Once upon a time (the end of October, actually), an adorable little squirrel decided to find a new home. The weather was getting chilly and he didn't want to live at the top of his perfectly good tree anymore. So, he set out to find something a little warmer. And what a lucky rodent he was, because he found a lovely little opening in the roof of a cute little cottage on the hill. He especially liked all of the soft and warm insulation and set about to making his new nest immediately.
Meanwhile, the wicked queen, who was not yet so very wicked, was downstairs sewing a dress for her eldest princess, and she heard the scritchy-scratchiness of the squirrel going in and out of his new nesting place on the roof. And later, her three princesses told her all about the sounds of the animal in the ceiling of their royal playroom as they watched their beloved Barbie and the Magical Castle movies. The even wickeder king went to investigate and verified that there was indeed, a dastardly squirrel living in the royal playroom ceiling.
The wicked queen immediately began to call animal-control-type businesses all throughout the land, and was very dismayed to learn that almost nobody dealt with dastardly squirrels. They didn't even deal with nice squirrels, in fact. After several hours of near-fruitless searching, she was finally given the phone number of somebody who promised to deal with squirrels.
So she left a message.
Meanwhile, the very cute, but dastardly squirrel was busy storing all of his nuts and acorns in the royal playroom ceiling. As he worked, he began to poke holes through the drywall, and sometimes his nuts and leaves and even some insulation fell onto the three princesses, who thought this was absolutely adorable. They began to consider Mr. Dastardly their pet, and loved to watch for him out of the kitchen window as he scampered around gathering his winter food.
The wicked queen and even wickeder king did not think holes in the ceiling were adorable, or even cute. In fact, the holes in the ceiling made the king very, very angry and the queen very, very anxious. They were very relieved when the critter control man finally called. Except, Mr. Critter Control lived very far away, in an entirely different kingdom and wouldn't be able to come for a week, or maybe more.
And the squirrel continued to make his nest, poking holes and enrapturing the three little princesses even while he enraged the king and made the queen begin to bite her nails. Finally, the day came when Mr. Critter Control came to their cozy little cottage on the hill and looked into the matter. He verified that the squirrel was living there, although, really, no verification was needed, and also delivered the very unwelcome news that bats--lots and lots of bats--were living in the ceiling of their hundred-year-old cottage. He told the king and queen that he would be happy to deal with both problems, for a very large sum of money.
Now, I must mention, that this king and queen (wicked only because they didn't approve of squirrels sharing their living quarters) were not the kind of king and queen that were wealthy. And the very large sum of money that Mr. Critter Control wanted was almost as much as the amount they paid every month to live in their sweet little cottage. But, it had to be done, and nobody else could--or would--do it.
Mr. Critter Control left with the promise that he would come again soon, and the king and queen set about to life as usual, smiling again because they knew that the dastardly squirrel would soon be gone.
A week passed by. No Mr. Critter Control. Another few days. Still no Mr. Critter Control. Finally, after nearly two weeks of waiting, he came. And he climbed all over the roof of the little cottage and found every nook and cranny through which a squirrel or a bat could climb, and sealed them off with magic wire and a guarantee that no little critter would ever find its way in again.
And true enough, the squirrel could not get back in that night. But he diligently tried, for this was a very persistent little squirrel. The three little princesses often heard him scritching and scratching and chewing and trying his mightiest to get in. They looked out the window as snowflakes began falling from the sky and worried at how the adorable little creature would possibly survive the winter. They drew pictures reminiscing about their poor, freezing, little pet.
But most of all, they cried and cried (the eldest crying the very most) and they were sadder than three princesses ever should be, as they watched the squirrel sit in his tree and shiver in the cold.
"Well, he can't live in our house!" said the wicked queen. And the even wickeder king went outside and threw snowballs at him.
"You can pray for him," the wicked queen told her daughters. "Heavenly Father will take care of his creatures."
And so, that night they began to pray for the squirrel. And lo and behold, after a few days, a miracle happened.
The squirrel got back into the ceiling of the royal playroom.
To the princesses, this was wonderful news! The squirrel would live happily ever after, indeed! And, of course, so would they.
But to their wicked parents, this was all too much to bear and they immediately rang up Mr. Critter Control, who promised to come the very next day.
But he didn't. And he didn't come the next day or even the next one after that.
He did come the next week, while the wicked queen was at work. This was a good thing, because she was getting wickeder all the time as far as the dastardly squirrel and Mr. Critter Control were concerned. For together, they had already blown the Christmas budget and were steadily ruining the ceiling in the royal playroom and the queen could only think about what it would cost to make repairs.
All was well, though, for Mr. Critter Control found where the cunning animal had gotten back in and he made sure to seal it all up good and tight.
And the wicked king and queen lived happily ever after, at least for now, because so far they haven't heard little feet scampering in the ceiling. (And trust me when I say that they obsessively check.)
The princesses? Well, they are learning that perhaps having parents who are happy is a better thing than a squirrel all cozy and snug in the ceiling.
But darn it if they don't still pray for that dastardly (yet very cute) squirrel.