Once upon a time, there were two animals that lived in the forest. One -
Molly - was a beautiful young squirrel, with chestnut red fur and the
most sparkling brown eyes. The other - Norman - was a somewhat older
hedgehog. Although you might expect this story - being in the Shrubbery -
to be a sordid tale of interspecies romance, there are Usenet groups for
that kind of thing, so get your minds out of the gutter.
Anyway, Norman and Molly saw each other almost every day - they had to,
since they were in the forest. Sure, Norman hung out with his hedgehog
friends, and Molly hung out doing squirrel stuff. However, every once in
awhile Norman and Molly would get together and talk about stuff - gossip
about the other forest animals, maybe talk about their lives and stuff.
However, Norman and Molly seemed to - at the very least - share a lot of
common stuff. Nothing that would suggest they were soul mates - just the
kind of things that would suggest a good friendship, if something
..and that's kind of what Norman got. Norman - being a hedgehog - had
self-esteem problems, the kind of problems most hedgehogs have. He
couldn't believe that, although he had always thought Molly was pretty
cool, he wanted to "push the issue". Of course, he was afraid that all
the other animals in the forest would laugh at him...although he *did*
talk to several of his cool hedgehog friends, who encouraged him to go
Did he? Not right away, but yes, he did. Molly politely declined, and
you'd think that it would be the end of the story, but it wasn't. Norman
kept pining for Molly, and couldn't bring himself to admit fully how he
felt about her. Sure, he wanted to be a jerk about it, but hedgehogs are
genetically unable to be jerks. (I learned this from the Encyclopedia
Brittanica. Trust me on this.) It was tough, though, because he also
had to respect Molly's feelings, and wished she could feel for him as
much as he did for her. (Hedgehogs are very respectful of other forest
creatures' feelings, by the way). Part of what he wanted was to accept
the fact that, no matter what, Molly was a squirrel and he was a
hedgehog, and maybe she would *never* have feelings for a hedgehog.
Still, though, Norman had his feelings, and he had a hard time letting
go. He'd also tried getting to know other forest creatures - other
squirrels, hedgehogs, and even fruitbats. And nobody likes
fruitbats, not even fruitbats. No matter how hard he tried, for some
reason, Norman still held onto feelings for Molly, who liked him, but
just not in a way that he would have liked. 'God, it's tough being a
hedgehog,' Norman thought.
Is there a moral to this fable? I don't know, and I can't think of one.
If you'd like, suggest a moral at Gordon_D@theshrubbery.com. At the very least, it kills space
and your time to read it.
Editor's Note: No real animals were killed or maimed in the writing of this fable (of sorts.) However, the names are not made up, they are real, because it's really hard to tell one hedgehog from another.