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Sweet Autumn Tale - The Acorn Shop

I lived in the Arizona desert for a time and became friends with the Javalina, Jack Rabbit, Desert Bunny and the Woodpeckers.  It took me a long time to appreciate the unusual nature there, which in the end I found rich and fascinating.  My Walkabout Tales writing programs were born there!

The Acorn Shop

by Suzanne Down


Acorn Woodpecker wore his red cap and was getting ready for winter.  It was autumn in the desert village where Woodpecker lived in one of the tall, great oak trees.  Ratatat-tat, Ratatat-tat, Ratatat-tat, Woodpecker drilled into the tree with his strong beak.  Ratatat-tat, Ratatat-tat!

All the animals in the desert heard the sound and knew that Woodpecker was going to open his Acorn Shop very soon.  Ratatat-tat, Ratatat-tat, Woodpecker was making hundreds of holes in the tree to store acorns. 

The first customer was Desert Gnome the Baker, he needed many acorns for he was baking Acorn Cakes in his bakery.  He had a pack on his back and asked Woodpecker to fill it to the tippy top with ripe acorns!

Mama Javalina was waiting in line, her babies loved acorns, and she took a dozen for each baby.  What a special treat for supper it would be!

Squirrel was delighted with the Acorn Shop, and though he had already gathered and buried oodles of acorns, as squirrels do, there were never enough Acorns as far as he was concerned.  I will take 3 bags full please dear Woodpecker!

That night, after so many customers bought his acorns, Woodpecker got busy gathering more acorns and storing them safely in his holes.  Ratatat-tat, Ratatat-tat, his beak hammered so fast you could hardly see it.  He needed more holes for his busy shop.

The next morning Desert Bunny and her friend Jack Rabbit hopped right over to the Acorn Shop.  Each one had a straw basket to fill up with the delicious acorns; then they hopped away twitching their ears with delight.

The line to the shop got longer and longer, and Woodpecker was kept very busy indeed.  

At the end of the line was a little girl called Cinnamon Rose.  She lived on a ranch quite far away, where she had set up a doll café.  She knew about the Acorn Shop and had ridden her pony the long journey through the desert there.  How excited the dollies were to know she was buying acorns for their café.  There were no oak trees in her village, none at all. Cinnamon Rose liked to use the acorn caps to make dolly hats for the smallest dolls, after all the acorns were placed on plates and in little cooking pots for the bigger dolls.

But this year, Cinnamon Rose wanted to do something special with one of the acorns.  She took her acorns, thanked Woodpecker, and rode her faithful pony the long way home. When she got there, she put one perfect acorn under her pillow and wished for wonderful dreams.  She did this for 3 nights with her heart open.  Then on the fourth day, first thing in the cool autumn morning, she kissed the acorn and planted it. 

All at once, like magic, an oak tree began to grow, and it grew and grew tall and wide, and leaves opened and gave shade to the doll’s café.  And still the tree grew, into a giant tree, where acorns ripened and dropped to the ground.  It gave shelter to bunnies and jackrabbits who made burrows under the wide roots.  Lizards and snakes made their homes in the shade of the welcoming branches. Birds made nests up high, and coyote shared the roots with javalinas who love the shade.  It became a home for all.  There were so many acorns no one went hungry.  All became friends. 

Far away, Acorn Woodpecker’s shop was closing.  All the acorns had been sold and the desert animals were ready for winter.  One day a little mountain jay bird flew to the tall and great oak tree where Woodpecker lived.  Bird told Woodpecker about the magical tree where Cinnamon Rose lived.  ‘I was told the tree grew overnight from one of your acorns,’ sang bird.  Then the Mountain Jay bird flew away on her travels.

Curious as can be, Woodpecker asked Desert Gnome the Baker if he would move his bakery to the Acorn Shop and take care of it too.  Woodpecker then flew off to find the magical oak tree.  From the sky he did not have to fly far before he saw in the distance a most giant tree, certainly an enchanted tree!  He flew and flew until he stopped to rest in the top most branches of the magical tree.  From there he watched as all lived in harmony and peace.  ‘Imagine, a world where all live happily together,’ and Woodpecker sighed a long and beautiful sigh.

But everywhere were piles and piles of acorns.  ‘This will not do, no no not at all,’ thought Woodpecker.  ‘The acorns will rot on the ground like that.  I can help’, he said out loud.  Ratatat-tat, Ratatat-tat,  Ratatat-tat, his strong beak hammered into the bark of the tree.  He made deep holes just right for acorns to be stored.  Ratatat-tat, Ratatat-tat, he set to work.

Down below, Cinnamon Rose looked up from her doll café.  She saw Woodpecker making his new shop in her enchanted tree.  She smiled.  She knew he would come to help feed all who needed food.  It was all in her dream.  She called up and waved to Woodpecker, who nodded, and set back to work. 

Ratatat-tat, Ratatat-tat
Food for all from the magic oak tree
Ratatat-tat, Ratatat-tat
And that was that!

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