Junah Tales: Episode 21: The Robin and the Frog

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Here is your next episode of Junah Tales.

A robin’s peck and a frog’s tongue give Junah clues to the wrong secret.

Episode 21:
The Robin and the Frog

Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
Episode 21

The Robin and the Frog 

As Junah Cat and Mo Mouse rested next to the pond, they noticed a red-breasted robin hopping along the soft grass at the edge of the pond. The robin would hop a little way, then stop and listen. Hop a bit more, then stop and listen again. Then, unexpectedly, he’d sink his beak into the soft earth and come out with a worm.

“Did you see that, Mo?” asked Junah.

“Yeah, that robin got still, and then he was able to catch his food,” said Mo.

“Yes, that’s fascinating,” said Junah. “It’s like the water of the pond that got still to let us see the fish.”

“Yes, but it’s different,” said Mo. “The ground wasn’t moving like the water. It was like the robin himself had to be still, sort of listening, and then he could act quickly.”

Junah shushed Mo and pointed to the pond. A big frog was sitting on a lily pad fairly close to the edge where Junah and Mo were resting. Junah watched him shoot out his tongue and catch a fly.

“How do you know when to shoot out your tongue?” Junah asked Frog.

“I just wait, Mr. Cat,” said Frog.

“Yes, I can see you have to wait till they come close to you, and then I guess you have to time the flick of your tongue?” continued Junah.

“Yes, it takes good timing,” said Frog, “but the key is to be very still and very quiet, completely silent, so the flies don’t know I’m here. I can’t croak or move. Then fwappp!  Got ‘em. That’s the secret to success.”

“Thank you, Frog,” said Junah. Then, turning to Mo, excited about his new discovery, Junah said, “Mo, this is a big deal.”

“Yes, for catching food, you’ve got to be stopped, non-moving, almost resting,” said Mo.

“Yet you have to be alert too,” said Junah, “and ready to take action!”

“That works for animals, Junah,” said Mo, “but I don’t think it’s the way plants work.”

“So what you’re saying is that this key to successful action may be good for things that move, but not so much for plants that have roots. Is that right?” asked Junah.

“Yes,” said Mo, “so that means this can’t be the secret of the garden, even though it may be the secret for animals.”

Junah’s purr:  Successful action depends on restful alertness.

 Stay tuned!  Episode 22 will come your way in two weeks. 

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Junah Tales: Episode 20: The Wind and the Pond

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Here is your next episode of Junah Tales.

Junah and Mo look into the water in the pond.

Episode 20:
The Wind and the Pond

Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
Episode 20

The Wind and the Pond

Junah Cat and Mo Mouse were watching the lotus flowers in the garden’s pond.

“You know, Mo,” said Junah, “this water is a lot bigger than my water bowl in the house. Is it safe to drink from it? I don’t want to fall in and get all wet.”

“Silly, Junah,” laughed Mo. “Of course it’s safe! Just stand at the edge and lap it up.”

Junah peered into the pond and was surprised to see something colorful floating around in it. “Hey, what’s that in the water?”

Mo leaned over the water to see what attracted Junah’s attention.  “That’s a fish, Junah,” said Mo. “They live in the pond and eat the bugs.”

“Wow, that’s amazing,” said Junah. “I don’t have things swimming in my water bowl.”

The two friends watched as silver, red, orange, and striped fish wiggled through the water.  Suddenly, Junah felt the wind ruffling the fur on his back, and he looked up at the sky and the leaves on the Big Tree near the pond.  The leaves were rustling, making a soft sound. His body shook a bit.  Then, he turned back to the water, and he couldn’t see the fish anymore.

“Mo, look what happened,” said Junah. “The wind is making ripples in the pond, and we can’t see the fish.”

“Yeah, it’s like they disappeared,” said Mo. “If we hadn’t seen them before, we wouldn’t know they were there.”

“Do you think we’ll be able to see them again?” asked Junah.

“Let’s wait a bit and see if the wind calms down,” said Mo.

So they waited. Soon, the wind died down, and the ripples became less. Gradually, Junah saw some movement below, and then the colors of the fish again.

“Hurray, there they are,” said Junah happily.  The water became very still, and they could see deep into it.  Suddenly, the sun glinted off the water, and the surface became crystal clear.

“Wow! Look at that, Mo!” said Junah. “That’s me in the water there!”

“And me too,” said Mo.

