Aunt Ferret and I had been walking in the forest for quite some time now. After the poet Ant had recited her tenth poem on the picophone, we had decided to move on.
The elephant was very sad to see us go. ‘Please stay!’, he had implored,’ else I will have no option but to get drunk again …’.
Aunt Ferret had then hopped up to a branch close to the Elephant’s left ear and whispered something into it. A small spark of excitement had flashed across the elephant's eyes.
‘What did you whisper in the elephant’s ear?’ I asked Aunt Ferret as we made our way though the lush green canopy.
‘A small trick’, Aunt Ferret replied. ‘The trick is very effective in getting rid of annoying ants like the one we just met’ she said with a twinkle in her eyes.
‘The trick is to look at the ant every time it speaks ...’she said with a giggle.
‘It seems so simple … are you sure it works?’ I asked.
‘ It is indeed simple … but here is the tricky part – one should say nothing to ant … not a word … just look at the ant and let it go’, she paused for a second, ‘ The “not speaking” part takes some practice’
‘Believe me – it works’
Suddenly the trails gave way to lush green meadows with light green grass swaying gently in the wind. Beyond the dancing meadows was a cliff overlooking a spectacular valley.
The sun shone through the clouds illuminating the outline of mountains stretching out into the horizon across the valley. A waterfall cascaded from a cliff across the valley and formed a brook. The beautiful brook flowed past a tiny village down below. The village was surrounded with green pastures guarded by colorful lilacs and daffodils. We settled down on a patch of grass overlooking the beautiful valley.
There was a row of fancy chairs lined up at the edge of the cliff, facing the valley. All of them empty. Each chair had a sign “No Trespassing” written boldly across it.
Why are the chairs empty? I asked Aunt Ferret.
“Oh, the owners of those chairs are working hard to pay for them and therefore don’t have time to sit and enjoy …” Aunt Ferret said with a sad expression on her face.
Our conversation was interrupted by a loud crash. The noise came from the dense forest across the meadows. One of the trees that stood guarding the edge of the forest shook violently and we saw the drunkard elephant emerge from under it, making his way towards us.
‘I followed your tracks … I had to run fast to catch-up with you ‘he said panting . His eyes had a strange twinkle that I had not noticed before. The drunkard elephant looked sober !
The Ant was still sitting on his right ear with her usual smug expression. Her lips were moving animatedly but we could not hear what she was saying. Then I realized that her picophone was missing!
‘Thank you ...’ the elephant said sheepishly to Aunt ferret.
‘I looked at the ant every time she spoke’ he continued , ‘She challenged me to say something when I looked at her ... but as per your advice I did not … and to my surprise she threw the picophone away!’ , the elephant said excitedly.
‘This is the first time in my life that I stepped out of the forest ... ‘
The elephant suddenly noticed the beautiful valley right in front of him. He looked at the spectacular view with wide eyes.
‘Are you enjoying the view?’Aunt Ferret asked me after we had been sitting there for some time.
‘Yes I am’ I said with a smile.
‘You don’t need those chairs to enjoy the view ‘said Aunt Ferret breaking my chain of thoughts, pointing to the empty chairs along the valley.
‘There are more wonders in this world than you can expect …millions of valleys like this one - hiding in plain sight’; she continued’ Just open your eyes’.
I gave her a smile and looked back towards the beautiful valley. The clouds suddenly parted and the sun filled the valley with its golden light.