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Aester's Fables (19 so far)
By: Esther Powell
Posted on: Thu, May 31 2007 - 7:04 am

Piglet and the Bunny

One early morning (or very late night, depending on how you look at it!) Piglet was up and about, kind of doing warm-up sniffs and poke-dances.  The sun was gleaming promisingly from between the early Spring leaves and Piglet was feeling goooood!

All of a sudden Piglet heard a rhythmic patter.  She kind of (I wish I could say silently!) backed into the tall grass.  Then she heard words!  (Or something like words...hmmm.)

Enter a rabbit!  "Shish boom waddle waddle umpteen - BRO!" the rabbit sang.  (Piglet regrets to report she cannot guarantee that these are the actual words.  She's lost them! She didn't know rabbits had a language!  Who has ever heard a bunny say even one word?)

(Om fr - (er, excuse me, I almost went into bunny lingo) - In fact, Piglet admits that she doesn't think the words she has reported are even close!  (I must say I agree.  I can't fit them into any Rabbit dialect I have ever learned!))

Piglet was actually more absorbed in the sight of the rabbit, anyway!

This rabbit was unlike any rabbit Piglet had ever seen, but she was certainly a honey!  She had a crown of flowers in her hair, which a little bird was trying to use as a nest, although this particular home seemed to bounce around a good deal.  "Always a windy day around here!" it seemed to be warbling.  (Not really warbling. Warblers just pass through here in the Spring and Fall.  This was a really small bird, like a titmouse (no, I can't explain that name, but, you know, kind of crooning, only in a birdsong voice that titmouses (titmice?) Golly this is getting confusing!  I'm off the subject!  Subjects.)

Rabbit was hip-hopping closer all the time.  "Musing, warbling, burbling, boozing...!"  Piglet was enthralled.  Then she noticed the bunny was carrying a basket - no - it was a used Oriole nest! - which Bunny had appropriated to hold her egg collection.  Once she saw Piglet (who just couldn't be invisible no matter how hard she tried!), she played dumb, but held the eggs out for Piglet to see.

There was a little brown-speckled killdeer egg (killdeer don't really kill deer - do they?) There was a pale turquoise robin's egg, and a petite pure white egg that Piglet had never seen before.  Underneath these (thank heavens - or the collection would be much smaller and very gooey!) were a bunch of hens eggs, palely varicolored.  No, not purple with pink polka dots or anything zany like that!  These were just very pale green, or icily gold, pale brown and beige.

Piglet's eyes got much bigger than usual, and she seemed to be slobbering a little, so Bunny quickly gave her a hen's egg.  Piglet would have said thanks but her mouth was too full!  And with that, Bunny hopped away.

Piglet never knew that Bunny was not a she, but a he.  She never knew that Bunny had the head-topping as camouflage, to avoid being seen by predators (although it obviously won't work if you insist upon singing as you hop!)

Piglet told the story of her morning's apparition far, and wide, and Bunny got quite a name for himself.  And he is not happy about it, either.  "Bunny, indeed!" he snarls.

I bet you know what his name is!

Piglet and the Octopus

One fine zany May day, piglet decided to swim home from the market.  Sure, she could fly, as her Ankle had outfitted her with glossy white wings, but it was unseasonably warm.  Warmer weather requires fewer calories, so she wasn't carrying much.  Her legpacks were light (and waterproof) and she felt like a dip!

Yay!  The sky was blue, the water calibrajistic, her energy high.  She paddled merrily along  (Mmm pshew, mmm pshew, mmm pshew, oink oink, mmmpshew, mmmpshew) greeting the denisons of the neighborhood as she passed.

Well, what do you know, here comes Mr. Octopus.  He stops, beams, octlegaves.  "My dahling Miss Piggy!"  he blurps.  He opens up his eight legs (which just coincidentally happen to surround his smelly mouth-hole) as if to embrace her.

"Which legs do you want me to hug you with?" (For he had very cunningly ornamented them all differently, some with fake barnacles, some with seaweed - you get the idea.)

Piglet did not delay.  Since she was provided not only with her Ankle's wings but with prodigious hog jet-like propulsion, she whooshed from the water like a dolphin - yes, just like a dolphin - and flew outa there!

