During the cool pre-dawn, Squirrel and several of his cousins made a game of jumping up and down on the handle of an old fireplace bellow they had borrowed from Old Possum. With each energetic leap, cartwheel, and somersault, a little more air puffed into Squirrel’s balloon.
It took Squirrel’s young cousins quite a while to tire of jumping and by then, thankfully, the balloon was full. Squirrel tied off the opening, arranged the cobweb webbing and the ropes, and covered the now-fat balloon with leaves, while his cousins ran to Rabbit’s for tea and cupcakes.
Later that evening, as everyone gathered for Raccoon’s annual Equinox party (which would, as always, feature apple pie and acorn-cups full of cider), Squirrel thanked his friends for all their help in bringing his idea to life and then, to a chorus of ooohs and ahhhs, unveiled their creation.
Rabbit had brought out her largest basket, festooned with bunting, and she helped Squirrel secure it to several of the ropes at the bottom of the balloon.
And then, at a nod from Squirrel, all the little chipmunks and squirrels, and even Rabbit’s niece, clambered into the basket, Mr. Owl carefully grasped the top of the webbing and the ropes with his talons, and they were soon flying through the golden dusk, to the sounds of laughter and cheering.