Ollie the Owl was sleepy, but knew he had to forego rest. It was
dawn and the bright yellow sun was just peeping over the green tree
tops. Ollie had a breath-taking view from the top of a huge oak
tree, the highest in Forestville.
Ordinarily owls were busy at night, hooting and doing what these
interesting and big-eyed birds do. And then, after a busy night
of activity chasing after mice and other food and making hoo-hoo
noises, they usually took a long nap.
But no such luck for Ollie this day. He had to set out on patrol.
For the animals and bird citizens of Forestville recently had voted
him into office as mayor.
And since Ollie was a quiet, hard-working owl who took his new job
seriously, he planned to make the rounds to make sure the citizens
were safe and secure and at peace with one another.
So Ollie, with one more look around with his binocular-like eyesight,
launched himself from his perch and circled the town.
The first animal he saw was a good friend, a fat lady brown bear,
and she looked worried. And because she seemed worried, Ollie began
to worry, too.
He decided he had better float in for a landing on a beautiful rose
bush near the garden Beulah Bear was tending. Ollie liked to perch
on them because he enjoyed the delightful perfume of roses. But
he was always careful to avoid the thorns that rose bushes grow
to keep people from picking them. These were red roses, too, Ollie's
"Morning, Beulah," he said, "why do you look so concerned?"
Beulah was startled when he spoke, for he had come in for a silent
landing behind her as she was watering the tomato plants. In fact,
she spilled some water from the hose all over her furry feet. But
she quickly regained her composure when she recognized him.
"Oh Ollie, I am so glad to see you," she said in her deep,
growling bear voice. "I need help, a search party, or something."
"My, that sounds serious," Ollie replied. "What's
this all about?"
"It's my family, they have all been gone since yesterday afternoon,
missed dinner and everything. And my cubs, Bandy and Billy, are
always on time for dinner. When they didn't show up, Barney was
fit to be tied."
"Well, I can understand that," said Ollie. "Barney
is one of the finest fathers we have in all of Forestville."
When Ollie thought deeply, his eyelids fluttered up and down over
his large round eyes. They looked like camera shutters as he reflected
on what he could do to help the Bear family. They were some of his
"Tell you what," he said, placing a comforting wing over
Beulah's shoulder. "I'll just take a turn around the woods
and see what clues I can come up with."
"Oh, would you, Ollie," cried Beulah happily, thinking
she was glad she had voted for Ollie in the mayoral election. He
always seemed to know the right thing to do. "I would be so
So Ollie turned, gave a little thrust of his wings and was airborne.
Before you knew it, he was way up in the air, looking this way and
that, for his wise old eyes could see for miles and miles.
Soon he was a long ways away and saw Harry, Farmer Jones' tall brown
horse. He was a beautiful animal, with a white diamond on his forehead,
and white-stocking feet. Harry had huge muscles and was famous in
that part of the state because he could pull a great weight and
plow for hours at a time without rest. No other horse could beat
him in a race, either.
Ollie banked his wings and came in for a landing a few feet from
where Harry was munching on rich, nourishing grass in the Farmer
"Well, hello there, Ollie. How are you?", whinnied Harry."
He trotted over quickly for he and Ollie were old friends. "You
haven't paid me a visit for a long time," he added, chewing
his grass as fast as he could, for he knew it wasn't polite to keep
on talking with his mouth full.
"Yes, I know," said the owl. "But you see I've been
pretty busy lately. The Council of Animals elected me mayor of Forestville
and I haven't had much time to get around lately."
"Now tell me something I didn't know," said Harry with
a mirthful whinny. "Who do you think I voted for?" He
swallowed his well-chewed mouthful of delicious grass and added,
"That was the best news of the year. I can't think of a better
animal or bird for the job."
"But that can't be the reason for your visit, you don't need
votes now," Harry said with a chuckle. Sometimes Ollie couldn't
tell whether Harry was laughing or talking because they sounded
almost the same in his small owl ears.
Ollie laughed, too, admitting that he wasn't seeking votes just
then. His face became serious.
"I talked with Beulah Bear and little while ago. It seems that
Billy and Bandy disappeared last night. And when Barney went to
look for them, he didn't return either. I'm a little worried about
hunters, since this is bear season when it's legal to shoot them.
Did you see them by chance?"
"Why as a matter of fact, I did," said Harry, making Ollie's
face brighten up and his beak twitch.
"I was out pulling the plow last night for Farmer Jones, and
I saw Bandy and Billy come running along the fence near the wheat
field. They were headed for the brook down at the edge of the woods.
You can see the animal path from here, we call it 'The Paradise
Harry bent down and nipped at some clover, but didn't take much
because he didn't want to appear impolite. "I was busy working
at the time, so I didn't have a chance to talk with them,"
he said, switching his tail and stamping a hoof to discourage a
"Well, thanks so much for the information, Harry," said
Ollie gratefully. "I appreciate it very much, and so will Beulah.
You didn't by any chance see Barney come through here, did you?"
"No, I didn't," said Harry reflectively chewing on the
clover buds. "But it was getting dark then, and Farmer Jones
and I stopped working shortly after that. I was tired from plowing
all day and I suspect he was tired, too."
"He gave me the day off today," said Harry proudly. "He
certainly is a good boss."