Piglet and the Condor

It was a hot, hot day.  Piglet lay in the mud on her back, waving her little hooflets in the air, watching the fluffy white clouds putting on their breezy show:  "Look, I can be this!  And if I move a little this way, and bend and twist a little over here... Look!  I can be this!  ...and if I..."

Suddenly another, denser "cloud" came out of the blue and Piglet almost jumped out of her skin with fright!  (It's a good thing she didn't, or she would have been a goner for sure!  A canape for a condor!) 

Piglet lost it completely!  "Please, Mr. Condor, don't eat me!" she squealed.  Her hooflets were waving frantically now, spattering mud this way and that.

The condor grunted and eyed her with distaste.  He ruffled his pretty white choker (which was the only pretty thing about him, believe me!  He was a bald old raptor (although I'm told that with condors age makes no difference - they're all bald!)  His whole head was bare of ornamentation, and most of his neck, too, until you got to the ruffle.)

"Relax.  You're much too dirty - and alive," he growled, trying to clean his spattered pate.  "And you are barely big enough to see!"  Before Piglet's horrified eyes, his bald skin started turning from a deadish blue-gray to a bright rosy pink.  "Now your mother over there..." he peered into the bushes where her mother still slept.  "Maybe she..."  He took a step or two towards Piglet's mom.

Piglet squealed bloody murder.  Her mother started in her sleep, snored, and turned over.  (Not much of a defense, but it must have been enough!)

The condor hissed in frustration.  "No, she's alive too.  What the hell have those wolves been up to?" he asked querulously (and rhetorically - Piglet didn't know!)  "I haven't seen a good carcass in days!"

Piglet, her thoughts zany with relief, giggled.  He obviously hadn't been looking in any calm, limpid reflective pools lately!  Then a big glop of mud fell into her mouth and cut that giggle right off!  She started writhing in the mud, coughing and choking.

The condor shook his head in disbelief.  What a nutcase!  Then, grumbling something about his wasted landing and about mistaking old stumps for vultures and how is eyesight must be going, he spread his mighty wings...

and left. 

Whew.

Piglet and the Fleebles

Piglet ate just about everything smaller than she was.  (And sometimes she ran across parts of something bigger than she was, and ate those, too!)  She ate potatoes and hickory nuts and acorns (ummm, a favorite!) and grubs and berries.

Often the things she ate had other things eating them.  There were little green hoppy things and almost invisibly tiny shiny black critterlets that almost always leapt away before she could take a bite!   Piglet looked upon most of them as condiments.  If the fleebles didn't fly away before she ate them, fine.  But in berry season, they couldn't be regarded as real food.

But bigger fleebles were a puzzlement to Piglet.  What if they didn't taste good?  They were too big to just slide down as a condiment on something bigger (and possibly better-tasting.)  What about a clump of wild blackberries festooned with one or more of those coppery and emerald green iridescent fleebles - or those even bigger light brown ones with the tidy black polka-dots?

That bite (or should I say entree?) would have to be called a berry-stuffed fleeble, not a fleeble-sprinkled berry!  And that would be an entree to what?  Would it taste good?  Piglet shuddered to think how bad it might taste!

And wouldn't a mouthful of big fleebles squirm an awful lot?  Piglet considered.  She thought of herself writhing in muddy fear of the condor.  (And shook off that thought while she shook a fly off her nose!)

Piglet had never seen anything else eat those fleebles.  Surely if nothing else ate them, they must be truly nasty.

But they were so abundant!  What a lucky food supply if they tasted good!  Maybe no one else had even tried them, due to their intimidating size and zany (quite toxic-looking, really!) coloration.  Piglet stewed around and round about it, and I don't mean she was stirring soup!

She was contemplating the prospect of becoming a fleeblet-sprinkled-berry-stuffed-fleeble-stuffed piglet!  And stuffed for what, she wondered?  Or who?  Didn't want to appear too delectable - she might wind up stuffing you!

 

 

Piglet and the Oyster

 

As you know, Piglet likes to put her nose to the ground and trot around looking for food.  She doesn’t always notice the other animals nearby.  (Hey, as long as they are around, lions and tigers aren’t!) 

