Wiyukcan Hexaka wanted to nap. Morning chores had been finished, most of the squirrels and chipmunks were out gathering the necessary ingredients for the afternoon tea (squirrels are, in fact, the best tea makers there are; they know all the right things to gather from the forest to make the perfect cup), and those that weren’t out were tucked away in some nook or cranny napping themselves. Even Badger was sprawled out across a pile of books in the corner, snoring peacefully. Therefore, the Old Moose thought it was a wonderful time to grab a short nap himself.
He had no sooner laid his head down on the pillow, when he heard a scratching at the door. Rising with a huff, he opened the door to find two very young, and frightened, raccoons on his porch. “Now, what can I do for you?” he asked, pushing the door open further to let the scared creatures inside.
“We’re lost!” they wailed together. Robby continued, “While we were playing, we found a trail and followed it, even though our mother said to stay close to home. Now, we can’t find our way back! We saw your cabin. Can you please help us get home before supper?”
“Come inside, my little friends, and tell me your names. There, there, stop crying and sit by the window.” The Old Moose showed them over to a couple of small chairs placed under the window.
“I’m Robby, and this is my twin sister, Rita,” sniffled Robby, wiping tears from his eyes as he and his sister sat down.
“Well, Robby, I will do my best to see that you both get home safe and sound before supper time, since I am sure your mother will be worried if you’re not home soon,” the Old Moose said soothingly, pulling his own chair near and sitting down beside the twins. “But first, you should have something to drink and calm yourselves before we go.” A squirrel appeared and pushed two cups of iced tea into both of the raccoons’ little paws, chattering at them until they took a drink. The twins stared around themselves in teary-eyed wonder as they drank their iced tea. The Old Moose sat quietly watching them as they looked around.
When the drinks were finished and the youngsters had become much calmer, the Old Moose stood and headed to the door. He paused after opening the door and asked, “Are you coming, Badger?” Badger barely lifted his sleepy head, shrugged his shoulders, and laid back down. “You stay here then, old friend. I will return soon.” With that, they were off.
The young raccoons ran around excitedly in front of the Old Moose as they headed down the trail. He asked them to describe where they lived, hoping to figure out just where their home was located. He wanted to know what the trees nearby looked like, what the land around their home looked like, if there was a stream or river nearby, and anything they could remember that might be special about the area. Their descriptions helped him narrow the area down until he was almost certain he knew where they lived. So, when the trail forked, he took the one that lead them toward a nearby brook where small fish and frogs could be found.
They were not far down this new trail when two mangy coyotes stepped out on the path, blocking it. “Oh look,” the coyote on the right said, “our dinner has arrived.” They both took a step closer to the three of them. The young raccoons hid behind the Old Moose’s hind legs and started crying.
“Now look here, you mangy beasts! I haven’t the time or patience to deal with the likes of you today!” the Old Moose rumbled. “You will find no dinner here! Move along, and quickly!”
“You are slow and old,” the other coyote barked back. “We can take those tasty little morsels before you can stop us.” They continued to stalk closer. The coyote who had spoken first moved to go around to the side of the trio for a better chance of grabbing the twins, since the old moose could only deal with one threat at a time.
The Old Moose was getting a little worried when, suddenly, a small black creature shot past him and right into the coyote that was trying to get around them. Badger, growling and snapping, hit the coyote so hard that it caused the other one to freeze in confusion, thus giving the Old Moose time to throw a kick at its head and send it scrambling away in fear. Badger’s was soon running with its tail between its legs, and both could be seen heading for higher ground as they ran out of sight.
Badger was still growling when he walked up to the old moose. “So, you decided to take a walk after all?” the Old Moose said, looking at his friend. Badger shook his head, then nodded, falling in beside them as the group started down the trail once more.
It wasn’t long before they could hear the sounds of the brook as well as the frantic calling of Mother Raccoon looking for her young ones. They soon saw her as she rounded a bend in the trail. Both the twins squealed with delight and ran to their mother, who first hugged them then scolded them for getting lost. She thanked the Old Moose and Badger many times, especially after the twins related the story of the coyotes to her. Then, she scolded the youngsters some more.
“I don’t think they will stray far from home again,” the Old Moose stated, as he and Badger turned for their cabin. “I think they have learned their lesson now.” Badger just shrugged his shoulders and trotted beside his friend as they headed for their home.
The Old Moose never did get his nap that day, as the squirrels had returned with the makings for afternoon tea by the time he and Badge arrived home. “Oh well,” he sighed, “there’s always tomorrow.”