James Willoughby Red Squirrel
Photos and text provided by lecanotrouge
James Willoughby Red Squirrel wanted to celebrate the birthday of his best friend in the whole wide world: Thomasin Healing Evening Grosbeak. And he wanted to give her a very special gift; one that effectively conveyed the depth of his feelings. But she was a tiny little bird, and lived in an equally tiny little nest, so there wasn’t room for anything extraneous. Her utilitarian personality only made presents more of a challenge. On top of that, the longer he knew her, as more celebratory occasions passed, the list of gift possibilities grew fewer still.

So, he thought rather than giving her a traditional gift, he’d give her nothing. Nothing she has to keep, nothing she has to clean, nothing she has to eat, nothing she has to store, nothing she has to do. Nothing.

Of course, James thinks presentation is everything, so he packaged his nothing in the biggest, roundest, most beautiful bright red balloon he could find. It must’ve been three feet around if it was an inch (as he tells it, anyway). He had it filled with helium and set on his way, quite pleased with himself. Only a few steps into his journey, however, he got to thinking he might have made a mistake. With a few more steps, only his tippity toes were still touching the ground. Approaching halfway, he was 20 feet up, just a little panicked and catching a bit of a breeze.