"Thanks again for the information, Harry. I'll fly down to
the brook by following that path and maybe I can find out a few
"Goodbye to you, too, Ollie. Stop by again when you get the
chance," Harry whinnied, nipping again at the luscious clover.
In a flash, Ollie was in the air again, flying along the well-worn
animal path toward the brook. All the animals in the woods used
the brook for drinking, for the water was crystal clear and very
sweet and refreshing, especially on the hot day. All the animals
agreed to be careful about not hurting the fish, mostly catfish,
carp and bass. They regarded them as friends.
Soon Ollie arrived at the brook and saw several animals standing
at the waters edge. Some were drinking and others were talking about
news of families in Forestville. A few brought jugs and jars to
carry water home so they could have a cool drink whenever they were
Ollie floated in for a drink himself, and afterwards spotted Bertie
Beaver in the crowd.
"Hi there, Bertie, how are you today?"
"Hello Mayor Ollie," he replied, "how are things
at the Town Hall?"
Ollie and Bertie were good friends. Bertie had made many fine speeches
to help get Ollie into office as mayor.
"I'm fine, Bertie, but a bit worried. I'm searching for some
"Don't tell me, I think I know already," said Bertie surprisingly.
"They wouldn't be Barney, Billy and Bandy Bear would they?"
For a moment, Ollie was too shocked to answer, for he couldn't figure
out how Bertie knew already. But owls have a way of hiding surprise,
and his expression didn't change.
"Yes, those are the animals I'm searching for," he said
"I know where they are," exclaimed Bertie soberly. "I
saw them early this morning. I talked with Barney Bear and you are
really going to be shocked when you find out what happened."
"Where are they, Bertie? I must find them and let Beulah Bear
know what happened. She is beside herself, when I left her she was
"Well they're down in the glen, near the east fork of the brook.
I believe that Barney is trying to build a raft to float them down
"Float them!" Barney hooted loudly. "Can't they walk?"
"I'm afraid not," replied Bertie smiling. "But don't
worry, it's not too serious. You'll see the reason they can't walk
when you get there."
So without further delay, Ollie took to the air again, trying to
hurry but somewhat exhausted from lack of sleep. Before long, he
spotted three figures on the bank of the brook near the east fork.
"Hello Ollie!" roared Barney Bear, who had the loudest
voice in Forestville. Noting the concern on Ollie's square face,
he said, "Whatever is the matter? You look as if you were trying
to solve the problems of the human world, too."
"Barney, where in the world have you been? Don't you realize
your wife is worried about you. What's happened to Billy and Bandy
Then he noticed the two cubs lying on the ground, groaning and moaning,
with their hands over their stomachs.
"They've been bad little bears, Ollie," said Barney, with
a grin on his big, brown face and his eyes squinting in merriment.
"I think they are being punished for running out of their own
back yard without anyone knowing about it."
"Whatever do you mean?", inquired Ollie.
By this time, Barney was laughing so hard, he couldn't respond.
His fat belly bounced up and down and shook all over and tears were
rolling down his big jowls, which are what humans call cheeks.
Since he wasn't getting answers to his questions, Ollie hopped over
to where the small bears were lying on the banks of the brook.
"Oh Uncle Ollie," cried Bandy Bear, "we've been so
bad. We ran away from home and got lost."
"Yes, and we found some honey," said Billy Bear, "and
wild berries, and apples and pears and we ate too much."
"Now our stomachs really hurt and we don't know what to do,"
chimed in Bandy.
"Well, well, well," said Ollie sympathetically, "that's
too bad, but you are getting just what you deserve for running off
without telling your mom and dad. Do you realize how worried your
mother is?" But the bear tots were in so much pain they weren't
paying much attention.
Ollie turned to Barney with a better idea of how to get the sick
cubs home. He told Barney to get his beaver friends to stop cutting
down trees. And he flew off to Farmer Jones' meadow and told Harry
to hitch up the wagon. Harry put a layer of hay in it for little-bear
comfort and trotted quickly to the scene. A few hours later, the
two sick bears were delivered into the arms of their beaming mom,
"Ollie, I don't know how to thank you for all you've done"
"Please don't mention it Beulah," said Ollie, who was
embarrassed at such praise, for he was a very humble owl and felt
uncomfortable when people talked about his good deeds. They were
many, and that's one reason he was popular and was elected to the
highest office in town.
"As mayor of Forestville," he told Beulah, "it's
up to me to see that the problems of all the animals are taken care
of. That's my job, and I want no thanks for it. Just make sure those
two sons of yours behave from now on."
"I don't think they'll ever do that again, Ollie," she
said, smiling and happy to have her children back, safe and sound.
"Having the stomach ache was bad enough. But I had to give
them some very bad-tasting medicine and you should have seen the
faces they made when that went down."
His main mission of the day accomplished, Ollie Owl took a short
rest in one of his favorite perches, the nearby red rose bush, deeply
inhaling the fragrance. A few bees came buzzing around and some
hummingbirds had planned to drink some nectar from the gorgeous
roses. But they talked it over and agreed to wait until Ollie woke
up so he wouldn't be disturbed.
It was only a brief nap before Ollie's big round eyes flew open,
and he soared away to check on the welfare of the other animals
of Forestville, because he was mayor and he wanted to help everyone
as much as he could.