Well this is definitely something different; this possibly one of the only things I have written that doesn't end tragically (or with someone dying). Anyways, here's a rather carefree fable.
It didn't take long for Skunk to succumb to hunger. Throughout venturing in the well-lit woods, it had never noticed its oncoming exhaustion. There was food to be found; the woods were plentiful! Today, however, just wasn't Skunk's luckiest day.
He did remember the Bears' place: a cave filled to the brim with berries and meat of many different assortments. It was heaven for the wild beasts, and even more for a single skunk. He was also aware of the consequences of stealing said food, knowing that if he were to be caught, he would lose the Bears' trust for good. For a nearly defenseless animal like himself, a risk like this was too much to take; desperation, on the other hand, said otherwise.
"Maybe just one bite won't hurt," Skunk said to himself, "Surely the Bears won't mind just a nibble. After all, I did help them gather some of the berries."
Skunk knew that his generosity was just an act of kindness; he himself had asked for no payment back. The hunger kept growing, and eventually he found himself charging towards the Bears' den without a second thought.
His white stripes stuck out in the darkness of the eerie cave, but the rest of his fur's color was fully submerged. No sign of the Bears were seen, and none were heard. With the utmost caution, the Skunk tip-toed into the cave, nearly jumping at every drop of water heard.
He eventually came across the pile which was in plain sight. After a sigh of relief, Skunk sneakily gathered as many berries his little claws could carry. He began feeling a little guilty once he realized he had taken the majority of the berries.
"I should leave some behind so they won't be suspicious of me," he said, feeling ashamed of his thievery, "Or perhaps I shouldn't be stealing after all".
The growling in his stomach reminded him that he was on the verge of starvation. Instead of arguing with himself, he hightailed out of the cave and into the woods with his arms huddling the berries.
Getting a safe distance away, he chowed down on the berries as fast as he could. The satisfaction of food met his stomach, and his hunger went away. Unfortunately, he realized the awful truth that he stole from some of his best companions.
Skunk hung his head in shame and looked towards the way he ran. He saw that the Bears' had returned and high-tailed to his home.
He quickly made himself comfortable upon his arrival to his home until he heard a cry of discontent in the distance. It must be the Bears', Skunk thought, knowing that they probably found out the lack of berries in their den.
Like the other animals, he snuck out to see what the commotion was, knowing what may be in store for the culprit.
Thankfully, the Bears' didn't seem mad, they only looked concerned. Father Bear stood up to speak.
"It seems as if there has been a thief among us. Someone stole our berries recently," he stated. The numerous woodland animals began chatting amongst themselves.
"Now, does anyone know who may be the thief?" he paused for a moment, "better yet, do any of you happen to be the thief?"
Skunk flattened his ears, but kept still, not sure what to do. Badger on the other hand knew what he would do.
"Fox did it! He's always stealing things around here!" Badger blamed. Skunk looked at Beaver, knowing that his claim was a lie.
"Are you sure about that? No one steals anything around here, you know."
"Of course it was him! Who else would it be?!" Badger exclaimed, "and I know it doesn't look like it, but he's sneaky enough to pass by any of our senses! Think about it!"
The gathered animals nodded in unison.
"Fox did it!"
"It's his entire fault!"
Father Bear considered Badger's claim, "Did you see him?"
"I did! I'm all the proof you need for this criminal!"
"Then it's settled. I will talk to Fox about this."
Badger jumped in excitement, "Make sure you rip him a new one!"
Father Bear showed a look of disapproval, "Let's not go too far with this. It is a minor crime after all."
Father Bear was then lead off by Badger to Fox's den. Skunk wasn't sure what to do; the previous amount of guilt he had before was now stacked on his consciousness with regret and anger. He wanted to follow the two, but he wasn't ready to admit his crime.
Mother Bear walked up to Skunk, "Do you really think Fox did it? He's quite stupid, but even he would know better than to steal."
Skunk spoke up, "No I don't, in fact…" he trailed off, trying to find the right words.
Mother Bear noticed this, "What's wrong, Skunk?" after a while of silence she added with a gentle smile, "I'll keep it a secret."
Skunk lowered his head once more, "Mrs. Bear, I'm so sorry, but I know for sure that Fox didn't steal the berries. I'm the culprit," he was expecting ferocity, but was met with more concern.
"Why did you steal our berries? Were you that hungry?" Skunk sadly nodded.
"Oh Skunk, all you had to do was ask, we would have lent you some berries without a moment's thought."
Skunk's eyes brightened, "Really? I'm so sorry."
"I'm not the one you should be telling that too. Let's go after Father Bear now, we don't want Fox to get into trouble," with that, Mother Bear and Skunk followed Father Bear and Badger's trail deep into the woods.
Eventually they found Father Bear and Fox with a look of confusion; Badger was grinning.
"So you're telling me that you didn't steal them, Fox? Badger, I thought you said he did," Father Bear questioned.
"I don't remember a thing about any berries," Fox answered.
"He's lying!" Badger exclaimed.
"No he isn't!" Skunk interfered. He and Mother Bear made their entrance.
Mother Bear said in a calm tone, "Honey, Skunk has something to say to you."
Father Bear turned around, "Ok then Skunk, I'm listening."
Skunk gulped, "You see Mr. Bear, I'M the one who stole the berries in the first place, not Fox," he let a minute of silence slip by, "I don't know how I can apologize to you and Fox, but I'm sorry."
Father Bear raised an eyebrow and gave out a hearty laugh, "I guess that solves the issue. Skunk, you could have just asked for some, you didn't have to resort to thievery."
Skunk looked down, "I know, Mr. Bear."
"In debt for stealing some of our berries, I must ask that you gather twice the amount of berries for this hibernation season for us."
Skunk's jaw dropped, "TWICE the amount?! Mr. Bear, you don't seem to understand, the berries are incredibly scarce nowadays! That's impossible!"
"Exactly, which is why the Bear family will help you this time," Father Bear intruded, "we'll be sharing our share from now on."
Skunk jumped in joy, "Do you really mean it?!"
"I do, as long as you don't take advantage of it."
Skunk went on a tangent of 'Thank you's' after Father Bear's statement.
Father Bear looked down on Badger, "As for you, you will help in getting the berries too for getting Fox involve," he said, looking back at Fox, "Sorry for the confusion by the way."
Fox grinned, "Not a problem, Bear," he said before making his leave.
Badger began complaining about how he didn't do anything, but it only resulted in the Bears and Skunk ignoring him.
From then on, Skunk and Badger worked diligently side-by-side with the Bears. Badger ended up with night shift while Skunk got a day to himself with three whole breaks!
Although the day wasn't the luckiest for Skunk, it was still the day he learned a valuable lesson that he made sure remember throughout his life.
Moral of the story: Own up to your guilt and the consequences will be less severe.