Author’s Note: This story is based on a character from my children’s book Elissa the Curious Snail. The book series consists of four books. You can visit Elissa’s page and have the option to purchase the books by clicking the link here.
Mr. Squirrel has always been a planner. He knows Winter is still some time away, but he wants to be prepared. Today he is shaking trees and looking for fallen acorns. He has a keen sense of when the weather is about to change. His squirrely nose tells him rain is on the way. And a prepared squirrel is a dry squirrel.
He woke up early that morning, ready to take on his day. He looked up at the sky and not a cloud could be seen, but he twitched his squirrely nose and could just smell the rain. He would have to hurry.
He normally would scamper between three yards, one of them belonged to a little red-haired girl and her family. It was also home to a tabby cat.
Mr. Squirrel didn’t like the tabby cat. She would always chase him away from the tall oak tree in the yard. Yesterday was no different. He approached the tall tree in hopes of reaching the branch with the most nuts. But before he could even pass the garden that the red-haired girl and her mom tended, Tabitha the tabby cat was on his tail.
They ran around the roses, under the tulips, and around the trunk of the tree. Mr. Squirrel dared not climb the tree. Cats can climb. And even though Tabitha the tabby cat was big, she could climb just as fast as he could. It was best for him to scamper into the neighbor’s yard. He knew he would be safe there. So, Mr. Squirrel gave up on the tall oak that day.
“I didn’t even know cats liked acorns,” Mr. Squirrel thought.
Yesterday was over, and today would be different. Just as Mr. Squirrel knew cats could climb, he also knew cats loved to sleep. Today he would get an early start before Tabitha woke up. He was sure he would come home with an armful of acorns to hide for the Winter.
Mr. Squirrel scampered across the first yard and hopped onto the fence. Then he scurried from the front yard to the back yard with no sign of Tabitha. The only one in sight was Jake the Blackbird. He was flying over the house. But Jake didn’t scare him. He usually left him alone. He ate worms anyway, not acorns, or cats.
He made it across the neighbor’s yard and onto the red-haired girl’s fence. The girl, her mom, and best of all, Tabitha were nowhere to be seen. Mr. Squirrel slowly looked around the yard; still, no one was around. But his eyes did focus on something in the yard.
“Look, an acorn!” Mr. Squirrel thought.
He jumped off the fence and scampered toward it. But the closer he got, the more it didn’t look like an acorn. In fact, it was not even the color of an acorn. An acorn was brown and, well, acorn-y shaped. This was purple, pink, and swirly. It was a shell. “It’s a snail,” Mr. Squirrel thought. “And it must be a girl snail. No way a boy snail would have a pretty shell like that.”
Mr. Squirrel noticed the shell was shaking. The snail must be scared. Then as he got closer, the snail spoke.
“Go away, Mr. Squirrel. Please don’t hurt me,” the snail said, she was practically crying.
Mr. Squirrel didn’t want the snail to be afraid; he thought she was a nut. So, Mr. Squirrel scampered away toward the house. As he got near the door, he heard the familiar sound of a cat meowing. It was really close to the screen door.
Mr. Squirrel scampered over the fence and back into the neighbor’s yard. He barely made it. “The trees are much safer over here anyhow,” Mr. Squirrel thought.
As he climbed the neighbor’s tree, he saw Tabitha walking down the steps and into the yard. He scampered down and out of view before she could see him.
Mr. Squirrel finished his day with fewer acorns than he would have liked. But he was glad he wasn’t chased by Tabitha. He did wonder about the snail. He wondered about what she was doing that day. Perhaps one day, he would know. Until then, it was time to gather more nuts; his squirrely nose told him that rain was on its way.
Originally published July 10, 2019