Squirrel and Coyote

One day Coyote was stalking through the woods. She placed her paws carefully, silently and never rustled a leaf as she hunted. The day was full of new life. The arrival of spring had awakened the dogwood trees in the understory. Coyote breathed in the sweet scent of prey. Her stomach rumbled in anticipation when suddenly something tumbled down onto her back and fell onto the forest floor beside her.
Coyote looked down and was delighted to see a snack or rather a small orphaned squirrel with only a light dusting of brownish fur across his delicate back . His eyes had only just opened but he looked desperate and frightened. Coyote was about to reach down and gobble him up when suddenly she had an idea. She could bring this small orphan back to the den and boast about how she had become such a skilled huntress that the prey simply threw themselves at her rather than try to escape. She huffed at her cleverness and picked the little squirrel up in her mouth, tossing him onto her back.
Coyote had ranged to the edge of her territory and had quite a ways to get back to the den but she didn’t want to waste time hunting anymore, so delighted was she by the trick she had in mind. She settled into a distance eating trot that took no more effort than strolling along a path. As her shoulders blades danced back and forth, Squirrel was bounced rather roughly. She slowed a bit and the orphan tucked further into her ruff.
Coyote could feel Squirrel’s little arms wrapping around her, little hands tucking into her fur. Coyote could feel the sigh of comfort and relief from the little body. Something stretched in Coyote’s heart and it hurt. There was a strangling pressure on her chest she had never felt before. She stopped, all thoughts of the trick gone from her mind. She didn’t like this one bit. Coyote turned, wrapping her teeth gently around the little body, she pulled Squirrel out of her ruff.
“This will not do,” she thought and decided to eat Squirrel right away rather than take him back to the den. The pressure on her chest had grown stronger and the pain in her heart was throbbing. She placed Squirrel down on the ground before her and sniffed his little body. She opened her mouth to gobble him up when suddenly he reached out with his hands and grabbed her nose. With one delicate hand on each side of her muzzle, Squirrel made a piteous sound. At once it made her stomach rumble with hunger and her heart squeeze with compassion.
Surprising herself, she reached her tongue out to clean his little face. He turned up to the warmth. He was desperately hungry and pulled at her muzzle harder. Her heart felt like it would burst but the pain began to feel like heat…like the warmth of the sun spreading across her body. The light of it lit up her fur as golden beams traveled from tip to tip. The pressure on her chest turned into a caress and she felt as though she were glowing with it. She snorted in surprise and stepped back from the little Squirrel then laughed aloud. “What a good trick!” she chuckled as she gently picked Squirrel up in her mouth and placed him back into her warm ruff, “You have tricked the trickster!”.
Coyote began her steady trot again, heading home towards the den, now eager to share her new love rather than boast of her cleverness.

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