There once was a family of boowips who lived in a little cottage on the edge of the forest; a mother boowip, a baby girl boowip, and a young boy boowip. The baby was brand-new, so there was much to do. The mother asked her son to help out as best he could.
“I’m glad to help you mama,” said the boy.
One day when the mother was especially busy she asked, “Son, could you go out and collect berries for us to eat for dinner?”
“Of course mama,” said the young boowip.
The mother gave her son a basket and sent him out the front door.
“Be careful,” she called after him. “The forest is a place where you need to pay attention.”
“I will mama. I promise,” said the boy.
The little boowip headed off to the woods in search of berries for his mother and baby sister. He felt very grown-up because his mother had let him go into the forest alone. He did not want to let her down. He wanted to come home safe and with a full basket of berries for her.
The young boowip headed down the path that led deep into the forest. He had not gone far when he heard some rustling in the bushes.
“Who is there?” he called out.
“Nobody,” replied a voice in the bush.
“You can’t be nobody or you wouldn’t have a voice to speak with,” said the boowip.
He heard some more rustling in the bushes, then out popped a snootblorn.
“Hello,” said the boowip.
“Hello,” said the snootblorn. “What are you doing with the basket?”
“I’m going to pick berries for my mother. What are you doing in the bushes?” asked the boowip.
“I was just, um, looking for my glasses,” answered the snootblorn.
“What were your glasses doing in the bushes?” asked the young boowip.
“Um, I must’ve lost them there when I was sleeping,” said the snootblorn.
“Why were you sleeping in the bushes?”
“I must have gotten tired while looking so hard for my glasses.”
This did not make any sense to the boowip. He thought that the snootblorn was probably fibbing, but didn’t say so because he didn’t want to be rude.
The snootblorn looked nervous and said, “Well I guess I’ll be on my way,” then dove back into the bushes.
“What a strange creature,” the boowip thought.
He soon forgot about the snootblorn and returned to the task of finding berries. After walking for some time, he noticed a sunny patch up ahead. It turned out to be a small field filled with a large cluster of coveberry bushes. The young boowip was very happy. He started picking berries as fast as he could with one paw and put them in the basket that he held with his other paw.
Then he thought he would do better to put the basket down and pick with both paws. He set the basket down in the shade and began to pick berries. When his paws were full, he returned to put the berries in the basket, but the basket was empty.
The young boowip looked around to see what could have happened to the berries. He did not see a trace of them. He decided that some birds or small mice had stolen them.
“No matter. I haven’t spent that much time. I’ll start again.”
He still picked the berries using two hands but this time he set the basket down by his feet so he could keep an eye on it. He was doing well and the basket was half-full when he noticed a bunch of plump berries on a top branch and decided to climb up to get them. He was gone for only a moment but when he climbed down, all of his berries were missing again.
This was very curious to him. He decided to try an experiment. He picked a handful of berries and put them in the basket. He then stepped away from the basket and pretended to be distracted by a singing bird in the tree above him. He heard the faint sound of rustling in the bushes. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a paw reach into the basket and grab the handful of berries.
He called out, “Hey, you in the bushes! I know you’re in there. Come out.”
“There’s nobody here in the bushes,” came the reply.
“I know it’s you, snootblorn. You might as well come out.”
The snootblorn came out of the bushes. He looked ashamed.
“Why did you eat all my berries?” demanded the young boowip.
“I didn’t eat your berries,” said the snootblorn defensively.
“Then why do you look so guilty?”
“That’s just how I look,” replied the snootblorn.
“Then why do you have berry juice all over your paws and face?” said the boowip in a rather angry tone.
“Oh,” said the snootblorn in a soft voice. The snootblorn looked down at the ground and started rubbing circles in the dirt with his toes.
“Why did you eat all my berries?”asked the young boowip in a kinder voice.
“Because I was hungry.”
“But there are plenty of berries everywhere. Why couldn’t you just pick your own?”
“It seemed so easy to take them from your basket. They are all ready to be eaten and I didn’t have to bother with getting thorns in my snoot and paws.”
“Well you could have asked me,” said the boowip.
“But then you could have said no,” replied the snootblorn.
“I could have said yes too and if you had asked, we could have picked them together and maybe by now we could have been friends.”
“I’m sorry,” said the snootblorn “and I would very much like to be friends. I’ve never had a friend before. What do you do with friends?”
“Well for one you can help them pick berries.”
The snootblorn and the boowip picked berries until the basket was full. Then the two of them talked and laughed as they walked together back to the young boowip’s house. Mama boowip was so proud of her son for picking so many berries. She asked the snootblorn if he would like to stay for dinner, which he did. After that night, the young boowip and the snootblorn were good friends.