Hi, Folks. I hope you are having a happy day. Today, I have asked my friend, I. M. A. Squir-Ell, to continue his story.
You may recall that last week, I was telling my grandsquirrels (and you) the tale of the day I decided to have a little adventure and run into a house. As last week’s episode came to a close, I was getting pretty upset because I couldn’t get back outside to my home. I was headed up the stairs to find some more of the strange nuts to eat.
When I arrived at the food room, the new pile of nuts was not there. I also got another surprise. Across the room and straight in front of me was sitting a very large animal. Too stunned or, you might say, too foolish, not to run away, I just sat down and stared.
The creature was enormous! Except for his head, he had almost no fur that I could see, and his tail was completely missing! He had something wrapped around a lot of his body, something thin, like leaves. It was even green, but didn’t really look like any leaves I have ever seen. I guess he was wearing it because he didn’t have any fur to protect his skin.
I could see that he was eating, but he didn’t hold the food with his paws or even reach his head into it and grab it with his mouth. Instead, he scooped it up with a strange looking, shiny object and then popped it in his mouth. He ate it all right away, too, and seemed totally unconcerned with stuffing some of it in his cheeks to hide for later. I guessed that he must have his winter store of food all hidden away already. I also figured he was going to have a rough go of it in the winter, what with his fur all gone and no tail to wrap around himself to keep warm. Later, I heard that he is called a human.
Then, I looked up behind that huge human and saw what looked like a tree…a real tree, with lovely green leaves, a tree like the one where I liked to sleep. I ran behind him so he couldn’t see me, and I jumped up on a little flat place, intending to make a giant leap from there to the tree. When I tried to jump out, however, I noticed that there was something stopping me. It was strange, because I could see out there, and, yes, there was a tree, and under it there was some soft-looking grass, but something invisible and hard would just not let me jump over to it.
Disappointed and puzzled, I turned around to jump down, and then, several things happened at once. The large furless human screamed and jumped up, and someone else appeared, staring at me from a flat place up above.
This animal was furry, all right. He was bigger than I was, but not nearly as large as that fellow who had been eating. I didn’t think he was a squirrel, because his ears didn’t look quite right and his fur was a strange orange color. Suddenly, with horror, I realized what he was. He was a CAT! My mother had told me about cats. “They eat squirrels!” I also realized that it was probably that cat’s food that I had been enjoying those last few days. Foolishly, I wondered how I could slip away quietly without him bothering me. Hah! No such luck!
In a flash, the very minute I landed on the floor, that cat pounced at me and then began chasing me around and around a wooden object that was in the middle of the room. Only my speedy running and clever maneuvers kept me alive. My heart was racing like crazy. Finally, I got enough wits about me to notice the entry to the lower level, and I raced down the funny steps. The cat was still on my heels, but because I was smaller, I managed to slip into a tiny space. The cat sat down and stared into the hole for a while. I stayed as still as I could, hardly daring to breathe, until he finally lost interest and went back up the steps.
As I breathed a sigh of relief and began to relax, however, I realized that if any food did appear up there now, the cat was going to eat it all and not leave any for me. I was sure feeling nostalgic for my own little place outside and for all those nuts that I knew were lying out there on the ground. I wondered if I would ever be able to return.
Later that day, more frightening things began to happen. That large and almost furless animal appeared again, this time down where I was hiding. He began waving around a stick that looked like it had dried grass tied to the end of it, and making a lot of noise. I got so scared that I tore up the steps again, braving an encounter with the cat, just to get away.
But, bad luck, he followed me up. Worse yet, he covered up the entrance to the steps. I ran blindly, finally cringing in a little dark corner, hoping that I would not be found. The next thing I knew, that stick was rattling around right by where I crouched. I knew I would have to leave, and I raced out, madly looking for another hiding place.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a bright light, but I was too panicked to even look in its direction. This was no time for exploring. I tried climbing up on the wall, but it didn’t have any claw holds like trees do, and so I fell down again.
I jumped up on something else, and pieces of paper and cardboard scattered so that I couldn’t get my footing. And that human with the grassy stick kept walking around making little fake squirrel sounds. “Ch-ch-ch-ch,” he muttered.
