A rabbit had been travelling for some time when he came upon a thick wood. He looked up one way and down the other to see if it was possible to go around, but saw that the trees stretched as far as his eyes could see. He had to travel through the forest to reach his destination. Peering into the thicket, he saw only darkness. It sent a chill up his spine, for he knew that it was teeming with all sorts of wild animals.
Suddenly, the rabbit smelled a foul odor. He looked around and saw a skunk walking toward him. “Stop!” yelled the rabbit to the skunk. “Your smell takes my breath away! Don’t come any closer.”
The skunk stopped and shyly looked down at the ground. He had heard this many times before. “I was just thinking,” said the skunk, “We should go together into the forest and keep each other company. There are many dangers inside and I do not wish to travel alone.”
“No,” said the rabbit. “I’m too fast for you to keep up with. I can outrun anything, and your smell would surely give us away. I don’t need your help.”
With that, the rabbit bounded into the forest and was quickly gone. The skunk felt badly because of the rabbit’s rude behavior, but he slowly walked into the forest by himself.
Inside the forest, the rabbit walked cautiously through the trees. As he traveled deeper into the darkness, he suddenly felt that he was being followed. Out of the darkness, many pairs of yellow eyes appeared along with the sounds of hungry growls – a wolf pack. The rabbit immediately bolted and ran as fast as he could, but there were too many wolves and they had him surrounded. No matter which direction he chose to run a wolf was there to cut off his escape. Eventually, the rabbit tired. He was caught by one of the wolves.
The skunk, however, walked unharmed through the woods. The rabbit was right – his smell did give him away, and all the creatures of the forest that could harm him stayed far away.
Moral: He who spurns a humble friend may be doing himself harm.