Once upon a time, there was a beautiful town in the middle of a lush and colorful forest inhabited by cheerful animals. Every year, with the fall of the first snows and the arrival of the stars of light, they gathered around the Great Tree to prepare for Christmas and learn one of the most anticipated news of the season.
All the activities carried out at that time were aimed at coexistence, the promotion of friendship and fun.
The Christmas cooking contest, organized by Mrs. Squirrel, was the delight of the most gluttonous. The little ones participated in the traditional Ice Race, which took place on the frozen lake and went every afternoon to the rehearsals of Señorita Ciervo, in charge of the choir who cheered every corner of the forest with her Christmas carols.
And, of course, there was the best night of all: Christmas Eve, in which a play was performed that had friendship as its central theme. Mr. Owl, as director of the theater school, selected a piece from among all those sent by the aspiring animals to be the chosen ones to fill the hearts of the forest dwellers with peace, but that year:
- Welcome everyone to the preparatory meeting for Christmas, said Lord Owl perched on the sturdiest branch of the Great Tree. This year, the choice of the work was very close because all the proposals were of high quality, but a winner had to be chosen. So without further delay let’s give a round of applause to Mr. Rabbit, author of the winning work ‘Let’s save the forest’.
- Thank you, thank you, it’s an honor for me, Rabbit exclaimed between applause.
- Well, you already know that tomorrow at ten we will start the selection tests. We ask those interested to be punctual, concluded Mr. Búho.
The next day, at the agreed time, the selection began. Being a musical, the tests focused on singing and dancing skills, as they were essential requirements. The work told the plot of a forest ranger who had to save the flora of an evil woodcutter, obsessed with cutting down a thousand-year-old Tree and destroying everything that stood in his way.
In his fight to preserve the natural environment, the ranger had the invaluable help of a sunflower and a lily that put their cunning at the service of the noble cause. After several hours, the roles were distributed as follows: Mr. Bear would play the gamekeeper, Castor would play the vile woodcutter, Mrs. Pata would play the sunflower, and Mrs. Lince would play the lily.
At first everything was going great, the actors were happy with their roles and worked hard to perfect their performances, until the worst of the ghosts appeared: envy.
- Mr. Rabbit, I think Castor should have a little more prominence. The lumberjack is full of nuances and we could create some spectacular special effects that would blow the audience away, said Mr. Owl in one of the rehearsals.
- Yes, you may be right and I should tweak the text to give Castor more weight. We can make a play of light and shadow every time it appears and enhance its role.
At these words, Castor was very happy, because he was very excited about the Christmas play, but Bear did not see him with the same eyes. If Castor was given more prominence, that meant that he would cease to be the absolute protagonist, and he did not like that at all.
The next day’s rehearsal was chaos. Instead of advancing, they took steps backwards. Bear was not cooperating and Castor, who had realized what was happening, was very surly.
As if that were not enough, the wardrobe had also been a source of conflict between the girls. Ms. Pata felt that Ms. Lince’s dress was more eye-catching and should have been drawn by lots. The tension on stage could be cut and the disaster did not wait, and during the rehearsal of the final scene, which brought together all the actors on stage to perform the final number, they began to push each other with such vigor that part the set was broken.
- Order, order, but hey what happens? asked Rabbit angrily. You have spoiled the work of several days and of all those who have collaborated in the staging. There are only two days until Christmas Eve, but if we had more time, I would kick you all out of the play. Rehearsal’s over for today. Rabbit was furious, he didn’t understand anything. But how could they fight over such a thing?
The next day the inhabitants woke up to witness a terrible event: the snow had disappeared and the stars of light had gone out. How was it possible? Frightened, the animals congregated around the Great Tree, seeking the wise advice of Mr. Owl.
- Dear forest dwellers, the spirit of Christmas is gone, said Owl.
- And how can we make it come back? asked Mrs. Squirrel scared.
«We are going to run out of Christmas,» a cub was heard saying.
Today is a very sad day. Envy has unleashed negative chain reactions. The snow has melted, the stars have ceased to shine and the play is in danger.
Bear was listening behind a bush and he was afraid to go out because he knew it was the trigger for the situation, but he had to be brave and face the consequences of his own actions, so he decided to go out.
- So sorry. If there is any culprit, it is me. Envy blinded me. What can I do to correct my mistake?
- No, you don’t have to bear the blame alone, I have also contributed to my bad behavior. For what it’s worth I’m sorry too, Beaver lamented.
- If you’re excited, I’ll change your dress, your friendship is more important to me than a piece of cloth, Mrs. Lince exclaimed, giving Mrs. Pata a hug.
- Look, it’s snowing! a voice yelled enthusiastically.
- Yes and it seems that in the sky the stars shine again. The Christmas spirit is back! It was heard.
That year, Christmas was lived with great intensity in the forest, after all they were about to lose it forever. They had learned their lesson and now they knew that envy was blinding and had very negative effects that could not be controlled.
So so that they will not forget they never built a large wooden plaque that they hung from the Great Tree. In it you could read the following inscription: «The most valuable treasure you have is friendship, take care of it every day and it will grow.»