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The Haves and Have Nots
The Haves and Have Nots
The Haves and Have Nots is a modern day ant-and-the-grasshopper-style fable that speaks to the greatest concerns of our times, including politics, the economy, and the environment.
Tolmie State Park seems like a paradise for the birds and woodland animals who reside there with enough fruit, nuts, seeds, and acorns for everyone. Enough until one day, Mitch the chipmunk, observes an unfamiliar group of blue birds arrive, which he soon learns are blue jays. At first, the blue jays appear friendly, even warning Mitch before Coyote can pounce and make a snack out of him.
But things take a turn for the worst as winter approaches and the chipmunks try to warn the blue jays to prepare for it. When the chipmunks discover someone has been stealing from their own hard-earned stores, conflict ensues in Tolmie State Park and the repercussions look like they will be devastating for all the creatures and the park itself.
In The Haves and Have Nots, Arthur M. Mills, Jr. has written a modern day ant-and-the-grasshopper-style fable that speaks to the greatest concerns of our times, including politics, the economy, and the environment.
Mitch was all for rounding up his pals and getting support from the other animal friends to prevent future invasions of his or any other chipmunks’ burrow by the blue jays. He set about the task and organized a meeting, but in the end, Javlin and his tribe took over. Javlin fluttered to and fro in the cold and asked for a birds-of-a-feather and animals-of-fur conclave. Surprisingly, most came, barring the ones who had already gone into hibernation.
When the conclave began, the chipmunks were sure of their ground. They started to speak up in their squeaky high voices, but they were quickly shushed into silence by Javlin. He held forth now, saying that he had been forced to hear chipmunk speech on many a morning. “It is now time for me to speak. As a blue jay, I, Javlin, would like to put forth a couple of points that affect us blue jays and all of the rest of you.” The others wanted to hear more, but in the back of their minds, there may have been growing a tiny speck of fear.
It was true, the chipmunks knew, that they had often discussed matters among themselves, but most of the time, while the chipmunks had talked, the rest of the birds and animals had listened and agreed. Now, the blue jay wished to be heard. It was only natural and would be polite on the chipmunks’ part to let Javlin go ahead. Once he began, however, the chipmunks wondered how they would get a word in.
Javlin had taken up position on a low outreach of the park’s spreading Arbutus tree, with its sweet-tasting lumpy red berries from the season before, which appeared at the same time as the tiny white flowers. Some of the blue jay teens quickly fashioned an Arbutus leaf megaphone for him. When he held it importantly to his tiny beak, his voice was much magnified. He looked determined, and everyone wondered what it was that he wanted so desperately to say.
“Brothers and sisters of Tolmie State Park,” Javlin began. “I have called you here today to talk to you directly, about those who steal our food from our mouths…from our children’s mouths. They call it storing. I call it hoarding. They are the real thieves.” Javlin paused for effect while pointing directly at the group of surprised chipmunks. The air seemed even more frozen on the ground now.