It was slowly getting colder in the forest. The sun was only visible for a few hours each day. A mouse family had built a cozy nest in a large mound of earth. A hedgehog and his family lived in a nearby pile of leaves.
A badger and her offspring lived right next to the fox family and up in the treetops little bushy squirrels did gymnastics under the watchful eye of the old owl.
Every animal had a job at the onset of winter in order to gather enough food before 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.
In the morning, when the sun had not yet come up, everyone heard a wild chirping and twittering from a nearby branch. It was Sunny. He was always the first to wake up and greet the day with his chirping. His calls were so loud that all the animals were roused from their sound sleep.
“What a racket!” complained the mother mouse. Her little charges were now jumping around the nest before breakfast was even prepared.
“Doesn’t that bird have anything else to do but wake us all up every day?” grumbled the badger to the fox. The fox was also displeased with Sunny.
One morning, the animals goaded each other so much that they all met to complain about the daily noise.
“If Sunny were gone, we could all sleep much longer!” said the old hedgehog.
A brave rabbit suggested that they talk to Sunny and ask him to be a little more considerate in the morning. The others agreed. So the rabbit sat down under the branch where Sunny usually started his wake-up call.
“Hey, Sunny!” said the rabbit. “Do you realize that you are disturbing all of us by waking us so early? All the animals in the forest were discussing it and everyone said they would be happier if you were gone.”
Sunny looked down at the rabbit. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He thought his chirping was helpful to the community.
He was very sad and thought to himself, “If this is really true, then it seems I am no longer welcome here.”
The rabbit saw Sunny fly away, so he went back to the others.
The next day the animals woke up when the sun was already high in the sky. The squirrel mother squeaked, “How could this happen? Children, you should have been at school long ago!”
Shortly after, the father fox shouted, “I can’t believe it! I have never been late to start hunting!”
The mice had overslept, too. They would get in trouble at school for not showing up on time for class.
So it went for the next week. The mice and squirrels kept missing the best time to gather nuts and grains for the winter.
“If this continues, we won’t be able to accumulate enough supplies!” whined the father mouse. All the animals gathered again to figure out why they were all oversleeping.
The wise owl joined them and said, “Don’t you remember what happened? You wished you could sleep longer and not be woken up. So Sunny left. He used to wake you all up on time so that the children could get to school and you could go about your work.”
The animals looked at each other. They realized their mistake and how much they missed Sunny. He hadn’t wanted to disturb them with his chirping after all. He had taken on an important task in the forest. They decided to immediately search for and apologize to Sunny.
“You’re right, wise owl,” said the father mouse. “Now we know how important Sunny’s chirping really is. We didn’t do the right thing. How on earth can we find him again? He probably flew far away.”
The animals asked the owl to keep an eye out for Sunny because they didn’t know where to look for him, but the wise owl had an idea.
At the far edge of the forest, the owl heard a sad chirping and recognized Sunny’s voice right away. She 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 his branch and all the animals were able to start their day on time. From that day on, each of them thanked him in the mornings for their wake-up call.