Rustling could be heard throughout the forest this time of year. The autumn leaves fell softly to the ground and sometimes single, brightly colored leaves floated up towards the sky.
“Do you hear those wonderful songs too?” whispered Bruce the Bear when he spotted Matthew the Raccoon behind a tree.
Matthew nodded and they both approached the small cabin where the music seemed to be coming from. They were just about to look into the open window when something rustled the leaves on the ground behind them and they jumped.
“You scared us!” said Bruce when he saw who it was. A small, pointy nose peeked out from the dense foliage. It was Brian the Hedgehog.
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“Could you see who’s been making that beautiful music in there?” asked Brian. “I’ve been listening to it for days. This was the first time I dared to come over. Rumor has it that there is a man living in this cabin who carries a rifle!”
Matthew and Bruce took a few steps back from the building.
“It may be that a man with a rifle lives here,” Matthew said boldly, “but the music that comes from this cabin is so joyful and beautiful that I think that if we are very careful, it won’t be dangerous for us here.”
They looked for a spot close to the cabin to sit and listen. The wind carried the beautiful sounds of the many instruments towards them.
They came back each evening after that. More and more animals gathered as well. A shy deer, a wild cat, a hare and an owl—they all loved the music!
The nights were getting colder as autumn turned to winter—a change that the animals knew well.
One evening, as everyone gathered to listen to the music, they noticed that the light coming from the cabin no longer shone as brightly. And worse—they could no longer hear the music.
“I’m going to go over there and take a closer look!” said Brian bravely. “Something isn’t right. It even looks different than usual!”
But when he got close to the cabin he couldn’t reach the window.
He called out to the others, “I’m too short. I can’t see inside.”
So Bruce and Matthew approached the cabin next. They were careful not to break any branches with their heavy paws that would alert the cabin dweller to their presence.
Bruce said, “I’m going to try to look inside.”
The other two nodded eagerly.
When Bruce returned, he whispered, “There’s a curtain inside the window. I can only make out some shadows. Plus, the window seems to have been closed. That’s why we can’t hear anything!”
They returned to the other animals and Bruce told them what he had seen.
The animals were confused. Then, the wise owl interrupted their thoughtful silence.
“Of course the inhabitant of this cabin has closed the window!” she explained. “After all, it has become bitterly cold and as far as I know, humans don’t have warming fur or thick feathers to keep them warm!”
A murmur went through the small group. So the cabin dweller continued to live here and probably listen to this beautiful music, but to protect himself from the cold of the coming winter, he had drawn the curtains and closed the window.
“Well, there goes our evening music!” grumbled Bruce. Everyone was disappointed.
“Yes. I guess our beautiful evenings here in the clearing are over,” said the deer, already saying goodbye to the other animals.
“Hang on. If the music won’t come from the cabin anymore, we’ll just have to make it ourselves!” said Brian. The other animals looked at him curiously.
“What do you mean…make it ourselves?” said Matthew.
Brian told them that he used to live in the village behind the forest. There were some stores there and many houses where people lived. But most importantly, there was also a school where they taught music.”
“It’s all true.” The wise owl nodded and continued, “I slept under the roof of the school for a while, so I saw it myself,” she said. “At the school, they play music every day. And what’s even better is that there’s an old storeroom in the school auditorium that has discarded instruments. Apart from a few cobwebs and dust, the instruments still look quite good. Before they end up in a landfill, we could take them and give them a second chance. What do you think?”
The assembled animals nodded their agreement enthusiastically.
“Let’s save the instruments from the landfill!” shouted Matthew.
They made a plan and decided to walk down to the village together at dusk the very next day, and then sneak into the school’s storeroom.
The next afternoon, as agreed, they met at the clearing. “We’ll leave as soon as it’s dusk!” said Brian.
“That’s right, and we’ve got to be really quiet. No one can hear or see us, understand?” added Bruce.
The wise owl offered to give directions from above and keep watch. “I’ll let you know when the coast is clear! Until then, everyone stay in your positions, ok?”
As the sun set, the animals made their way to the village. The houses were full of people and warm lights shone through their windows. Every now and then, shadows could be seen behind the curtains, but outside, the streets and yards were quiet.
“This is great!” Brian exclaimed. “They all seem to be staying in their houses because it’s so cold outside!”
The animals approached the school.
“There she is!” said the deer, pointing to the owl. They all looked up at the sky.
“Sssh, quiet! We have to wait for her signal,” whispered Bruce.
They watched as she circled the school, looking conscientiously in all directions.
“The coast is clear!” she said. She was careful not to attract any attention.
Now the animals began to take up their positions, just as they had discussed at the campfire the night before. Bruce was the biggest of them and therefore would keep watch in front of the school. The deer watched from farther away in order to be able to pass on a warning to Bruce in time if someone came along.
The others climbed through the basement hatch and searched inside the building for the storage room. The owl had given them an old map that showed the room on the forest side of the building. Using the map, the animals were able to easily navigate and they found the room in no time.
“It’s not locked!” cheered Brian. They chose an upright bass for Matthew, a saxophone for Bruce, and a flute for Brian. They wiped away a few cobwebs and blew off the dust. Then they quickly carried the instruments back through the door of the school, and moved in the shadows of the building so as not to be seen.
“We did it!” said Bruce when they were safely back in the clearing.
“It would have been awful to just throw these beautiful instruments into the landfill,” said Matthew.
From that day on, wonderful music could once again be heard coming from the edge of the clearing after dark.