Seek the extraordinary in the ordinary, and there you will find happiness.
The Tangerine Dreamer had been asleep for years, quite possibly decades even, seemingly dreaming his life away, when something literally pinched the monster from his deep and lengthy slumber. As his bleary eyes began to focus, he noticed a young bunny chomping away at his leaves. First, the bunny took a bite out of his big orange snout, probably thinking he was a giant carrot, then the bunny decided to help himself to some leaves. The nerve! He watched as the little critter excitedly explored this new terrain that was the Tangerine Dreamer’s face, and felt irritated at first, then somewhat bemused. He no longer minded that the bunny was eating his leaves - they were going to fall off sooner or later anyway. In fact, he soon grew to admire the little one’s curiosity. It was refreshing, inspiring even, for the giant creature who had been asleep and dreaming for so much of his life. Perhaps the Splotch Monster should take a few notes from his tiny, furry friend, and replace some of that dreaming with a little more doing.
Hook Nose was very worried by the presence of an enormous turkey vulture, perched pensively atop his protruding purple snout. That can only mean one thing, he thought! Then the big, menacing-looking bird began to say “I thought I’d tell you”, when, in mid-sentence, the vulture was cut off by the now-panicking monster, “No, I’m not ready to go! Please, oh please spare me, great turkey vulture and noble custodian of the animal kingdom! There’s a far less fortunate rodent laying at the side of the road, just a few blocks down. I swear! I can show you!” Then the vulture, perplexed by the panicked beast’s irrational assumption tried again. “Don’t worry pal, you’re alive and well. I just thought I’d tell you, you’ve got a brilliant beak.” Embarrassed by his behavior, Hook Nose proceeded to play it cool. “Yeah, I knew that. Thanks. Thanks a lot, Mr. Vulture. Cool.” All the vulture could do was simply shake his head and try not to laugh out loud.
Yellow Claw was having trouble sleeping, her mind refused to stop thinking, though her eyes could barely stay open. Yellow Claw was a thinker, and she thought about many things, sometimes overthinking things to the point where nothing made sense to her anymore. One of the things that perplexed Yellow Claw was the discovery of a singing skunk. How could an animal who seemingly stunk, have a voice like an angel? Yellow Claw spent much of her time spying on the smelly, striped critter, mesmerized by the skunk’s voice. One day the skunk caught Yellow Claw unsuccessfully attempting to hide behind a tree, three times smaller than she. “Why are you hiding?”, asked the skunk. “Aren’t you supposed to smell?”, asked the enormous reptile. “Only if I’m threatened. Are you going to threaten me?”, asked the skunk. “No, I simply want to sleep. Do you have any advice or suggestions, dear skunk?”, inquired Yellow Claw. Just then, the skunk started singing a song that sounded like a lullaby. The melody was so calm and tranquil, within minutes the sleepy beast was soon a sleeping beast, drifting off to a distant dreamland, far away from any worries or concerns. Yellow Claw would learn there was more to a skunk than its smell, and forged a happy relationship with the little striped crooner that lasted a lifetime.
The Splotchaphant was gathering Autumn leaves while strolling through the park, in hopes of taking them home to photograph - a hobby the curious creature had recently taken up. Almost directly under his feet he noticed a brilliant yellow leaf, just perfect for a pretty picture. Upon lifting the yellow leaf, a tiny rodent appeared, causing the Splotchaphant to scream in horror, and abandon his leaves, as he ran away, fearing for his life. The tiny rodent turned out to be a field mouse, who was terribly confused by such strange behavior. The mouse couldn’t figure out why a beast as big as the Splotchaphant would be so afraid of him. The mouse decided to gather the leaves the Splotchaphant had left behind, and return them to the peculiar pachyderm. The mouse followed the Splotchaphant’s footprints until it led him to his home, and knocked on his door. Since the mouse didn’t want to alarm the Splotchaphant again, with his clearly intimidating presence, he simply left the pile of leaves on the massive mammal’s doorstep, and proceeded to walk away. Just then, the door opened and the Splotchaphant noticed his pile of collected leaves had been returned safely at his doorstep. Then, he noticed the little rodent who made him scream in terror, walking away. How kind of such a creature, the Splotchaphant thought, and he realized how incredibly foolish his reaction to the mouse must have been. Perhaps next time, he’ll try not to panic if he sees the mouse again, but instead, try to get to know the critter, and even become friends.
