A Squirrel, a ‘Possum and a Yarrow

A Squirrel, a ‘Possum and a Yarrow

A Fantastic Fable

Wind tore at Squirrel. Rain blinded her, but she kept going, an inch at a time, down the tree toward the river. The roar of the flood drowned out all other sound. The tip of ‘Possum’s tail appeared above swirling dark water near the bank where the Yarrow grew.  With the river swirling right up to her chin, Squirrel blindly reached toward ‘Possum, grasping the Yarrow’s stubby stem with her other paw. Squirrel clung like a burr to the plant with one hand and ‘Possum’s tail with the other while the strong river current pulled and tugged at her.

At long last, the rain simmered down to a mere drizzle. The storm moved on to soak another part of the earth, and the growling, angry river slowed to a mere grumble. 

“It’s all right, Squirrel. You can let go now.” ‘Possum crawled out of the river beside Squirrel. They both lay on the muddy bank, exhausted and relieved and more than a little astonished that they were still alive.

“You saved my life, Squirrel,” ‘Possum whispered. “Thank you.”

Squirrel had no energy left to answer. She lifted one paw to show she had heard.

Just as the sun peered between a crack in some left-over clouds, Squirrel felt her old energy begin to seep back. She sat up. “Are you going to be able to go home, ‘Possum?” she asked.

‘Possum groaned and struggled to her feet. “I’ll be fine, thanks to you. I’m sorry I’ve been so mean to you, Squirrel. Do you forgive me?”

Gladness warmed Squirrel. She gulped. “Sure do.”

Rabbit hopped into the clearing. “We’ve been looking for you,” he said.

Raccoon waddled toward them. “We  found everyone but you two. We were worried about you”

“I almost drowned,” said ‘Possum, “but Squirrel saved my life. She is a hero.”

Raccoon gasped and stared at Squirrel.

Rabbit rubbed his eyes with his front paws. At last, he gulped, “Your–your tail.”

Squirrel’s heart plummeted. Were they going to start teasing her again about her pitiful tail? She didn’t think she could bear it.  But, what was this? Her hind end felt different. It felt furry and long. She twisted into an S and peered behind her. Was ‘Possum’s tail stuck onto her now?  In place of her stubby tail was a long, graceful plume that was even more beautiful than ‘Possum’s.

“And ‘Possum, what happened to you?” Raccoon cried, running behind ‘Possum and staring.

‘Possum’s long and gorgeous bragging point had disappeared. Instead of being full and lovely, she had a bare tail with no fur at all.

 Without another word, she slunk off into the forest.

“Why is ‘Possum’s tail bare?” asked Rabbit. “And why are you wearing her tail?”

Squirrel’s brain felt as swirly as the river. She shook her head. “I don’t know,” she said. “I hung onto her tail to keep her from drowning. The little Yarrow plant kept us both from being swept away because I clung to it too.”

“The stubby little Yarrow?” asked Raccoon.

“It isn’t stubby any more,” declared Rabbit. “Look!”

Squirrel choked. “It’s long and lacy. Oh, this is too much. I think I’m going to faint.”

Rabbit giggled. “It still looks like Squirrel’s tail–her  new tail, that is.”

Rabbit was right. The Yarrow no longer had short stems. It grew tall and proud, with gracefully waving fronds. Amazingly, they did resemble Squirrel’s brand-new, luxurious tail.

Squirrel tried out her new tail. She flicked it. She whisked up the oak and sailed into the cottonwood. “Whee!” she yelled. “My new tail is wonderful.”

Raccoon and Rabbit looked at each other. Above them, Squirrel jumped and soared and yelled.

Raccoon shook his head. “She was never this noisy with her old tail.”

Rabbit nodded. “I have a feeling that life has changed..”

 Squirrel gained a new confidence along with her lovely tail.  She chattered and scolded. However, she did keep her basic characteristics of kindness and generosity.

And ‘Possum? Well, along with her tail, she changed too. Mostly, she comes to the river only at night since the fateful day she lost her tail and nearly lost her life. Her personality, sad to say, hasn’t  improved much. She still has her beady eyes and insincere grin. But then, a ‘Possum is a ‘Possum and a Squirrel is a Squirrel and the rest of us just have to admire them for what they are. It seems that things worked out for the best and in these changing times, we can always hope for that wonderful outcome.

– The Furry, Fabulous End –


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