Once upon a time, a Red Squirrel bragged to his cousins of prairie dogs and woodchucks that he had gathered more nuts in a shorter time than all the other squirrels combined.
He’d even beaten out his famous relative, Rambo the Flying Squirrel. It seemed that Rambo became so enraged at his endless bragging that he failed to produce a warning call of an approaching cat, and Red Squirrel barely escaped with his life.
And so it came to pass one day Gray Squirrel speaks up for the entire group and says to Red Squirrel, “Who do you think you are? Gathering nuts is a skill that we all possess, in fact it’s written in our DNA.
We come into this world literally blind, we never get much larger than a small teacup, most of us live in the holes or trunks of trees, and read my tail, we all love nuts!
Moreover, when autumn comes we must all work together and gather enough food for the winter months.”
Red Squirrel was missing the point when he constantly bragged about how many nuts he’d acquired. “Why, we’ve have been gathering and storing food for more than 35 millions years! and you make it sound as if you invented the wheel.
We all acquire nuts and seeds and the fact that Red Squirrel gathers more than the rest of us has nothing to do with being more skillful or clever: he just happens to be in the right place at the right time.” Red Squirrel must be taught a lesson, he concludes.
Upon hearing this, Red Squirrel bares his chunky front teeth and says, “You rodents have nothing to teach me. I’m a superior nut gatherer, deal with it!”
“We’ll see about that,” Gray Squirrel replies. He suggests that he and Red Squirrel have a contest as to who could gather the most nuts in five days.
Red Squirrel says, “Piece of corn”; I’m a nut gatherer extraordinaire, I’ll make Red Squirrel look like a slug.”
On the first day, Red Squirrel sees that he has twice as many nuts as Grey Squirrel and he gathered them in half the time in took Grey Squirrel to find them. On the second day, he barely broke a sweat and still had more nuts than his competitor.
On the third day, Red Squirrel is confident and doesn’t gather any nuts or seeds but just watches Gray Squirrel scurrying frantically around looking for nuts. Not to worry, he has plenty of time to catch up with him.
And then on the fourth day of the contest, the winds and rains come. Red Squirrel pokes his nose out of hole, sees Gray Squirrel running around looking for nuts under the swaying wet branches of the trees, and retreats in his den. Red Squirrel doesn’t know just how many nuts he’d gathered in the storm but surely not enough for him to worry about. He’s so much faster and clever at finding nuts.
Red Squirrel sighs, cushions his tail around him and falls asleep.
On the fifth day, Red Squirrel awakens by a shrill tchrring sound coming from the bottom of the tree. He runs down to see what all the excitement is about.
The nuts are in two separate piles, and to Red Squirrel’s horror, he notices that Gray Squirrel’s pile is twice as high as his! He’s speechless, how is it possible that he lost to Gray Squirrel who is older, slower and less resourceful as he?
When Gray Squirrel sees his dejected look, he said “I hope you have learned something from this experience. “You relied on your past achievements instead of working to maintain your status. In other words, my red friend, you rested on your laurel leaf when you should have been thinking of other uses for it.” And with that said Gray Squirrel flicks his tail and walks away.