Once in Africa there was a little dung beetle. This industrious beetle lived near some elephants. The big animals always produced lots of dung.
The beetle rolled the dung back to its home. It rolled and rolled and rolled. And after many weeks, it had a great pile of dung.
The other beetles were envious of the little beetle.
“He always gets the best dung,” they said. “And he leaves nothing for us.”
During the dry season, the pond dried up. The elephants moved away to find water.
The beetles went to see the little beetle.
“We don’t have enough dung for the winter.”
“Please, may we have some of yours?”
The little beetle stopped stacking dung.
“You should have collected more. I only have enough for my family.”
The beetles went away empty handed.
During the rainy season, it rained very hard. Raging floods washed away the beetle’s dung supply.
“Woe is me! What will happen to my family!”
It went to see its beetle neighbors.
“Please, may I have some of your dung?”
“We only have inferior lion dung. But you are welcome to some.”
The little beetle had dung for the winter.
In spring the pond filled with water again. And this time, many elephants returned.
Soon, there was enough dung for everyone.
Once a homeless cat gave birth to twins under an abandoned house. The kittens were so much alike that only a mother could tell them apart. Unfortunately, the kittens’ mother deserted them and they had to fend for themselves.
The kittens looked identical but they acted the exact opposite. One kitten liked to get out and explore the neighborhood. It always found interesting tidbits to see or smell or eat. The other kitten was much too timid to venture out. It relied on its brother to provide food and warn of danger.
One day the curious kitten wandered into the yard of an elderly man. It walked right up to him and began to meow. The kind man put out food for the kitten and provided a bed on his carport. Later, he brought the kitten inside and fed and sheltered it. The kitten grew into a beautiful healthy cat with everything a cat needed, love, companionship, food, toys and a nice bed. But it never went outside again.
The scaredy-cat kitten eventually ventured out but always stayed close to its familiar under house home. It grew by starts and stops and any morsel of food it could catch or steal. It huddled by hot water pipes in the winter and slept by a.c. coolant lines in the summer. The kitten kept an eye out year around for neighborhood dogs and cats. And it never got to live inside.
So which of these two cats, do you think, had more freedom? The inside cat that would never get to chase lizards or smell wildflowers or stay up all night if it wanted to? Or the outside cat that would never have too much to eat or have a companion who gave it a lifetime of love and protection?