“Well, isn’t that interesting?” said Junah.  “We could see more in the water when it was still. We could see the fish, and we could even see our reflection. But none of that would have happened unless the water was calm.”

“That’s another thing you need to tell the sisters, Junah,” said Mo.  “To see things clearly, they have to be still. When things are moving all around, they’re hard to see and know. I think that’s important.”

Junah’s purr: Seeing clearly comes with calmness.

 Stay tuned!  Episode 21 will come your way in two weeks. 

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every two weeks, simply join the M.R. Neer Reader Group
by clicking here.You’ll also be able to check out other uplifting fairy tales, fables, and legends that I write.  Complimentary copies of my fairy tale,The Four Tasks of Love, and two free chapters of my novel, The Elixir of Freedom, are available to all readers.
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Junah Tales: Episode 19: The Lotus and the Dragonfly

Thanks for following my writing.
Here is your next episode of Junah Tales.

Junah sees a lotus in the pond and
a dragonfly reflecting the sky in its wings.

Episode 19:
The Lotus and the Dragonfly

Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
Episode 19

The Lotus and the Dragonfly

“Okay, Junah, there’s one place in the garden we haven’t observed yet,” said Mo.  “It’s the pond.”

“Let’s go see what we can learn there,” said Junah enthusiastically. “I feel like we are getting closer to the secret of the garden with all we have learned.”

In the back of the garden, Junah and Mo found the pond. It was filled with lily pads, some frogs, and lots of flies buzzing around. Mo pointed out the beautiful pink lotus flowers in the pond.

“Those are Laka’s favorite flowers,” she said. “She likes to wear them in her hair and carry them around.”
“What’s so special about them, Mo?” asked Junah.

“Laka says it’s because the beautiful lotus flower grows out of the mud in the pond,” explained Mo.  “She said she’s amazed that such beauty can come out of plain mud.”

Just then, a large dragonfly whizzed by, surprising them with its speed. It landed on a lily pad close to them. “That’s a dragonfly,” said Mo. “They’re fast and eat a lot of flies.”

“But look at the wings,” said Junah, pointing his paw at the just-landed dragonfly. “You can see the whole sky reflected in the wings—the blue sky, the clouds, and even the sun. Those wings are beautiful.”

“I never noticed that before,” said Mo. “You’re right. They show everything around them. But you know what, Junah, you see those little bugs in the water there? The ones with the brown humped back?”

“Yeah,” said Junah, “what are they?”

“Those are what are called larvae, and they turn into dragonflies,” explained Mo.

“You’re kidding!” said Junah. “Those slimy little creatures turn into dragonflies? Wow, what a change! You know, we just learned something here, Mo.”

“Oh, you mean about the dragonflies?”

“No, more than that, and it might be an important clue,” said Junah. “Both the lotus flower and the dragonfly had this great possibility, this beauty, already inside them, but they had to grow into a new form for it to show.”

“Oh, you mean like the pretty lotus was just a seed in the mud, and now look at it!” said Mo.

“Yes,” echoed Junah, “and the dragonfly too! Both went from nothing fancy to something great and beautiful. Isn’t nature grand!” exclaimed Junah.

“What was inside came out! I like that, Junah,” responded Mo. “Be sure to tell the sisters.”

 Junah’s purr: Greatness already exists inside us.

 Stay tuned!  Episode 20 will come your way in two weeks. 

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Feel free to pass this fable on to others who might enjoy it.
Just share, tweet, or forward it using the buttons below.
To receive the continuing episodes of Junah Tales,
every two weeks, simply join the M.R. Neer Reader Group
by clicking here.You’ll also be able to check out other uplifting fairy tales, fables, and legends that I write.  Complimentary copies of my fairy tale,The Four Tasks of Love, and two free chapters of my novel, The Elixir of Freedom, are available to all readers.
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Junah Tales: Episode 18: Carrots & Burrows

Thanks for following my writing. Here is your next episode of Junah Tales.

Ralph Rabbit tells Junah about the treasures inside things.

Episode 18:
Carrots and Burrows

Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
Episode 18

Carrots and Burrows

Sitting on the stone pathway by the white picket fence, Junah Cat was recovering from his unusual experience in the Herb Corner.  Ralph Rabbit came hopping over.

“Hey, Junah, you okay?” asked Ralph. “I heard you yelping like you were hurt or something.”

