The Inside-Out Person
The first light of day announced Grandfather Sun’s arrival and as he peeked up over the mountain his eyes grew wide in amazement! “What is THIS?” he wondered. Sitting in a small clearing was the strangest creature he had ever seen….and he had seen a LOT of strange creatures in his day. This one, though, may just be THE strangest of them all.
The Snake People, lying on a large rock, were catching the first rays of warming sun and they saw it too. “Good morning Grandfather Sun!” they hissed in unison. “What is that creature in the clearing?”.
“Not sure.” replied Grandfather Sun as he climbed up in the sky for a better look.
Old Coyote was trotting into the clearing on his way home after an exhausting night of chasing rabbits. Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of the creature too. “WHOAA!” he exclaimed as he circled the new arrival in curiosity.
Flying high above the meadow Hawk caught a glimpse of this strange being. “Screeeeee” what on earth IS that!!!????” His shrill question echoed through the forest and into the canyons and soon all of Creation was crowded into the clearing staring at it.
“It has no fur” said Bear and Coyote in unison. “How will it stay warm?”
“Look how clumsy it is” remarked Deer “how will it escape danger?”
Armadillo moved closer for a better look, peering through his small watery eyes. “Why it doesn’t have any armor!” he said as he poked it with one of his fingers. “It is way too soft to make it through the briars and bushes.”
Badger looked thoughtfully at this outsider and mused “It has no claws to dig for food or to make a cave. It will NEVER survive!”
“Where did it come from?” chattered Squirrel from a tree branch overhead. “It wasn’t here yesterday.”
“It wasn’t here last night when I went over the mountain” acknowledged Grandfather Sun.
“Can it talk? hissed the snake people.
“Can it hear!!!!??? yelled Mouse as he perched on the creature’s shoulder.
“Does Creator know about this?” cawed Raven. I’ll BET not!”
“Creator knows everything!” said Owl. “But what do we DO with it?”
“It’s too big to go home with me” remarked Badger.
“It has no feathers so I can’t take it anywhere” said Hawk.
“It is too slow to go with me” said Deer sadly. “I would have enjoyed the company”.
“We can’t just LEAVE it” insisted Owl. “Creator sent it to us for a reason.”
“Maybe it was a joke!” said Coyote. He knew ALL about practical jokes.
“No” said Owl. “It is no joke. Let me go to Water Spirit and see what it knows.” With that he flew swiftly through the forest to the river. “Good morning” said Owl. “I have come to ask a question.”
“Certainly” replied Water Spirit “but I already know what you are going to ask.”
“I thought you might?” Owl responded.
“The new arrival you are wondering about” stated Water Spirit “ was sent by Creator so that you could all learn to look after something other than yourselves.”
“Have we become that selfish?” asked Owl.
“Yes” replied Water Spirit “you have turned inside out.”
“Inside out!” Owl responded in amazement “what does THAT mean?”
Water Spirit was silent for a long time.
“Well??” implored Owl “What does that MEAN??”
“You know” Water Spirit said softly. “You know.”
Owl DID know but he didn’t want to think about it. He had been having too much fun with his gift of silent flight and his ability to see in the dark to think about much of anything else. “Besides”, he thought, “most of the time the rest of creation was asleep when he was out so he didn’t know too much about what was going on anyway.”
Water Spirit heard his thoughts but said nothing.
Owl hung his head and closed his big eyes in shame as he realized just how self-centered he had become. “I AM inside out!” he thought ruefully. “All I can see is myself. No wonder I feel so alone most of the time!”
“Yes.” responded Water Spirit to Owl’s realization. “So Creator has sent you a being that is also inside out. It cannot survive without your help. This will require you all to right yourselves in order to take care of it and to teach it all you know. Perhaps, if you are successful and you demonstrate the correct behavior, this creature will also learn to right itself. Then this job will be finished ”
“It will be a lot of work” moaned Wind Spirit.
“Yes I suppose it will be” acknowledged Owl.
Water Spirit gathered itself up into a tall wave before Owl and said “Now you must return to the other creatures and tell them Creator’s message.”
“Oh my!!!” said Owl. “They will NEVER listen to me about something this big!!”
“I will come with you” said Wind Spirit. “I will blow as hard as I need to and for as long as I have to until they listen.”
“I will come too!” boomed Grandfather Thunder. “They will listen to me!!”
“Good” said Water Spirit. “Go now while they are all gathered together.”