Monday greetings to you, Peeps. Today’s true story was told to me by an old and wise bushy-tailed rodent by the name of I. M. A. Squir-Ell. I will pass off the telling to him, as he told it to his grandsquirrels one bright sunny afternoon.
Gather round, now, young ‘uns, and I’ll tell you a tale of an adventure that I had when I was not much older than you. Pay close attention, because the experience almost did me in. I boasted that I was a brave and daring dude, and, well, I turned out to not be quite so brave. I hope that you will be inspired to be not as foolish as I was.
I was out running around, exploring the world, much as you do all day, when I discovered a place that I had never noticed before. It was much larger than our trees and had a rather unusual shape. I have since been told that it is called a house.
Being curious, as unsuspecting young critters often are, I inched my way closer to this place. I noticed a very large hole leading into it and decided to sneak in and have a look around, ignoring my Mama’s warnings to me, “Stay away from places that are not ours,” she would say. What did she know? She was just an old-fashioned parent.
“Wow! What a strange and interesting place!” These were my exact thoughts as I ran into the darkish room. It was cool in there, a welcome feeling since the weather outside was very hot.
And there seemed to be lots of little nooks and crannies. The ground was gray and very hard, not at all like the dirt and grass that I can run across so easily. I couldn’t get the good grip with my paws.
It was very quiet there, none of the sounds of twittering birds or scurrying creatures that I am used to hearing. I didn’t know who might be around, and that made me have an attack of cautiousness, which, as it turned out, I should have had before I ran in there. So far, I had not seen another creature and so I figured I would be safe for a while. It was time for my afternoon rest, and I looked around for somewhere safe to hide and maybe take a little nap. Wiggling into a little dark hole between two mounds of stuff, I managed to do just that.
When I awoke, I worked up my nerve to look around further. It was fun sniffing and checking out my surroundings, as there were all kinds of wondrous things to see.
There were big square white things with sides that were too slick to climb.
Then some other things that seemed to be made of woven wood and filled with something. In one leap, I jumped to the top of one of them and landed on a pile of something that was so soft — kind of like fur. It had sort of a sweetish smell. I tried to wiggle around then jump onto a high pile of boxes, but that was a big mistake. Suddenly, the whole top of the pile crashed over onto the floor, taking me with it, and burying me under some stuff that was starting to look a lot less fascinating than it had a few moments before.
To tell the truth, although I would not have ever admitted it to any of my friends at the time, I was getting pretty scared. In fact, I was missing my friends and decided that I was ready to go back outside. To my horror, I discovered that my entry hole had been covered up! I had no way to get out and find my own little home and, even more important, my food supply! My tummy was beginning to rumble and so far, I had not seen food anywhere. I wondered where whoever lived here kept their acorns.
Hunger, my little ones, sometimes leads a foolish squirrel to do things that he might otherwise not do. As I explored some more, I came upon the strangest thing. I assumed it was a tree, but it was unlike any tree I had ever seen. It smelled like wood, and when I nibbled on it, it tasted like wood, although it seemed a bit stale. But the most wondrous thing about it was its shape. There were a bunch of flat parts going up and up, and when I climbed on them, I found myself in a completely new place.
There was a lot more light up there, and the ground was covered with smooth, slippery wood. I could hear my claws scraping on it as I tried to move from place to place.
The best thing was that I found something to eat, right there in front of me. Strangely, the food was all piled up in one place! Perhaps someone was gathering it up for the winter and had been dumb enough not to dig a hole and hide it. Of course, the ground there was too hard to dig very well, so maybe there was no place to hide it.
It didn’t matter to me. I was hungry, and ate almost that whole pile of strange and yummy food. I guess they were nuts. They were kind of shaped like small nuts, but they were so soft that I could eat them without having to remove a shell. They also tasted kind of strange, not at all like anything I had ever eaten.
After filling my tummy, I was feeling nervous that the owner of the food would return and not be happy to find his winter supply gone. So, I ran back down that funny tree with the flat parts and hid out for a while. I thought about the flat things on that tree and wished that there were something like that in my favorite tree. Much later, after I had worked up the nerve to tell my mother about my adventures, she said, “I have heard that they are called steps, and no squirrels know how to make them inside a tree.”
Amazingly, the next day, when I again scurried up that tree, I found a new supply of food. Whoever was gathering this stuff was certainly industrious. I also began to think that he was kind of stupid. If I’d left my food cache out in the open and someone took it, I would certainly spend a lot of effort finding someplace to hide it away.
Even though I had found some food, I was feeling very nervous about this new place. I longed to go back to my beloved grass and trees, but even though I checked again and again, the big hole to the outside never opened up again.
And then, things got a lot more dangerous. On the third day, as I arrived in that brightly lit room with the food, I saw something that gave me a great fright…
Well, my Peeps, we shall have to return next week for another episode of this squirrely tale. Oh, my, a cat (of course) and other critters will appear, and that frightened little squirrel will have quite an adventure as he encounters them and longs for a way to get back to his friendly tree home. (Spoiler alert ~ the story has a happy ending for all.)
Meanwhile, Allen and Kiki and I wish you a joyful and safe and healthy week!