 

Piglet is very dietarily adventurous. (No, I don’t mean that she’s always trying out new ways to lose weight.  Quite the contrary!  Sometimes Piglet is so hungry that she’s not very careful about what she eats!  One time she ate one of Owl’s cough-balls.  Faugh!  That almost made her lose the rest of her day’s forage!)

 

One day Piglet’s nose led her to the beach.  She was in a good seafood mood!  The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the seagulls were many and zany and busy at work fishing.  She knew that if she was patient she could get a few tidbits of fish and maybe even some shellfish.

 

The wily seagulls would grab an oyster, fly high, and dash it to the rocks to break it to get at its soft insides.  After some fish appetizers, Piglet stretched out on a nice warm rock to enjoy spladdling her hooves in the warm waves. After she began to get a little too warm for comfort, Piglet got up to go and discovered an oyster.

 

Fancy that!

 

 (She pleads innocent to lying down on that oyster on purpose!  She didn’t even know it was there!  And how was she supposed to return it to the gull that broke it?  Everybody knows that all those screechy birds sound the same anyway!)

 

Piglet began to eat, and saw a little round white glowy thing embedded in the oyster’s body.  Thinking it was just an especially succulent bit of oyster-indulgence, she bit down.  Crunch!  “Ow!  Durn it!”  Piglet thought crossly.  “I think I broke a tooth!”

 

She resolved that next time she ran across one of those weird things in an oyster she would just wolf it down, whole! 

 

Piglet and Me

 

Piglet's mad at me.  She's down in her mud puddle, with her head stuck in the bushes, dreaming about the nice clean swimming pool with nice clean water she would be lounging by if she had her way.  Oh, and she would be sipping a pina colada!

 

She's in a shuff with me because, she says, I misrepresent her.  She didn't know that the oyster was there on the rock when she sat down on it.  What do I think she is, the princess with the pea?  She never would have intentionally deprived that seagull of its rightful meal.  If a seagull wanted that oyster, he should have squawked or pecked at her or something.

 

And that story about the condor.  I make her look like a cartoon.   Her tail is not curly  (well, maybe a little) and she is not an insipid pink.  She is brown with zany brown-red stripes.  She is no piglet, really.  She's a hot subadult!  My characterization and descriptions are so embarrassing!

Piglet is right.  I have misrepresented her.  She is not wily and manipulative, like the fox and coyote.  She is full of good will and love of life.  I sold her out.

 

I'm sorry, Piglet. 

Piglet squirms further into the shrubby willows.  Now all I can see is her, er, bent little tail and hind hooves (she leaves her wings at home when she is mud-bathing.)  I think she thinks that no one can see her at all! 

 

I leave Piglet to her bath and her dreams.  She will get over her resentment.  After all, who am I?  I am no one.  I am no one at all.

 

But wait - what is that gleaming in the bushes?  Why, it's Piglet, beaming at me with a mischievous eye.  Oh, yes, I had forgotten a couple more of her attributes.  She is also very playful and forgiving.

 

When I "get" her completely right, she'll come out to play again! 

 

 

 

Piglet and the Rook

Piglet roamed around a lot.  She went by the water, and admired the leaping fish and mammals, marveling at their twisty grace.  When she went into the water and swam, the fish laughed at her so-very-un-hydrodynamic shape and how she had to keep coming up for air.

When Piglet was out and about, the Big Cats and other predators were either out to get her, or just plain "out."  If the big cats were sated from a recent kill, they took no notice of her at all.  A fly buzzing about was more worthy of attention than a silly zany piglet.  (And of course, to Piglet that was a very good thing.)

When Piglet flew (which I strongly suspect she only really did in her dreams - but don't tell her I said so!) the birds could not believe that anything so portly could get off the ground!  (Obviously they had not seen a blimp or they would have realized that Piglet was a teeny little bubble by comparison!)

Small mammals, seeing her size, felt she must be very greedy (well, she probably was) and a threat to their food supplies (well, maybe that too, a little.)  But not so very much, because these small animals often had a restricted diet (like the fussy Potoroo, eating almost nothing but truffles!  Piglet sniffed in disdain (or envy, she was not sure which!)) While Piglet often did eat their favorites, she also ate other stuff.  Lots of other stuff!

