The old man watched the others fade away. His parents who put gratitude before self. The civilized who put civility before righteousness. The modest and meek who expected nothing from others and usually got exactly that. It was the time of the New Rude but wasn’t restricted to age or upbringing or species. It was simply a new time when each one looked out for oneself. Those who held to the old ways were fewer and being used up faster. Civilization was dependent on their survival and the one sure thing was that they would not survive the invasion of the New Rude.
Walkel took in everyone, leaving no one out. The big bear that always interpolated everything that the old man said to be the most idiotic person. It wasn’t the bear’s fault. The behemoth had only half a brain, he claimed, because of a hunting accident. Then there was the loon. Can’t walk on land but must run on water into the wind in order to take off and fly. Yes, a problem child. But the old man fed and protected the bird like it was his own child. Tolerating incessant ridicule, with little compensation, among the tenants of this man’s cabin, the loon was the least aware of services rendered. Finally, there were the ever wet beavers with their crude construction skills and ever eager appetite. Each was a cross to bear but the kind old soul held hope in the face indicators pointing in the opposite direction.