The snow came down in a flurry on a cold, wet, winter day in the heart of Knottywood Forest. Mr. Fox trotted down the slope to his home.
It wasn't much of a home. The roof had partially caved in, allowing the house to be exposed to the elements. The windows hung off of their hinges offering no objection to the fiercely cold wind which entered and blew throughout the house. The house smelled of mold, the walls were crumbling and the doorknobs had fallen off. Like I said, it wasn't much of a home, but this is where he lived.
Mr. Fox shook the snow off of his tail as he walked in the door. There was Mrs. Fox waiting to greet him. She was happy to see her husband. Regrettably, though he had been unable to find any food. And their litter of pups were beginning to cry out. Not to mention, it was Christmas Eve. Things certainly did look bleak. Mrs. Fox put her head on her husbands shoulder and began to cry.
Her cries did not go unnoticed. A beaver, who lived on the other side of the river, just happened to pass by. And he couldn't help but notice the situation. It was then that God placed it in his heart to do something. But what could he do? He had nothing to spare. So, that evening the beaver called a meeting with the other animals of the Knottywood Forest.
Among those that attended wee a deer and his doe, four squirrels, a wild goat, a bear and a family of raccoons. However, no one had anything to offer the foxes. They had just stored up enough to get themselves through the winter. Then, a little voice could be heard. It was a field mouse. He had initially gone unnoticed in the crowd. So the goat placed him on top of a tree stump to allow everyone to hear what he had to say.
And so the little mouse began to speak. "Each one of us has a special gift or talent placed in us by the Creator. We each have a gift that is unique and to be utilized for God's glory and the service of others. Why don't we use what we already have."
The animals pondered this for a moment and immediately got to work. Beaver gnawed through a group of trees and shaped them into logs. Then the deer scooped them up one by one in his antlers and carried them to a clearing. The squirrels gathered some scrap wood and carved out some wooden nails. And they began to erect a home.
The deer placed the logs on top of each other. The squirrels put the nails in position and "THUMP". The doe and the goat brought down their hooves to drive the nails through. A family of opossums that were very handy with tools agreed to help. They took care of all the window and door casings, and even carved the Fox name on the door.
Now it was time for the roof. The squirrels carved out oak shingles. Then they quickly scurried accross the roof surface laying them down, as the field mouse came by with his little hammer and nailed the shingles in place. The bear gathered large boulders and made a stone wall around the property. Alas, the house was finished.
The field mouse ran off to get the foxes. In the meantime, the raccoon family came hurrying over the hill with bags full of goodies. They had gone to a nearby village and gathered all the leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone helped set the table, just as the sun began to rise.
And then, the field mouse returned with the entire fox family. Mrs. Fox was moved to tears. Everyone bowed their heads, blessed the food and had a merry feast. That night, Mr. Fox looked on in contentment as Mrs. Fox lay their little pups down in the nursery that the beaver had designed himself. Mrs. Fox glanced back at her husband and said, "What a wonderful gift we have recieved." "Yes" said Mr. Fox. "One gift made by many gifts!"
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