One bright spring morning, Wiyukcan Hexaka and Badger decided to take a stroll down to a nearby lake after breakfast. The morning was cool, and the two friends were enjoying the early morning walk when they heard crying in the bushes off to one side of the trail. Badger cautiously parted the bushes and discovered a tiny hedgehog sitting on a twig sobbing loudly. “What seems to be the trouble?” The Old Moose asked, bending down to take a closer look at this young creature.
“My back legs don’t work, and my friends have no more time to spare on a critter that can’t fend for itself anymore,” the hedgehog wailed. “I’m afraid I will starve or be eaten soon!”
“Well, we can’t allow that to happen,” Wiyukcan Hexaka said. With that, Badger scooped up the tiny creature and placed it gently on his back. They then turned and headed back to the cabin.
Once back at home, Badger placed the tiny hedgehog on the table and the chipmunks and squirrels gathered around, chattering excitedly and admiring the new arrival. Soon, the chipmunks ran outside and returned with small twigs and sticks. The others watched, puzzled, as the chipmunks began busily building something.
It soon became apparent they were building a sort of chair, with wheels made from acorn caps and handles of bent twigs so it could be pushed from behind.
When they had finished, they picked the startled hedgehog up and set her in the chair. After making a few adjustments, they all stood back and chattered their approval. The bemused hedgehog examined her new chair slowly before looking up with a bright smile and tears of happiness in her eyes. The chipmunks then brought both chair and hedgehog down off the table and pushed her, laughing, around the cabin in a sort of parade, attempting excitedly to show her every nook and cranny in the entire cabin. The Old Moose finally stopped them, smiled, and asked her for her name.
“I don’t have a name,” she said in a small voice, suddenly sad. “Nobody ever thought I would live long enough to bother with a name.”
“That will change right now, my little friend,” the Old Moose said, as he turned to the other creatures gathered around them. All the critters started to chatter at once, so much so the Old Moose had to silence them before they went further. “I heard ‘Hyacinth’ a few times, and that sounds like a very good name for one such as you.”
“I love that name!” She squealed with delight.
“Now, we should see what you are good at, because everyone helps out, and I know there is something around here that you will be able to help with.”
Over the next few months, she tried her hand at the many jobs around the cabin. She would often cry in frustration when she was unable to get the job done just right. She wanted so badly to find a way to help out her new family! It was at these times the Old Moose would calm her, and tell her that, sooner or later, she would find what she was good at and everything would be fine. She just needed to give herself some time and patience.
One morning, as Hyacinth was watching the squirrels bustling around the stove cooking breakfast, she had an idea. She asked to try her hand at cooking. The squirrels were happy to let her help. Well, it turned out she was a natural at cooking. She seemed to know just the right spices, in just the right amounts to add to any dish. The others loved the results of her new-found skills. Soon, she was in charge of all the meals. The chipmunks, squirrels, Badger, and even the Old Moose, were gaining weight. This made Hyacinth very happy that she had found her place in this fun family, but she was also sad that she couldn’t share this gift with others.
One day, the Old Moose came to her and said she had learned so much, and was such a good cook, that he wanted her to go help a friend of his around his cabin. This is how Hyacinth came to live with me. Though she can’t lift the pots and pans in my cabin and she can’t work her wheelchair by herself, she guides me in my cooking from my shirt pocket, telling me which spices to use and what works for almost any meal.
Just because someone isn’t good at some things, or is different than you, doesn’t mean they aren’t good at something. Critters should be patient with themselves and others. Everyone will find something they are good at when the time is right, and not a moment sooner.