Finally, I found another place to hide in a space under a large wooden box. I stopped to get my breath and still my racing heart. I tell you, my young friends, you never want to get yourselves in a situation like that was. Suddenly I saw a furry leg and paw reaching towards me. Oh, no! It was the cat! I was so scared that I squealed and made some very undignified sounds for a proper squirrel. I crouched as far back in the corner as I could and held my ground. Luckily, the cat was too big to crawl under there where I was, but he was making me very nervous!
After a while, things quieted down. I could hear the sound of the cat purring, so I know he wasn’t far away, but at least he wasn’t actively hunting me. A bit later, I didn’t even hear the cat. Now I should have been suspicious of that sudden calm, but soon I smelled food. Oh, I was so hungry! I stuck my nose out. So far, no cat.
I did see some of that good food that I had eaten before. This time, however, it was not all piled up and I knew that I would need to gather the pieces myself. Great. Just when there seemed to be enemies everywhere, getting hold of the food was getting more difficult. I finally got brave enough to run out, grab a piece of it, and run back to my hiding place.
As it turned out, of course, that big furless creature was still around. Sometimes he would block my way and I would have to run around the room before I could find another place to go. Every time I got hidden, things got quiet for a while. Then, just when I would venture out for another bit of food, the chase would start again. Oh, how I longed for my snug little home outside in the tree! If I could just go back, I would never, ever come into this horrible place again!
Finally, the quiet time stretched a little longer than before and I had a chance to rest. Perhaps the human was getting tired, too. The extra time allowed me to gain a little foolish bravado. I poked my head out, and noticed something new…a whole pile of food, just like I had seen when I was first there. I took a couple of steps and looked around. Nothing happened. Then I took a few more steps, heading for that food. Oh, yummy. I planned to eat and eat, and maybe even gather up some extra bits in my cheeks for later.
Well, my friends, as you might be guessing by now, such was not to be. No sooner had I gulped down a couple of those odd nuts than a giant cage came down over me.
I went berserk, tearing every which way inside that cage. I climbed its sides and ran around the small space. Worse yet, I kept jumping into the pile of food and it was flying out of the cage where I couldn’t even reach it!
Then the large creature began moving the cage little by little towards the bright light that I had noticed earlier. Oh, no! What were they going to do to me! The further they edged that cage along, the more scared I got. I heard a funny noise, and the cage went over a little rise. Then, the ground dropped out from under me, and I fell out!
I found myself again standing on some of that gray, hard stuff, but then I noticed, right near where I was, what looked like dirt and grass. As soon as I got my wits about me, I realized that I had fallen into my beloved outdoors! As fast as I could, I jumped off that gray stuff that felt so hard against my feet, and sped away from that dreadful place.
I already was beginning to feel better, touching ground that was soft, and I ran through the grass and leaves as fast as my legs could carry me to my own special tree. I leapt onto the trunk and scampered up to my favorite branch, and just stayed there for a while, catching my breath and trying to stop trembling. I found a delicious pine cone and munched on it a bit. Yum, was it good!
Eventually, I ventured down again and found some of the nuts that I love to eat. I cracked the nuts and savored their delicious, familiar insides.
I was so filled with joy that I leaped and ran all over the place until I got very tired. Then I went up into a hole in my favorite tree. I curled up with my nice, fuzzy, warm tail around me, and had a long, relaxing sleep.
So, my little ones, the tale of my adventure ends. I hope that you will take my advice. Stay away from cats, and never, ever go into those places where the big furless animals live. Remember, too, another big lesson I learned. Don’t let a hungry tummy make you foolish!
Author’s Notes: This story is based on a true incident, when a squirrel got into my sister’s house. I was there that day, scrambling around with them, and watching what happened.
You may wonder why I have no picture of that little squirrel all curled up, sleeping, with his bushy tail wrapped around him. I have looked through hundreds of pictures of squirrels while working on this story, and one would think, from those pictures, that all squirrels do all day is sit around and pose for photographers. I found very few pictures of squirrels running or jumping, and only one picture of a squirrel sleeping, and that was of a very young squirrel. Surely, they sleep, don’t they? Then again, have YOU ever seen a squirrel sleeping?
By the way, Allen and Kiki have mostly snoozed through this story. They would have been rooting for the cat, of course. They send their love and greetings and hope to see you next time. Have a good week!