Somewhere deep within the Forest of Meaning there lay a bag filled with promises for every creature, great and small.
On one bright and meaningful day, as woodland critters gathered around to await their chances at it, a nervous brown squirrel approached and ruffled through the bag as though, one might say, he were rooting for acorns. When at last he found his, it promised him:
Your tail will grow much larger this summer.
This pleased the squirrel greatly, for he had chosen a very large tree as his home to compensate for the lack of confidence his currently meager tail provided him. A large home and a large tail? Well, the squirrelettes wouldn’t be able to resist him then. He thanked the bag and moved on.
Next, it was the turn of a fluffy white bunny. She sniffed around in the bag and quickly located her promise:
Your hops will be bouncier than ever this week, and by its end, you will find your one true rabbity love.
The bunny hopped in excitement and nuzzled the bag with gratitude, then bounded away.
A deer came afterward. She hoofed around the bag and located a promise just for her:
You will run with more grace and speed than you thought possible, and avoid the jaws of the wolf.
This was, of course, splendid news. The deer had a very young fawn and would not like to see him orphaned. Well, naturally she wouldn’t see him orphaned, as in such a scenario she would be deceased. The opposite was entirely preferable. She sighed in relief and trotted off.
A cricket followed. He crawled into the bag and searched around. He dug through all the promises, explored every corner, scoured every inch, but could find no promise meant for him.
The cricket was crestfallen. “Dear bag,” he pleaded, “have you nothing to promise me?”
“I’m certain I must,” replied the bag – the bag can speak when it suits it, let’s say. “Did you try looking harder?”
It was an astute suggestion. The cricket tried looking harder, but still uncovered no promise for himself. “I see nothing, o magnificent bag.” The cricket was quite despondent.
“That is so very unlike me,” mourned the bag. “I can think of not a single reason why I would have nothing to promise you.”
It was then – exactly then – that a grumpy and impatient sparrow fluttered down, snapped the cricket up, and ate him bodily. It was not very satisfying.
“Oh,” said the bag, relieved. “That would be why.” The world made sense again.
The sparrow eyed the bag suspiciously. “Have you anything for me, bag?”
“I don’t see why not!”
The sparrow shuffled through the bag and found a promise all his own:
You will find no sugar this week.
“That is a terrible promise,” grumbled the sparrow.
“I am sorry, Mr. Sparrow.”
“I feel this entire ordeal has been quite meaningless.”
“I understand, Mr. Sparrow.”
“Just a waste of everyone’s time.” The sparrow pecked the bag in irritation.
“Please do not peck me, Mr. Sparrow.”
Thoroughly displeased with the day’s events, the sparrow took his leave.