The Hedgehog and the Mutant Slug

It was a hot summer day and Henrietta Hedgehog stood at the side of the road watching cars going by and wondering how she was going to get across to the lake in the woods on the other side.  She really wanted to swim, but apparently so did all the humans who were whizzing by in their cars totally oblivious to her need to cross.  Henrietta wasn’t even sure they would have stopped for a human pedestrian but they sure as heck weren’t stopping for her.  She was afraid that her plans for the day were going to be wrecked.  She was supposed to be meeting friends at the lake and she really really wanted to get across the road.

Suddenly, as Henrietta was wondering why she couldn’t run faster, she heard a voice beside her.  “Would you like some help,” the voice said.  Henrietta looked around and then jumped backwards as she realized that there was a very large mutant slug standing next to her.  Was that even possible?  Could slugs stand?  She’d never seen such a large slug in her life.

“Who are you?” said Henrietta and then realizing that she sounded rather rude and cranky she added, “Yes, I would like help.  I really want to get to the other side of this road as I am supposed to be meeting friends at the lake.”

“No problem,” answered the slug.  “I am Sylvester, by the way.”

“Oh, sorry, I’m Henrietta,” replied Henrietta.  “It is such a hot day and I really want to swim in the lake, but every time I think there is going to be a break in the traffic, another car starts up the hill and honestly, I don’t run very fast.”

“Well, I’ve heard that hedgehogs can roll into a ball to protect themselves,” commented Sylvester.  “Is that true?”

“Why yes,” answered Henrietta, “but I can’t move at all when I am curled up.”

“You may have noticed that I am quite large,” Sylvester continued rather sheepishly, “and I can wave my body like a stick.  I was thinking that if you were rolled into a ball, I could then give you a big push, rather like a bat hitting a ball, causing you to roll quickly right across the road.”

“What a novel idea,” answered Henrietta.  “I’d certainly never have thought of that.  Do you really think it will work?”

Sylvester answered, “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t.  We would just wait for the biggest break in the traffic we could get and give it a try, that is, if you are willing.  I know it is a bit risky, but when I fell into the vat in the high school chemistry class I not only got a lot bigger, but also a lot stronger, and I am twice as tall as you are so it should work just fine.”

Henrietta thought and thought.  She did want to get to the lake and she did want to spend the afternoon swimming and chatting with her friends, but what an idea, being hit as if she were a ball.  But how else was she going to get there?  Finally, Henrietta decided.  “Ok, you are very kind and I guess it is worth a try.  And however it turns out, it was still very nice of you to help an old hedgehog!” Henrietta answered.

Sylvester instructed her about where she should position herself.  They were at the top of a short hill and Sylvester thought that if he hit her at an angle, the slope of the hill would help increase her speed.  She’d end up on the other side, but a bit downslope from her starting point.  Henrietta agreed and curled herself up as tightly as she could on the spot Sylvester had indicated.  Sylvester drew himself up to his full height and then swung himself toward Henrietta.  He hit her with a resounding thud and  then realized a bit too late that in hitting her he had also become stuck to her!  The two of them careened across the road at what seemed like a tremendous velocity and in no time at all, they were rolling to a stop in the grass on the other side of the road.

Henrietta unrolled herself carefully and asked, “Are you ok, Sylvester?  I hadn’t thought about my spines in all this.”

Sylvester unpeeled himself from Henrietta’s back before answering, “Neither had I, to be honest.  Thankfully you aren’t very heavy or you would have crushed me as you rolled!  However, it has all worked out splendidly because I too wanted to cross the road but hadn’t figured out how.  Now we both are here.  I guess you could say we helped each other.  Let’s go find that lake now!”

And so Henrietta and Sylvester headed through the woods to the lake, each of them happy to have found a new friend.

NOTE: I am using an iPad app called Inspiro which has very fun writing prompts.

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The Sneezing Turtle

One day a turtle sneezed on a historian.  The historian looked up in surprise because she hadn’t even known the turtle was there.  Then the turtle apologized, and the historian was even more surprised.  “What are you doing here?” asked the historian.

“Oh just wandering around,” replied the turtle.  “I like your yard and I thought I’d tell you so.”

“I want to try to create a sanctuary for all things,” said the historian.  “In my work I study ancient cultures, but I get tired of seeing the way the same mistakes are made over and over again.  People don’t seem to learn and I find that upsetting.”

The turtle agreed.  “I know.  Humans seem to be focused in all the wrong directions.  That is why  most of the animal world has given up on them.”

“What do you mean,” asked the historian.

“Well, humans and animals used to be able to communicate telepathically and they knew how to care for each other.  But then humans changed and moved into new worlds, developed new ideas, and lost their sense of natural wonder.  They lost their sense of joy in the everyday.  They turned away from the other animals, forgetting that they themselves are also animals,” replied the turtle.

“But you are different,” continued the turtle, “and so you have been chosen to go on a grand adventure.”

“What do you mean,” said the historian.

“Well, we’ve decided that your efforts deserve to be encouraged.  Maybe others will  follow your example if they know more,” said the turtle.  “Climb on my back and we’ll be off.”

“What,” said the historian.

“Climb on my back,” said the turtle again.

The historian got on the turtle’s back and all of a sudden the turtle started to fly.  Things were just really getting weird, thought the historian.  Soon they were soaring high over the neighboring mountains, higher and higher.  Before long they were soaring around the moon.  The turtle was singing a beautiful song, and soon the historian had forgotten how strange this was.  She and the turtle were one, and the historian learned through the turtle’s song.

The hours passed in a blur, and all too soon the turtle said that it was time to return to earth.  More quickly than the historian would have thought possible, they were back in her study.  The historian thanked the turtle for the remarkable experience.  That night, as she slept, she dreamt of her flight and how wonderful it had been to feel the connection with the real world, rather than the man-made artificiality that masqueraded as the real world.  And as long as she lived she carried that feeling of connection with all of life, sharing it whenever she could.  As for the turtle, she made a home in the historian’s pond.  They only took that one flight, but that one was enough to change their lives forever.

NOTE: I am using an iPad app called Inspiro which has very fun writing prompts.