Once there was a young rabbit named Bagu. He was both lively and entertaining and spent his days frolicking in the meadows under the warm summer sun.
As the days began to cool and the nights grew chilly, Bagu noticed that he saw less and less of his friends. Then he remembered that he, too, would soon need to find a warm and cozy home where he could spend the long winter months. He poked and burrowed all day only to find that the other animals had already chosen the best places.
Not to worry, thought Bagu, Jake the Jackrabbit will make room for me.
But Jake's burrow was full, so Bagu quickly hopped away to try again.
Not to worry, thought Bagu, Miles Mouse will certainly have an extra room.
But the rooms in Miles' burrow were far too small for Bagu. Try as he might, he simply could not fit. Sadly, Bagu left and sat quivering in the middle of the meadow as a deep blanket of darkness began to envelop the sky. Soon a fine snow began to fall and Bagu's tawny fur glistened with icy crystals.
"What am I do to?" Bagu whimpered. "I will surely freeze to death if I don't find shelter soon."
Unknown to Bagu, a pair of yellow-green eyes had been watching him. Now, having observed his predicament, a voice hissed and slithered across the meadow on the wind.
"Come here, Bagu, I have plenty of room for you."
"Oh, Salim," chattered Bagu, his eyes wide with fright, "thank you for your kindness, but I do not think I should accept your offer."
"But Bagu," insisted the snake, "it is so cold, and you are nearly frozen. If you come in, we can keep each other company, and you will be safe from the storm."
Bagu thought, Not to worry. He is old and I am cold. He only wants some company.
So Bagu slowly hopped into Salim's huge hole and settled down across the room. As a puddle began to form beneath Bagu from the melting snow, Salim suggested that Bagu move closer to him.
"You will be wet and cold over there. Besides, my hearing is not very good anymore, and I will hear you much better."
Not to worry, thought Bagu, as he inched closer to the old snake. I won't have to shout at him any more.
After they had chattered a little more, Salim hissed, "Come closer. If we curl up together, we will surely be warm for the night. You know, I would really like it if you stayed with me until spring."
Still feeling chilled and warmed by the idea of having found a place to stay for the winter, Bagu nestled into Salim's coiled body. Bagu felt Salim's body tighten around him and thought, What a lovely hug between friends!
As Salim's grip grew stronger, Bagu struggled and squeaked, "Salim, stop! You are squeezing the life out of me!"
Salim's tongue slid across Bagu's head as he said, "I know, how else could I have you for dinner?"
MORAL: Necessity never made a good bargain. 1
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.