Once upon a time there was a wee, red squirrel, who lived in the back yard of a family who loved him very much . Samuel was a cute little guy, but also a manipulator of the highest order.
In no time at all he had the family trained to walk outside at a certain time each morning, handfuls of peanuts at the ready. Sometimes he would come to the deck to wait for his treat, but most of the time he perched on the stump of a broken branch on the tree nearest the back door, staring at said door until it opened.
This ritual continued, day after day, week after week, month after month, to the amusement of the family and passersby. One day, however, the spawn of the devil arrived in the neighbourhood, upsetting Samuel’s little backyard world something awful.
Not only was this interloper a noisy, screechy creature, but it shared Samuel’s love of peanuts. Oh, no! Even worse, the family didn’t seem to mind this evil creature, and were often heard to exclaim loudly about its beautiful plumage. Worse yet, the family decided that Samuel’s treats should now be shared with this loathesome, vile, peanut poacher. Treachery, thy name is Family!
Unbeknownst to young Samuel, though, the family were aware of his reluctance to share, and also of the trespasser’s thieving tendencies. Thus they tossed out two lots of peanuts each morning, one at the base of Samuel’s favourite tree, and the other in the general direction of the bird feeder. Alas, the greed of the two creatures really knew no bounds, so each morning the same shameful display ensued. Both Samuel S. Squirrel and Jerome J. Jay drew a bead on the same peanut, midway between tree and bird feeder. Given that neither of them brought swords or pistols, or gloves with which to smite each other, they could only brace their feet and let fly with their raucous battle cries. Then off they went, challenging each other with a series of back and forth hops, edging ever so slowly towards the chosen peanut, totally ignoring the dozens of others in easy reach of either of them. This went on and on until the jay finally realized its flight advantage, swooped in for the grab, and swooped out with the loot.
But of course, being a jay, he also had to alight somewhere, briefly spit out the peanut and screech a gloating victory cry, before flying off to savour his prize. Which led to much harrumphing and sulking on the part of Samuel. Trust me, a sulking squirrel is a sight to behold, indeed. Our Sam was a plucky young man, though, and eventually his brain cells started firing in unison again. The jay might have made off with the prime peanut, but look at all of the others that he had all to himself now.
Thus peace returned to the backyard kingdom, and Samuel went about the rest of his day with a smile firmly affixed on his little squirrel face. But next day it was handbags at dawn, yet again. Squirrels have very short memories, it seems. Even the cutest ones.