Bumble Face laughed and laughed at Red Fox, who tried with all her might to climb to the top of a nearby tree. “Foolish fox, what are you doing?, said Bumble Face, still chuckling under her breath. “Don’t you know, foxes can’t climb trees. You’re a ground dweller, silly beast!”, exclaimed the Splotch Monster, once again laughing hysterically. Red Fox knew this wasn’t true, she simply wasn’t ready yet, and while it was true that most foxes have never bothered to climb a tree, she wanted to see what it was like to be tall. Red Fox longed to see life beyond her typical view from the ground. While Bumble Face was taking a nap, Red Fox practiced and practiced until finally, she made her way to the very top of the tree. Of course, it was by no means an easy accomplishment, and was most certainly not without a few complimentary bumps and bruises. The view, however, was well worth the effort. When Bumble Face woke up to find the fox in the treetops, she scoffed and complained, saying it couldn’t be true, and it couldn’t be done, and proclaimed that the fox must’ve been helped by someone. Someone very tall, perhaps. Suddenly, in a lightning flash of speed, Red Fox sprinted down the tree and ran swiftly up to the top of Bumble Face’s bumpy red head. “You’re right, it is true, Bumble Face, I did get some help from someone - someone very tall indeed. That someone is YOU”, said Red Fox, ever so slyly. It goes to show that sometimes when you tell someone they can’t accomplish something, that someone will show you that they can and they will, no matter what it may take to get there.
Green Belly was a very stubborn salamander who disliked trying new things. He knew what he knew and he liked what he liked and never ventured too far beyond his tiny little world. Still, he couldn’t help admiring an adventurous striped skink who moved in, under the rock next door. The adamant amphibian watched in bemusement as the tiny striped lizard climbed above and below a wide variety of rocks and pebbles, and fallen leaves and logs, and he wondered what it would be like to step beyond his humble little pond. Green Belly’s pond was all he knew, and he quite liked it there. Still, the salamander had his whole life ahead of him, and naturally, he was curious about climbing new rocks and exploring an array of fallen leaves and logs. One day, the skink invited Green Belly out for an adventure with her. At first, he said no. He knew what he knew and he liked what he liked. There was no need to go beyond his little pond. Soon, however, he found himself feeling a bit cranky and bored. There’s so much to see and do - new sights and sounds to be seen and heard. New rocks and pebbles just waiting to be explored. Green Belly knew he had nothing to lose, and so much to gain, including a new friend, who in the end, turned out to be alright, even for a silly little lizard.
One sunny afternoon the Path Scrubber was making her way along a secluded trail when she heard what sounded like high-pitched cries in the distance. Eventually, she stumbled upon the source of the incessant whimpering. It was none other than a black bear cub, who she soon learned was an orphan. The Path Scrubber knew that winters on Splotch Monster Island can be particularly brutal, and the tiny cub had not a single chance of surviving the cold, freezing temperatures alone, without his mother. Without hesitation, the Path Scrubber knew she would have to take care of the cub, and raise the baby bear as one of its own. The young cub was very lucky to have been adopted by such a caring and empathetic Splotch Monster, however, it was the Path Scrubber who felt the luckiest to have rescued such a sweet little beast.
After months of traveling across the vast wilderness of Splotch Monster Island, The Great Hammerhead found a big, open lake to sit and rest in, and close her weary eyes for a few weeks. When the sleeping giant had finally awoken, she discovered a couple of osprey who took it upon themselves to set up camp on her head, directly above her left eye. The Great Hammerhead was less than thrilled by these new, and rather noisy occupants, and wondered what to do about this awkward situation. Since The Great Hammerhead took a long, long time to get anything done, including making up her mind, in this case regarding the rowdy raptors nesting on her head, the birds slowly grew on her. Soon the birds began bringing fish, not just to feed their young, but to feed the towering beast as well. The best days were especially when rainbow trout were on the menu. Before the osprey arrived, The Great Hammerhead was a solitary creature who disliked most other beasts, both big and small, especially birds, who annoyed her more than anything. However, it turns out that misery does enjoy some company after all, especially when freshly caught trout is involved.
Ralph was the littlest elf on Splotch Monster Island. Sometimes he felt like nobody ever paid any attention to him, or listened to what he had to say. Ralph spent many hours alone at his woodland home, whittling tiny sculptures depicting forest animals, from fallen sticks. One day the wind blew a large falling leaf onto his head. The leaf got tangled up in Ralph’s unruly mop of hair, but he liked how it looked on him. The resourceful little elf decided to gather all manner of fallen leaves, and sculpted himself a brilliant Autumnal crown. Some elves were puzzled, while others were very impressed by his inventiveness and creativity. Whatever the case, Ralph felt like a king, at least for one day.