"What a funny cat that was," said the small bright creature as it made its way along the path.
From off to the left it heard the sound of a stream running over pebbles. Up ahead, towards the top of a small hill, a group of trees stood. The small bright creature could hear chattering in the distance.
It hurried toward the noise...
"Oh, my goodness."
The small bright creature sat on a small rock at the base of a tree. There was a family of squirrels, a large, extended family from the looks of it, running from tree to tree, bush to bush, gathering seeds and berries.
"You almost make me dizzy watching you," it said to one of the squirrels as it ran by. The squirrel paid no attention and ran straight up the tree the small bright creature was under.
"Oh, that's very clever of you. I wish I could do that."
"Wishes won't get the food in for Winter," said a large, stern-looking squirrel standing on one of the larger branches of the tree. "Wishes are all very fine, if you don't have any work to do."
Saying that, the squirrel directed a stream of chattering to a group of squirrels that seemed less busy than others. They immediately started running from bush to bush, searching for provisions.
The small bright creature watched with interest for a while and then looked up at the squirrel on the branch. "Winter?" it said. But it's barely Summer yet. The days are still getting warmer."
"Never too soon," said the squirrel. "Seeds, berries now. Soon it will be nuts. Then Winter comes."
It stopped talking long enough to direct another stream of chattering at a group of squirrels it didn't think were working hard enough.
"But," said the small bright creature, "when do you get time to play, to have fun?"
There was no answer from the squirrel. The small bright creature looked at the squirrels scurrying around and then back up at the squirrel on the branch. It was watching the others, taking note of their finds as they ran up the tree, directing them to new places to search as they ran back down.
"Doesn't everyone get tired of doing this all day?" asked the small bright creature.
The squirrel sniffed. "Too busy to be tired," it said. "Each year there's more of us, so more needs to be gathered."
"But," said the small bright creature, "what happens if there's not enough around for all of you?"
The squirrel sniffed again. "Nonsense. There's always more to gather. That's why we can't stop."
The small bright creature was quiet for a while, sitting in the shade of the tree, watching all the activity going on around it. It waved from time to time at the little groups of squirrels.
A stream of chattering erupted from above.
The small bright creature looked up. "What is the matter-- Eeeek!".
A hail of berries, seeds and nuts rained down on it. The small bright creature toppled off the rock it was sitting on and rolled down a small hill.
"Stop interrupting our work!" came the shout.
The small bright creature sat up at the foot of the hill.
"Dear me," it said, "they are really, really busy." It looked at the berries, seeds and nuts that lay around it. "Oh. That's very generous."
It sat there, the sum warm on its face, enjoying a picnic lunch.