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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Storytelling Animal Festival....

Storytelling Animal Festival

Once upon a time in East Tennessee there was a Storytelling Festival. It drew huge herds of animals, so many that there was no barn large enough on the farm to accommodate the influx of spectators.

Therefore, Farmer Jones had five large tents set up and scattered around his farm in different places so there would be room for all the visitors. The close proximity of the animals to each other seemed to bring out their different

EARLY BIRDS: The birds were up early and came two hours before the program started. They got seats in the front and perched on them for dear life, never leaving them unguarded for even a moment. They brought bird food to eat and had someone watch their perch if they had to go to the birdbath.

SQUIRRELS: The squirrels got up with the birds. They piled blankets, cushions, or other nesting materials on chairs to reserve them and then left to scamper around, most likely in another tent. This way they had a good seat squirreled away for later. Unfortunately, it prevented any other animals from using an unoccupied seat.

GRASSHOPPERS: The grasshoppers hopped from tent to tent at every break. They tried to see the best storytellers in each tent and were never satisfied, always afraid they were missing something elsewhere that was better. Sometimes one of them even left 10 minutes early to get to the next tent and stake a new claim even if it meant missing the end of the story.

HOGS: The swine came early and try to hold seats for all their friends who showed up at the last minute. They put their possessions on a large number of seats and told the other animals that the seats were taken. The festival had rules against hogging seats, but it was very hard to keep the hogs from being greedy..

RABBITS: Rabbits were busy playing and got less than desirable seats, so they constantly watched for someone a row or two up to leave. They then hopped up and grabbed the empty chair before any other animal could get it. They hopped seats over and over until they finally got to the front of the tent.

HAWKS: These birds are loners. They fly around and around surveying the crowd and looking for an empty seat. They can spot a deserted nest from a mile away and will swoop in and land in it, even if they disturb two-dozen other animals who are listening to a story.

BULLS: The bulls come charging in at the last minute when little seating is left. They take one of the front seats reserved for families of storytellers, sitting on the "reserved" sign and acting as if they don't see it. They are too bull-headed to even observe the customs of common courtesy.

CHICKENS: The chickens flock around outside the tent listening. They either don't like crowds of another feather, or for whatever reason do not want to roost in a tent, even though they have paid a lot of chicken feed to be there.

ROACHES: Roaches do not have tickets. They just creep around outside the fenced areas usually hanging out around the food tents. Although no one actually sees them do it, we are sure some roaches probably slip through the cracks into the tents without paying admission.

SHEEP: The sheep keep coming back to the same watering hole year after year. Some sheep have not missed a single festival for 30 years or more. They are regulars in the storytelling circuit, which seems to have a flock of followers.

Although Farmer Jones wanted to treat all the animals equally, some thought they were more equal than others, proving once again that animals will act like animals because they are.

However, these "animals" at the Storytelling Festival were actually people, and we cannot explain why people will sometimes act like animals too.

Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss

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