It was while Piglet was in a field eating other stuff that she encountered the Rook.  There was plenty of grain to go around, so they foraged in peace as well as proximity.

Piglet, so often alone, took the opportunity to oink on and on about her life, her visits, her projects, her family and everything else in the big wide world.  The Rook, having left town hoping for a little peace and quiet, was soon more full of words than corn!

Piglet was happy to have had the Rook's company, even though he seemed a little taciturn.  She imagined what it must be like, living in Rook City, the conversations of which reach to the skies and across the land!

Rook, on the other hand, was completely frazzled by the encounter and barely had the energy to wing back nestward to his hungry wife and babies!

The Piglet Within

Piglet just had an amazing experience.  Her mother had produced another litter.  Bloop!  Bloop!  One little piglet after another had emerged from their mother like brown bubbles from a soapy mud wallow!

She looked down at herself.  To think she used to be like that, sort of runty and covered with slime!

Now she was on her way to pig perfection, becoming rounder every day.

More bubble-like!

Sometimes she felt so round and bubbly she did some double entrechats. (The kangaroos said she was cheating to call them that, because she was using four legs.  What right had they to talk, with their big old hips just made for leaping!)

(They also said that entrechats were not about cats, but about braiding.  Piglet tossed her head.  Know-it-all roos.  Everybody knows 'entre' means 'between' and 'chat' means 'cat!' and....) Piglet brooded.  Sometimes moving between those zany wild cubs was a definite braid job!  Maybe it was all true!  A rounder, happier Piglet performed a triple entrechat braid through imaginary balls of fluff, ending with a bow, her hind legs winging in the air.

Real Entrechats among adult cats would be no mean feat where piglet lived.  Lions and tigers are so big, imagine trying to leap around them, scissoring your feet!  Why, it would be more like bareback riding!  Piglet got so engrossed with that image that she almost forgot the fact that a lion was more likely to ride her, and that being among those cats would mean no mere twinkle of the hooves, no matter how winged!

But the world was kind to Piglet that day.

She skipped safely home, performing quadruple entrechats and burbling, "I'm just another bubble, like any other bubble...."

FlimFlam the Glorrible

FlimFlam the Glorrible lived in the Ocean and Was the Ocean.  The Ocean was FlimFlam's God, and he tried to live in the Ocean's Image.  He had a big huge whale tail that lifted and slapped like a wave.  He had a blowhole that could imitate oceanspray.  And like the ocean, FlimFlam devoured.

Piglet stood alone on a bluff.  "Just like the stag in Bambi!" she thought, holding herself a little more erect, self-consciousness suffusing her being.

Then she saw FlimFlam.  "Glorious!"  she breathed, watching the beast heave and plunge.  (Or at least, the iceberg-tip part of it she could make out - but smooth, like a calm sea.)  She watched its tail driving it forward through the ever-restless waters of the coast.  (FlimFlam didn't know it, but the Ocean rode its great waves away from itself, while FlimFlam drove himself forward with his.)

In the roiling water FlimFlam was creating with his advance, so small that Piglet couldn't see them, were millions of little plankters.  (So strange that such teeny critters (microscopic, some of them) had en masse a name meaning 'boardtwothousandpounds!' - plankton.  I'm sure there is a lesson in there somewhere!  And I'm also sure that in Greek 'plankton' means something else.)

Anyway, these minor miracles had been floating merrily along enjoying their everyday lives, when all of a sudden without their having a brinkling of what was coming, they were cut off from the light!  Zany little things, coming in all sizes and shapes, (well, relative to themselves, of course) they were indiscriminately devoured and digested by FlimFlam.  If they could be said to 'feel' at all, they 'thought' it felt horrible!

As to what had just happened to them, they didn't have a clue.

And truth to tell, neither did FlimFlam.  He was just doing his everyday, frambunctious thing.

Piglet didn't know either.  She ran off to tell her brothers and sisters about the FlimFlam, squealing "Gloooorious!" all the way home!

