|Rolly the raccoon had been fishing at the creek along with the other young raccoons when all of a sudden the sky burst open with a great white flash, lighting up the whole valley. Three great terrifying noises followed: Boom, boom, boom! Then rain began to fall and wind set the tree tops dancing dizzily overhead. Leaves were scattered to and fro and branches hurtled to the forest floor.
The little raccoons quickly began running for their burrows. Rolly was the smallest one and fell behind. He could only see the raised tail of the last raccoon ahead of him skitter over a fallen log and out of sight.
Alone now in the forest with pelting rain and wind whipping at him he began to shiver with fear. He was afraid to go any farther in the darkening forest and chilling rain. Seeking shelter Rolly scrambled under the roots of a giant old oak tree. The rain poured on and the sky grew darker, finally exhausted from cold and worry he fell asleep amongst the great roots and forest debris.
When the rain and wind stopped all you could hear was the plinking sound of raindrops sliding off the trees. Rolly poked his head out but the night sky was too dark because of tree tops and clouds. He wanted to be home with his siblings and tucked away close to his mother. He began to cry.
“What’s the matter there lad?” The voice seemed to come out of nowhere. Taken aback the little raccoon said nothing and hunkered back into the roots.
Once more the voice echoed through the forest, “What’s the matter? The cat got your tongue?”
Rolly squeaked back, “Who are you?”
“Speak up boy, I can barely hear you. Look up.”
Looking up Rolly saw the gaping mouth of the oak tree where a branch had broken off and left a hollow place. One of the branches waved at him and one of the knots in the tree winked at him. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief. He didn’t know trees could talk much less see or wave. Timidly, a little voice answered from under the tree’s roots, “I’m lost, I’m cold and I’m afraid of the dark.”
“Well hold on now son, don’t be afraid. I think I can help you.”
The frightened little raccoon felt a tinge of hope but still argued, “It is dark and the sky is all covered in clouds. There is no moon. How can I find my way home now?”
The tree flung its giant face upwards and with a great gust of breath blew away the clouds. The moon and the stars appeared above the tree tops. Less afraid, Rolly crawled out into the open and looked up at the sky suddenly swept clear.
The tree spoke again, “Just follow the North Star and it will lead you home.”
There were many points of light shimmering in the blackness. Then one star seemed to blink on and off brighter than the others. Pointing to it Rolly asked, “Is that it, the North Star?”
The tree nodded its huge, leafy head causing a cascade of rain drops all around and chuckled, “Yes, yes. Now be on your way. Your mother will be worrying about you.”
Following the star, Rolly made his way through the forest stopping from time to time to be sure he was going in the right direction. The dim landscape became more and more familiar. Running faster now he shouted, “Mom, it’s me! Mom, I’m coming home!”
Mrs. Raccoon heard the voice of her youngest and ran out of the burrow to greet him. “Rolly, you made it home! However did you find your way alone in the dark?”
Rolly thought for a moment. He was certain if he told his mother the whole truth she’d give him a dose of that awful tasting medicine. So the little raccoon crossed his paws nervously and replied, “I just followed the North Star.”
“You are so clever, my little dear,” said his mother and hugged him close.
Laughing as they entered the burrow, Rolly tugged at his mother’s nightshirt and said, “You know what else, Mom?”
Mrs. Raccoon looked down at her tired and soggy son, cold from his adventure and said kindly, “What my dear?
Little Rolly looked up at his mother through sleepy eyes and whispered triumphantly, “The North Star never lies!”