“Yeah, I’m okay now,” said Junah. “I ran into an herb that I liked too much and one that I didn’t like at all.”

“It was catnip and rosemary,” explained Mo, “that got him so upset.”

“Oh, I’ve heard of those,” said Ralph. “You gotta know what works for you, I think.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” said Junah. “I sure am learning a lot about this garden.”

“Not only by observing,” said Mo with a laugh, “but also by getting really IN the garden.”

“I guess my curiosity really got the best of me this time,” smiled Junah.

“Well, since you’re learning more about the garden, Junah,” said Ralph. “I just thought of a tip that might help you out.”

“What’s that, Ralph?” responded Junah.

“Well, you know how you got INTO the garden?” said Ralph. “Well, sometimes it helps to get INSIDE the garden.”

“What do you mean?” asked Junah. “What’s the difference?”

“Sometimes if you go deep inside something, you find out why it’s good for you,” explained Ralph.

“Oh, you mean like when I go inside my mouse hole, I feel safe?” asked Mo.

“Yes, exactly,” said Ralph. “When we rabbits burrow into the ground, we go inside the grass and inside the soil, and even into a deeper level of the soil where we make our tunnels.”

“Oh, you live in tunnels in the ground?” asked Junah. “I didn’t know that. Don’t you worry that you’ll get stuck down there?”

“Nope, we make sure we have many ways to go in and out,” said Ralph. “In fact, sometimes we find a hole in a tree trunk and dig down under that. That’s what I mean by going inside things.”

“That’s true,” said Mo. “I know sometimes I have to dig in the ground a little to find some food.”

“That’s a good point, Mo,” added Ralph. “The food you can eat is often several layers inside something.”

“The sisters give me food now,” said Junah. “What do you mean?”

“Well, come with me over to the Root Corner, and I’ll show you,” said Ralph. Junah got up, carefully testing that his paws didn’t hurt anymore. The three friends hopped, scooted, and scampered over to the Root Corner.

“What’s growing in here?” asked Junah. “I just see a lot of different green leaves.”

“Most of what’s here that you can eat is hidden below the ground,” said Ralph.  “There are beets, sweet potatoes, radishes, onions, turnips, parsnips, ginger, turmeric, and more.”

Ralph pointed to the thin, curly leaves shooting up from the ground in parts of the patch. “See those leaves. They tell me my favorite food is hidden inside the garden there,” said Ralph. He proceeded to dig and pulled a long orange carrot out of the dark brown earth. “See, this is the treasure I find when I look deeper.”

“Oh, I get it,” said Junah. “It’s like when we saw the Crow and the orange. The orange covering wasn’t good for him. He had to poke into the skin to find the juice. He had to go inside the surface layer.”

“Yes, that’s a good example, Junah,” said Ralph.

“I’ve got another one,” said Mo, excited to share ideas. “When Sandy Squirrel wants to eat nuts, she has to crack open the shell.”

“Of course,” said Ralph. “So that’s my tip, Junah. Now I’ve got to take this carrot over to my bunnies. See you.”

As Ralph hopped off to the other side of the garden where his burrow was located, Junah pondered what Ralph had shown him.

“You know, Mo,” said Junah, “Ralph may have given us a key to the secret of the garden.”

“How so?” asked Mo.

“Well, a secret is a secret because it’s hidden,” said Junah. “I’ve been looking at the surface of what’s going on in the garden. Maybe I need to look deeper. Maybe the secret is a deeper layer of what you and I already see.”

“That feels right, Junah,” said Mo. “Let’s be sure we look inside things to check different layers as we explore.”

Junah’s purr:  Life is found in layers.

 Stay tuned!  Episode 19 will come your way in two weeks. 

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Feel free to pass this fable on to others who might enjoy it.
Just share, tweet, or forward it using the buttons below.
To receive the continuing episodes of Junah Tales,
every two weeks, simply join the M.R. Neer Reader Group
by clicking here.You’ll also be able to check out other uplifting fairy tales, fables, and legends that I write.  Complimentary copies of my fairy tale,The Four Tasks of Love, and two free chapters of my novel, The Elixir of Freedom, are available to all readers.
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Junah Tales: Episode 17: The Power of Herbs

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Here is your next episode of Junah Tales.

Junah discovers what catnip and rosemary can do for cats!

Episode 17:
The Power of Herbs

Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
Episode 17

The Power of Herbs

“We haven’t explored the Herb Corner of the garden yet,” said Junah Cat to Mo Mouse.

