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Tatiana Schatten

The Wolf That Never Was

Not based on true events

Once upon a time, as all stories truly begin, in the most northerly part of our beloved Saskatchewan, there was a reunion of grandfather and grandchild. There, in a stately cabin of humble logs, the building small in size yet large in heart, the grandfather, Mike Turret, spoke of wondrous tales to his daughter’s child who’s name was Emelia Ester. But now, in the dimness of dusk and in the ruddy light of the nearby fire, Mr. Turret seemingly put a halt to his tellings and spoke no more. He turned his eyes to a window which was a little ways from his one side. There was a full moon beyond, sprinkling the darksome trees with its sparkle. Generously it did so, and even permitted a pinch to fall upon Emelia. There she knelt at his feet, and her hands were upon his knee and her splendid , innocent eyes begging for more. Eventually, Mr. Turret condescended to bestowed more. In accents as slow as the untouched lands beyond, his eyes yet drawn irresistibly to those lands, he began: “ There was once a wolf in the world, a great grey wolf with evil thoughts and sinful inclinations. A cougar took the life of its cub, and the wolf pursued it restlessly and took its life in vengeance. This wolf had once been caught in a trap, and escaped. But the next day, the trapper’s finest horse was found dead upon a sward. That was the doing of the wolf. It devoured birds in jealousy of their wings. It took calves and fawns just to give woe to the mothers; it howled at the moon to terrify travellers. All was done purposefully. Now, Emelia, my girl,” Here he turned to the child who’s eyes were like moons in her interest, “Do you know what kind of wolf it was?” “ No, Grandfather,” replied the child simply, “What type of wolf was it?” And Mr. Turret turned again to the view outside and said “ Child, that was the wolf that never was.” Then he murmured musefully in low tones “ No malice... No malice...” A glow and flash of eyes appeared in the distance, and a wail arose, as beautiful as it was wild it moaned in the air, and the night overshadowed the lonely house, to rise again only at dawn.

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“ I Began to Do What Was Right, but Ended Doing What Was Wrong”

Not based on true events

A tremendous wind blew over South America not a few days ago; a wind which trees could not barricade, a wind which mountains could not withhold. Therefore, after the awe-strickening event, we journeyed to the area of the ill-fated wind and there collected the testimonies of some its victims.  First, we came upon a magnificent Harpy Eagle with her great crest of feathers more ruffled than usual. We asked the poor afflicted bird the question of how the storm had affected her, and she cried out in the distress of her memories: “ Like a fly I was during it; a fly in the midst of a group of thoughtless swatters! I would attempt to catch my prey, there in the treetops, then a branch would whip forward in the wind and send me tumbling away! Hungry I was! Tumbling I was!” And with a last shriek, she arose into the air with powerful wing beats and left us. Aotus, the Night Monkey, seemed to have similar sentiments. “It was awful! Oh dear! Oh dear!” He hooted, “ I felt like a piece of washing hung upon a wire! The branch swayed and swayed below my feet, and made me feel ill with the movement. Oh dear! May we never have such a gale again!” Finally, we interviewed a Tent-building Bat who readily told us more woes. “ My  little tent of leaves, it was utterly destroyed! Then, when I moved to roost beneath another, a strange thing happened.  Each time I tried to snatch it, the leaf would move! I began to do what was right, but ended doing what was wrong! And I am such an adept rooster!” Such were the thoughts of the other interviewees: they had began by doing what was right, but ended by doing what was wrong and failing in their goal. With them, we may agree: we do hope that there never is such a wind again!

