‘A frog?’ asked Puppy, who could not easily have been accused of taking way too long before venturing to answer.
‘What do you mean a frog?!’ snapped Cat. ‘Frogs aren’t snotty. Soggy, perhaps. Why don’t you just get over here and see for yourself?’ Cat moved right up close to the ‘thing’. ‘Ooh, it’s so tiny! And it’s got a runny nose, poor thing! It must have allergies. I’ve heard about them…’ [Editor’s note: Having ‘allergies’ is when someone’s body is sensitive to something, like flower pollen or dog fur. When people are allergic to something they sometimes sneeze, get a runny nose or red eyes. Of course, we can say we are allergic to something as a joke too, like being allergic to the old lady next door or even taking tests, but those usually produce different symptoms.]
‘Wait! Don’t touch it with bare hands! It might be sick or infectious or whatever. These days you never know. Just to be on the safe side, let’s poke it with a stick first and see if it even moves.’
‘Hey, stop waving that spear at it, you’ll hurt it! Of course it moves, it’s shaking like a leaf! Why don’t you go get the others instead?’
Puppy threw away his stick and took off running, but managed to hear Cat call after him,
‘Tell Koala to bring the baby carriage!’
Cat carefully kneeled down and tried to lift the creature off the leaf-boat, which had become caught on a plank hanging into the water from the decaying old bridge. She had to maneuver very carefully, because the gushing creek could easily reconsider the situation, decide to give the little leaf boat a little bump and sweep it away with the current, along with the now desperately sobbing little animal.
Just in the nick of time, the others came to the rescue. Koala arrived at the scene pushing the squeaky baby carriage, at her heels the ever self-important Rabbit, who wouldn’t have missed such a commotion for the world. And of course Puppy showed back up too, having already given the others his detailed assessment of the situation: that there was a big, white, hairy, slimy toad that they had to save from the middle of the creek. And it was all covered in allergies too, so they’d better be very careful. Koala had had her reservations about Puppy’s state-of-emergency analysis, but just to be on the safe side she had put a towel and a squeaky-clean rubber glove into the baby carriage. Rabbit was carrying the long-handled butterfly net.
In the meanwhile, Cat had managed to steer the leaf-boat to the shore, but with only one free hand she was afraid to attempt lifting the little creature in case the leaf were to capsize with it’s shivering passenger and all. She was also unsure about which end of it was the front and which was the rear. But help had arrived at just the right time. Between the four of them, with the help of the butterfly net and the reputedly very good swimmer of a Puppy, they were able to bring the little newcomer to safety.
No one had the slightest idea what kind of creature they had found, but they did determine that it had a rather long, slender body, and a furry tail that was nearly as long as its body, which it generally tucked under its belly. Rabbit, who never let pass an opportunity to show off her exceptional learnedness, pronounced that she had seen this type of animal in a book before, but she couldn’t exactly remember its name. However, as soon as she got home she’d start reading up on it. Koala motioned for her to be quiet, because there would be plenty of time to discuss the creature’s origin once it had been taken to a warm, dry place, and once he said this, everyone looked instantly relieved.
While speaking, she already bundled up the little animal in a towel and laid it into the baby carriage. After a short discussion everyone agreed that it would be best for the little one to stay at Koala’s house.
That very night, with the help of her books, Rabbit determined that the unknown creature was an ermine. She decided this based on the fact that the cute little guy looked pretty much like the one in the picture below. Even though this one was much whiter, didn’t have those strong, dragon-like legs, and, well, was much more furry, too.
So, that’s pretty much the story of how Ermine got his name. Eventually, Bear will be the one who uses scientific methods to discover that Ermine isn’t even an ermine, but rather a ferret. But at the time of above adventure, that Certified Engineer of a bear still hadn’t gotten to Mummutown, so there was no way of him knowing that Rabbit had made a mistake. All that’s left to tell you this time is that thanks to Koala taking such good care of Little Ermine, he got better real quick. Although, to be perfectly honest, he still gets a runny nose every now and then. But then Koala makes him put on his sweater and tells him he’s not allowed to go to the playground that day. It was a bit harder for him to get over the hurt inflicted by having been thrown out on the streets to fend for himself. And who could have done such a terrible thing? Well, that’s a question that ‘til this very day we still don’t know the answer to.