Read by Anita Rodgers
The winter season was beautiful on Breakers Island. The bright sun warmed the day and melted the snow on the ground.
An old friend returned to Farmer John’s barn. Mack, the brown mouse, crawled up on the post of Haley’s stall door.
Haley said, “Hello, Mack. It’s good to see you again. What brings you for a visit?”
Mack said, “Haley, I came to talk to you about the upcoming election.”
The horse stopped eating her food. Haley said, “Yes, I heard Olivia’s term was over. She has been a wise president.”
Olivia, a barn owl in Fire Fall Woods, had worked hard to ensure the peace among the animals and people. Now it was time to vote for a new president.
Mack smiled and said, “Haley, the mouse vote is yours.”
Haley looked up with a start. She neighed, “The mouse vote for what?”
Mack said, “The mouse vote for President of the Council of Animals.”
Haley was shocked. She neighed, “Who, me? Run for president? There must be a mistake.”
Mack said, “Haley, I have to get back to Fire Fall Woods. Maybe you should talk to Shelley.”
Belle came in the barn door as Mack was leaving. Haley asked the dog, “Belle, will you please ask Shelley to come see me? By the way, have you heard anything about me running for President of the Council of Animals?”
Belle didn’t answer Haley’s question. “I’ll go get Shelley,” said Belle, as she quickly ran from the barn.
Haley thought, “This is just great. If Belle knows, then the word has spread everywhere. I bet I’m the last to know.”
Cold air blew through the barn as the door opened. Shelley came in with Belle and Kelly.
Shelley hung on a web line by Haley’s stall. She looked at Haley and said, “Haley, why the long face? You should be happy. I just heard the good news that you got the mouse vote for president.”
Haley said, “Shelley, tell me. What do you know? Start from the very beginning.”
“It’s really very simple. The Council asked Olivia if she had someone in mind to be the next president. She gave them your name. After that, your name went out to all the animal groups,” answered Shelley.
Haley just stared at the small, black spider. She didn’t know what to say.
Shelley asked, “Don’t you want to know the results?”
The cow spoke up, “I want to know. Which animal groups will vote for Haley?”
Shelley smiled at Haley. She said, “You will be pleased with the good news. In addition to the mice, you also have the rabbits’ vote. Luna told the rabbits that you offered her a home here if she didn’t find a new home in the woods. She never forgot how kind you were to a stranger.”
Haley neighed, “I remember Luna. She lived in a cage in the village until she was set free.”
The hen asked, “Have you heard from other groups? What about the fox and eagle vote?”
Shelley said, “I haven’t heard from them. We have a good start with the votes of the bears, opossums, and squirrels.”
Belle barked, “Haley, you can count on the dog vote.”
“Don’t forget about the cat vote for Haley,” purred Kelly.
Haley said, “I can’t believe they would all vote for me. How do the animals know I would be a good president?”
The spider said, “Haley, you are known by your reputation. Your actions of kindness and wisdom have been noticed by others. Everyone knows how hard you work. The animals see you as a leader.”
The cow mooed, “Haley, are you ready to run?”
Shelley laughed, “I sure hope so. Haley already has half the animal groups voting for her. But there is still a lot to do. We need to reach out to all the groups.”
Haley said, “Shelley, wait a minute. Who is going to reach out?”
The goat said, “The farm animals will help spread the word.”
Kelly meowed, “We will all help you.”
Haley looked shocked. She said, “I had no idea the animals saw me this way.”
Shelley said, “Maybe we never see ourselves as others see us.”
She never forgot how kind you were to a stranger.