The Rodents of Hespeler
There was a temporary truce while the snow lay soft and white over the landscape of the urban backyard, because in winter, the great battle that raged between man and the creatures of nature was at peace. It was always so. But soon, as the sun warmed the earth and the days grew longer, the earth awoke from its slumber and the rodent invasions began anew.
It was an endless battle, this one of man over nature. Yet miraculously those rascally critters persevered regardless of the obstacles that man imposed upon it. It was a constant struggle for jurisdiction over the yard. Suburban man declared the legality of his ownership while those who belonged to nature disagreed and took for its own all that could be ruthlessly scavenged. All manner of fauna trespassed without regard to feast upon the delicacies within its boundaries. This infuriated man and he took scrupulous measures to protect and keep unto him that which he toiled so diligently to make orderly and beautiful for his own pleasure.
In our gentle kingdoms of Hespeler, there abided three noble men who dutifully took upon them the meticulous care of their homes and the property that defined within its borders. So accomplished were these men that neighbors came from afar to praise and admire that which they had created. Their houses were maintained to standards that exceeded the ordinary rules of perfection and their lawns were pristine and free from weeds. Their flower and vegetable gardens were wondrous sites of bounty and beauty to behold. But this came at a great price to the creatures of fur who believed that the land was held in common.
“You ravenous rodents,” they vehemently cried. “We toil and you deface the fruits of our labor. Remove yourselves from our kingdoms or prepare to perish,” was the harsh warning they resolutely swore in unified defense.
Day after day, the urban Superheroes, kept a vigilant watch for the furry intruders for they would do great damage upon the passions which they so prized. Many times our heroes would take chase in efforts to drive the creatures further afield. But, the fur balls had great stealth and patience and would run and hide only to reemerge from their treetop safe holds and subterranean lairds attacking at times that the noble knights were not watching. These notorious beasts of nature were very clever. The mischievous vermin employed surprisingly cunning strategies of their own. It was almost like guerilla warfare for their assaults upon the kingdom occurred when it was left unguarded and least expected. Man realized that more notorious methods were required and so changed their tactics employing stronger means of defense.
Our Superheroes, Sir Thomas, Squire Paul, and the Earl of Kevin at 47, had good hearts. It was not their intention to bring mortal harm to their furry adversaries. They wanted merely to protect that which they had labored upon so diligently so they could enjoy the magnificence of their homes and gardens. But the creatures had no knowledge of the well-meaning motives of our three gentle hearted champions. They only knew that food and frolic abounded in great abundance within these properties. This was a haven of bounty and enjoyment. Indeed, they relished the frolic of the game of chase completely misunderstanding that the chase was an act of aggression not friendly play.
Sir Thomas, ordinarily a man of great religious conviction who loved God and the creatures of His creation, took particular offense with the malicious nature of the creature called the squirrel; not because of its herbaceous habits but because these fuzzy tailed fiends of fur would perform acts of vandalism upon his newly acquired windows. The energetic fur balls would scale the brick of his house, climbing to the new windows that Sir Thomas had acquired at great cost to him. After inspecting and sniffing the new household acquisition the rodent decided that the outer vinyl cladding must be something to eat for it smelled too delicious for the squirrel to resist. Not satisfied with a mouthful of this peculiar cuisine the rodent raised itself on its hind haunches and scratched upon the screening to gain an improved position that allowed a view of the mysteries which lay inside the dwelling. Let me tell you, that squirrels are not gentle with their claws or their grip for they did great damage to the screening to which they clung. This enraged Sir Thomas.
“You are a delinquent vandal!” he shouted as he shook his fist at the impudent squirrels. “I shall banish you from my kingdom.” Sir Thomas shrieked in great distress of the damaged windows that he beheld.
And so, Sir Thomas took it upon himself the task of procuring and baiting a cage in which to capture the offender squirrels. He would then take them to places far enough away that they could never find a route of return. Once captured, because he was a humane man, he would tend to their well-being with food, water and shelter from the elements, until he could drive his prisoner far away and across water, which destroyed the scent of the return trail, and relocate them to considerably less suburban landscapes. In fact, he would take them to a wooded area which he esteemed would be the perfect country home for his little captives. There he would release the dazed squirrel and would quickly drive away so it could not follow.
Numerous relocations occurred over subsequent weeks for Sir Thomas was a most persistent fellow. Yet he was dumbfounded at how many squirrels could live within the confines of his suburban neighborhood. His honorable plan was to banish entirely every squirrel thus safe guarding his property. But alas, it seemed that for every squirrel driven away, to what surely must be considered among squirrels a prestigious country retreat, two or more repopulated the area. The squirrel population was increasing not diminishing. How could this phenomenon occur! Perhaps there was some evil sorcery at hand! He decided to consult with the other closely adjacent Lords of the Kingdom.
When Squire Paul and Earl Kevin of 47 heard the tale of Sir Thomas’s plight they lamented with him for they too had tales of delinquent rodents despoiling the flower beds, gardens and ponds of their own kingdoms. But this matter of sorcery was of great concern to them and it deserved careful consideration as they were virtuous men who did not want to counter evil with more evil. So they did what all respectable and worthy noblemen would do. They entered into a council where they could do an extensive and thorough analysis and discussion of the probable sorcery – over several pints of beer. Now since Sir Thomas had never met a beer he didn’t like, he deemed that such an assembly would yield an excellent plan of resolution. Squire Paul offered to host the event on his back deck overlooking his prized gardens and Earl Kevin of 47, a man of adequate means, insisted that he provide the sustenance and refreshments. Accordingly, the great and extremely important summit concerning bewitchment and rodent control was underway and was expected to endure many hours into the afternoon and evening.
