One day while Ollie-Dare and his best friends, Jimmy the Rabbit and Ace
the Coon, were having tea on the porch at Ollie-Dare's cave, Banjo the Fox
came running up. He was talking very fast and Ollie-Dare had to ask Banjo
to please slow down, he could not understand a word that he was saying.
OLLIE-DARE MEETS SAMUAL THE BALLOONIST
Handing his friend a cup of tea he told him to sit and get his breath. Banjo quickly sipped his tea, and then began to tell Ollie-Dare of a strange sight he had seen within the forest walls.
It seemed that something had entered the forest, and all the creatures were afraid, and waiting on the wise words of Ollie-Dare. Banjo began to tell of a large object, like none he had seen before, landing in the meadows just beyound the forest walls.
Ollie-Dare, becoming concerned, asked Banjo to lead the way, and told his friends Ace and Jimmy to please follow. Well, as they entered the meadow, Ollie-Dare was indeed concerned. Before him stood a huge orange and yellow balloon. Well, at least Ollie-Dare thought it looked like a balloon. It was shaped like a balloon, but it was so big.
Creatures, large and small, gathered around Ollie-Dare to ask "What has entered our forest, Ollie-Dare?"
Ollie-Dare answered, "I have not the answers you seek, but I will find out why this strange thing has entered our forest."
Now being the wise bear that he was, Ollie-Dare knew he must take great caution. He slowly made his way up to the object and called, "Who goes there!"
Suddenly a voice answered, "I am Samual the Balloonist, and who may I ask are you?"
Ollie-Dare looked up to see a large man looking out from a basket that was attached to the big balloon. "I am Ollie-Dare, and this is my forest you have entered," he answered.
"I am sorry," replied Samual, "But my balloon has taken on a leak, and it must be repaired before I go on. I only landed here in the meadow so I could do some repairs."
"I have seen balloons before, and this does not look like any balloon I have ever seen," laughed Ollie-Dare.
Samual, with a smile, explained "This is a hot-air balloon that can travel great distances and go high within the sky. I have visited many lands and seen many things within my balloon."
Ollie-Dare was amazed, and as he walked around the giant balloon he shook his head and said, "A balloon that carries a man within the sky all over the world! How wonderful! Come, I will serve fresh tea, and you, Samual, will tell me more about this balloon of yours."
So off Samual and Ollie-Dare went to Ollie-Dare's cave deep within the forest. Following behind, were Ace, Jimmy, and Banjo, all eager to hear what Samual had to say. They all sat quietly listening to the funny stories of Samual, and how his balloon carried him to lands far beyond the oceans.
After tea, Ollie-Dare asked Samual how they may be of help in mending his balloon. He added, "Nibbles the squirrell's pine-quill needles, she uses to sew, would not have the strength needed; and her thread would not hold such as your balloon needs for repairing."
Samual thought for awhile then answered, "Well, if you could perhaps help me find some strong clay that I could plug the hole with? The hole is slight, and that should hold it until I can reach were I am going, and I can finish the repairs there. It will take a few days for the clay to harden and I must ask if I could stay for that time?"
Ace spoke up "I know were we could find the clay. You see, Beaver Joe is moving his dam up stream, and they have been working fresh clay for days. However, Beaver Joe doesn't like to give up his clay, so it may take some talking."
"Maybe Woodchuck the Logger, will give us fresh cut wood to trade Beaver Joe for the clay. For if there is one thing Beaver Joe likes more than clay, it's wood!" said Banjo. "And as soon as I finish this cup of tea, we'll go see what we can do."
Soon Banjo and Ace were off to see if they could get the clay Samual needed, and Ollie-Dare and Jimmy the Rabbit took Samual for a tour of their forest. Samual, in all his travels, had never seen such beauty and wonder as that of Ollie-Dare's forest. He saw pine trees so large their branch ends could not be seen; streams so clear the water created diamonds from the sunlight; grass as green as Irish clover, and soft as cotton. A rainbow of flowers lined the forest with roses, orchids, daiseys, violets, and wild flowers of every name. He saw oaks and maple trees so huge he could hide his balloon beneath them. The wind gave soft music that carried the fresh smell of the flowers.
He met many of the forest residents. There was Nibbles the squirrel (who gave him a quill needle just in case he needed it), Fanny the Robin, and Blossom the possum. Shantey the Groundhog walked by, and many more. The sun was beginning to fade when they made their way back to Ollie-Dare's cave. On entering, they found Ace and Banjo back from their quest, and with them a full pot of clay from Beaver Joe, with well wishes from him and Woodchuck.
Early morning came, and Samual and Ollie-Dare went to repair the leak in the hot-air balloon. They worked all day and into the night before going to settle in for a few days to let the clay harden in the sun of day. Two days had finally passed, and Samual was sorry to leave his new friends, but knew he must carry on his travels, and his work to see new lands and cities.
All the forest creatures gathered for a farewell, many bringing gifts of food and water. As the giant balloon rose within the sky Ollie-Dare once again wondered if he would see his new friend again, and wished him well on his travels.
Jimmy the Rabbit was very sad, for Samual would not take him with him in the big balloon and Ollie-Dare knew he was heartbroken. But the same as Samual needed the open sky and his balloon, Jimmy needed his forest to live, and would soon forget the pain of his broken heart.
The balloon soon drifted from sight and Ollie-Dare and his friends went back into the forest. Jimmy asked "Ollie-Dare, why is man so different from all here in the great forest?"
Ollie-Dare thought for a moment, for he knew he must answer well and wise. "Man and beast," Ollie-Dare began, "are not so very different at all. We need the same things - just in different ways. Man needs food, we need food. He seeks adventures in other lands, we seek it here within the forest walls. Man strives to better his world, we work to better our forest. He sleeps, we sleep. I find only one difference between the two, for as man creates, he destroys a lot of things because he fails to see beyond what he creates. We, here in the forest, must always look beyond tomorrow, in what we create. However, man and beast must both live with the outcome of all we create."
Jimmy the Rabbit became very quiet as he thought of Ollie-Dare's words. He looked up one last time, and wondered what it would be like high within the sky, and wondered were Samual was now. He knew that he had created a new friend in Samual, one creation they all could live with.
©2002 Rebecca Morris