The Boy and the Toothless Beaver

Boy in CanoeThere are few things sadder than a beaver with bad teeth, thought the boy as he paddled past the broken-down dam. They can’t make a home for themselves or smile confidently in front of the other beavers. He grabbed the reeds on the side of the river and dragged the boat up onto the sandy beach. What a lonely life they must have. He had seen the toothless beaver as soon as he climbed into the canoe and pushed off from shore, but the animal had continued to swim alongside him, head up and mouth open, as he paddled his way to the picnic area.   If I were him, I would close my mouth forever and starve out of shame rather than let the other beavers see me. But the animal seemed totally aware and proud of his handicap – he swam on his back, spitting water gleefully and flapping his paddle tail all around the boat.  He was happy.  Putting his picnic lunch down next to him, the boy settled onto the beach and continued to watch the beaver. After an hour or so, he tentatively he took off his t-shirt and let the sun shine on the long scar that stretched over the length of his stomach and back. He had to admit – it felt natural.

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