Beneath the Cottonwood Tree ( Big And Bad )
3 April, 2008
author: Rebecca Ditch-Hammack (aka Dreamer)


"That's not true" Sally Salamander said. "You're not the most ferocious beast."

"Yes I am" Johnny Long Legs said. My dad said we are the most ferocious spider of all the spiders.

"No way, you don't scare me" Sally teased back at her friend. She jumped toward him and he jumped back away from her. "How ferocious is that?"

"Well you should be scared, my daddy said" he shouted back as loudly as a long legged spider could.

"WhoWho WhoWho" the wise old owl sat on a branch high up in the Old Cottonwood tree. His huge eyes blinked as he looked at the arguing young ones.

"Good Day Mr. Hoot, It's just me Johnny.."
"..And me Sally" they called back to the old owl.

"What; all the arguing about you two, I thought you were friends?"

"Well, we are" Sally explained. "Johnny was just telling me how ferocious he is and that I should be scared of him", Sally said in a sing songy voice. She was still mocking her friend for thinking he was all big and bad.

Johnny Long Legs stood up tall as his legs would let him. "Tell her Mr. Hoot. Tell her how fearful she should be."

"Now Johnny" Mr. Hoot began.. Let's not get too full of yourself"

"It was a long long time ago when the world was still young. Mother nature was still fine tuning the animal world so that we could all live better lives.

Each of the animal families were a little different back then. And the Long Legs family was different too. At that time when the world was young they were the biggest and baddest bullies back then. Well not so big but bullies none the less.. They used to go around picking fights with all the other woodland creatures. Daring them to fight back"

"Come on" the Long Leg spiders would taunt "You think you are so big come on and fight with me".

"It was not just one or two-whoo-whoo in the family it was the whole Long Legs family. There was just something about them back then.

Well, some of the other young woodland creatures didn't know any better and would take Old great great great grand Danny Long Legs up on his offer.

One time, I remember hearing, Randy Robin felt up to the fight. He was kind of hungry and thought old Danny would make a nice meal.

Randy came up on Danny from behind and pecked at him. Danny reared up on his back legs kicking at him. Every time Randy pecked at him Danny would jump back."

"Come on Randy you can do better than that" He would taunt at the young robin. But after a while Randy got tired of Danny and his big mouth and turned away to the sound of a nearby juicy worm.

That was when Danny stuck. He jumped on Randy's back and bit him hard as he could. Randy jumped around a bit in pain and fell down dead to the ground" Mr Hoot paused.

"Poor Randy" Sally gasped.

"Poor Randy indeed" continued Mr Hoot. "But unfortunately it was not just Randy. Danny's whole family was mean and back biting. They didn't do it for food they did it for fun. They killed many of the young woodland creatures in the same fashion.

After a while all the ma's and pa's got together and decided to go to Mother Nature about the problem."

"Mother Nature" they asked. "Isn't there anything to be done. The Long Legs are killing our young constantly taunting and bullying them with their poisonous mouths. We have lost 3 babies to them this month. Couldn't you please find it in your heart to help us with them."

"Now as you-who-who know Mother Nature is wise and didn't just grant changes for just any reason. The need had to be enough to make a real difference in the animal world. But she could see how unhappy all the woodland creatures big and small were over this.

All of them sharing very similar tales as that with Randy. She had seen Danny and his brothers teasing the others herself on several occasions. She decided now was a time for a change..

The next babies born to the mama and papa Long legs had very small mouths. They couldn't couldn't bite anyone anymore. They could not use their mouths for anything but eating and talking as they were supposed to.

Being that their mouths were smaller so was their taunting.

And after a whole the Long Legs bunch mellowed out to be a nice friendly bunch we know today.

So you see Sally" Mr Hoot explained."Johnny is part right. The Long Legs are still the most deadly and dangerous bunch around but Old Mother Nature fixed things so everyone could get along better." Mr Hoot concluded.

Johnny reared up on his legs and kicked at Sally. "See I told ya I AM the most ferocious."

"Personally" Sally giggled, " I think your mouth is still too big"


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