During a late-winter story hour, in one of their many fairy-tale books, Mama Chipmunk’s grandchildren had read about brownies, the sometimes-mischievous-but-usually-helpful spirits attached to a place, who would often help out with chores at night in exchange for bowls of milk or other offerings left by the hearth.
And then, on the first truly warm day of spring, the little chipmunks watched from the stone wall as the Gardener’s wife sat on the garden path and plucked tiny weeds from the spreading moss. It was such delicate work that, over the course of several hours, she could only fully weed a small-ish area and could sometimes be heard muttering about cramped fingers.
After supper that same evening, as a lark, the chipmunk children and their squirrel friends decided to make a game of the task, seeing who could yank the most pawfuls of weeds out of the moss.
The next morning, the Gardener and his wife ventured outside in the early sunshine, where they discovered a mostly weed-free mossy path and a rather large but tidy pile of weeds on the edge of the meadow. As thanks, they left steaming mugs of milky coffee on the garden wall.