The Beaver Lodge
By Erwin Schalm
Shay was born with a big imagination. Big enough to do anything and everything. Her imagination could move the biggest mountain and fly to the highest star.
Shay lived beside a river bed of marshland, where a beaver family had its lodge. Mama and Papa beaver had three kits, Billy, Randy, and Lizzie. Billy was the reckless one, always getting into trouble. Randy was cautious and considerate and never once got in trouble. Lizzie was very ambitious and always helpful to her parents. You might say she was a busy little beaver.
Mama and Papa beaver were very proud of their lodge. Papa beaver liked to brag about their lodge to anyone who would listen. Of course, there was always a lot of repair work to be done because the logs would often shift in the water.
And then there was Billy. He helped with the repairs but often as not he ended up playing with the building materials and things would be worse after than before he began to help. Randy was usually there to stop him before things got really out of hand.
The turtles living near by always kept a wary eye open for Billy’s presence. Nothing the turtles loved better than to sun tan on a log. A bunch of them would line up on a log for a bit of rest and sun tanning. Billy would sneak up quietly and twist the log, laughing his head off when they all plopped into the water.
They wondered how they could ever repay him with a trick of their own. One day they had an idea; they tied the end of Billy’s favourite balancing log to a tree. When Billy showed up to drag his log to the river, the turtles were all there to watch him.
“Let us see how strong you are, Billy,” they called out to him. “You are strong enough to tilt our log and make us plunge into the water. Are you strong enough to pull your log out to the stream?”
”Nothing to it,” said Billy. He began to pull on the log. He moaned and groaned but the log did not budge.
”What is the matter, Billy, didn’t have your breakfast this morning?” The turtles enjoyed the scene. After a lot of pulling and tugging, Billy discovered the rope. He blushed and must have turned red as a beet. After that the turtles were left to suntan in peace.
One day the beaver living up stream came rushing over, he was all excited. “A big, huge log is drifting down the river heading straight toward your lodge,” he yelled. Everybody panicked.
Papa beaver said “everybody out of the lodge.” The only thing going through Billy’s head was just how big a crash it would be. Randy had a lot of study material that he wanted to save and Lizzie gathered up all her valuable ornaments. The big log was getting very close.
”Time to leave!” Papa Beaver shouted. It wasn’t the big crash that Billy was expecting, but the tail end of the big log damaged the lodge.
”What will we do now,” said Mama beaver. “There isn’t enough time to do the repairs before dark.”
Papa beaver said "We have to try. Everybody get to work." Shay had seen the big log drift against the lodge and all the damage it caused. She felt really sorry for the beavers.
"I know you can do it," she shouted to the beavers as she watched them repair their lodge. But things didn't look so good because it would soon be dark.
It was getting dark and the lodge was not yet finished. There was a full moon but the dark clouds didn't let the moon's rays shine through. The beavers asked Shay for help. "Can you move the clouds for us?" they pleaded. Shay said she would ask her imagination. Shay's imagination flew up to the clouds.
"Please help us," she said. "The beavers need to finish their lodge but it's too dark because you are not letting the moon shine through."
"We can't go anywhere without the wind," the clouds said. "You can talk to the wind but remember the wind understands only poetry language." Shay's imagination then talked to the wind:
"Wind, you can be very gentle and calm,
and not blow a feather from our palm.
Some days we are not even aware of you
Because nothing shows what you can do.
But other days you really blow and howl,
Birds are tossed about, even the mighty owl.
It is then that we see leaves and dust arise,
And all clouds disappear from the skies.
So please, wind, do show me your power,
because it is getting dark this very hour.
Make all the clouds disappear from the sky,
so the beavers can fix the lodge they occupy."
After that, the imagination went back to Shay at the beaver lodge. Nothing was happening and it was getting dark. "I tried," Shay said, "sorry I couldn't help."
It was time for her to go home, but as she was about to leave the wind picked up and the clouds started to roll away.
"Whoopee!" the beavers shouted in unison. "Now we can finish our lodge."
Shay went home very happy that her imagination worked hard to help the beavers finish repairing their lodge. And every day after when she passed by the beaver's lodge, they would make a point of thanking her for all the help.
If you enjoyed this story by Erwin Shalm you might also like to visit Shay's Imagination, which features children's stories and children's poems written by Erwin Schalm, with illustrations by Shayla Schalm.
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