Piglet and Chicklet

Piglet just stumbled across the information that she, as a wild boar, was supposed to be mainly nocturnal.  What a shocker!  And here she was always venturing out whenever she pleased.  Maybe (the thought made her a little uneasy) there was something wrong with her and she couldn't tell the difference between night and day!

But she knew she could.  After all, she knew she could see the color blue and there was a whole lot more bright blue during the day.  Wasn't there?  (What she didn't know was that she couldn't tell red from yellow, but if you don't tell her neither will I.)

Yes, she was sure that there was a lot more blue out during the day because of what had happened to Chicken Little.  (Piglet called him Chicklet for short, partly to induce rapport with herself, and partly to help him forget that embarrassing episode about the sky falling in.)

Piglet was always happy to see a bit of blue, especially on a gray day.  A beautiful black-striped feather from one of those zany jays, a little piece of discarded shell from a successfully fledged robin, a charming chicory bloom - and what about blue flax?  Hadn't Chicklet ever noticed any of those things before the day he thought the sky was falling in?

Piglet curled up contentedly and chuckled to herself.  Funny little Chicklet.  When the truffles ran out, she was out of there.  She could eat other stuff, and of course she did.  But why wait until you were starving to move on?  Crises were best avoided - especially those of the imagination!

And so what if she missed some truffles?  Leave them for the potoroo - that's almost all they ate!  Hmm... truffle-stuffed potoroo might be a possibility...

Piglet hadn't learned that day that she did not share territories with the potoroo.  However had she come across them?  Must have run seen them when she was flying around with those wings her Ankle gave her....

Piglet drifted off to sleep....  and dreamed she almost landed on Chicklet while she was falling out of the sky, after banking too sharply to snap up a delectable-looking flying truffle!

Piglet's Dream

Piglet landed with a thud and woke up.  This time she had gone too far, grabbing at the flying truffle not only with her snout, but also with two of her hooves.  Winged as they were, of course she had disabled them and... oh, no!  This time she had landed on chicklet and now he was nothing but a little sugar-coated square!

Piglet (asleep again) moaned and mourned.  She had kayoed Chicklet!  (What did those letters stand for again?  She was pretty sure the 'O' stood for 'out'.  So she guessed that the 'K' would have to go.  From now on, Chicklet would have to be Chiclet.

The thought of the little fowl comforted her.  She smiled in her sleep.  Chicklet without the 'k' would be just as sweet... What a knockout he was...!

Awaking again with a start, Piglet frowned at herself with bleary pink eyes.  Whew!  With a sigh of relief, she turned over.  She had only dreamt she was blue!

Piglet and the Rufous-Sided Towhee

Piglet gets hungry a lot, so she spends much of her time looking at the ground, searching.  Her nose is so sensitive that she can 'look' for food on the run and her feet so nimble she can stop on a ladybug (not that she would ever do that!)  Piglet's very favorite food is truffles.  Her technique for getting at truffles improved drastically after she encountered the Rufous-Sided Towhee.  This is what happened:

One day Piglet was trotting towards the hazelnut grove when she heard a major rummaging in the brush nearby. Something the size of a Robin was making an incredible fuss!  But when she approached closer (in a kind of zany zigzag path, so the hysterical little dynamo wouldn't notice her approach) she realized that the bird was just really energetic in its hunt for food.  A quick uncover of and pounce on an insect was bound to make a disturbance.  And when there were a bunch of bugs, well!  You had to make a hustle-rustle!

Now Piglet performs what she calls the Towhee Truffle Shuffle when she smells those heavenly pheromone-laden shrooms.  Va-va-va-voom!

Piglet and the Lion Cub

One very fine day the piglet met a lion cub.  They eyed each other warily, but were too young to feel much need to attack or defend.  Besides, the weather had been very hot.  Too hot and too dry for too long.  They did not have the strength to perform zany childish antics.

They encountered one another when they were each trying to find a peaceful, shady place to lie down.

Piglet was traumatized.  The night before, her mother, overcome by exhaustion and the heat, had rolled over in her sleep and suffocated one of her brood.  Piglet just wanted to lie down and cry herself to sleep.

