It did not take Eleri long before she started to hear chattering. And digging noises. She saw tails too – puffy tails – racing up and down the trees. These were definitely squirrels, and wow, there were so many of them! Can you see any squirrels today from where you are? Which one would you ask for help?
‘Uh, excuse me’ Eleri said in a quiet voice. She thought maybe one of the squirrels would stop and come over, but none of them did. They kept running and jumping and shuffling and digging.
‘Hello’ Eleri called a little louder. ‘Can one of you help me?’
Still nothing. The squirrels were fast and they were busy.
‘SQUIRRELS!’ Eleri shouted in her biggest, bravest voice. All the squirrels stopped to look at her.
‘Thank you. I was wondering if any of you could help me, please? You see, I need to get a pine needle from the top of a tree at the end of this path and I don’t know how to do it because I can’t fly in the woodlands because I’m trying to get my colourf…’
‘Stop right there’ a quick-speaking squirrel said making his way swiftly down one of the trees next to her. ‘We can run and jump and swing from trees but we can’t go to the very top of those old pines at the end of the path. That is too dangerous and we might fall. No squirrel here has ever gone up that high.’
‘Oh’ Eleri said. Suddenly she felt like she might cry. What was she going to do? How was she ever going to get this pine needle without flying? She looked down at her feet.
‘Now, now, don’t worry’ the speedy squirrel said. ‘Down by the stream there is a wise old frog. He has lived here longer than any of us. He loves the shade and the water so you’ll find him there. Why don’t you go ask him for help getting this pine needle? Surely, he’ll have a clever idea.’
‘Oh, thank you, thank you’ Eleri said, feeling more hopeful. ‘I will go and find this wise frog and see if he can help.’
All the squirrels waved goodbye as Eleri started walking further down the path. She waved back and then heard them start to chatter, shuffle and dig again. She was beginning to like these woodland sounds.
What sound do you like best here? You may want to take a short break now and listen for a while. Can you hear the bumble bee, or the squirrels or something else?
(story by Christina Thatcher)