“Okay, let’s go over there. I think you’ll like the different smells,” suggested Mo.

They followed the path to the northwest corner of the garden. An array of red roses, peonies, and tulips graced the edge of the patch, but the two friends went past them and waded into the leaves, pulled by the scents of different plants.

The mint reached out to them with its tanginess. The lavender wafted gently around them and made them feel calm. The lemon balm had a citrus smell like the orange the ants had rolled away earlier in the day. The parsley had curly leaves that both Junah and Mo liked to rub against and chew on. The sage and thyme filled their noses with a wild smell. Then, Junah smelled a plant that made him want to chew on it a lot.

Mo said, “Sister Sara said that was a catnip plant. Maybe it’s for cats like you?”

“Well, it sure is something!” said Junah, as he broke off several leaves with his teeth and chewed on them. He started meowing and shaking his head. Then, he rolled on the ground, trying to get more of that catnip in him or on him. He just wanted it more and more.

“We should move on, Junah,” said Mo, motioning to him to follow along to the other side of the Herb Corner.

But Junah just meowed and even growled at Mo. It was like he couldn’t or didn’t want to do anything else but roll in this incredible smell. It just made him feel so good, like tingly all over.

Mo motioned again, and Junah snapped back at her. “Hey, Junah,” urged the mouse, “get over it. Come on, we have more to see.” She grabbed Junah’s tail to pull him away friendly-like, and Junah growled again and flipped around to chase after her. Scared, Mo jumped into the middle of a rosemary bush because she remembered Sara said it had good protecting qualities—and it had big stems that she could hide down in.

Junah jumped after Mo into the bush, rubbing his paws on the rosemary stems as he pushed them aside looking for Mo. But then a strange thing happened. Junah snapped out of his catnip fever and rolled on the ground, trying to rub the rosemary off his paws.

He backed away from the bush and from Mo, and backed all the way out of the Herb Corner. He ran over to the fence, yelping and pawing the ground under the hedges. Whatever that plant was, he had to get it off him. It was awful. Finally, he had rubbed enough dirt into his paws that he could breathe easier. He lay down on the stone pathway on his back, resting his paws in the air.

“Junah, you okay?” asked Mo, gingerly walking up to him.

“Yeah, Mo,” said Junah, turning his head to look at the mouse. “I’m sorry I scared you. What the heck was in that plant—both of them, in fact? They sure made a mess out of me.”

“The plant that you couldn’t get enough of was catnip,” said Mo. “It certainly was something cats like, yes?”

“Yikes, I felt like a different cat,” recalled Junah. “I couldn’t think straight. It was all I wanted. I was totally out of balance. I am so sorry; I could have hurt you.”

“You sure weren’t normal,’” said Mo. “I guess we just have to learn to take it easy with such things, so we don’t get out of balance.”

“I guess so,” said Junah. “What about that sticky stuff in the other plant?”

“That was rosemary,” said Mo. “Sister Sara said it could protect.”

“Well, I don’t know who it was protecting,” moaned Junah. “I couldn’t get away from it fast enough. Yuk! Those sticky leaves! That oil! That smell! On my paws! It hurts just to think about it! I was out of it there too!”

“I could see you were hurting,’” said Mo. “Somehow we all have to learn about what can hurt us, and I guess you learned about it the hard way.”

Junah’s purr:  Get out of balanceget into trouble.

 Stay tuned!  Episode 18 will come your way in two weeks. 

PASS IT ON!  JOIN ME!
Feel free to pass this fable on to others who might enjoy it.
Just share, tweet, or forward it using the buttons below.
To receive the continuing episodes of Junah Tales,
every two weeks, simply join the M.R. Neer Reader Group
by clicking here.You’ll also be able to check out other uplifting fairy tales, fables, and legends that I write.  Complimentary copies of my fairy tale,The Four Tasks of Love, and two free chapters of my novel, The Elixir of Freedom, are available to all readers.
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Junah Tales: Episode 16: The Ladybug and the Grasshopper

Thanks for following my writing.
Here is your next episode of Junah Tales.

Junah and Mo see how every creature has to eat
but can also help each other.

Episode 16:
The Ladybug and the Grasshopper

Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
Episode 16

The Ladybug and the Grasshopper

Junah Cat and Mo Mouse were sitting on the bench watching the garden.

