Eleri walked with her tiny legs into the woodland. She heard sounds she had never heard before: scratching and shuffling, hooting and hollering, buzzing and beeping. The woods felt alive in a way that was so different to the lake. Her mother said she had to walk here but, also, that she had to talk to any creatures she saw. She hadn’t seen anyone yet but, boy, had she heard them. Can you hear them too?
Eleri took a moment to rest, just where you are now, and look through the trees. She could see the outline of the reservoir’s bank and suddenly she just wanted to run. Run up the bank, over the top, and fly, fly all the way back to her tunnel. She didn’t want to be here, in these woods with these tall trees and loud noises, she wanted to be back home with her mother and father. She wanted to see her brothers and be comfortable again.
‘Buzz, buzz – are you lost – buzz, buzz?’
Eleri spun around. Who was talking to her? She couldn’t see anyone.
‘Buzz – over here – buzz.’
She looked to her left and saw a yellow and black bumble bee sitting on a purple flower.
‘Uh, I guess I am a little lost, and scared’ Eleri admitted.
‘You’re scared – buzz – but you’re so big!’
Eleri was surprised. She never considered herself big before but, she thought, compared to this bee she must seem like a giant!
‘Oh, thank you’ Eleri said. ‘But, the trees are much bigger than me. I’d love to talk more with you, but I need to return to my tunnel on the other side of the lake…’
‘Wow, you’re from all the way over the other side of the – buzz – lake and you flew here? I could never do that. You are both big and brave – buzz!’
Eleri thought about that for a moment. She had flown here, from far across the lake. And she had walked down the big hill to get here too. Maybe she could keep going.
‘That is so nice, thank you. But, I have to bring home a pine needle from the top of a big tree at the end of the path and I am not allowed to fly in these woods. I have no idea how to do this. Could you help me?’
‘Buzz – I’m sorry but I’ve never been able to fly to the top of a tree with my little wings. Why don’t you walk down this path and ask one of the squirrels? They are the fast ones with the puffy tails. They like to chatter – buzz – so you should hear them talking when they’re close. They can climb up high and maybe get the pine needle for you. Buzz buzz – good luck!’
The bumble bee flew away and waved as she went. Eleri had never seen a squirrel before but this sounded like a good idea. She started walking deeper into the woodland. Follow the path that she took and keep a lookout for any helpful squirrels on your way!
(story by Christina Thatcher)