(an old fable with a
Nancy Louk Kress rewriting)
animals decided to create a school wherein all the animals would be equally
trained to meet the needs of their society. Instruction was planned for
climbing, flying, running, swimming, and digging.
Because they couldn’t agree on which subject was most important, it was decided
all the students had to take the same curriculum.
rabbit was an expert in running, but almost drowned in swimming class. The
experience shocked her so much that she could never run as well after that.
eagle was a whiz at flying, of course, but when he showed up for digging class,
he was so inadequate to the task that he got assigned to a digging remediation
program. The extra homework took up so much of his time that he soon forgot how
mountain goat found climbing an easy class, but was totally lost in flying and
swimming, so his parents decided to put him in outside tutoring programs that
required them to spend a great deal of time traveling to the high plateaus and
to the riverside, resulting in family disharmony and stress, so the family kept
to the lowlands ever after.
the Cheetah got A’s in running, he was totally inept at flying, so his failing
grade in flying kept him off the track team.
Whale served as a peer tutor in swimming the first semester, but even though she
had her flying requirement waived because of physical limitations, she was
administratively removed from tutoring when her instructors in climbing,
running, and digging reported that she was failing their courses.
mole excelled in digging class, but he spent a great deal of time in
after-school tutoring trying to get his other grades up enough to graduate.
graduate they did---and all the animals were surprised when the top-excelling
student was recognized. You see, he was experienced at swimming and running
when he arrived at the school, and his teachers facilitated his success at
digging and climbing well enough. Despite his physical limitations, he was able
to pass the flying requirement by creating a kind of “controlled fall” from one
tree to another. Thus it was that the Beaver was named
Valedictorian of the Animal School!