Pepper was a snow flea. She lived at
the bottom of a tree that was bare of leaves, as it was wintertime. Many
other snow fleas lived with Pepper. When the sun came out and shone down
on the tree, Pepper and all the others came springing out from under the
decaying leaves and jumped about on top of the crunchy snow. BOING! BOING!
BOING! Most of the snow fleas were able to control where they were going
to bounce, but not Pepper. When she tried to spring through the air to
land somewhere, sheíd end up right back in the same spot.
Pepper sat on the snow and watched.
All around her the other snow fleas were going BOING! BOING! BOING! Some
were bouncing as high as the tree branches, others were jumping across the
snow to a clump of dead grass, and others were springing all the way to
the frozen pond.
Pepper decided to give it another
try. She tucked her tiny legs under her and pushed away. BOING! She flew
through the air, high up. "Wheeeee!" she called out as she went soaring
through the chilly air. When she landed back on the ground, she saw that
sheíd landed in the same spot again. She felt sad. How would she get to
see all the things that were around her if she couldnít move an inch?
Just then her friend, Ash, came
springing over to where she was sitting. BOING!! BOING! BOING! "Letís go
over to the lake. They say itís beautiful when the sun shines," Ash
"I want to go, but I canít. You see,
when I try to jump, I end up right back here. What should I do?" Pepper
asked her friend.
"Well, what I do is tuck my back in
and push really hard. I look at where I want to go and I just go there.
Give it a try," Ash urged.
Pepper did just that. She looked
toward the lake and pushed off as hard as she could. "BOING!" Wheeeeeeeee!
She flew through the air, but when she landed she found herself standing
next to Ash again. "See, I canít do it," she said, feeling very bad.
The sun was moving through the sky.
The days were short in winter. About that time, a swarm of winter
craneflies came flying in from the lake. They landed near Pepper and Ash.
"Hey, snow fleas, what are you doing?" Cera, the cranefly asked.
"Iím trying to help Pepper to
bounce," Ash told him.
"Youíre a snow flea and you canít
bounce? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" Cera laughed. "Hey fellas, weíve got a snow
flea that canít bounce. What a joke!"
The other craneflies began to laugh
at Pepper and then, finding the fleas too boring, the swarm flew off. "I
can too bounce," Pepper said. "Watch!" She sprang up into the air. BOING!
When she landed next to Ash again, she said, "I just canít go anywhere!"
She sat down and put her chin on one of her bent legs. She sighed sadly.
A little while later a snowshoe hare
came hopping by. He saw Pepper sitting on the snow looking glum. "Whatís
the matter?" he asked.
Ash answered, "She canít spring
"I can spring. I can show you how.
Just push with your back legs and you can go anywhere you want," the gray
hare said. "Watch me." Pepper lifted her head and watched. The hare hopped
around the tree and back. "See, itís not hard. Give it a try."
Pepper stood up, folder her legs
under her and pushed with all her might. She went flying through the air.
BOING! But, as usual, she landed right back next to the hare and Ash. "Oh
well, keep trying," the hare said and hopped into the woods.
"I will never do it. Never," Pepper
cried. She sat back down and pouted.
During the day a coyote came running
by. He tried to help Pepper bounce, but she couldnít do it. A moose came
wandering by. She offered Pepper some encouragement, but Pepper wouldnít
even try anymore.
As the sun was beginning to set, a
grouse flew down from the sky and landed near Pepper and Ash. "Aha, whatís
this?" she asked. She was feeling rather hungry and the grouse liked to
eat bugs. She began pecking away at some of the snow fleas that were
hiding under the leaves at the bottom of the tree.
Pepper looked over and saw the
grouse moving towards her. Ash saw it too. "Pepper, weíve got to get out
of here or the grouse will eat us!" Ash said frantically. "Here it comes!"
she cried and bounced away. BOING! BOING! BOING!
Pepper found herself alone. What was
she going to do? The grouse was coming closer and closer. Making up her
mind to do it, Pepper pushed off with her back legs as hard as she could.
She went flying through the air. BOING! This time, when she landed, she
was near a clump of dead grass. "I did it! I did it!" she called out
proudly. The grouse spotted her and ran towards her; itís tail feathers
sticking straight up in back. Pepper pushed off again. BOING! She flew
further. Again, BOING! Finally, she got the hang of it. She hopped all
over the woods. BOING! BOING! BOING! After a few minutes she was far
enough from the grouse to be safe.
She sat back and felt relief. Never
again would she have to worry about being teased or made fun of. Never
again would she have to worry about being eaten by a grouse. Sheíd done
it! She knew how to be a springtail! From then on, when the sun came out
and warmed up the wintry day, Pepper could be seen, happily hopping about
on top of the snow with all the other snow fleas.