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Tony and Toby

Not based on true events

There were two twins in the Twin family, one named Tony and the other Toby. And there were two geniuses in that self-same family. They, of course, were Mr. Twin and Mrs. Twin. Mr. Twin was a geologist of great renown and there was nothing he liked better than to pick away at a conglomeration of gold which was to be found in a dry stream bank near their home. But, I am afraid that when the back of this genius was turned, one of the twins transformed into a naughty genius himself. This twin was Tony, and beholding the sack of precious metals slumped behind his father’s turned back, took his chance and dashed from his hiding place behind the vegetation. Without a second thought, he snatched the bag and ran off with a victorious hoot and holler. This, unfortunately, Mr. Twin did not hear. And so, when he was preparing to stash a newly-found golden flake, he turned and discovered to his astonishment that the rest of his hoard was no where to be seen. First he stared, then he scratched his scalp, and then he began to suspect. In the meanwhile, Toby, who had been playing nearby and had witnessed the whole of the event, began not to suspect but to formulate plan. Then, with noiseless steps, he began to pursue his brother through the twisted woodlet. Tony, though, suspected no spy, nor sneak. No, he had been a genius, and had conquered and had taken as booty that rare gold. He was rich, yes, rich! And nothing could stop him. But something did stop him, for, as he came into a miniature glade, he heard an irresistible sound. It was a sound heard in many homes, but not in his, and he yearned for it with a towering passion. It was an unmistakable, clear, undeniable “meow.” Tony immediately halted in his tracks, and spun about in search of the creator of the sound, but found none. Then he called for the kitty,  but nothing and no one came to him. There was another meow, more pitiful than the other, beckoning him. The sound of it was entrancing, and Tony completely lost his head under its strong spell. And this was exactly what Toby had intended as he looked on in silence, shielded from view by a nearby tree trunk. Toby, desperate for a glimpse of the puss, dropped his bag with a dull thud upon the ground, and ran in circles about it, all the while calling, meowing, and mewing in the most idiotic manner for that mysterious cat. This was unbearable for Toby. “ Why doesn’t he just leave? Why doesn’t he  just leave?” He thought as he beheld the strange spectacle. Finally, after about ten laps, Tony heard the “meow” resound from far away, and without hesitation, or another lap, Tony rushed forward, crying out hysterically for the feline, sweat dripping from him in showers, and disappeared into the bushes. For a time, Toby watched and waited in case of  his brother’s returned, but that naughty brother did not return. His yells swiftly grew fainter and fainter all the while until they finally dissolved into the landscape. “ Now he is far away,” thought Toby and came out from his place of refuge, and taking up the bag, he slung it over his shoulder, and thought of how proud his father would be to behold it once more. “ It’s lucky that there’s Catbirds about,” he mused and smiled to think of Toby chasing after one of those feathered friends. So with that, Toby went off, a true genius if there ever was one. 

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The Battle of the Web

Based on true events

I have been saved by Mr. Spider. As a damsel in distress, I looked on in fearful agony as a devious intruder entered my web. The callous creature of spider-kind! The devious doer of mischief! He dared to enter my domain! But he was no match for the illustrious Mr. Spider who, immediately upon beholding him, left my side and rushed upon the culprit like a thundering giant charging a squeaking mouse. There followed a tremendous battle with the two warriors leg to leg, each lunging at the other, their fangs outstretched to pierce, the sharpened points flashing brilliantly in the sunlight. With the utmost fascination and relish I watched their tumultuous struggle, for such events occur seldomly during my life. All the while, though, I was cheering my heroic champion and deriding his enemy who was now bowed beneath his strength. Finally, he relaxed his defence, and there was a flash of jaws and he crumpled up in torment and tumbled down through the hairs of the web. With a jerk he landed upon a catch-web which I had woven beneath. Then he crawled sulkily away, humiliated in defeat, in the pain of his wound, and in the dejection of his failure. Then, my knight in shining armour returned to me unscathed. A glorious victory was his!

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Mr. Cousins

Not based on true events

Mr. A. B. ( American Badger) and Mr. G. G. ( Wolverine) were both in deep conversation, deep underground, and deep in the middle of a chilly winter. Usually, Mr. A. B. did not like the company of Mr. G. G., but today he found his company fascinating. Mr. G. G. had, in fact, just come from a tour of the country and had many tales and facts to tell. But the last was the most unexpected revelation of all. “Have you met any of our smaller cousins?” inquired  Mr. G. G. as a beginning remark. “No, I do not believe I have,” replied  Mr. A. B., shutting one eye in an effort to recollect. “Oh, surely you have,” pressed Mr. G. G., “ You must have met Mrs. Blackfoot.” Mr. A. B.’s eyes could not have opened more at this disclosure, “ Not Mrs. Blackfoot Ferret?!” “Yes, she is one.” “She is...?” began the stunned Mr. A. B., but then decided that he did not like the truth which was told, and therefore decided that it was not the truth at all, “But no, she can not be a cousin,” he finished staunchly. Mr. G. G. only gave a hissing breath in reply to this before asking again in his raspy voice: “What about Grandfather Naro, the N. A. River Otter?” “No,” said Mr. A. B. stubbornly, but hardly had he done so when there came a noise. A chuckling noise, a mischievous noise, a small noise made large by the multiplication of the noisemaker. And while Mr. A. B. was yet wondering in puzzlement at this noise, the creators of it leapt out, shaking like jellies in merriment. They were two Least Weasels, and as soon as they had made their appearance, Mr. G. G. made his disappearance, and left the den and went out into a world of white. The little stowaways followed with a silly glitter yet twinkling in their eyes, but at the den entrance they turned  and called out to the badger: “Goodbye, Cousin!” And what could Mr. A. B. say but “Goodbye Cousins?”

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Wednesday September 22, 2021