The Very Excellent Adventures of Snuitje and Chuck

Aventura: Spanish translation

Chuck was a very small Castor canadensis; as beaver go, he was a little too short and a little too round. But the day he met Snuitje, life changed forever! Chuck had come into town for toothpaste and had stopped for an early lunch of birch bark when he looked up to see a black and white cow with an elegant ear-ring watching him out of a window.

Chuck marched right over to the house and knocked at the front door; he wanted very much to meet the owner of that ear-ring. Politely, he introduced himself and the cow did likewise.

Imagine his surprise when he discovered that Snuitje, the cow was a native of the Netherlands who was visiting the East and West Coasts of the United States before departing for an Andean adventure in Bolivia! She had acquired the ear-ring in California, she remarked, while visiting a school in Reedly. She showed him her other ear which sported a pendant of Native American bead work, a gift from friends in New York.

As Snuitje described the people she had met, the things she had learned, the places she had visited Chuck became filled with a strange desire to travel, too. Chuck wanted adventure! He wanted to meet people, learn things and see the world.

"Why not?" Snuitje asked. Why not, indeed, thought Chuck and he straight away asked the friendly bovine if he might travel to Bolivia in her company. "Why not?" Snuitje replied again, and the deal was made. It was decided that Snuitje would journey to the woods of the Adirondack Mountains with Chuck to say good-bye to his family, then the two would leave for Bolivia and adventure as soon as they could.

Once the pair were settled firmly in their travel tote, the trip to the forest began. When they exited the van, Snuitje looked around curiously. This was different from any of the places she had been before. Trees reached toward the pale blue sky and the water before her was calm and green; ripples spread bands of silver toward the shore.

"Come on, Snuitje, let's go see my folks," shouted Chuck, scampering down a well-worn path to the lake.

"But I can't swim!"

bellowed Snuitje, in a panic.

"No problem, " Chuck called over his shoulder, "We'll take the kayak."

Much to her surprise, Snuitje enjoyed the experience once she mastered the two bladed paddle. (Chuck, ever the thoughtful host, had insisted that, as the guest, she should have the honor) She paddled for nearly fifteen minutes, Chuck relaxing in the bow of the kayak, calling out directions and commenting on the scenery in much the manner of a tour guide. "On your left (no, no, no don't turn left, Snuitje...) you will see a family of mergus merganzer - the Common merganzer, don't you know. You can tell them by the little tuft of feathers on the back of the head."

"Curious," commented Snuitje as the family of ducks swam past; mother leading and twelve little ducklings paddling furiously to keep up. "What do they eat?"

"Fish, I think," replied Chuck, "At least, I know they don't eat trees."

"Is that your family over there?" inquired Snuitje, spotting ripples in the water ahead.

Chuck craned his head, "No, indeed," he spluttered, "those are some fun-loving otter - lontra canadensis, you know - not at all hard working beasts like my folks. Why, otter just move in anywhere and set up housekeeping. Now, take my family: engineers for generations! They build homes, dams - you name it, they can build it! Otters! For heaven sake! Next thing, you'll be confusing us with loons."

As Chuck grumbled and fussed, Snuitje paddled resolutely in the direction he indicated. "Over there," yelled Chuck, "Hard to port."

"What?" asked a muddled Snuitje as the kayak slid through overhanging branches and bumped into a rather messy tangle of logs and twigs that seemed to be jumbled against the bank.

"Be careful," shouted Chuck, "that's my house."

"Where?" asked the confused cow.

"Right there - in front of you - come in and meet the family." With that, Chuck dove overboard and Snuitje could see a trail of bubbles leading right into the pile of logs, about two feet below the surface of the water.

She sat in the kayak, nervously clutching the paddle, her eyes glued to the spot where Chuck had disappeared. Nearly an hour had passed when a loud noise on the water nearby almost made her jump into the lake. Chuck reappeared at almost the same instant.

"What was that?" Snuitje asked.

"That was Dad, just saying "good-bye", replied Chuck. "He slaps his tail on the water. Usually it is a warning signal, but this time he said good-bye, have a safe trip, write often and don't eat strange bark," the little beaver concluded.

"All that in one slap," mused Snuitje, "what a language."

The little pair headed back; the generous Chuck offered to spell Snuitje at the paddle, but she didn't want to change places in the middle of the lake. "I can't swim," she reminded Chuck. So the tired cow stroked bravely on. It was beginning to get darker; Chuck encouraged her to head for the dock as quickly as she could.

Finally, the kayak thudded against the dock , Chuck scrambled ashore and steadied the craft as Snuitje gingerly climbed out. Tired but happy, they sat side by side as the sun began to sink and evening fell on the quiet Adirondack lake.

"Ah," sighed Snuitje, "this is so nice, but not at all like home."

"Tell me about the Netherlands, " said Chuck.

"Later," replied the tired cow. "Right now, I just want to rest."




Thus ends the first day .... stay tuned for further adventures as this pair of travelers sets forth to see the world.


the adventure continues

Aventura: Spanish translation