Deep within the great forest lived Ollie-Dare the wise old bear.
Now, being that Ollie-Dare was a Wise old bear, everyone within the
great forest would come to him with their worries and woes.
Ollie-Dare wasn't sure where his wisdom came from and wondered at it
A Better World
One day Ollie-Dare decided to gather all his forest friends together and ask them what they would have him do with his wisdom, for he was sure there was something he should be doing to better the world. So invitations were sent out to Jimmy the Rabbit, Ace the 'Coon, and Banjo the Fox - his best of friends.
As they all sat around drinking their tea and talking of the worries and troubles of the great forest, Ollie-Dare listened with silence. For with all his wisdom, he felt he didn't know what he should do.
Jimmy the Rabbit wanted gardens and gardens of fresh vegetables planted. Ace the 'Coon wanted a forest of forever green with no winter to trouble their days. Banjo the Fox felt the forest should be supplied with fresh meat, so the forest animals would not have to hunt for food.
Ollie-Dare knew these were not the things he needed to do. For not all animals ate fresh vegetables, and the beauty of winter would be lost with a forest forever green, and fresh meat supplied to the animals would mean that some animals would grow lazy and selfish. No, he knew that he would have to go beyond the great forest for his answers, for surely the good to be done would be found there.
Ollie-dare told his friends he would leave in the spring and seek his answers beyond the great forest.
The first day of spring finally arrived and Ollie-Dare said his good-byes to his forest and friends, and gave advice on how to care for the forest until his return.
The first road that Ollie-Dare came upon he met an old man and his cart loaded with fresh fruit. Ollie-Dare walked awhile with the old man, and asked him many questions. He asked "If you could do anything to better your world, what would it be?"
The old man answered "I would kill off all the insects so that fruit would never spoil, and everyone would have fresh fruit all the time."
Ollie-dare thought for a moment and replied "But if all the insects would die, how would flowers grow wild, for bees and other insects carry pollen. How would birds feed their young, what would many small animals do for food? No, I think insects are as important to life as fruit."
Traveling on, he came upon an old woman tending her garden. Ollie-Dare sat and drank cool water and ask what she would do if she could change something to make her world a better place.
"I would have youth again and no one would grow tired with age," she answered.
Ollie dare once again thought for a moment and said, "I, like you, wish that youth could stay awhile longer, for I, too, have grown with age. But without age, would our wisdom be as great? Would youth be as precious? Would we find time so very important? No, I think life is about aging, with the good and the bad of it."
So on Ollie-Dare went on with his quest. He had walked many miles before he came upon three small children playing in a yard. Ollie-dare watched for a while at the silly games they played. Finally he walked up to them, and sat down. The children gathered around Ollie-dare and began asking questions.
- "How do bears eat?"
- "How do they sleep?"
- "Where do they live?"
The first child said he would never have any school, so he could play all day. The second child said he would eat ice cream every meal and never any vegetables, and the third child said he would get new toys everyday.
Ollie-Dare smiled and said, "If you never went to school how would you learn new things? You could never count your marbles, or spell your name, or read fairy tales. If you ate ice cream all the time, your body would not grow, and you would never be able to ride big bikes, or climb trees, or play ball. If you received new toys everyday, birthdays and Christmas would never come, and you would miss the joys of birthday cakes and christmas trees. No, all these things are important to you and must never change."
So Ollie-Dare said good-bye to his small friends and set out to find other answers. Soon Ollie-Dare came upon a crooked tree, its branches frayed and weak, and it seemed very old. Ollie-Dare sat beneath the old tree for shade and rest.
He had sat there for a short while when he heard a whisper. Very faint were the words, so he listened harder. "What is it that you seek?"
There they were again. But there were no people about, no birds or animals - where could the words be from?
Suddenly he looked up to see the old tree smiling. "How do you know that I seek anything?" asked Ollie-Dare.
"I know that you are Ollie-Dare the wise bear, and why else would you be among us so far from your great forest?" answered the tree. "For I, too, am wise, and I have lived for many years, for I am 400 years old."
Ollie-Dare was indeed impressed for he knew no one that old. "Then you are the one I seek," said
Ollie-Dare. "What should I do with my wisdom to change the world and make it a better place?"
The old tree sighed, then said, "I am not the one you seek, for I, too, find that wisdom at a loss. But why do you feel a need to change things? Why can't you just make them better? I have lived many years, I've fought the wind and rain, and been home to many creatures. Children have climbed my branches, and I have often given shade to such as you that are tired and weary from the sun. My branches are broken and weak, my roots hard and cold, my body rotten and soft. But I have only done the best I could and sought nothing else. I have given seed to many of the young trees you find along the road, and I would not change a thing. Maybe we should seek the wisdom to better that which is, and not to change anything."
Ollie-Dare settled down on the soft grass and thought. "I will return to my forest and tell all there, the things you have said," Ollie-Dare told the tree. With farewells and best wishes Ollie-Dare started his trip home.
Upon entering the forest of his home he stopped and listened to the sounds so dear to him. The birds were singing, the wind whispered through the trees. In the distance he could see Jimmy the Rabbit hopping down a trail. Ace the 'Coon came running from the stream, and Banjo the Fox could be seen working his way through the tall meadow grass. Ollie-Dare called to his friends and told them to meet him at home for some fresh-brewed tea.
As they settled down with their tea, Ollie-Dare told of his travels and all he had seen and heard.
Jimmy the Rabbit scratched his head and asked, "But how do these things help your wisdom make the forest a better place, or make the world a better place?"
"Jimmy," Ollie-dare said, "I have learned the most important thing of all. We must not change what God has intended for us all. We must work to better that which is, by being kind to the aged, understanding of youth, and tolerant of those that labor in work. In all these things, we could make the world a better place. My wisdom is not to change, but to help those in need, teach those that need to learn, and to cherish age.
"So my friends let's drink our tea, and tomorrow we shall start a new day."
©2002 Rebecca Morris
Watch for the next chapter in June !