The Squirrel and the Coyote

            Once a coyote spotted a squirrel up in a tree, storing nuts in a cache. Merrily, it laughed and, with its mind churning, called out, “Boy, am I glad to be me, born as I am! To own nothing but the fur on my back—at night, I wander, free and unencumbered, guided by nothing but the milky white moonlight that bathes the landscape in a creamy marinade. When moonless or nubilous, my trusty snout and scotopic eyes guide my paws. Come down, friend, and get a closer look at them,” it cackled with a wicked grin.

            “Try your tricks on someone else,” the busy squirrel retorted with some airs. “We’ll see who’s laughing once winter comes.”

            “Touché, my fluffy tailed friend—how cozy you’ll feel then. But fall’s bounties always fatten me up, and my ragged summer coat’ll shed away for a thicker one. So why would I ever want to switch places with you? All you do is store nuts all day. Your obsessive routines would drive any other animal crazy, and seem to resemble, in more ways than one, the compulsions of a nutcase.”

            “My homes have enough supplies to last me and then some. You are homeless.”

            “Sure,” the coyote conceded, “I haven’t a home but where my paws lead me—it’s true. But without belongings, it seems everything belongs to me. You forget why the tribes ascribe the world to me.”

            “If I toss down a nut, will you go away?”

            “Yes,” the coyote replied.

            The squirrel tossed down three.