Buddy Badger

            Buddy Badger lived beneath a log on the south side of the pasture.  He had a pleasant home with lots of soft grass to lie on and a collection of wonderful books that he liked to read.  The only thing bad in Buddy’s life was Lester.  Lester was a rabbit.  Lester was obnoxious. 

             Every day Lester came over to Buddy’s house and let himself in, whether Buddy were home or not.  While he was there, he would eat all of Buddy’s best food, including the apricot jam that Buddy got from his mother every Christmas.  And worst of all, Lester often got jam all over Buddy’s favorite books.  No matter what Buddy said to Lester, it would make no difference.  Once Buddy even changed the lock on his front door, but Lester broke out the little window and let himself in all the same.  And one time Lester even had a party at Buddy’s, and he and all his friends totally trashed out Buddy’s house.

            Buddy didn’t know what to do.  It’s not like you can really call the animal cops.  So Buddy asked Steve; Steve was a squirrel.  Contrary to popular belief, owls are really dumb as dirt.  They just seem smart because the squirrels tell them everything.  Buddy cut out the middleman.

           “What can I do?” asked Buddy.  “Rabbit is trashing out my whole house.  He’s ruined my life.”

            Squirrel thought about it for a while and he finally answered, “If I were you, I’d kill him.”

            “Oh, I couldn’t do that,” Buddy replied.

            “You don’t have to,” said Squirrel.  “You can hire Billy.  He’ll kill him.”

            Billy was a bluebird.  If people only knew how mean bluebirds really were, they’d stop putting out houses for them.

            Buddy still couldn’t bare to have Rabbit killed.  “I’m just not that kind of Badger,” he tried to explain to Squirrel.

            So Squirrel thought about Buddy’s problem some more, and he came up with another idea.  It was an idea that Buddy liked a whole lot more.  Squirrel suggested that Buddy simply beat the living snot out of Rabbit.  “After all,” Squirrel explained, “you are a lot bigger than Rabbit.  You’ve got the reach.  And he won’t be expecting a thing.”

            And that’s just what Buddy did.  The next time Rabbit came over to his house Buddy pounded him into the dirt.  In fact, Buddy was so successful that Rabbit never brought himself or his broken ears back to Buddy’s house ever again.

            The only problem was, Buddy had never done anything violent before in his entire life.  Like most badgers, Buddy was a very peaceful sort of guy.  Pounding Rabbit, though, opened up a whole new world for Buddy.  He soon discovered that he didn’t have to collect any berries.  All he had to do was wait for Bear to return from the Sparkling Stream and then take away all of his berries.  Bears are pushovers that way.  He didn’t have to wait in line to cross the log over the brook.  He just shoved everyone out of his way.  He didn’t even have to clean his house or cook.  He scared the mice so bad that they were afraid not to.

            In short, Buddy became obnoxious.  It got so bad that all the animals in the forest got together and went to Squirrel.  Of course, Squirrel had a simple solution.  Unfortunately for Buddy, they had no problems with bluebirds.

Editor's Note:  A student of mine did the illustrations for this story, but I'll be durned if I can remember that person's name.