Introduction: This story was written back in 2006 by the new-deceased Terry Gardner. He worked as a clinical social worker all the way up to the time of his death. He also was a published author. This Four Directions story, as he called them, is shared in his memory and with permission of his widow, Lin Gardner.
This is one of seven stories he created that he designated as being from the East.
Young Cassius Coyote lost his family. Now he must find new ways of re-building his life with the help of Eagle and a family of beavers from Master Forest.
Beaver Busy – a story from the East
© 2006 by Terry & Lin Gardner; Re-told and re-formatted with the permission of his widow, Lin Gardner, by Debbie Dunn
Ellen Eagle glided high above Master Forest. Her sharp eyes caught the movements of a tiny four-legged figure far below. She commented, “That four-legged one looks like a young Coyote. I’ll check this out.”
Eagle pulled her wings tightly to her body and power-dived straight down toward the figure. The figure froze in terror and stared at the lightning-bolt Eagle plunging toward it.
When Eagle came within easy sight of the figure, she said to him, “Ah, I was right again. It is a young Coyote. It is also a VERY scared Coyote.”
Eagle called to the young Coyote, “I won’t hurt you. Welcome to Master Forest. I want to be your friend. What is your name?”
The young Coyote unfroze from his terror and managed to squeak, “I’m Cassius Coyote. You really scared me when you dived toward me. Mom always warned me about Eagles. I see you are different though.”
Eagle smiled and hopped to Coyote’s side. She wrapped her huge wings around Coyote and remarked, “I’m very different. I’m here to help everyone in Master Forest. Where is your family?”
Cassius Coyote’s face scrunched-up, and he began to cry, “Some hunters and farmers found Mom, Dad, and my brother. The hunters and farmers took them away. I’m all alone. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I feel so lost and stuck.”
“I believe you need a healthy dose of how to find your way,” said Eagle. “My friends and I can help you create some new ways for you.”
Cassius Coyote answered, “I’d like that VERY much. Do you mean you could give me a compass so I could find some direction for myself?”
Eagle answered, “Yes. When would you like to start?”
Cassius Coyote said, “Right now. I’m ready. Where will we go? What will we do? Who will we meet?”
Eagle held up her wing and shook her head. She interrupted the flood of Coyote’s questions, “Hold your questions. They are good, but you have to take this slowly. You need to flow with what’s happening. I can’t predict the future for you. Let’s have some fun together and explore each moment.”
Cassius Coyote looked VERY disappointed and responded, “I guess I understand you. I really can’t know what’s going to happen one minute from now. I also have to follow you to learn more about how to find out who I am and what I’m going to do here.”
Eagle smiled gently and said to Coyote, “I know where some friends are who are perpetually busy. You will learn much from them. I hope you will make them your friends, too.”
“I only have you for a friend so far,” answered Cassius Coyote. “I’d like more friends.”
Eagle nodded and simply said, “Follow me. We’re going to that small lake.”
Eagle caught a slight breeze and flapped her huge wings hard to begin flying. She flew slowly so young Coyote could follow her.
Eagle and Coyote reached the small lake. They heard four hard sounds of SLAP, SLAP, SLAP, and SLAP. Four loud splashes followed the four slaps.
Cassius Coyote looked very puzzled and asked, “What was that, Eagle?”
Eagle answered, “Wait and see.” Eagle screeched two ear-splitting screams. She paused and screeched two more equally loud screams.
Cassius Coyote covered his ears and began trembling. He didn’t see four heads suddenly pop up within five feet of him on the shore of the lake.
One of the heads called to Cassius Coyote, “Hi, Coyote. Welcome to our pond. Eagle told us about you.”
Cassius Coyote looked up and began shaking with terror again. He managed to say, “Who are you? Will you hurt me?”
The talking-head laughed and replied, “Coyote, I’m Betty Beaver. The other three are members of my family. We won’t hurt you. We want to help you.”
Cassius Coyote gradually stopped shaking and stammered, “I would like your help. What can you show me?”
Beaver flashed a big grin. The sun caused her huge teeth to shine as she invited Coyote, “We will show you by doing our work. You will learn your direction as you watch us and talk with us.”
Cassius Coyote agreed, “Okay. Where do you live? What do you do?”
Beaver laughed again and answered, “We live in this pond. We built it so we could live here.”
Eagle listened closely and added, “Beaver, you also create homes for quite a few other birds and animals.”
Beaver agreed, “You’re right again, Eagle.”
Beaver continued to talk to Coyote, “We have huge front teeth. Bert and Beverly, will you show Coyote what we do with our teeth?”
Bert and Beverly walked out of the water and moved to a young tree. Bert said to Beverly, “This one looks perfect for us.”
Beverly nodded her agreement. Then the two beavers furiously gnawed the trunk of the young tree. The tree fell to the ground very quickly. Beverly and Bert dragged the tree into the water. They floated it to a huge pile of trees and brush near one part of the pond’s shore.
Cassius Coyote looked very puzzled and asked, “Why did Bert and Beverly cut down that tree and drag it to that huge brush pile?”
Eagle spoke first. “Cassius Coyote, Bert and Beverly did what they do best. They have teeth to cut down trees, muscles to pull the trees around, and tails to help them swim through the water. Betty Beaver, please tell Coyote more about what happens when your friends, family, and you cut down trees and place them in the water.”
