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I will try to tell his story as simply as possible, with attention to detail where detail is needed, yet without the added drama that tends to clutter rather than clarify. I have decided, however, not to spare the reader the less than savory aspects or sometimes gruesome events that are essential. Most important of all, I will tell the truth exactly as I know it.

A wise animal once said, “If you would persuade another that he does wrong, then do right. But don’t try to convince him with mere words. Animals believe what they see; therefore, let them see.”

Which is what Nicholas did.

His actions, under the most dire of circumstance, allowed the other animals in the forest to see that heroic deeds can be accomplished, even by the least likely of animals, if attempted with honor, courage and a little bit of luck.

Today Nicholas is somewhat a legend among the other groundhogs, which is no small feat, as groundhogs are notoriously hard to impress. But impress them he did.

And this is how it happened.



CHAPTER ONE

It was early spring, and the heavily-wooded land known as East-of-the-Rivers was awakening from a long, cold winter. Bright splashes of flowers and wild onion dotted the hillside. A few of the trees had found their leaves, and the air was filled with the sights and smells of a fresh, new season.

In one corner of the woods stood an open field, and in one corner of the field was a rather large pond, and next to the pond lived the Groundhog family: Mother, Father and their thirteen children. Emma was the mother and the father was Nicholas Groundhog.

They were a typical groundhog family, as groundhog families go. The children were still too small to venture far from the burrow in which they lived, but Emma kept a close eye on them nevertheless.

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