Once upon a time, as all good stories begin, there was a man. The man was running. He ran and ran, his breath coming in fast gasps, his legs aching, his back sweaty. Every few seconds he glanced behind him. Behind him was a tiger.
The tiger was hungry. The tiger wanted to eat the man. So the man ran and ran and the tiger ran and ran. But the tiger was faster. Every time the man glanced behind, the tiger was a little nearer. He knew the tiger was hungry, he knew the tiger wanted to eat him, so he ran as fast as he could.
Suddenly, he stopped. There was nowhere to go.
The man had reached the edge of a cliff. He peered down. The cliff was very steep, down, down, down it fell. At the bottom, the man could see water. The water bubbled and splashed and boiled. The water was full of crocodiles, squirming and rolling. They were hungry.
The man glanced behind and saw the tiger was nearly upon him. He could see great white teeth glinting in the sunlight, a red tongue lolling, evil eyes gleaming with intent. The man had no place to go. He shut his eyes and jumped.
Down, down, down fell the man. Then he stopped.
Half way down the cliff, there was a bush. A bush with thorns. The man’s shirt had caught on the thorns and now he hung there, suspended against the cliff. The man looked up. Above him was the tiger, greedily looking down. The man looked down. Below him were the crocodiles, waiting to devour him. Next to him was the bush. He heard a sound.
There was a mouse, a tiny brown mouse. The mouse was hungry. The mouse was nibbling at the roots of the bush. The mouse’s teeth were sharp and white, they were biting through the roots of the bush and soon the bush would fall from the cliff, taking the man with it.
In his terror, the man looked around. The cliff was sheer, he could not climb up, he could not climb down. When the bush fell, the man would fall too, down to where the crocodiles waited.
Next to the bush, growing on the tiny ledge of the cliff, was a wild strawberry plant. There were a few leaves and one, ripe, red strawberry. The man looked up, the tiger was waiting. The man looked down, the crocodiles were watching. The man looked at the bush, it would fall any second. So he reached out his hand and picked the strawberry and popped it into his mouth.
It was absolutely delicious.
I love this story. It is sometimes so hard to notice the strawberries in life.
Thank you for reading.
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