Ricky Raccoon was the bully of the forest. He picked on all the other
creatures big or small. When he was a small raccoon his mother used to say:
“Don’t be such a bully, Ricky, or you won’t have any friends.”
Chester Chipmunk was starting to get old, but with age came wisdom, and
Chester was wise. Chester worked hard all summer storing food for the winter,
acorns and nuts safely tucked away in a hollow tree trunk. He even worked
on days he didn’t feel too good. He knew some winters last longer than others do.
One day, when the weather was starting to turn cold, Chester was gathering the
last of the nuts and acorns. Ricky watched from behind a fallen tree,
laughing to himself at this “silly old chipmunk”. When Chester left the storage tree, Ricky went to it with a bag, left behind by campers, he took all the
food that Chester had stored and quickly ran away.
Ricky was laughing so hard about the “joke” he played he wasn’t watching where
he was running, and he ran right off a cliff overlooking the river below.
As he fell, the bag snagged some overhanging branches, leaving Ricky hanging in air, feet dangling over the river. His arms, too tired from dragging the bag of nuts, could
not pull himself up, in fact he didn’t know how long he could even hold on without falling into the cold water.
Meanwhile, Chester, who was gathering nuts nearby, heard Ricky yell as he fell off the cliff. Abandoning the nuts he had gathered, he ran to see who needed help. When he got there and saw Ricky dangling and holding onto the big bag of nuts, he asked Ricky
what had happened. Ricky admitted what he did, and begged for Chester to pull him up. Chester turned around and left him hanging in the air. Ricky was sure Chester was going
to leave him there for stealing all his food, and thought he probably deserved it.
Just before his strength wore out he heard some commotion above on the cliff. He looked up and saw Chester with three younger chipmunks. As Chester gave directions,
the young chipmunks made a chain, each holding the tail of the one above them, and
slid down until the last one wrapped his tail around Ricky, and they pulled him to
safety. “I thought you were going to leave me there.” Ricky said. Chester told him
he was too old to pull him up by himself so he had to get some help. “But, why?”
Ricky asked. “I had just taken all your food.” “Well, Chester said, I never leave a
friend who’s in trouble. I always thought of you as one of my forest friends, but I
figured you just hadn’t realized it yet.”
After hearing that, Ricky not only brought the bag of nuts and acorns back to the tree,
but went busily about helping his friend gather more, just in case of a long winter.
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