Grendel and the Squirrel

By , Oak Park, IL
I have to collect, collect, collect. There’s no telling what may happened when those winter months roll around. I have to be prepared. One for me, one for the ground, one for me, one for the ground. Twenty five nuts do not seem like that much to me; I have to get more.

Run, run, run through the woods. My feet barely touching the ground as I gracefully maneuver through the trees. I must find that old tree (although dead now because of a stupid, hairy beast). I’ll be able to find nuts lurking under the branches of that old tree, then I’ll be the fattest squirrel when winter comes rolling in. Fat squirrel, happy squirrel, little ball of fur.

I see that treacherous, rocky cliff ahead and leap for joy at the site of that wonderful old tree. “Waaaaaaaa! Mama!” What was that? I stop in my tracks, my tail began to perk, and I listen for that cry once more. I hear the deep, throaty laugh of a man; a human man. Is Grendel finally defeated? Will the reign of terror be over? Will I be able to collect enough nuts to survive through the harsh winter??

A pained howl shook through the woods and sent a shiver through my body sending my tail prickly. I looked around myself and into the depths of the growing forest that seemed to scowl at my presence. I need to tell them. Tell them all. A victory to all of the forest’s creatures!

I cavorted through the woods; finding animals first and nuts second. Charging animals for my information would get me a lot more nuts… I halted for a brief moment. Charge them? Yes, charge them. Okay! I continued to soar over the forest floor.

There’s that nook; home of my dear squirrel friends.

“I have some really interesting new to share with you, my dear comrades! So interesting, so very interesting,” I squeak up to the members of my clan.

My kin looked down from their hideaway and my cousin replied, “Depends on what you want. What you want is all that decided if I want your news, cousin.”

“That monster that killed our family tree by the cliff-side might be dying… it could get pretty bloody, but it’s probably not your kind of thing.” I turned to leave, tricking him into my glorious plan. He’s so stupid; I was always the smarter one.

My cousin’s eyes widened to a ridiculous size. “No! WAIT! I want to come! I’ll give you anything you want!” I swivel back towards him. He looks like he going to pass out from pure glee or fall out of his tall tree. The rest of my family stared at us both with blank expressions, but I knew they were all going to be as ecstatic as I am when they see the beast. The whole family slid down the tree, one at a time, with their eyes widened like disco-balls. “We’ll give you what you want,” he stumbled. They dipped their heads down and dug deeply into the dirt beneath the oak, and each one pulled out a beautiful nut. I could smell the delicious aroma coming from each one. The delight of eating such a magnificent feast in front of them would be so overwhelming, I can barely resist.

Although I was at a loss of words for my happiness, I had one questioning thought. “How did you know I wanted nuts?”

“It’s all you ever want,” my cousin scoffed. I had stopped listening when he answered, but it made no difference to me.

“Leave all of your nuts in the large hole to the right, behind those bushes, thank you!”

We hurdled through the woods, finding all the creatures we possibly could that would love to see the demise of Grendel (it was actually very easy to find them; nearly everyone would out to get him). Our family and I leaped ahead of the crowd and climbed our beloved dead tree to spot out the beast. We scanned the woods for ages; looking for a sign of the beast, and hoping for a gory appearance. All the animals that were still arriving came one by one, standing near the edge of the cliffs waiting as patiently as animals are capable.

Then we saw the scenery suck him into focus. His hairy limbs drenched in blood, which emanate from his missing arm. Grendel was drowning the uncovered nuts in the earth with the red liquid and stumbles clumsily towards them. Such a tragic waste of good nuts, I thought, he will be no more soon enough. He was using his remaining limb to clutch the same old, dead tree that I’m so anxiously clinging onto. Grendel began to drag his claws down the trunk of the tree and grip the roots with whatever remaining strength he possesses. His days were numbered, the end of his life was coming over him, he knew it for certain. We all watched with open eyes, waiting for his definite end.

Grendel looked up at us with a lopsided smile lurking in the corners of his mouth and whispered “Poor Grendel’s had an accident. So may you all.” He closed his monstrous eyes and his large hand loosened on the tree. Grendel’s limp and his body hugged the earth, the blood still oozing from his limb, and thus was end of his life.

It will be a wonderful winter for me indeed. All of the nuts under Grendel’s decaying body will be mine, because other squirrels will be too fearful to seek them. The dumb wretch is dead! Hurray for Beowulf, the Grendel-slayer! Beowulf, our hero! Beowulf, the great!





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