Chicki the chipmunk poked his little head out of the hollow log in the forest. His other family members still snoozed in the cozy bed of leaves. He hardly slept through the night, listening to the sounds of night-time creatures rustling leaves, owls hooting, wings swooshing through the night air. Mama said this morning they could go outside.
Outside Chicki could see blue and red things swooping down on the ground then up into spruce trees. They were munching something.
Click, click, click, he heard strange sounds, and ducked back inside. A tall creature was moving along right in front of him. When a big face appeared, he shook with fear. The big face was speaking, but Chicki couldn’t understand the words, although the tone was soft and not worrisome.
It was Tim Tucker, who lived in the house in the woods. He knew there were new babies and he wanted a peek. Sure enough one little baby was peeking back at him. Tim spread some funny shaped things on the ground, and walked away.
Chicki was oh so curious about those little things. He looked back at Mama and his brothers and sisters, still all curled up together, and although he wasn’t supposed to go anywhere without Mama, he jumped out, grabbed one of the objects, and hopped back. He held it in his little rodent hands, and sniffed it. It smelled good. He took a teeny tiny itsy bitsy bite.
Whoop–Mama knocked it out of his grip. She said, “Kereeee, Keruuuu!!!”
Which means “I told you NEVER to eat anything unless I told you it was okay.”
Chicki knew he had disobeyed, starting to cry, but Mama hugged him close. She picked up the thing, nibbling it herself, she recognized what it was and Chicki told her of the big creature who had left it and had spoken to him. Mama smiled, handing the treat back to her little boy. It was a peanut. Mama said peanuts and other goodies from
Mr. Tucker were okay to eat, but never, ever take anything from anyone else or you could be VERY sick. Not every big creature was kind like Tim Tucker.
Mama woke up the rest of their little clan, groomed each little body, giving instructions to stay close to her, they ventured out of the den.
The children did not stay close to Mama. Pixie scampered to the tulip tree,
Jesse dashed underneath the stump fence, Sonya jumped over stones in the driveway, Milo hopped to a thistle, then to a patch of spearmint. Chicki ran to the blue spruce to see what those red and blue things had been eating.
Mama called out “Krchoooo, Krchoooo.” She wanted her babies back at her side, but not one listened to her, they were so excited to be out in this wonderful new world. Chicki found some more peanuts, calling to the others to come try them. Milo scooted right over gobbling up three with hardly tasting them. Pixie came too for a taste, but was then frightened by a big blue thing that screeched at her. Mama came running to protect her offspring. She told them that was only Bluie the Jay, always scolding someone, wanting more than his share of any foodstuff to be found.
Jesse whizzed over to Mama with a bread crust in his mouth, to ask if that was okay to eat. Mama had seen him pick it up near the wide, covered bird feeder near the front of the Tucker’s chalet house, so yes, it was okay to eat. She caressed her lad for asking permission before gulping it down. She could see it was good to get them out of the nest, to forage for their own food, for they were ravenously hungry, and it was a great task for her and Papa to keep them fed.
The tribe scouted around the yard for only ten minutes, then Mama herded them all back inside for lessons on dangers. The little mites didn’t listen though, curling up in a warm ball each fell soundly asleep. Jesse, Pixie, Sonya, Milo, and especially Chicki, dreamed of other adventures they would have the next time they ventured outside.
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