The meeting was called to order with a round of imported beer, then a second, and third round each a different brew and malt. Adequately refreshed, the threesome set the agenda for discussion. Squirrel control was at the top of the list but rodents of other denominations would not be discriminated against. Humane barriers and protective containment were secondary issues for debate. Then there was this matter of sorcery in connection to the proliferation of the squirrel species. In fact, the observation had not gone unnoticed by Squire Paul and Earl Kevin of 47. Indeed their growing numbers within the Kingdoms were suspiciously uncanny. A successful conclusion would determine the true cause of the squirrel population explosion and allow for the execution of counteractive measures.
The thirsty council proceeded in the order of the agenda set before them. Each item was discussed in great detail in relation to their individual experiences with the menacing marauders. The more beer and spirits that were imbibed by our Superheroes, the clearer the problem resolution was revealed to them. As afternoon became evening, it appeared that there was no end to the wisdom that flowed from the discussions as the calm of intoxication overtook their senses. Finally, they had figured it out.
“Sir Thomas,” Squire Paul and Earl Kevin of 47 concurred. “Squirrels are of a very tight knit clan,” they agreed as one spoke and the others nodded in agreement grinning widely with beer in hand.
“These squirrels in the so called country retreat are no doubt happy rascals with abundant food, clean air and elaborately picturesque surroundings. We have no fears that they are a happy bunch. In reality, we believe that they consider themselves very well appointed rogues – on vacation so to speak,” Earl Kevin of 47 elucidated with a slight slur as the ale imposed some parallelization to his tongue making it difficult to enunciate with precision.
“It has been said that among the rodent community, especially squirrels, there is a mental telepathy that occurs. Their happiness and contentment is communicated to their kind by means of which we do not understand. So you see their entrapment in cages and displacement to a paradise in exiled lands is not a punishment that they abhor. In reality, these rodents believe that they have won the lottery and their extra insight sense is transmitted telepathically to other squirrels far and wide who also desire this treasured country lifestyle. Because of this knowledge they come in great numbers to our kingdom as it is the pathway to the land that they desire. The more squirrels that abide in luxury at the country estate, the more they flock to our kingdoms as you are the travel agent of their choice,” Squire Paul, wise with beer brain, pretentiously explained.
“Every squirrel in the universe wants to be caged, cared for, and transported in luxury to the utopia of his dreams,” Earl Kevin of 47 murmured before slipping momentarily into a state of befuddled coma.
“What you have to do is,” Squire Paul paused briefly to ensure that his train of thought was maintained as it was becoming increasingly difficult to organize thought with logic.
“You should take them to the city dump far outside of the city of Hespeler, where there is ample food but the environment is less pristine. In comparison to the country retreat, it is at most a two star resort of limited and modest accommodation. Discontented, the telepathy would stop as no respectable squirrel wants to live in a foul and wasted landscape. Then the rodents would stop coming to our kingdom,” Squire Paul finished with assured belief.
It was now late in the night and the gentle wives of our well-meaning warriors intervened for they knew only too well that their husbands were sufficiently weary and overtaken with alcohol. In fact they were drunk as the skunks they so detested for their unmannerly behavior.
“Come to bed my darling, as morning will bring clarity – albeit a vicious hangover from such ponderous efforts of state,” they encouraged with great love and tenderness in their tones and gentle but disapproving smiles on their faces.
Morning came and the state of the great rodent war was the same. The squirrels were eating the vinyl of Sir Thomas’s expensive windows. The skunks had been digging up grubs from the well-manicured lawns dotting it with messy mounds of grass and dirty. The raccoon had caught several gold fish for breakfast from the garden pond. The rabbit had obliterated a row of lettuce in the kitchen garden and the chipmunks were munching on tomatoes still green and unripe. All was the same. No great solutions had changed the laws of nature.
With some difficulty the three brave knights awoke and surveyed the dismal state of their kingdoms. Overnight the rodents had rallied their troops and once more were wreaking havoc with the landscape as they ran amok among their kingdoms. Our Superheroes groaned in pain for their heads were pounding like a drum and their eyes were as if in a fog as they struggled to engage in the duties of the day. Yet they remained undeterred and with renewed fortitude vowed yet a new defense of their territories. They swore quietly under their breath as they dressed and prepared to start more effective defense.
The morning had indeed brought clarity just as their knowing wives had foretold. The answer occurred to all three of our Superheroes at the same time as if they too had a magical telepathy between them that linked their subconscious intuitions. They would combine their efforts in a new and promising strategy. And so they met in Squire Paul’s driveway as they would use his conveyance to acquire the genius new solution.
They drove to the city pound where they each decided to adopt a large and suitable canine of particularly carnivorous nature. Satisfied with their choices they returned home with the new reinforcements to settle them into their new duties.
The noble suburbanites would come to love their dogs as it was deemed that dog was man’s best friend. However, dogs are territorial not keen to share their surroundings with foreign fauna. They would be the rodent’s worse nightmare.
“You felonious rodents are ravenous revengeful scoundrels. No more will we be Mr. Nice Guys. This time, you will flee from our kingdoms or perish to the fangs of our killer bow-wows,” our three knights cheered in victory as their hounds already on duty delighted in the sport of a most plentiful hunt and thus effective rodent control had been at last applied and the kingdom was saved.