The Green Badger

The Green Badger

Every afternoon, the old and fat badger came onto the old lady’s lawn to bathe in the weak sun. Mrs. Greene never shooed it off; she actually enjoyed the badger’s company, since it was the only company she ever had, apart from her two cats and eternally-drowsy dog. Her house at the edge of the tree line was quiet and peaceful, but she sometimes craved for new sounds. For the sound of laughter. For the sound of civilization. Why her husband had left to never return all those years ago, she would never know, but at least she had a daughter that visited her every month or so, and those were the days that she felt happier than any other.

But the badger was another sort of happy in her life. It always poked its head out of the woods, sniffing the air, and when it assured itself that there wasn’t any danger in the area, it would prowl across the grass and lay down on Mrs. Greene’s unkept lawn. She always asked herself why the badger liked her lawn so much. Perhaps it was the smell? Or the simple wildness of the grass.

One late afternoon, though, the badger had yet to come for its daily sun bath. Mrs. Greene sat on her porch, knitting, waiting, and wondering what had happened. Perhaps it was hurt? Or dead? She felt her heart sink. What if the badger found a new place to bathe in the sun? A better lawn? A place where no old lady would watch it?

She set down her unfinished scarf and squinted at the tree line beside her house. Could it be possible? Would she never see the badger again? She was about to go for some cheese to bait it out of the woods with, when she spotted something small out of the corner of her eye. She turned and saw a lump of grass. Moving towards her.

Walking towards her.

But it wasn’t grass. It was the badger. The same old, fat, peaceful badger, not brown and white as always, but green and a darker green. It slumped across Mrs. Greene’s lawn and rolled onto its back. Then it gave a few shudders and it moved no more.

Mrs. Greene actually wept for the badger. It had been her every-day joy for months, and now it was gone. What had happened? Why was it green? Why did it die? Why there, on her lawn?

She found an old shovel of her husband’s in the tool room and dug up a grave. Right in the center of the lawn she buried the green badger, in the same spot that it went to every afternoon for its sun bath. She didn’t know how to work stone with a chisel, so she crafted “Here rests the green badger” with yarn on a scarf and wrapped it around a large rock. Her cats and dog watched as she worked, and old Mrs. Greene wondered if she would live long enough to make graves for them, too. Part of her wished she wouldn’t live long enough for such pain, but it made her uneasy to die and leave her pets behind. She wouldn’t like that. She would prefer to go through the pain of losing her precious animals than abandoning them behind in the world without someone to care for them.

“My green badger,” Mrs. Greene said, every time she sat on her chair on her porch to knit. “Why were you green? Why did you die? Why here, on my lawn?” She pondered over those questions for hours as she knitted, begging for answers that would soothe her soul. Maybe one day she’d discover why it ended the way it ended. Maybe one day another badger would come along and help her find the answers. Mrs. Greene hoped so. She would love nothing more but to know exactly why the badger turned green.

-Ralph Serr


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