little extra to donate to less fortunate squirrels. He had but one lady squirrel and just a few loyal friends.

Then one day a forest fire hit, ravaging everything in its path. It did not spare the majestic forest nor the more modest one. In the hard times that followed the fire, Earl was lost. His home and all of the nuts it contained were destroyed, and now that he no longer had much to offer, the lady squirrels and all the other squirrels that formerly wanted to befriend him were gone as well.

Willy too lost his home and the few nuts it contained, but he had not lost his lady squirrel nor his few loyal friends. Together, they began to rebuild in another forest in an adjoining valley, and through hard work, successfully scrounged for enough nuts to sustain them.

But word of Earl's troubles spread and when Willy learned of them, he reached out to this once rich and famous squirrel. "We don't have much in material goods," he told Earl, who was now very much alone. "But we have each other and we have a strong work ethic as well as compassion for others.

"We will never be rich and famous," Willy continued, "But we are wealthy in what really matters in life, love and friendship. We have no need to impress anyone, as we live modestly and happily."

Earl thought about the life that he had led, and saw the celebration of love and life that Willy led and  said, "Sometimes  it takes a catastrophe to open one's eyes to what really matters in life and to also understand how poor one can be even with the fanciest tree and the biggest pile of nuts.

"Count me among your small group of loyal friends, and as you teach me to be as productive and loving as you, I'll teach you how to harness your good works to help the largest number of squirrels and other critters in need. For I cannot take from you without offering something in return.

That day, a bond of friendship was formed that lasted Earl and Willy for the rest of their days and it helped to uplift the lives of many a critter as it made the forest a far happier place.

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