“Over there,” whispered Mo, pointing toward the tomatoes growing in the Vine Corner. A bunch of small red somethings floated in the air. They seemed to be moving up and down randomly. A few fell on the leaves, and Mo motioned to Junah to come over closer but quietly.

They crept near the tomato patch and saw that the red somethings were little red ladybugs, each with handsome black dots on their backs.  They were eating tiny bugs who were eating holes in the tomato leaves. Mo said the tiny bugs were aphids.  “Duma told me Sara had planted some dill plants and fennel along the edge of the vine plants to attract ladybugs,” said Mo. “Duma said ladybugs were the gardener’s best friend.”

“I wonder,” said Junah, “are the aphids bad and the ladybugs good? They are both just eating what they eat.”

“We all have to eat,” said Mo, shrugging his shoulders.

Just then Grasshopper flew into the tomato patch. The ladybugs scattered, but the quick Grasshopper caught an unlucky one.

“Oh, Grasshopper,” said Ladybug, “let me go and I’ll repay you for your kindness.”

“How could a little bug like you help me, a big grasshopper?” questioned the hopper, looking hungrily at the red bug.

“See these little aphids,” said Ladybug. “They are eating up the green leaves. If I eat the aphids, then you get to eat the leaves.”

“Well, I don’t know,” hesitated Grasshopper. “You seem like a tasty meal.”

“But the leaves are better for you,” argued Ladybug. “In fact, my red shell will make you sick. And there are lots more leaves than one ladybug. They are also easier to eat.”

“Okay,” said Grasshopper, “I don’t want to get sick. I just want to eat, and leaves are my favorite food. You can go this time, but if I don’t get full on leaves, I’ll come looking for you.”

“Thank you, Grasshopper,” said Ladybug. “You’ll be rewarded for your kindness.”

Ladybug flew away to join her family, and Grasshopper dined to his heart’s content on tomato leaves. Both were happy.

Junah and Mo smiled at this harmonious result, but suddenly a large shadow swept over the Vine Corner. Junah saw immediately that it was the hawk, back for more food. Instinctively, Junah squatted down to cover Mo and protect her from the hawk. But the hawk just passed over them and grabbed the leaf-eating grasshopper in his claws.

Grasshopper yelped, and almost instantly a flurry of red dots rose up from the vines and fluttered around the hawk’s eyes. He reached up with one of his claws to swat the ladybugs, but in doing so he dropped the grasshopper. The hopper landed on the vines and hid underneath the big leaves. The hawk screeched and flew away. Junah and Mo both breathed a sigh of relief.

“Thank you, Junah,” said Mo, “for shielding me from that hawk. A mouse is their favorite food.”

“I just reacted,” said Junah, surprised at his own movement. “I wonder how grasshopper is getting along.”

They looked in the vines. Grasshopper had a bruised leg on the side where the hawk had grabbed him. But other than that, he was all right. He looked around and saw Ladybug sitting on a leaf looking at him.

“You were right, Ladybug,” said Grasshopper. “Even a little bug like you was able to help a big bug like me. Thank you. I’ll never forget it.”

Ladybug smiled. “You’re welcome, Grasshopper,” said Ladybug. “Never underestimate the power of a good deed. I have seen it pay off in many ways.”

“That’s a big thing to know,” said Mo, as she and Junah walked back to the round stone bench.  “Just like you let me go when you first entered the garden, and then I helped you tour the garden. And now, you saved me from the hawk. This is amazing. Helping someone really makes a difference.”

“You’re right, Mo,” said Junah. “I wonder if helping is the secret of the garden. You know, the sisters said after I experienced the secret, then I could help others.”

“That must be part of it,” said Mo. “So we’re on the right track. We just need to keep on experiencing, I guess.”

Junah’s purr:  Every action has a reaction; a good deed always comes back.

 Stay tuned!  Episode 17 will come your way in two weeks. 

PASS IT ON!  JOIN ME!
Feel free to pass this fable on to others who might enjoy it.
Just share, tweet, or forward it using the buttons below.
To receive the continuing episodes of Junah Tales,
every two weeks, simply join the M.R. Neer Reader Group
by clicking here.You’ll also be able to check out other uplifting fairy tales, fables, and legends that I write.  Complimentary copies of my fairy tale,The Four Tasks of Love, and two free chapters of my novel, The Elixir of Freedom, are available to all readers.
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