THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE FOX AND THE GRUMPY PILLS: A BEDTIME STORY

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

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The fox was the wiliest animal in the forest. It was said that he could sell a sheep his own tail if he truly wanted to.

So, nobody would have been surprised to find the fox walking through the forest one evening with a bottle of grumpy pills in one hand and a smile on his face.

“Excuse me squirrel, would you like to buy a grumpy pill?” he asked.

“Why would I want a grumpy pill?” he was asked in return.

“Why because grumpy pills make you fly and imagine how much fun you’d have if you could fly.”

“Ok, can I have two?”

And the fox gave the squirrel two pills in exchange for eight bags of wild berries the squirrel had been collecting for his winter nap.

And the squirrel popped the pills in his mouth.

And the squirrel looked at the fox, yelled in his face and snatched the bags right back from him.

“Hey, why’d you do that?” the fox asked, taken aback.

“Because I don’t love you,” the squirrel said and went grumpily about his day with the hairs on his back bristled.

So fox went to cardinal’s house to try and make up for the pills and berries he no longer had.

“Excuse me cardinal, I happen to have some grumpy pills I think you might be interested in,” he asked with a grin.

“But fox, why would I want grumpy pills?” he asked.

“Well cardinal, because grumpy pills make your feathers red and looking at your wings, you could use some more red in yours.”

The cardinal had been thinking his colours were fading. What an opportunity this seemed to be.

“Ok, I’ll take three of them if you can spare them.”

“For you, of course,” the fox said and passed him three pills from his bottle in exchange for all the twigs the cardinal had collected for his nest.

And the cardinal popped the pills in his mouth.

And the cardinal looked the fox in the face and said: “You’re the one who needs more red in their fur! You look too pale and nobody is going to be friends with you looking like that!”

“Hey, why are you yelling at me?” the fox asked.

“Because I’m not your friend!” the cardinal answered and then flew off grumpily, snatching his twigs back as he passed.

So fox went to turtle’s pond to try and make up for the pills and berries and twigs he no longer had.

“Turtle, have I got a deal for you,” he started. “For the price of the fireflies that light up your house at night, I’ll give you four grumpy pills.”

“But fox, why would I want grumpy pills? she asked.

From turtle, this was truly a great question. Far and wide turtle was known as the friendliest of all the creatures. On occasion, she’d bake cookies for everyone. On other occasions, she’d let people swim in the pond by her house until the sun went down even though she badly needed sleep and the waves moved her nest around.

“Because turtle, these pills will make you feel younger.”

If there was one thing turtle wished for, it was to be younger. She wasn’t just the friendliest creature in the forest, at the age of 64, she was also, by a good deal, the oldest. She had seen many creatures come and go over the years and none of them had ever offered her an opportunity to feel younger.

“Well I suppose I’d better make that trade,” she said.

And the fox gave her the last four pills from his bottle. And he collected the fireflies from the pond and put them in his empty bottle.

And the turtle popped them into her mouth.

“Give me back my fireflies!” the turtle yelled in the fox’s face. “And stay away from my pond forever!”

“Why are you yelling at me?” the fox asked.

“Because I don’t have time to listen to an old fox like you try and sell me things I don’t need,” the turtle answered and then slunk off grumpily to the other side of the pond.

The fox stood there. The fox was sad.

“I’ve been watching you fox,” a voice called down from above.

It was owl of course. Owl always had something to say.

“You’ve been mean to all the other creatures in this forest for many years now and now you are finding out what it’s like to be on the other end,” he continued.

“I thought if I made others grumpy, I’d look like a nicer fox,” he answered. “Instead, everyone is being mean to me and they still don’t want to talk to me.”

“Perhaps try being nice to others,” the owl suggested.

“All the time?”

“Yes, all the time.”

And once the grumpy pills wore off, the fox did try to be nice. He brought flowers to the squirrel and some string to the cardinal. He even learned how to bake and brought the turtle the most wonderful pine nut cookies she had ever tasted.

And not at all slowly, life in the forest for the fox started to change.

He smiled more. He was smiled at more.

He played more. He was played with more.

He lied less. And he was lied to less.

Simply put, being nice was more fun.

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