“We do several things when we cut down the trees and drag them to one place,” answered Beaver. “You can’t see it from here; however, we blocked the free flow of the small river.”
Cassius Coyote looked amazed and asked, “Is this small lake really the blocked river?”
Beaver nodded and continued, “The pile of trees and brush blocks the river. The pile also provides us food and houses. We hide in the trees and brush and are VERY safe.”
Cassius Coyote’s jaw dropped and he exclaimed, “WOW! How do you know how to do all that?”
Beaver laughed and said, “We know we need food, homes, and safety. We know how our Moms and Dads got food, homes, and safety going back many generations. We know we are part of that chain of knowing how to cut down trees and where to put them so we also have food, houses, and safety.”
Cassius Coyote sat down at the lake’s edge and thought hard. His face scrunched-up in thought. He was thinking so hard, you could almost see the steam pouring from his ears.
Eagle and Beaver looked at each other and smiled at Coyote. They knew Coyote thought very hard about what he had just learned from Beaver.
Cassius Coyote’s face broke into a wide grin and he jumped up from the log. He shouted, “I’m getting something. Beaver, you know why you cut down the trees. You also know why you take them to the river and make your house and grocery store in the same place.”
Beaver nodded her head and answered, “Our purposes are very clear and simple to us. We also very clearly know our needs. I forgot to tell you one other need.”
Bert and Beverly Beaver yelled to Betty Beaver, “We’re sorry to interrupt you, but we found Brad Beaver tearing apart our dam. We dragged him here so he could talk to you.”
Betty Beaver said to Coyote and Eagle, “If you will excuse me, I will handle Brad Beaver right here.”
Eagle answered Betty Beaver, “Go ahead. You will bring even more to Coyote.”
Bert and Beverly dragged the shaking Brad Beaver to Betty Beaver. Brad Beaver was trying to roll himself in a ball and hide his head so he didn’t have to look at Betty Beaver.
Betty Beaver sharply said to Brad Beaver, “Brad Beaver, you look at me NOW.”
Brad Beaver slowly and very reluctantly raised his head. He mumbled, “I didn’t mean to hurt anything. I thought it would be fun to see the branches and brush float across the lake.”
Betty Beaver asked, “What would happen if you tore our house and dam apart?”
Brad Beaver answered, “Ah, …, I don’t know.”
Betty Beaver quietly said, “You do know, and I want you to tell me. You need to take responsibility for your thoughts, words, and actions.”
“Ah, I guess the lake would overspill,” replied Brad Beaver. “We would lose our home and food.”
Betty Beaver nodded her head in agreement, “You speak well, Brad Beaver. I’m pleased you finally talked honestly.”
Brad Beaver looked fearful again and asked, “What are you going to do to me? I know I was destructive and not creative.”
“I’ll give you a chance to be creative instead of destructive,” said Betty Beaver. “You will start cutting some trees and completely repair your damage to our dam now.”
“Whew!” said Brad Beaver. “My teeth need a workout anyway. I thought you’d really punish me.”
Betty Beaver replied, “I just want you to remember your purpose and identity. You are meant to be creative in the use of trees and brush to help your friends, relatives, and you live. You also help many others as you create the dam. Okay, Brad Beaver, get busy!”
Brad Beaver dived into the water and quickly swam to the nearest clump of small trees. Eagle, Betty Beaver, Brad Beaver, Beverly Beaver, and Coyote saw him gnaw a huge chunk out of the first tree.
Brad and Beverly Beaver asked Betty Beaver, “May we go play, now? We finished our chores.”
Betty Beaver nodded, so Brad and Beverly hit their flat tails on the water with loud splashes. They dove into the water and swam hard toward the dam.
Cassius Coyote asked, “Why do you use your teeth to cut down the trees?”
Beaver answered him, “That’s part of who we are. Our teeth grow very fast, and we have to gnaw down trees and wood to keep them useful to us.”
Cassius Coyote scratched his head and said, “I’m getting some ideas from you. You know why you cut trees. You know how to cut trees. You know what to do with the trees. You know so much, you can create beautiful and useful dams. The dam helps other animals and all of us.”
Beaver and Eagle grinned and nodded to Coyote. Eagle said, “Coyote, you now understand so much about creating your life. You know about Beaver. I will also help you find another Coyote who can and will help you learn about how to create a Coyote life.”
Cassius Coyote let out a yip of excitement and said, “Great! I will have a family again, and I will be a full Coyote.”
- Click “Story Comprehension Questions: Beaver Busy” to get a copy of the questions for your class to discuss or write about or both. (coming soon)
OTHER STORIES BY TERRY GARDNER
Four Coyote tales
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Meets his Master
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Courage to Fear
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Travels Inside
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Becomes Mindful
Story featuring Bear
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Bear becomes bearable
Seven Stories from the East
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Dog Learns to Dance
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Teeter-Totter Eagle reviews her past
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Beaver Busy (see above)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Coyote and Fawn learn about growth within
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Argument between the Deer and Rabbits (Coming Soon)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Wise Guy (Coming Soon)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Flying Eights (Coming Soon)
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