The lion cub also was heavy-hearted.  A strange male was trying to take over the pride.  He was killing all the cubs he encountered.  Yesterday, in spite of their mother's attempts to defend them, he attacked her cubs and managed to kill the lion cub's sister.

"...and then he ate her!" the lion cub sobbed.

In the shade of the bushes, on the hottest day of the year, Cub and Piglet shuddered.

   

Willy the Worm and Kaliche

Willy the Worm and his community of Worms lived in a loamy, airy (well, for soil!) neighborhood near the river.  Every night, they came out of the ground and pulled leaves down into the soil to eat and to help air out the place.

During the day the older worms would brag about how many leaves they had managed to 'turn under' during the night before and plan their goals for the next night.  They would tell tales of mysterious creatures who would stomp in the night, causing them to rustle rustle rustle as quick as they could into the ground, interrupting their night's foraging.

But despite growing population pressures in the community, no one ever talked about entering what Willy only knew as the Kaliche. The worms spoke of it in the hushed tones of dread.  Willy was curious and went to explore.  He reached the edge of the loam, and hit a wall as hard as inner city concrete.

How would he ever reach Kaliche with this hard clay wall in the way?  He moved along the wall until he found a crack.  It was just barely big enough to stick his nose in, but he knew how to aerate it!  Racing up to the surface (worms really can move amazingly fast sometimes - and I am not kidding) he grabbed a leaf and headed down under.  Shoving it into the crack, he went back for more.

Day in and day out, he penetrated the crack with his leaves.  He would get to Kaliche if it turned out to be ... well, better not to think too much about it perhaps.

Willy told no one about what he was doing.  He was afraid they would call him crazy, or loony, or at the very least zany.  Worst of all, they might forbid him from trying to get to Kaliche!

One day he got lucky.  He encountered a soft spot where a frazzle of piglet sibs had tried to dig with their hard little hooves.  The hard wall, which he had thought would last forever, had been broken up and softened a little by recent rains.

Meanwhile his tunnel to this area grew wider and more spacious.  Lined with more and more decaying leaves, it soon began to take on the odor and comfort of home.

Finally, when the entrance to his tunnel became too big to overlook, other worms came to see what was going on.  They saw his hideaway and praised Willy for conquering Kaliche!  Other young worms wanted a new hangout too, and asked him for advice on how to proceed.

Willy shrugged his middle.  All it took was a harmless goal, lots of hard work and a little bit of luck!  And - wonder of wonders - he was a hero!

(He was a little disappointed by the romantic name Kaliche, though.  Who could have guessed it was just plain old unliveable clay?)

 

 

 

The Horse-Flies, the Spider, and the Frog

 

Piglet was out by the pond one day, enjoying the bright sunny weather, when she saw a curious sight.  It looked like a zany, foppish horsefly wearing two scarves!  Talk about a fashion imperative!  Piglet, always a curious sort, came closer.

 

It was the one of the strangest sights Piglet had ever seen!  What looked like scarves were not scarves at all!  One of the things that looked like scarves, a bright almost invisible gossamer thing, led a long way back to… a spider hunkering on her web!  She had almost had the horsefly in her net, but he had gotten away.  A sticky filament still clung around horsefly’s neck (well, what would be a neck if he had one!) like a noose.  (Ever tried to get spider web off you?)

 

The other thing that at first had looked like a scarf was (Piglet followed it away from the horsefly as best she could with her fuzzy eyesight - a greenish frog!  The ‘scarf’ was the sticky tongue of that frog!  Long as it was, the tongue seemed to be a little overextended stretched tight like a black rubber band.  And, honestly, that frog was teetering on the edge of its lily pad!

 

Horsefly, humming merrily among the fragrant pink milkweed blossoms, knew less about either of his ’scarves’ than Piglet!  He was just doing his thing, “hum de dum, - lovely flowers, lovely aroma!” - not a care in the world!

 

For Piglet it was one of those moments you feel suspended in time.  What would happen next?  Spider maybe could handle a horsefly, although to Piglet that seemed overly ambitious.  (A housefly was more her speed, probably.)  But she surely couldn’t wrap up that frog!

