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STORY CORNER

Wildcat Goes A-Bragging

And that’s why Wildcat was always alone.

Teaching Tolerance illustration of a wildcat in the Appalachian woods screaming a rainbow of colors
Illustration by Grady McFerrin

Now what I'm about to tell you is true.

Once upon a time in the deep Appalachian woods was a little old wildcat who thought he was the best critter on the mountain. Everyone knew he was just full of himself and was a big ol' braggart.

"I am the smartest of anyone in the forest," he told Owl. "Why, once two hunters tried to catch me, and I ended up caging both of them instead."

He chirped to Redbird, "I never really liked red so much, and, personally, I feel that fur is so much more flattering than feathers, don't you?"

Now Fox had the most magnificent tail, and it was definitely the envy of the whole forest. But not to Wildcat. He went right up to Fox and whispered, "My! Your tail is a little bit over the top, isn't it?"

He bragged to Porcupine, saying, "Do you realize that my claws are actually sharper than needles?"

Well, after awhile everyone just quit listening to Wildcat, and he started gett'n louder and louder. And that's the loud screech that you hear in the dark of night. It's poor old Wildcat trying to get some attention and making lots of noise so that people will know he's there.

"EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee," he'd scream when he ran into Cougar. "I suppose it must be okay to be big and all, but, my, it really must be an inconvenience. Why, with my perfectly small size, I can get into the tiniest dens and get all kinds of goodies. Shame you're too big, really."

"EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee," when he saw Snake. "Those are the cutest tiny fangs. My fangs are so much larger than yours, aren't they?"

Poor old Black Bear was so tuckered out from listening to Wildcat brag that he just went to taking the longest naps in the winter just so he could get some peace and quiet.

Well, nobody paid attention to Wildcat because he grew more and more full of himself as each day went by. And this made Wildcat even wilder. He would scream "EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee" in the dark Appalachian night.

People began to think it was a baby screaming in the woods, and I guess, in a way, Wildcat really was a big baby, screaming and throwing a fit for people to look at him. But all that noise did was act as a kind of warning so that everyone kept clear of the ol' braggart.

And that's why Wildcat was always alone.