A tear slipped from Rosie the red fox cub’s eye. She tried to ignore it, as she walked lightly on her toes toward the family den. Mama fox heard Rosie and moved toward the entrance.

“Why so sad, Rosie?” her mother asked. “You’re usually happy when you return from chasing grasshoppers in the field with your fox friend, Scarlet.”

“Oh, Mama,” Rosie wailed. “She just told me the news! Scarlet and her family are moving to a different part of the forest to live by her grandma and grandpa. I may never see her again!” More tears filled Rosie’s eyes.

“I understand why you’re upset. But you’ll find a new friend before you know it,” her mother assured. “Now, come share some berries for dinner.”


The next day, Rosie decided to find a new friend. “Don’t go near the water, beyond the edge of the marsh,” warned her mother.

Catching sight of a grasshopper, Rosie moved quickly across the open field. While chasing and swatting at the insect, she came chin to chin with Russet, another red fox.

“Will you be my new best friend?” asked Rosie, swinging her bushy tail.

“I would, but I already have a best friend,” Russet answered, walking away.

Disappointed, Rosie moved toward the trees. Approaching a hollowed-out log, she saw Looney Raccoon, fast asleep. She gave him a nudge with a black-tipped paw. “Looney, will you be my new best friend?”

The raccoon yawned. “Go away; I’m trying to sleep. And no, I will not. I already have a best friend.”

So Rosie moved further into the trees, soon catching sight of Roberta Rabbit hopping along the trail. “Wait up,” called Rosie, but the rabbit continued to scamper. “Will you be my new best friend?” The rabbit stopped and twitched her nose.

“I already have a best friend,” Roberta said, turning to hop away.

Not ready to give up, Rosie the red fox moved toward the edge of the marsh. All of a sudden, she stopped and pricked up her ears at the sounds of moving leaves from above. Lifting her nose, Rosie saw Squiggy the black squirrel.

“Hellooo!” she called into the branches. “Will you be my new best friend?”

“Thanks for asking, but I already have a best friend,” he chattered.

Another animal hidden in the bushes listened and watched Rosie as she hung her head and walked to the edge of the marsh.

Blinded by tears, Rosie forgot to be careful about where she was stepping. Without warning, one of her black feet slipped into the water. Splash! Rosie suddenly wished she had paid more attention when Mama tried teaching her to swim. With four legs flailing this way and that, Rosie struggled to reach solid ground. Unexpectedly, she felt something grab the scruff of her neck, pulling her from the murky water.

“Who’s that?” cried Rosie, shaking water from her red fur. When her eyes finally cleared, she was surprised to see a gray fox cub.

“Are you okay?” the gray fox asked Rosie.

“Yes, and thanks for the help. I really need to practice my swimming.”

“I can assist with that. My name’s Pearl, and maybe I could be your new best friend.”

Rosie stared in surprise. “Gray foxes don’t usually like red foxes,” she said.

“My parents taught me to give everyone a chance,” Pearl answered. “So what if my coloring is different than yours and I’ll stay a bit smaller than you when I’m all grown up. What difference does any of that make?”

“You’re right!” answered Rosie. “I never really thought of it that way. I’d love for us to be best friends. Now, let’s go chase some grasshoppers!”

Written by Becky Ross Michael | Image Credit: 123RF