The young squirrel wanted to climb the biggest tree.
But her mother told her “Baby girl, you must find 10 beautiful nuts and plant them in the ground, then you may climb the biggest tree.”
Excited for the adventure, the young squirrel set out with fervor. She found at once three lovely nuts and went about selecting the perfect spot for planting. Digging was hard, but she worked her tiny paws in the earth, shoved the precious nuts into the hole and buried them.
The young squirrel simmered with pride. She immediately set out and found 4 more round, perfect nuts with not one blemish on their pericarp.
Her mother had taught her all about nuts and how to select the most precious ones for planting.
“Mother,” she begged, gesturing to the mounds on the ground, “Look, look what I did! Now I want to climb the biggest tree!”
“But you only planted 7 nuts my dear, and though this is a wonderful accomplishment, this was not all that was asked of you.”
Disappointed, the young squirrel went away and sat at the base of the biggest tree. She peered up at the long neck of that trunk extending so gracefully into the sky. Oh, why must I have to do all of this work, she complained to herself. Perhaps I’ll come back to it later, or Mother will take pity on me and let me climb that big tree, after all, I did work very very hard!
Weeks passed and the word in the yard was that the man was going to cut down the biggest tree! All of the squirrels were chattering amongst themselves, including the other young squirrels who had already climbed the biggest tree.
The young squirrel, teased by her yard mates, and feeling rather sorely indeed, begged her Mother again but to no avail. “You have been playing in the yard, my dear, when all you have left is 3 nuts to plant. You could have it done so quickly! You may not.” Her Mother stood firm, paws resting at angles on her hips.
With a heavy heart, the young squirrel lowered her head and her tail. She turned to face the yard, vast and filled with tall lush grass, round sprawling bushes and brambles, and the edge of the woods, lined with walnut and oak trees. She sighed and contemplated the last of the work.
A brief wind stirred and lifted her mood. She stood erect and puffed out her chest and set out across the yard to finish her quest. With her Mother standing proudly by, the young squirrel shoved the last of the dirt over the final nut and whirled around to beam with pride. She looked up again at that great, wide trunk reaching into the sky and her Mother flipped her chin in approval.
The young squirrel sucked in her breath and dashed straight up! Her toenails clung with expertise — oh she was ready for this climb! She spiraled and scampered and scarcely took a breath as she raced for the sky. Up, and up, and UP she went until almost at once she had reached the top-most limb.
The breeze smelled so lovely from here! The view took her breath from her tiny lungs. Up here she could see as far as her tiny eyes could see!
This is a fable about finishing what you start, about doing what is asked of you, and about the reward you work for coming to fruition…but, it is mostly about perspective. You may take the meaning to be different but this is the spirit in which it was written.
I have never written a fable before but I wanted to commemorate an accomplishment of my 14-year-old daughter who will, tonight, be receiving her Silver Award which is the second highest award you can receive in Girl Scouting. The award takes several years to work on and complete, including a project that logs 50 hours.By this week she had completed the majority of the work, but struggled with the last 5 hours of her project and played on her phone instead. This was her last week as a Cadette and if not completed this past week, she’d pass onto the next phase of Girl Scouting ineligible for earning her Silver. It took some prodding and a good hard lecture from her Mom to get her over the “hump” and to completion of all her hard work. She beams with pride and joins the ranks of the roughly 10% of Girl Scouts earning this award. Tonight my mother and I will be there — both of us Silver Award and Gold Award recipients!
I am proud of my daughter, a natural-born leader beautiful strong spirit, for buckling down, seeing this through, and for gaining the perspective she needs to climb her next tree.
Thank you for reading.