It was slowly getting colder in the forest, and the sun was only visible for a few hours a day. The mouse family had built a cozy nest in a large mound of earth. The hedgehog lived in the pile of leaves next door with his wife and children.
The badger and its offspring lived right next to the fox family. Up in the treetops, little bushy squirrels were doing gymnastics under the watchful eyes of the old owl.
Every animal had to do its job at the onset of winter in order to find enough food in time for the snowy days. So it was important to start collecting early. As soon as the sun went down, all the animals withdrew and snuggled into their warm and soft nests.
The sun had not yet come out of its hiding place when there was already a wild chirping and twittering from a narrow branch. It was Sunny, who was always the first to wake up and greet the day with his chirping. His calls were so loud that all the animals were shaken out of their sound sleep.
“Oh what a racket it is out there every morning!” scolded the mother mouse. Her little charges were now jumping around lively in the nest, even before breakfast was prepared.
“Doesn’t the bird have anything else to do but rouse us all from our sleep?” rumbled the badger from his burrow over to the fox. The fox also joined in, showing his displeasure.
That morning, the animals goaded each other so much that they all met and complained about the daily noise. “If Sunny were gone, we could all sleep much longer!” cried the old hedgehog.
The brave rabbit boy suggested that they talk to Sunny and ask him to be a little more considerate in the morning. The others agreed to his suggestion. So the bunny boy sat down under the branch where Sunny usually started his wake-up call.
“Hey, Sunny, don’t you realize that you are disturbing all of us and shaking us out of our sleep way too early? All the animals in the forest were discussing today that they would be happy if you were gone.”
Sunny sat on that branch today, too, and looked down at the rabbit boy. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He suddenly became very sad. He thought to himself, “If this is really true, then it seems I am no longer welcome here.”
The rabbit boy saw Sunny fly away, so he went back to the other animals.
The next day the sun came up. It was already bright in the sky, when all of a sudden, the squirrel mother was heard squealing, “How could this happen? Children, you should have been at school long ago.”
Shortly thereafter, father fox shouted, “This can’t be true! I have never missed going to hunt on time!” The mice had overslept, too. They would now get in trouble at school for not showing up on time for class.
So it went on day after day. The mice and squirrels woke up only when the sun was already high in the sky. They thus missed the best time to gather enough nuts and grains for the winter.
“If this continues, we won’t be able to accumulate enough supplies!” whined the mouse father. All the animals gathered again and wondered what had happened and why they had all overslept.
The wise owl came flying down from the tree and said, “Don’t you remember what happened? You wished you could sleep longer and not be awakened. Sunny is gone now. He woke you up conscientiously and on time every day so that the children could get to school on time and you could go about your work.”
The animals looked at each other. They all suddenly realized how much they missed Sunny. He didn’t want to disturb them with his chirping, but had taken on an important task in the forest. They decided to immediately go on a search and apologize to Sunny.
“You are right, wise owl. We now know how important Sunny’s chirping really is. We didn’t do the right thing. How on earth can we find him again? He must have flown far away.” The animals asked the owl to keep an eye out for Sunny because they didn’t know where to look for him.
The wise owl had an idea and immediately flew off. At the far edge of the forest, she heard a sad chirping. The wise owl recognized the voice immediately. The owl told Sunny how much the other animals missed him and that they would love to have him back with them.
The next morning, Sunny chirped happily from the branch again, and all the animals were able to start the day on time. All of them thanked him in the morning for the wake-up call and were very happy about his return.