The Moon Egg
By Valerie L. Egar
Of all the animals in the forest, only the Blue Jays knew the latest gossip. Like the town criers of olden times who shouted news from street corners, cries of “Jay, jay, jay!” alerted all the birds and animals to gather for an announcement.
“Fox has discovered a great treasure!” Jay cried from the top of an oak tree.
“It is small and round like the moon, and though it does not move, it has a beating heart,” shouted another.
All the animals waited expectantly to see Fox’s treasure, and Fox soon appeared. He gently placed a small silver disc in the clearing. The animals gathered around to take a closer look.
“Indeed, it is round like the moon,” observed Squirrel, “and smaller than a horse chestnut.”
“Silver on one side,” said Otter, who touched it gingerly. “But the other side has a design at the edge of the circle with two lines pointing at the design. Might it be a young turtle?”
Turtle moved forward and examined it. “Not a turtle,” she pronounced. “Definitely not.”
“Maybe it’s a baby moon,” said Mourning Dove. Most of the animals thought her a bit daft, but since they had no idea what it was, they shrugged.
“It’s alive,” said Fox. “Listen.”
“Is that a heart beat?”
“It doesn’t sound like a heart,” said Bear. “My heart goes thumpa-thumpa. That goes ti-ta,ti-ta, ti-ta.”
“Well, you’re a grown bear!” said Fox. “Not a baby whatever.”
“But it doesn’t move,” said Wolf, prodding it with its foot. “Animals move.”
“Not if it hasn’t hatched yet,” admonished Mourning Dove. “If it’s an egg, we need to keep it warm.”
“I’m not giving it up,” said Fox. “I found it.”
“We can take turns,” said Bear. They decided each animal would keep the egg warm in shifts of one hour each until it hatched.
The first day proceeded without incident.
On the second day, Wolf began to wonder whether the moon (or whatever hatched) would belong to him if it hatched when he was keeping it warm. Fox wondered the same thing.
“What if it something delicious hatched?” Bear thought. “Would the animals share with each other?”
The animals began bickering. Squirrel tried to change her time with Fox because she noticed the egg glowed in the dark and she liked watching it at night.
Wolf thought Bear was putting in too much time minding the egg and planned to steal it. Mourning Dove felt bitter that animals from miles away showed up wanting to help when she’d been working from the beginning.
The bickering turned fierce and soon the animals were arguing. “I’ve put in the most hours!” “My fur is warmer than your thin feathers!” “I found it and it’s mine!” The howls and growls could be heard all over the forest. They argued so long, they forget about warming the egg. When they finally remembered, the ti-ta, ti-ta, ti-ta inside had stopped.
“You killed it!” shouted Fox to Bear.
“Me? Mourning Dove started the argument!”
“Did not.” The fighting resumed.
The Jays sounded an alert for Owl to put matters to rest. Owl was a wise judge and esteemed by all the forest animals for her wisdom. She swooped in and took her post on the branch of an ash tree.
“These beasts have murdered my moon baby,” the Fox cried. “At least I think it was a moon baby. But whatever it was, they’ve killed it!” He held up the round silver disc all of them had been keeping warm.
Owl looked at the round object, turning it over in her talons.
“It’s heart was beating until the fighting started,” yelled the Jays.
“All Bear’s fault,” whispered Mourning Dove.
“Silence!” screeched Owl. She viewed them sternly. “This is called a watch. Unlike us, humans have no sense of time and need something to tell them when to eat and sleep.”
The animals started to giggle. “Imagine not knowing when to eat!” “I sleep when I’m tired!” Soon they were laughing so hard, they’d forgotten their anger.
Owl dropped the watch in the nearby lake where it sank to the bottom and sparkled for the fish.
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Copyright 2018 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied, reproduced or distributed without permission from the author.
Published November 4, 2018 Biddeford Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME)