The Squirrel and the Cold
Ok, this fable comes from another controversial period, but again, major uproar was avoided mostly due to the expert handling of the situation by the wonderful International Fable Committee and also largely to the fact that most people couldn't have cared less about this fable. The introduction of the Cold as a living entity in this fable would have been the crux of the controversy had it blossomed the way it could have. But, luckily, a loophole was discovered in the Quick and Easy Living Species and Creature Identification Handbook, which retails for £49.95 at all fine bookstores in a restored edition. The Cold was grouped under annoying pests and such things by the author, who was known to be struck by a severe cold about the time he reached that section of the book. So, once again the fact that you now snuggle down to read this fable is only due the extremely talented folks at the International Fable Committee. And so begins the tale...
Once upon a time, there lived a very happy and lively squirrel. This squirrel was happy and lively only when compared to other creatures, because, as a whole, squirrels are a lively and happy bunch that rather enjoy bounding from tree to tree and cavorting all along the grass as they gather up acorns and other such squirrel delicacies. Well, this particular, although average, squirrel happened to be gallivanting through the highest reaches of the oak tree it had claimed as it's home on this particular sunny, though windy, day when it scittered to a stop at a fork in the branches. This scittering to a stop wasn't like the other couple hundred scitters it had been practising all day, this one was different. The squirrel had scittered to a stop because something was in it's way. Now, upon observing squirrels for a sustained period of time, one notices things and develops ideas about the workings of their minds. The little grey beasties will run headlong and madly with all the energy it can muster from it's furry body in one direction, seemingly intent on some great goal. Then, out of the blue (an expression I shall be sure to challenge and explore the origins of in a later fable), the creature will stop, pause but a moment, then scurry off in a totally different direction, as if it had found it could travel no further in the previous direction due to some unseen obstacle. Now, because of the odd and apparent haphazard nature of their runnings about, it would seem a miracle that when such a thing actually does bar the path of a squirrel that the squirrel does not barrel right on through the obstacle and/or instantly mash it's brains on the more solid obstacle. However, this happening so would make this a very short, and quite possibly pointless, fable. So, in light of this, and wanting to pass on as much wisdom as I possibly can, I have chosen to make this squirrel stop at a very opportune time. Now, on with the tale again...
At the fork in these branches, barring passage to either path was standing a little blue creature that stood tapping one foot and had two little handles of similar blue material that curled out of where it's arms should have started and connected once again to the whole body about where you would expect a waist to be. And, if you ever had the chance to se such a creature, you would say that it was standing in a position that looked an awful lot like an indignant position. Well, the squirrel just rocked back on it's haunches, stunned at the appearance of this new, strange creature in front of it. You see, it hadn't heard of the IFC's ruling on colds and had never actually seen a cold before, because it had just assumed that they weren't really true things that could be seen.
The little blue cold squirmed at the obvious lack of recognition it was receiving from this squirrel and decided to rectify the situation. "Do you know what I am, little beastie?"
Upon hearing this sound emanating from the little blue creature, the squirrel thought, "Boy, can such a little creature boom, but do I hate being called a little beastie!"
To the cold it said, "No sir, I do not. And I would very much appreciate not being called a little beastie, it's a very demeaning and degrading term."
The cold was very impressed with the very formal and dignified manner with which the squirrel conducted itself. Because, as would be expected by the general unpleasantness of colds, colds were normally either shunned or stabbed at with multitudes of tissues (and being stabbed at with tissues, no matter how practical it may seem to the one doing the stabbing, is NOT fun for the being being stabbed). Not one creature had ever taken the time to be kind to it, and the cold could feel tears rising to it's little cold eyes.
"Ok, sir, I shall never again refer to you as a little beastie, and I suppose I shall let you continue on your bounding about the tree," said the cold.
With that, the squirrel bowed deeply (actually, in an interview later, it was revealed that it was just stooping to test the 'grip-a-bility' of the bark for it's take-off and not bowing at all) and took a couple prepatory bounces then rocketed off along the left branch.
As he roared out of sight, the cold's now wavering voice cried out, "Don't forget to wear a hat, and don't go running around like that if your fur's wet!"
The squirrel turned it's head over it's shoulder at this odd outburst from an odd creature, and ended up running right off the end of the branch and landed in a prickly patch of roses. The cold glanced down over the edge of it's perch and could see the tufts of grey fur clinging to thorns around the edge of where the squirrel had disappeared. The cold then wandered away from the edge and over to a more safe spot, where it wouldn't be as likely to be run over by a bounding creature of the tree.
* The Moral: Colds really aren't such bad guys, they've just become kind of grouchy after years of poor treatment and nasty rumours about them, which is an understandable mood to assume after a long period of shoddy treatment. If you treat a cold with the proper respect it'll actually turn out to be a really good and caring friend that you will be eternally grateful for. Ok, maybe not eternally grateful, because colds are notorious for not sticking around to help someone out of a rose bush and generally being disgusting to hang around with for an extended period of time.
Another Moral: If you happen to be a squirrel, don't bother stopping for mysterious little blue lumps that are standing in your path, even if they seem to be standing in a sort of indignant position. What will happen oftentimes is that you will just barrel over whatever object is lying in your path to whatever it is you hope to reach and observers will just chalk it up as a cute, little squirrel thing to do. Those that don't see it that way are probably those that see squirrels as extreme pests that should all be skinned and gutted then served up as delicacies for flies and you (as a squirrel) really cannot do anything to change their opinions so why not just do something to piss them off a little more? For good measure and a dramatic flair, you could even flash a quick grin in their direction as you continue on, just be sure you know the terrain well enough to avoid falling into the rose bush or being clotheslined by a low-hanging branch. That would probably be very embarrassing and give the "squirrel haters" a chance to catch up to you and begin the skinning. So have fun with it.