 

Frog, on the other hand, wasn’t in the best position herself.  Maybe she could maneuver herself within better retrieving range.  As it stood now, she reminded Piglet of a fisherman with the one that got away on his line, and Froggy looked to be tiring fast.

 

Piglet was so busy staring, waiting to see what would happen next, that she forgot something mightcould just be watching her!  Ow! A female horsefly, with much meaner habits than the male, had just gathered ham for lunch!  Quite a mouthful, too, looked like!

 

Piglet ran off squealing to her mudbath.  Where were those horse guard wasps when you really needed them?

 

Piglet and the Elephant

One moonless night Piglet went down to the mud wallow.  She would have preferred clear water, but she was hot enough to use beer, had it been available (Piglet does not like beer.)

Squishing around on her side in the mud, she felt herself slapped by a tail very like her own.  (A little straighter, maybe.)  Thinking another pig was about, she started a conversation.  Her neighbor did not sound very hog-like, but the conversation was so simpatico and companionable that Piglet invited her to a candlelight dinner the next night.

Imagine her surprise when the only thing that showed up was a long gray hose!  It came right through the 'window' Piglet had tusked in the shrubs that created her livingroom!  (Piglet is a very wild boar!)  Piglet ran to the door and looked out, but all she saw were some gray tree-trunks that she hadn't noticed before. 

The voice was the recognizable, though, so Piglet brought out dinner, a lovely tray of truffles which Piglet had rooted herself.  She could not find her guest's eyes though (let alone catch them!) so she couldn't tell if her trendy T-shirt (Go, Green Cities, Go!) and her silver high-tops were much appreciated.

She didn't have time to wonder for long.  In a trice the truffles were gone!  As she was casting about in her mind for something else to offer her voracious guest, who evidently thought the truffles mere appetizers, Shwunk!  A pile of dry grass invaded the room, crushing the pretty wildflower centerpiece!

"Thank you so much for inviting me for dinner," said her guest.  "I just had to share my favorite dish with you!"  With that, the hose proceeded to eat half of the hay and withdraw.

To this day, Piglet is confused.  Who was that mysterious zany gray hog?

The Big Cats and the Little Birds

Piglet felt a little sad when she started to dress for the Conference of the Birds.  She would have loved to wear her zany silver hightops, but they just wouldn't do for this meeting.

It was a very important one, one that had been worked at for months.  Peace was about to be made between the rulers of the savannah and the jungle - the lion and the tiger.  The birds had been at hard diplomatic labor, negotiating ecological arrangements and compromises.  Most birds prefer to live at the forest's edge, and the territorial battles between the big cats along their borders were making life almost impossible.

The owls and other predatory birds were spearheading this meeting;  their prey was being scared off to the point of their starvation.  The other birds, thankful that seeds and insects were untroubled by fussing among those higher on the food chain, gave their support.

Piglet was happy to do this also.  It was bad enough dealing with the big cats normally, but when there wasn't even the slimmest of margins to keep her family safe from their predations... well!  she was glad that this meeting was to be preceded by a feast for the feared rulers.  Even so, it would take all her courage to attend.

When she arrived, the big cats were already there, regal and serene in their sated confidence.  Quiet reigned, and everyone's hope for peace was high.

Suddenly, there was an explosion of noise, fluttering bodies and feathers.  A squabble had arisen among the chickens and pigeons and doves and spread in a wave across the contingent!

The organizers of the event soon restored calm, but it was too late.

The great cats, alarmed by the disorder, had vanished.

 

Piglet and the Cicadas*

Piglet has gotten herself into a quandry.  (No, not a quagmire, that's where she was lolling when this whole thing got started!  Even the quagmire took some tactical rolling to get out of, and she is not out of her quandry yet!)

She was just lying there in the (really kind of disconcertingly tugging) mud when she heard a loud buzzing.  A really loud scary buzzing, like the buzz a double-deck freight train would make if it buzzed!  What on earth was that?  Piglet stopped thinking butterfly thoughts and listened, poised for flight (or well, you know, the piggy equivalent of it!)

