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What The Chipmunk Taught
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TITLE (EDIT)
What The Chipmunk Taught
DESCRIPTION
Native American grandfather and grandson each teach the other interesting lessons.
[747 words]
AUTHOR
Dave Springer
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
-
[July 2010]
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
davexrev@aol.com
AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (3)
Looking Over The Berlin Wall: (Non-Fiction) Personal Memories of a Divided Berlin [993 words] [History]
The Scents Of Danger (Children) When terrified as a kid, I could sense a certain something in my nose. [1,071 words] [Thriller]
The Turtle Returns (Children) I once had a box turtle, who kept escaping, and returning! [864 words] [Animal]
What The Chipmunk Taught
Dave Springer




(based on a true incident*)

The elderly brave sat on the hard packed soil by the fire in front of the tepee. A boy sat a couple feet away. Grandfather, tell me a story, he pleaded.

I will tell you the story of when I was visited by three animals.

Was it a vision, like when you saw the bison spirit?

No, This really happened.

Was it an elk, and bear, and wolf?

No, it was a skunk, a squirrel and a chipmunk. If you want to hear the story you must let your ears work harder and your lips less. One evening, when I was just your age, I was napping in the tepee. I had a bag of pine nuts, which I had been eating, sitting on the ground next to my bed. I woke up to a snuffling sound. It was a young skunk who had come in and was eating my snack. I just looked at him in the fading twilight, his head stuck so far in the bag he couldn't even see a thing. I could have reached out and petted him like a dog.

Of course your didn't.

No, of course not. I just let him have his fill, then put the bag on a shelf on the far side of the tepee so that the skunk couldn't come back and eat more. The next time I awoke it was morning. A squirrel was trying to get at the bag of pine nuts and was being a bit noisy in his quest, but was unable to reach it. Well, as I though about the skunk having stuck his face in my snack . . 

Skunk slobber - 

. . all over those delicious pine nuts, I was not so keen to eat out of that bag any more. So, I thought, 'Why not give it to the squirrel?'; so I dumped the bag on the floor.

The squirrel didn't come back, but a chipmunk came, right?

Indeed, you guessed correctly my boy. The chipmunk very cautiously approached the pile of food and took a few and stuffed them in his cheeks, then ran off. But then he came back and got more. A third time he returned, and I wanted to see how close I could get. Each trip I moved a little closer. Finally, I was in arms reach.

As close as you were to the skunk, right? Did you pet him?

More ears, less lips. No, but what I did do with the last of the pine nuts was have him take it out of my hand. When he reappeared I held out my hand with the only treat in sight. He was timid at first, but still crept up to grab the tidbit and then scurried off. The next time he only hesitated a little bit, then snatched and scampered. We did that six times before the food was all gone. And can you guess what I learned from those three creatures?

That was a great story grandfather, and I think I understand the lessons the animals taught you. The skunk teaches us not to make objection when we know it will do no good and only raise a big stink. The squirrel teaches us that even if we do not at first reach our goal, to come back a little later and see if conditions are more favorable. And the chipmunk shows that persistence and courage lead to success.

Very, good! Youngster, you are truly wise beyond your years for I did not see those lessons though I have lived with the memory of that day many, many moons. But I had something else I drew from my experience.

Was it to trust in the Great Spirit who gives us the bounty of the land, as the chipmunk trusted you?

No, but, that is a good thought and something we should do.

'Then what did you learn grandfather?

Why, that everybody loves pine nuts!


The End


[* These animals did indeed visited the author in this exact fashion and their actions are authentically reproduced in the story, though the narration has been shifted to a fictional story teller and the pine nuts were actually dry-roasted peanuts.  The most practical advice this story gives, which comes out of my camping days is simply this: don't keep food where you sleep, it attracts animals.  The truths discovered in the tale are what you find the most real.]

 

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© 2010 Dave Springer
STORYMANIA PUBLICATION DATE
July 2010
NUMBER OF TIMES TITLE VIEWED
1183
 

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