OLLIE-DARE Takes A Trip
March had entered the forest with a warm promise of Spring. Fanny the Robin was out and about along with Henny the wren...and several of her friends. Nibbles the Squirrel could be seen running about...and Blossom the Possum was busy digging the earth for her flowers and vegetables. There was a new addition to the Great Forest, Nibbles' nephew CuCu, had come to visit for a while and he was seen helping her in her daily chores.
Ollie-Dare had arrived back from the Elders' Forest with much news and gifts, and they had planned a gathering for the first Sunday in March, so he could tell all his wonderful news. Ollie-Dare had placed his staff from the Elders next to his beloved books, and he would often take it up and think upon its meaning. Ollie-Dare knew that though his wisdom was great, he still had so much to learn. He also knew that he would leave the Great Forest once again, to explore and learn those things he needed.
As the day of the gathering came, Ollie-Dare thought of what he needed to say to all the forest creatures. How he would explain to them the meaning of the staff of the Elders, and how he would use it to better the Great Forest. One by one the forest creatures entered into the the clearing beneath the large pine trees, that Ollie-Dare had chosen to be the meeting place. It would now be known as the Elders' circle, and for each meeting they would gather here. He had chosen this clearing for the trees would provide protection from all seasons.
As soon as the clearing had become full of all the Great Forest creatures, Ollie-Dare stood and began to tell them of his news. "I gather you here today, my friends, to tell you news of home, and of a wonderful thing that has happened to us here. First I will tell you that all is well in the Forest of the Elders, and you will find your gifts and letters waiting for you as you leave."
As Ollie Dare began to speak again, he had taken out his Elders' Staff, and whispers and excitement could be heard. "This staff, given to us here in the Great Forest, is one of great honor," said Ollie-Dare. "I must use great wisdom in using this staff, and in asking for those that shall help me in leadership with the staff. I will travel outside the forest walls, and seek once again the answers I need. So in a few days, I shall go and seek this wisdom."
All the creatures, young and old, gathered around to look at the staff and give their blessings to Ollie-Dare on his new adventure.
When the time came for Ollie-Dare to leave, the forest walls were lined with all the forest creatures giving well-wishes for a safe return. Ollie-Dare was not sure where his travels would take him, so he started walking. He had walked for several hours when he came upon a small cottage nestled in a wooded area near the roadside. It was a pretty cottage with flowers and a small, white fence surrounding it. Ollie-Dare was curious to see who lived in the little cottage, so he walked up and knocked on the door.
The door opened to a aged man that walked with a cane, and who had bright blue eyes. The man smiled at Ollie-Dare and asked, "Now, who could you be, knocking on my door? For I don't think I have ever had a bear visit before."
"I am Ollie-Dare, the Wise bear," answered Ollie-Dare, "and I found your home to be such a delight, I wanted to stop and visit. I mean you no harm, for I am traveling, seeking answers for myself."
The man asked Ollie-Dare, "Would you care for tea, Ollie-Dare? For I have heard of you and your wisdom, and I would like to have you visit with me."
Ollie-Dare entered into a small room that had been decorated with wonderful wooden furniture, that was covered with bright cloths. A small fireplace and mantel were set within the room, and along one side were shelves lined with many books. Ollie-Dare asked the man, "I see that you also enjoy reading, have you read all these books?"
"Yes," said the man, "and I am called William."
"It is nice to meet you, William, and I think we have lots to speak on" said Ollie Dare with a smile. They settled down at a round table that also was covered with a bright cloth, and William served fresh tea.
William asked Ollie-Dare what wisdom was he seeking.
Ollie-Dare answered, "I am not sure what I am seeking." Then he told William of the Elders' Staff and how he must use the honor the Elders had given him, wisely.
The man said, "Ollie-Dare, I have heard of your wisdom, and how you protect all that lives within the forest walls. Is it not enough?"
"No," answered Ollie-Dare, "for I am sure there is much for me to learn."
"Yes, Ollie-Dare, we all need to learn more, for wisdom is not measured by days, but by life-times. For all wisdom, all knowledge, is given throughout our life. We shall always have new things to learn, new paths to open." said William.
"Yes, indeed," answered Ollie-Dare. "I see you also have much wisdom, for I hear it in your words. Do you seek wisdom away from your cottage? Do you travel seeking new things...opening new paths?"
"I did do those things for many years, but I have grown old and seek my wisdoms, my truths, here in my cottage. Through books I get knowledge, and through friends like you, I gather more knowledge."
The two talked into the early hours of morning, sometimes giving advice and sometimes asking for it. Ollie-Dare decided to spend some time with William, for he seemed to have much to learn from him. So with William's invitation, Ollie-Dare settled in for a long visit. Each day Ollie-Dare and William would speak of the many things in life's way. And each day Ollie-Dare made notes, and asked many questions, for William had traveled far across oceans to new lands, new places.
William told Ollie-Dare, that as he had traveled, he had learned many things from all these different places. He told Ollie-Dare of the different customs in those far-away lands, and how all people in all lands had one thing in common.
Curious about this, Ollie-Dare asked, "What could this be? When there is so much difference in each land?"
William answered, "Ah, my friend, you see knowledge is so important to all man. For in ignorance they can not gain wisdom that is needed to rule the lands, or take care of families. Knowledge must be a part of all man, no matter where you live, or what you do. For knowledge is the wisdom we seek."
Ollie-Dare stayed for several days before deciding it was time to return to the Great Forest and share with those there what he had learned here at the home of William. Ollie-Dare invited William to someday visit him in the great forest, and share tea at his table. William promised that he would visit one day, and meet all the creatures that Ollie-Dare had spoken of. Ollie-Dare began his journey back home carrying new books that William had given him.
As Ollie-Dare entered the forest he saw Jimmy the Rabbit playing in a near by field, and called to him to bring Ace the Coon and Banjo the Fox for tea, and he would tell them of his adventure. Jimmy took off like a rocket, for Jimmy so loved to hear of the places that Ollie-Dare visited. Just as Ollie-Dare had finished brewing the tea, and put out fresh honey cakes, his friends entered the doorway. After all the welcoming greetings Ollie-Dare told his friends of William and his little cottage, and the warm welcome he had been given.
"And what new wisdom did you you learn, Ollie-Dare?" asked Jimmy.
"Jimmy, I learned many new things, heard of many new and wonderful lands that are across the oceans. I made a new friend, and with him I gained something very important to the people here at the Great Forest. I realized that all men and creatures have needs. Sometime those needs are very different, for what man needs is very different from our needs. But I also found out what one things connects us in life."
"And what, my friend," asked Ace, "could that possibly be?"
"Well, Ace, knowledge is what makes us all as one. For with knowledge comes wisdom." said Ollie-Dare.
"And you found this knowledge while you were with William?" asked Banjo.
Ollie-Dare though for a moment and answered "Yes, I found, in a way I did, Banjo. For William reminded me that knowledge is the staff of life, just as the Elders' Staff is a symbol of honor. We must keep learning, then teaching that which we learned, so that the next generation can carry on with wisdom.
"We must be sure that all generation keep learning, making better decisions, and striving to do better for all man and creatures. For if man should perish, then so would all creatures; and if all creatures would perish, so would mankind, I think. Yes, knowledge is the key to wisdom, my friends, and we must never let that be forgotten."
After his friends had left, Ollie-Dare settled down and thought of his words. Often in his life he had been afraid that he would not use his wisdom to the better, and still he knew he always did his best. Words of his Dad came into his mind, "Ollie-Dare, always do the very best you can, that is all anyone can ask."
©2002 Rebecca Morris