Once upon a time in the great oak woods, an Dhóire Mór,, some strangers appeared that were bigger and stronger than those who had lived there in harmony for generations.
The new arrivals with their wild grey fur and fierce appetites were welcomed by the native bushy tailed tribe of red squirrels, na Ioraí Rua, with curiosity and interest.
The enthusiasm of the grey squirrels was catching and the two groups mingled happily at first. Na Ioraí Rua showed their new neighbours where all the good nuts grew, where safe dreys could be made to live a happy and contented life as they had lived for many a year.
Soon it was noticed that the appetite of the grey was much greater than that of na Ioraí Rua. They wanted more and more. They never wanted to share, or maybe they just didn’t know how as they regularly fought amongst themselves for the tiniest acorn while they sat on a pile.
They took all the best dreys.
Na Ioraí Rua had to move up higher and higher in the trees, nearer the sky, their homes swaying precariously in the wind.
The greys followed na Ioraí Rua around, watching as they gathered their acorns together for winter and as they planted some acorns in order to grow great big oaks for future generations. Na Ioraí Rua were always willing to teach them their ways and happy to share their skills.
Na Ioraí Rua seemed always to be content with their lot, loving what they did together, for each other, and were always aware of the world around them, being careful to tread lightly for there were many weaker more delicate creatures to care for. Their happiness irritated the ever hungry greys.
By this time the grey squirrels were well settled and had plenty of acorns at home that could sustain their appetite but they wanted more. They wanted everything, they wanted the happiness of na Ioraí Rua and they were prepared to take it all and so they did.
In their greed they abandoned their own acorns, leaving them to rot in their dreys, moving from one drey to another, all the while digging up the winter supplies of their smaller red neighbours. They even ate the bark from the saplings that had been planted by na Ioraí Rua who had worked with all living things in their world together since time began.
The greys were never satisfied. They kept wanting more and they increased their territory further and further afield while na Ioraí Rua started to drift away into smaller and smaller clusters finding tiny pockets of sanctuary where they could create little paradises for their own and still they were happy.
Some of the greys left their own and joined the tribe of na Ioraí Rua, knowing that sharing gave more happiness than hoarding for themselves, for those that hoarded all the acorns were always looking over their shoulders in case someone might take even the tiniest little one.
The two- legged giants that roamed the same land doing their best to destroy all that was unique and beautiful about it, had introduced these grey intruders for that’s what they were though na Ioraí Rua in their naivety had first thought they were friends.
These giants helped the grey squirrels establish themselves more by clearing their way. The same hunters that would have kept their numbers manageable also liked chickens and small farm animals so the giants destroyed all before them to mind their own food.
The grey squirrels thrived with all this help as they never would have without it and na Ioraí Rua retreated higher in the trees and further from the giants.
One day some of the two-legged giants noticed how few hunters there were, their numbers were dangerously low, in their language they were “endangered species”, “close to extinction”.
They also noticed they were quite pretty really and like everything in an ecosystem they had their place so they announced that the Pine Marten, Tree Cat, An Cat Crainn, was a “protected species”.
Once this decision was made an Cat Crainn came out of hiding. Their numbers started to grow and spread through the country as once they had before and in doing so they killed off as many of the grey squirrels as they could.
Some of na Ioraí Rua were lost too but they knew how to hide in the tops of trees, away from giants and from an Cat Crainn. They were light on their feet and in body because they were light in their souls and their numbers grew and so the numbers of acorns that grew into saplings grew and then great oaks grew.
This happened because there is a place for everyone and everyone has a place. The place and space for the grey squirrel shrunk because having all the space in the world and all the acorns never made them happy and never was enough. Still na Ioraí Rua happily guided and helped the grey as only a good squirrel can. ❤🐿