The Arctic Wolf, The Fox, The Snow Leopard, and the Raccoon

September 29, 2016
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In a snowy forest near the mountains lived four animals: Arctic Wolf, Fox, Snow Leopard, and Raccoon. Raccoon was extremely loud and talked and talked when no one was even around to listen. One day the other animals in the forest decided to do something about it…
“That raccoon is super annoying and never stops talking to listen to anything we have to say!” exclaimed Fox. He was sitting on a slender snow-covered log beside Snow Leopard. Arctic Wolf was sitting in the snow in front of them while licking her front paws.
Snow Leopard replied, “Well, what are we supposed to do, put a muzzle on him? That wouldn’t work, because Raccoon wouldn’t be able to eat anything and die of starvation. We don’t want that. And I don’t know where we could even find a muzzle.”
“I suppose not,” Fox sighed, “but what should we do?”
Arctic Wolf kept quiet. She was thinking about their situation over in her head. “Well,” she started, not very sure about how to explain her plan, “what if we caught Raccoon in some sort of trap, but-”
Snow Leopard cut her off. “That would leave us with the same problem. Raccoon wouldn’t be able to eat anything, and he would still be as noisy as ever.”
“That’s not what I was going to say at all, Snow,” Arctic Wolf replied coolly, trying not to show her annoyance at being interrupted. “After we trap him, we will somehow bring him over to a different part of the forest and let him free. Then we will run away as fast as we can so that Raccoon can’t find us. Not that he will, because he probably won’t care what is happening, but then we could live with peace and quiet without Raccoon.”
“Okay, sounds great,” agreed Fox. “But how will we make a trap? I don’t know how.”
Snow Leopard hopped off the log and headed left toward a large clump of snow, where she started digging. Arctic Wolf and Fox looked at her quizzically.
“Um, Snow, what are you doing?” asked Arctic Wolf, a little puzzled. “We have to get started on the trap right away.”
“I know,” she replied, “but I found an old hunter’s trap just a few days ago, so maybe we can fix it instead of making a new one. I just hope it’s not frozen.”
Snow Leopard  finished  shoveling the  snow behind her and started tugging the heavy trap out. Arctic Wolf and Fox bounded over to assist, their pawprints sinking deeply into the snow. When they had finished digging they all let out a sigh of relief.
“Well, it seems pretty intact to me,” said Fox, only after inspecting every part of the trap. “Should we set it up and test it?”
Arctic Wolf nodded. “We should start by tightening everything with our teeth and claws, and then we should set it up. It would be bad if it triggered and broke.”
It took about an hour to complete the job, but as Snow Leopard tugged on the last rope, the trap was finished and she was satisfied. “Well, that’s done.” she said. “Now we have to find Raccoon. Although, it usually isn’t that hard…” Snow Leopard’s voice trailed away as she recalled all of the moments when Raccoon was around to annoy them. “Fox, I can’t hear Raccoon. Can you sniff him out?”
“No problem!” Fox smiled. “I saw him earlier today, and I think he would be by the old oak tree stump. I’m just glad he didn’t hear us talking about the trap.”
Arctic Wolf bounded into the trees in the direction where the stump was. When she didn’t hear Fox and Snow Leopard following, she twisted back around and shouted, “Well, let’s go!”
They dashed towards Arctic Wolf and kept up the pace while she ran to the old oak tree stump. After a while, Snow Leopard could hear distant talking. “I can hear Raccoon now,” she said with a smirk. “And it sounds like he’s chatting with a squirrel. Only Raccoon would want to talk to a squirrel!”
Arctic Wolf came to a halt behind some raspberry bushes up ahead Fox and Snow Leopard. She poked her head out and looked around, then the others did the same. A squirrel was sitting on a snow-covered stump in front of Raccoon, who was chattering away about something stupid.
“So this funny thing happened the other day,” he was saying, “which is that all of the leaves on the trees were falling off. First they got extremely sick, and I know that because they were turning orange and red and brown, which is not a good sign for anything. Anyway, after they got sick the leaves fell, because nothing ever falls if it’s not sick first, which is weird, because one time I fell, but only after tripping on a rock, and I wasn’t sick. It was very weird.”
Raccoon continued spewing nonsense to the squirrel, that was just seated on the old oak tree stump and blinking at him once in a while.
“Good grief!” muttered Arctic Wolf under her breath. “Raccoon is definitely the only animal I know that talks to squirrels. We’d better get this over with quickly.”
“I’ll get Raccoon's attention,” Fox whispered. “Just get ready to run.”
“Okay,” Snow Leopard agreed.
Fox stepped out of the raspberry bushes. “Hey, Raccoon!” he yowled. “Let’s play tag! You’re IT!”
Raccoon turned his head around, still chattering, and darted towards Fox. Arctic Wolf, Fox, and Snow Leopard turned and rushed away into the forest to the hunter’s trap.
“Now, be careful,” whispered Arctic Wolf to Fox and Snow Leopard while dodging a tree in front of her. “We don’t want to get caught ourselves.”
Suddenly, Snow Leopard let out a sharp yowl. Fox glanced up and saw her being swooped up in the old hunter’s trap that they had prepared, then clawing and scratching the ropes in an effort to get out. Arctic Wolf skidded to a stop in the snow and sped to help Snow Leopard become released. Fox let out a yip and joined in. Together, biting and clawing, they loosened the ropes and Snow Leopard dropped into the deep snow beneath her.
“Thanks!” Snow Leopard panted, out of breath. Her fur had gotten scraggly and filthy during the struggle. “I guess we were wrong about doing this…” She glanced over at Arctic Wolf, who was staring guiltily at the ground. After all, it was her idea in the first place.
“Let’s just leave Raccoon alone,” Fox decided. “I’m sure that we can handle it.”
Suddenly, Raccoon burst through the clearing and padded with pleasure over to Fox, stopped, then smacked him on the shoulder. “TAG! YOU’RE IT!” he bellowed, and scrambled away into the trees.

Moral:  “He who plots to harm another often comes to harm himself.”

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