The animal contest
It is a beautiful Spring day in the forest.
The robin, the sparrow and the finch want to know who has the best song. They take turns to sing, but cannot decide which one is the best singer.
The birds then go to the rabbits and ask which of the birds sings the best. Each of the birds tries to give their best song. But the rabbits are not interested, they do not even hear the birds, because they want to know who has the fastest legs. They take turns to run, but cannot decide which one is the fastest runner.
The birds and the rabbits then go to the butterflies and ask which of the birds sings the best and which of the rabbits runs the fastest. Each of the animals tries to give their best. But the butterflies are not interested either, they do not even hear the other animals, because they want to know who has the prettiest wings. They take turns to fly, but they cannot decide which one is the prettiest flyer.
The birds, the rabbits and the butterflies then go to the bees and ask which of the birds sings the best, which of the rabbits runs the fastest, and which of the butterflies flies the prettiest. Each of the animals tries to give their best. But the bees are not interested either, they do not even hear the other animals, because they want to know who produces the best honey. They take turns to the beehive, but they cannot decide which one is the hardest worker.
The animals argue ever more. Each bird thinks they are the best singer; each rabbit thinks they are the best runner; each butterfly thinks they are the best flyer; and each bee thinks they are the best worker. None of them can recognise the qualities in the others, and so they can only disagree with one another.
In the meantime, a little ladybug passes by on her way to her garden. Facing this great confusion, she asks what is happening, but no one hears her, because they all want to know who wins the contest. The ladybug then decides to put herself in the middle of the animals, but still no one hears her, they do not even notice her. Yet again, she asks what is going on with all the confusion, louder this time, but no one hears her.
In the midst of the excitement, and without noticing, the animals step on the poor ladybug, and squeeze her underneath them all. Unable to breathe, the ladybug faints, motionless.
On the other side of the forest, the fox, the squirrel and the hedgehog hear the great bustle. They interrupt their nap in the shade of the great tree to find out what is happening. When they get close to the other animals, they see a huge mess of birds and rabbits, butterflies and bees, all struggling to decide who was the best. The birds competed to decide who was the best singer. The rabbits competed to decide who was the best runner. The butterflies competed to decide who was the best flying. And the bees competed to decide who was the best worker.
With her strong eyes, the fox examines more closely the chaotic animal contest and finds the ladybug lying down on the forest floor. The fox tries to stop the animals, but no one hears her, they do not even notice her. She tries yet again to stop the big mess, this time almost screaming to try saving the ladybug, but no one hears her.
But the hedgehog thinks he has the solution to stop the animal contest. He rolls into his own body until he becomes a ball and asks the squirrel to push him hard. The hedgehog rolls to the center of the confusion, and spikes up. The contest finally stops when the animals are afraid of the hedgehog’s long spikes.
The squirrel catches the ladybug carefully. The ladybird passed out because no one noticed her. Each animal was just so worried about winning the contest of the animals. Each one of them only thought of being the best in the forest.
The animals are very sad because they hurt the ladybug. The birds no longer think of being the best singers, the rabbits no longer think of being the best runners, the butterflies no longer think of being the best flyers, and the bees no longer think of being the best workers.
Suddenly, the ladybug stirs a little.
‘She's alive!’, cries the fox.
‘But she is very weak and needs help!’, says the hedgehog.
Now, to save the ladybug, the animals have to join their forces. Instead of thinking of being the best, each animal has to do its best to save the life of the poor ladybug.
First, the birds sing together for the first time, and realise that the three of them together sing much better and louder than each of them alone. Their singing together can wake the ladybug. The ladybug is very weak and very thirsty. She needs to drink some water.
The rabbits then run together for the first time and realise that the two of them together run much faster than each of them alone. They bring water from the lake for the ladybug to drink. Still weak, the ladybug sits down. She needs fresh air.
The butterflies then fly together for the first time and realise that the two of them together flap their wings much faster than each of them alone. The cool breeze from their wings fluttering together animates the ladybug. She stands up and is very hungry. She needs some food.
The bees then work together for the first time and realise that the two of them together produce much more honey than each of them alone. They bring sweet honey from the hive for the ladybug to eat. She finally starts walking again with the help of the squirrel.
The ladybug thanks the fox, the hedgehog and the squirrel for having noticed her when all the other animals just wanted to compete with each other to see which one was the best singer, the best runner, the best flyer, or the best worker. But the fox warns the ladybug they did not save her alone. The birds awoke her with their songs, the rabbits brought her water with their swift races, the butterflies gave her fresh air with the flap of their wings, and the bees brought her honey with their hard-work. To save the ladybug, all the animals stopped the contest to see who was the best and learned to collaborate with each other. Together they are always better than they would be alone.
The important thing is not to be the best in the forest, but to be the one who can help more animals.