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Rated: E · Fiction · Animal · #2266573
The Writer's Cramp 2/2/22

Shadow on the Snow

Hermione the groundhog stuck her nose out of the den. “Yikes!” She went back in.

“Hermione! Get out there! It’s time to get out of here. We need to clean up after this last winter. You know we always clean the den on February 2nd.”

“Too many people watching. I cannot take out our dirty laundry with all them humans watching. Tell Henry to do it.” Hermione crawled back to her straw bed, burrowed back inside.

Momma Groundhog grabbed Henry’s tail. “You get out there with our laundry. Now!”
She pushed Henry out of the den with some cloth scraps.

Henry exited the den tail first, to be unceremoniously grabbed from behind, then hoisted into the air. All the laundry blew away courtesy of the blustery wind.

“And my folks, here we have the Punk Hollow Paul! And this groundhog saw his shadow! So you know what that means!”

Boos and hollers all around from the gathered throng.

Henry squirmed and squeaked. He twisted and turned, trying to bite the human.

“Hey, Paul is feisty this year! You know winter is coming ag’in, don’t ya’ Paul!”

When Henry finally got the human to let go, he scampered back into the den.

“What the h is going on out there! Some human grabbed me by the tail, held me up in the air! The laundry is gone. Blown away down the stream to the beaver den.”

Momma called to Hermione. When both were in front of her, she explained. “This is some holiday the humans have invented to celebrate our shadow on the snow. It is a great honor to be the one they choose. Every year they do this. We must not be scared, but acquiesce to their wishes.”

“Do what?” Herman seemed confused.

“Just play hurt.” Hermione explained.

“You must not bite or run. Let them have their fun. Only then will they let you go. Easy enough. Your father, may he rest in his peace, did this for many shadow times. Now it is our turn.”

Hermione and Herman bowed their heads in homage to their father.

“chuk chuk” Momma calmed them.

“We understand.”

The woodchucks continued to celebrate the holiday each year, teaching the next generation as they were taught. It’s tradition.

W/C 375


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