Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
The Crow and the Orange
Just then, Mo Mouse and Junah Cat heard a loud cawing over by the orange tree on the north side of the garden. They saw a large crow making the racket.
“I wonder what he’s so upset about,” said Mo.
As they kept watching, the crow hopped on the ground near a big orange that had fallen from the tree. It looked like he was going to poke his beak in it to get some juice. But suddenly, the orange moved a few inches away from him. More caws filled the air. He hopped up to the orange again, and it moved away again. This kept happening . . . hopping, moving, and then frustrated cawing. Crow was not getting to taste the juice.
“I wonder what’s making that orange move?” asked Junah.
“Look closer,” said Mo, smiling. “Look under the orange.”
Junah and Mo looked through the slats of the white picket fence to observe this strange event. Long, black lines appeared to be moving the orange.
“Those are ants!” whispered Mo. “They work as a team.” Junah’s eyes got big, and he turned to look closer at the long black lines near the orange.
Now Crow, determined to get some juice, hopped up next to the orange and put his wing over it to hold this moving orange ball steady while he poked his beak into the rind. Squirt! A stream of orange juice shot up from the orange and hit Crow in the eye.
Crow jumped back, rubbing his eye with his wing, trying to get the stinging sweet juice out. The frantic bird hopped up and down, rubbing and cawing.
Meanwhile, the ants now had an opening to get at the juice, thanks to Crow’s beak. They climbed up on the orange and started carrying away the drops of sweet juice. At the same time, other ants rolled the orange out of sight behind the tree.
When his eyes were finally dry, Crow settled down. He looked for the orange but couldn’t find it. Mad, he flew off to the pond to get some water to soothe his eye.
“Isn’t that fascinating?” said Junah. “Crow thought he had sweet juice, but instead he got stinging eyes.”
“Yes,” said Mo, “and look what happened to the ants. They were worried the Crow would take the orange, but instead his beak created an opening for them to get the juice.”
“Things sure don’t turn out the way you expect,” said Junah. “You just don’t know.”
Junah’s purr: Actions always have a bigger purpose.
Stay tuned! Episode 15 will come your way in two weeks.