By The Bear Paw

Once upon a moonlit night, a Carpenter was trying to sleep in the cabin he built near the edge of the deep woods. All the night long he would hear a cry — a long, lonely-sounding cry. Every night he tried to sleep. One night he buried his head under a pillow. Another night he put ear muffs on. And again, another night, he got deep under his blankets to drown out the long, lonely-sounding cry.

But no matter what the Carpenter did, he would always hear the long, lonely-sounding cry. The Carpenter soon grew very tired. One night, when that long, lonely-sounding cry began, the Carpenter decided to find where that cry was coming from. As he listened to the cry he followed it to a big tree further into the deep woods. When he looked up in the tree, he saw an Owl with eyes, as big and round as white discs, staring out at the sky.

“Why do you cry?” asked the Carpenter.

“I cry for my Chosen One,” the Owl replied. “But she does not answer me. She much have moved away with the other owls.”

The Carpenter stood and marveled at the Owl. He gazed around him in the forest.
“But why would the owls leave?” the Carpenter asked.
At the question, the Owl let out another long, lonely-sounding cry. “Our home is becoming smaller like other homes we’ve had.” The Owl then turned his head toward the Carpenter and asked, “Whooooooo are youuuuuuuuuuuuu?”

I’m the Carpenter who built the cabin near the edge of the deep woods.” the Carpenter said as he surveyed the deep woods. The Carpenter hung his head. The Owl just stared at him.

“I’ll be back tomorrow!” the Carpenter stated.

When the Carpenter returned, the Owl was still perched in the big tree. “Owl?” the Carpenter queried.

“Will you, one more time, cry that long, lonely-sounding cry?”

The Owl looked puzzled, but he couldn’t put it off any longer. He cried the longest, loneliest-sounding cry the Carpenter ever heard.

Suddenly, from further in the deep woods, he heard a lower, faster-sounding cry. Was it? Could it be? It was! It was his Chosen One! The Owl spread out his wings, pitched his head forward, and with his tail standing straight up, he glided over to his Chosen One. They rubbed their bills together. They hugged each other. Then the Owl swelled his chest and let out a “Who-who-whoooo! Who-who-whoooo!”

The Carpenter stood amazed. Then quietly, he began planting tree – one for every tree he had cut down.

He went to bed that night feeling at peace with himself. Suddenly he heard another noise, but this time, it wasn’t that long, lonely-sounding cry.

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