The noise didn't seem to be moving, except in waves, so she relaxed again.  Piglet still couldn't really get a sense of what all the buzzing was about, so she concentrated on two buzzers near the edge of the mud and flicked her ears in their direction.  She had never seen anything like them - giant insects with big red eyes!  And they smelled like dirt.  (She didn't know it, but for insects they were old as dirt, having been underground for seventeen years developing into the noisy critters up on the surface now!)

Being a curious creature she wanted to know, "What's the buzz?" but she was too lazy to say so.  She closed her eyes and listened.

What?  These critters were talking about revolution?! 

It seems that it was their universally accepted opinion that they were some of the noblest insects on earth.  Since they were so old and wise (Piglet doubted that part!) they were convinced that seventeen years from now, when they emerged from the soil again, they would emerge as higher beings on the evolutionary scale.

'Cockroaches?' thought Piglet idly.  She had heard that they have been around for millions of years.  (If she got this wrong, don't blame me!  I'm not her teacher!)

But no, these otherwise known as cicadas were aiming a little higher than that.  Some of their numbers were missing - large sums of their numbers were missing - and they blamed this on the humans.  Why, whole towns full of cicadas had failed to emerge this year!  And the survivors blamed it on the humans.

(They were right, of course.  Human civilization is probably a little hard on cicadas.  (After all, look what agriculture had done to the locusts!  They certainly have a bad name in a lot of farming history!) But what were they going to do about it?)

As far as Piglet could make out, they had plans to behave so spiritually, dedicating all their joyful noise unto the Lord, that they would come out of the earth in seventeen years (or thirty-four, or however many multiples of seventeen (a highly spiritual number!) it took), until great numbers of them had attained humanity.  (Piglet snorted).  This, they argued, was not as improbable as it might seem, because there weren't enough human souls to occupy all the human babes being born.  A lot of animal life was being promoted these days.

Once they became human, they reasoned, they would cause as much stupid accidental death and death due to war and famine (their own kind could help with the latter, they chuckled) as possible, in order to cut down on the number of humans.

Piglet swiveled her had around in a circular motion, trying to get their reasoning straight in her head.  As well as she could figure it, these zany creatures were trying to wage war against their future selves!  What if it worked?

Maybe she should discuss this idea with her friend Willy the Worm, whom she had met when he was opening up a new truffle plot.  (Actually, she had almost hooved him, but it was accidental!)  Could the worms, hanging around in the underground with larvae, have any influence on their weird thinking?  And should they, if they could?  Those humans really were outrageous lately, acting as if they thought they could take over everything!

Piglet found herself thoroughly stuck in her quandary.  Well, the least she could do, she thought, was get out of the quagmire!

And that, she found, was no small feat either!

* Sometimes alternatively (and unscientifically) called locusts. 

Piglet Hears of History

Piglet is woebegone.  Today she has had the shock of her life.  She was just snuffling and pawing around, doing her normal foraging, when she came upon a farm!  There were chicks in a coop, horses in a ring, and a bunch of little piglets (much younger than she!) and they were all in training.

Curious, she hung around.  She was proud to observe that the pigs seemed to have the most sophisticated studies on the whole lot.  While the horses were being put through paces, the pigs were learning from their elders about the world around them.  (Of course, you understand, the horses were proud because their discipline was the most artistic!)Piglet pretended to look for truffles, eavesdropping for all she was worth.

What she heard shocked her to the core.

She was a wild animal!  She was a boar!  Wasn't she?  What did they mean, pigs were imported in her native American territory!  And not just pigs!  Earthworms! (which the domesticated pigs were blaming for the reduction of the forests, with their eternal eating up of ground leaf litter.  (No, not ground up leaf litter - leaf litter on the ground!))  And bees - bees were immigrants, too!  Piglet felt dizzy and had to sit down.

Bees were the very stuff of life!  What would Piglet's world be without bees to pollinate apples, peaches - all the yummy fruits (both sweet and not) that made her diet so varied and interesting?  Not only that, but pigs were considered pests by the Native Americans - the very first civilizations that are known to have lived in these parts! - because pigs rampaged through their crops.  They were unwelcome guests!

Well, now Piglet didn't know what she was.  Was she wild or was she (shudder) feral?  Did she belong here, or did she not?

Piglet went around in circles, trying to make a comfortable place for herself.

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