Wiyukcan Hexaka sent me this tale about his good friend, Badger:
Badger was angry. He didn’t know why, but he had woken up that way and wasn’t going to change his mood. He growled at the chipmunks as they went about their morning chores, and snapped at the squirrels when they put his breakfast in front of him.
He was still grumbling under his breath when Wiyukcan Hexaka came through the door after his morning walk. “Badger,” the Old Moose said, taking hold of his friend, “why don’t you go for a walk before you get yourself into trouble here.” Badger didn’t want to go for a walk; he wanted to stay home and be mad. The Old Moose opened the door and pointed outside. “Go,” he demanded. “Come back when you are in a better mood.” Badger reluctantly slunk out the door, growling the whole time that he didn’t want to and it wouldn’t change anything anyway.
Once outside, he sniffed the chilly fall air and decided that perhaps going for a walk wasn’t such a bad idea. After all, he wouldn’t have those pesky chipmunks or squirrels running around, being silly, and messing up his mood. He headed down the path towards the mountain stream located not far from the Old Moose’s cabin. He thought maybe he could go growl at the frogs and turtles that were often nearby getting ready for their long winter’s sleep. Why should he be the only one upset?
As he ambled down the trail, a falling leaf landed right on his head and stuck there! No matter how he tried, the leaf would not budge. There must be something sticky on it, he thought, as his mood got even worse. He guessed he would just have to wash it off at the stream, and probably, whatever was causing the leaf to stick wouldn’t wash out anyway. He grumbled to himself all the way to the stream.
When he arrived, the frogs were playing leapfrog, jumping over each other and on to any rocks sticking up from the stream bed. The turtles were slowly moving along the bank in search of a meal, sometimes sliding into the cool water for a quick dip. Ignoring them all, Badger quickly moved to some rocks overhanging the water and attempted to wash the annoying leaf out of his fur. He wasn’t paying all that much attention to the slippery rocks beneath his paws while he turned this way and that, trying to dislodge the pesky leaf. He felt his paws suddenly sliding and realized he was slipping fast into the water with no way to catch himself. With a splash, he landed head first into the cold water of the stream.
He was in such shock at this unexpected turn of events that he just sat there for a moment. His startled expression was so funny that the frogs and turtles began to laugh. He was about to growl at them in anger when he suddenly realized just how funny the situation really was, how silly he must look sitting there in the water. Instead of a growl, he burst into laughter at himself. He also noticed that the leaf was still stuck to his head. This caused him to laugh even harder at the image in his head of himself, sitting in the stream, a leaf stuck to his head, and a stunned look on his face.
He finally climbed out of the stream and shook the water from his fur, still laughing. The leaf remained where it had stuck. Two of the frogs hopped over, and with their help, the leaf was removed. He tossed it into the slow-moving water and watched it float out of sight before turning for home.
He was still laughing when he walked through the door, grabbed the first chipmunk he saw, and gave it a hug. Wiyukcan Hexaka watched Badger’s antics and smiled. After Badger put down the astonished chipmunk, the Old Moose sat him down near the fire. “Did you figure out why you were mad?” he asked. Badger shrugged and shook his head. “Are you in a better mood now?” the Old Moose asked. Badger nodded vigorously. “It is ok to be mad,” the Old Moose said, “but it is never OK to take your anger out on those around you; especially when you don’t even know why you are angry. Next time, go somewhere where you can have some time alone to think, or talk to someone that can help you with what you are feeling. Don’t go around growling at others and making them upset, too.” Badger nodded, smiled, and spent the rest of the day helping the other critters finish their chores around the cabin.