Dandelion was not like other Boggles. Boggles, when still, look like tree stumps. They are wider than they are tall, and have thick woody legs and arms. Their heads are flat on top. They can run fast, shaking the earth with their heavy feet. Some Boggles carry sticks, banging them on the ground to scare small animals from the underbrush for their dinner.
But Dandelion did not like to run, he preferred to ponder the flowers. Instead of eating fish, squirrels or shrews, he liked to nibble moss and chew the tender bark of baby sugar maple trees. One day, his twiggy fingers were wiggling out the pine nuts from a large cone when Fandang ran by, chasing a water rat and banging his Boggle stick. Dandelion froze in place, hoping Fandang would not notice him. Fandang always made fun of him.
Fandang dazed the rat with his stick, stuffed the limp rodent in a bark bag and turned to Dandelion with a sneer.
“You can unfreeze, Dandelion, I know you are not a stump!!” Fandang jeered. “Want some rat?” Fandang swung his bag near Dandelion’s head, which was home to several yellow dandelions. The bag knocked into a tall dandelion that had gone to seed, and the wind carried seeds up into the sunlight. Fandang struck at the seeds with his stick, but they floated easily away from it, bobbing higher in the turbulence.
“Fandang, why do you hunt rats? They don’t even taste good.” Dandelion asked his question softly, trying to make his question as light as dandelion fluff, but Fandang’s words still struck him heavily.
“Boggles eat meat.” Fandang thrust his flat head toward Dandelion. “Rats give me a fun run, and they don’t get away like those pesky river rats. You should eat meat!”
“Pine nuts are delicious, and I don’t miss meat.” Dandelion rubbed his bark nose.
Fandang gave a disgusted humph. “You’re weird. Why did I have to have you for a brother?” Fandang ran off into the wetlands, squish-squashing as he neared Trickle Brook. Dandelion felt sad as he watched him go, but he munched a few pine nuts and contemplated some dwarf irises.
To read more about Boggles, click here.
Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham
Inspired by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Fairy Tale Prompt #3.