Cornelius

Ruth Milne, C’23

Cornelius the slightly confused ferret was having a bad day. He wasn’t exactly sure why he was having a bad day; he’d work that out later. It all seemed to start when he woke up that morning to the highly irritating sound of a woodpecker decimating the roof of the log Cornelius called his home. He wasn’t sure why the woodpecker was there; he’d reflect on that when he had the time. Cornelius then set himself to the task of remembering everything he’d been planning on doing as of the night before. Oh, if only his tiny ferret paws could but grasp a writing utensil with which to take notes. Hm. What was writing anyway? Cornelius looked up from the butterfly that had momentarily distracted him when it alighted outside his log, and then he shuffled out into the morning sunshine. He nosed his way among the ferns, avoiding spider webs speckled with dew, until he came upon a stream. It had probably been there the day before, but Cornelius hadn’t been paying that much attention. Well, he was there now. The stream was cold and bright with the spring melt, and newly green leaves tipped the branches of the underbrush. Sunlight dappled hazily through to the forest floor, illuminating the emerging flowers. Cornelius ignored all of it.

Instead, he traipsed aimlessly through the wood, trying to remember what had been so important yesterday. For the life of him, he couldn’t. Blast. His little ferrety mind was working itself in circles, trying to ponder the problem. He stopped suddenly, per chance under the direct light of a dazzling sunbeam, and it dawned on him that last night’s worries were trivial to his current, ongoing problems. Cornelius realized with stunning clarity quite unusual for him that he had stumbled upon the answer to his confusing life: he needed to find someone else to remember everything for him.

And lo and behold, as Cornelius the slightly confused ferret was standing there, a gasp came from under a nearby fern. Jeremy the tiny toad hopped out in front of Cornelius.

“You’re so majestic,” he gushed. “The sunlight really accentuates your shiny fur, you know. I’m Jeremy! Please tell me your name.”

The ferret blinked slowly. “It’s…. Cornelius….”

“Oh wow!” Jeremy squeaked. “I only just met you, and already I idolize you! Tell me, how do you get your eyes to look so perfectly empty? I’ve never been able to do that…”

Cornelius looked blankly at the tiny, excitable toad. Then he tried to remember what he’d been thinking about. If only someone had remembered for him! And then the stunning clarity hit Cornelius again, and he said, “You! Tiny toad! I require you to remember everything for me!”

“Really?! I’m so honored!” Jeremy hopped along after Cornelius, the two of them heading off together into the golden spring woods.

And maybe they would live happily ever after, but you never can tell with ferrets.

The End.

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