Now in a forest, there was a tree that was home to both a small group of squirrels and a small group of chipmunks. The squirrels and chipmunks got along well amongst each other. When one needed some food or a branch to sleep on, the others were ready to help.
The arrangement was nothing official. Just two groups coexisting peacefully in the same space.
The tree in which they lived also had a large hollow in the middle of the trunk. Over the years, the hole had become filled with rotting leaves, dirt and dead branches.
The squirrels and the chipmunks both stored food in the hollow, despite its neglected state. But both agreed that it would be much better to use if it were fixed up.
One spring the two groups decided they would work together to clean out the hollow. It would then become the property of both the squirrels and the chipmunks.
They agreed that all the nuts and berries they stored for their winter food supply would also be the property of both groups, and that everyone could share the food equally.
The squirrels and the chipmunks were very excited about this plan, and began working immediately to get the hollow into perfect order so that they could have as much room for their winter food as possible.
The two animals worked side-by-side for weeks cleaning debris from the hollow. Finally, things were just how both the squirrels and chipmunks wanted it, and they were ready to begin gathering food in the weeks before winter would come.
Living at the top of the tree was a brown thrasher. He enjoyed living over the others in the tree, and didn?t like to see them succeed more than him. The thrasher seldom came out of the thick branches at the top of the tree, and the squirrels and chipmunks rarely thought of him.
But when the thrasher saw what the squirrels and chipmunks were doing, he came out of his hiding.
?Squirrels and chipmunks can?t work together,? the thrasher said. ?It isn?t right. It goes against the laws of nature.?
?We have created a plan,? a chipmunk said. ?It will benefit both us chipmunks and the squirrels very well.?
?I will not let it happen,? said the brown thrasher. ?It?s not right.?
With that, he flew up high into the trees. The squirrels and the chipmunks, not bothered by the thrasher?s threat, ventured out into the woods to begin gathering food.
When they returned they found that the opening to the hollow in the tree had been completely closed off with hundreds of thin braches wrapped tightly around the trunk. The brown thrasher had been busy while they were gone.
The thrasher watched as the two groups set their nuts and berries aside and began to work together to untangle the mass of twigs that was blocking them from their hard work. But they weren?t discouraged; they knew that this plan was important to their futures.
It took a few weeks, but finally the squirrels and the chipmunks got the hollow back to the way they wanted it. But while they had been working, other animals in the forest had taken the food that they had found weeks before.
So the squirrels and the chipmunks set out again to forage for food. Because they were behind schedule, they had to make up for their lost time by staying out in the forest longer and finding more food.
When they returned, everything seemed OK until they tried to store away all of their food into the hollow.
Inside, the tree had been filled with lumps of clay and rocks. The brown thrasher was still working against them.
Disappointed, the squirrels and chipmunks began to clean out the hollow that they knew was so important to their success. They also knew that winter would begin in only a few weeks, so they had to work fast.
However, despite their round-the-clock work, the first snowfall of the season was already upon them when the hollow was cleared for the third time.
The other forest animals had taken their second supply of food, and the squirrels and chipmunks knew that winter had come and they had nothing to eat.
As winter settled on the forest, the brown thrasher sat on his perch at the top of the tree and watched the squirrels and chipmunks. He had completed his mission. After all, he thought, squirrels and chipmunks shouldn?t work together. It goes against the laws of nature.
But while the chipmunks and squirrels suffered through the winter, the brown thrasher also struggled. For all the time he wasted spoiling their plans, he had also not collected food for himself. Was all of the thrasher?s work worth it? What did he gain from his attempts to destroy their success? What would he have lost if he had let them be?
Those who interfere with another?s business can only hurt everyone involved.
* * *
UFO: The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.
Don?t ask why.