Maybelle Marguerite Badger poked her head out the short wide front door of her home and checked the weather. Blue sky, puffy white clouds and sunshine greeted her. She reached back into her home, grabbed her straw hat with the pink flowers from its hook and scooted out the door.
Heading toward the pond she kicked a pebble down the rocky path with gusto. Deep in thought she almost missed something IMPORTANT.
What’s this? She thought. A small rock winked at her in the sunlight. She nudged it with her sharp badger claw. Her claw blocked the sunlight and the winking stopped. Huh. Nothing special here. But as she moved away and the sunlight touched it again, the shine returned.
Well, well, she thought, it is SOMETHING.
She scooped it up in her paw and sat down on the ground to think about her find. She wanted to share her amazing find with a friend but she had no friends. In that moment Maybelle felt sad and lonely.
She held this beautiful rock and rubbed at the dust. Holding it up to the light she thought she’d never seen anything so captivating. While she had no friends the urge to share her incredible rock caused her to overcome her shyness. Maybelle felt she must find someone to share this rock with or she would burst!
She quickly gathered her courage and hurried down the rocky path in search of someone. She soon found Mr. Beaver down by the pond.
“Hello,” she shouted. She called from a distance away so as not to frighten Mr. Beaver. After all, badgers can be fierce and have the reputation of being grumpy. But he had been working hard all morning and thought a break would be welcome.
“Hello,” he shouted in return, waving to her.
“I have something to show you,” Maybelle called. Maybelle hurried over and slightly out of breath shoved her paw forward with the rock in it.
“Well, now. What have you got there? Looks like a rock,” Mr. Beaver said thoughtfully. “Oh my! It winks! “
“It sure does,” said Maybelle. “Isn’t it remarkable? I’ve not seen anything like it.”
“Why don’t you rinse it clean in the pond? I’ll bet it’s even more beautiful.”
So she did. The water turned it a deep blue like the sky after sunset and it shined like the stars on a clear night.
The beaver and the badger marveled over the rock even more. What a find!
Maybelle thanked the beaver for listening and his suggestion to clean the rock.
She went home to think about her roadside adventure. Not only did she find an amazing rock, she shared her find with someone else. Two amazing things happened today.
As the days went by she kept her rock close and rubbed it frequently especially just before she fell asleep. Having her special rock made her feel so happy!
Maybelle couldn’t keep the happiness to herself though and shared it with more folks. She told them how she found the rock and Beaver’s idea to rinse it in the water. Everyone she spoke to wanted to hold it and rub it. They always felt better afterwards.
Soon she knew many more animals in the forest. She knew their families too. Sometimes they needed help with projects and she helped them out. They often invited her to share a meal with them. They even began calling her MaMa B! What’s happening? She was making friends!
A few days later Maybelle had a thought. I believe I’ll have a picnic and invite all my new friends to join me.
She baked and cooked for two days. On the day of the picnic everyone gathered down by the pond. Families shared the delicious foods they brought with one another and afterwards played games. They sang songs until the sun set. Everyone drifted home with soft goodbyes floating on the evening breeze.
Maybelle lay down on her bed with a smile on her face and sighed. She thought of all her new friends as she drifted off to sleep. In her happiness she forgot something. She forgot to rub her special rock.
The next morning she slowly woke up. Remembering the party again she smiled. She reached out to pick up her treasured rock. Maybelle’s paw fumbled around her nightstand but her precious rock was not there. Where was it?
Maybelle looked everywhere in her home for her much loved rock. She took the sheets off her bed, looked under the kitchen table, in the garbage and under the cushions of her reading chair. Her AMAZING, REMARKABLE, VERY SPECIAL ROCK could not be found. It had vanished! Where could it be? Perhaps she left it behind at the pond.
She bolted out the front door and ran down to the pond as fast as she could, forgetting to grab her hat. Surely it would be there winking in the sun. She would find it! But, alas, there was no winking rock. Beaver joined her and as word spread all her other friends joined her. They helped her look for her rock and when it could not be found they consoled her. Her sadness touched them all.
Later that afternoon her friends came to her home one by one and brought her a little something: a flower, a treat, a sweet smelling pine bough. They helped her straighten her home and made her a cup of tea. By evening all their gifts filled her den.
As they left she hugged each friend and said, “Thank you for coming.”
An eagle feather caught her eye as she turned from the door and tears of joy fell from her eyes. She realized love surrounded her just as these gifts of friendship did.
As Maybelle fell asleep she held the memory of her special rock close in her heart and cried a little. She also noticed a new happiness within her. The fragrance and beauty of deep friendships filled her home.
“Tomorrow,” Maybelle told herself, “I’ll get up and bake. I’ll ask my new friend Sweet Pea if I can have one of her pine needle baskets. Then I’ll fill it with baked goods and pine cones and stop by Grandma Squirrel’s home for a visit. Yes, that’s what I’ll do!”
That night she slept deeply even with such a great loss. Her beautiful rock brought her more than happiness. She had changed from a sad lonely badger to a badger with many friends. Maybelle loved her new friends deeply and was loved in return.
That night a traveler made his way along a forest path. He moved quietly, stealthily as there were many night creatures in the forest he wished to avoid. He stopped abruptly behind a tree root. Something bright lay on the path ahead. It sparkled in the light of the moon. As he left his cover to pick it up a cloud passed through the moon’s beam and the sparkle disappeared. No! Wait! There it was again.
The traveler listened then moved quietly ahead. Barely hesitating he reached down and scooped up his find. He placed it in his pocket to be examined at a later time.
A Great Horned Owl hooted. The traveler slipped under a fallen log to wait a bit. When he sensed the peacefulness of the forest returned, he picked his way carefully to the path staying as much in the shadows as possible. He did not see or feel the sparkly treasure slip from his pocket as he focused on reaching the next shadow.
©SC White, March 25, 2018