The Beaver-Coon Dam Company
The great prairie had few trees and fewer streams, but the Beaver family lived there anyway. Their family had always lived at the edge of the prairie in the lodges built every 2nd generation in the backwaters of the pond formed when Great-Great-Granddaddy Beaver built their dam to hold back the stream waters. Many lodges existed on the pond, so many in fact, that the it was full. A new dam would have to be built for the next generation of Beavers so there would be room for new lodges to be built.
Becky Beaver was almost grown – she was two and had tired of babysitting her parent’s new baby beavers. Billy Beaver, from the next lodge over, already wanted her to move in with him and start a family of their own. That meant they would need a new lodge – just for them!
Mama and Papa Beaver knew that Becky and Billy wanted to build a new lodge, but they were very worried. The pond formed by Great-Great-Granddaddy Beaver’s dam was full of lodges and there was no room for another one for Becky and Billy.
And it was the year of the drought. Not a drop of rain had fallen for months. The tree leaves were brown and falling in early July and the sapling trees were dried up and dead with no good bark to eat. The pond had shriveled to half it’s size and the stream with Great-Great-Granddaddy Beaver’s dam was a dried mud stream bed. The families had eaten most of the nearby food. Little remained of the plentiful tree bark, grasses, roots,water lily tubers, clover, apples, and leaves that were there when the dam was built generations ago.
All the Beaver’s were ranging far and wide to find food in that year of the drought. Already this summer the Foxes had pounced on 3 of the Beaver family and killed and eaten them when they couldn’t get back to the safe under water lodge entrance.
But Becky and Billy Beaver weren’t worried. They were young and full of life. They spent all their time watching the new babies and hunting with their friend the Ricky the Raccoon. Ricky liked to eat almost anything so he got full faster than Becky and Billy. Sometimes he would help them hunt food so they had food.
Ricky the Raccoon lived in the little woods next to the stream. After his nightly hunt, he climbed up to his bed in the hollow of an old oak tree and slept, while Becky and Billy swam into their den in their respective parents lodges.
Early one morning, about 3 AM, Ricky the Raccoon met Becky and Billy Beaver to get their food for that day, as they did most every morning. Ricky wanted them to go down to the stream bed to hunt for crayfish so they did. But all they found were acorns. Ricky complained that he couldn’t even wash his acorns in the stream, it was just mud and not water.
Then they went to the side of the dam pond to find some clover and apples for all three of them, but the clover was too crispy to eat and there were no apples at all.
They stood and talked about the drought and how bad it was. Becky and Billy complained bitterly that they would never get to build a lodge of their own, because the stream was too small to build another dam and there was no more room for lodges on the pond formed by Great-Great-Granddaddy Beaver’s dam.
“How can we ever start a new lodge when all we have time to do is hunt food and babysit” cried Billy Beaver.
“It’s too bad we don’t have someone to bring us food every day,” said Becky quietly. “Then we would have time to scout for a new stream on which to build our dam so we could have a lodge”.
“Yeah,” Ricky the Raccoon added, “building a dam is big business. Just think of all the other animals that could use that new dam! The deer and elk could come and eat the grasses and shrubs that would grow by it. I bet I could find lots of crayfish, frogs and fish in the pond by your new dam if you built one and the ducks and geese could build their new nests on top of your dam too!”
“Miser Muscrat would love it too, added Billy Beaver, he would probably move right in with us!”.
“That’s true!” exclaimed Becky. “Why I bet they would all even pay us to use that new dam!”
The three of them sat gloomily thinking about all the great things a new dam would bring, if only someone would help them make the time to get it built by helping them get food. They needed someone to invest in them with food, so they would not have to hunt it every day. That would give them time to scout for a great place to build a dam and then get it built. After all, Mama and Papa Beaver would take over babysitting the new Beaver’s if asked to do so.
“HEY!!!”, shouted Ricky the Raccoon, as he jumped up excitedly, I know what we can do!!!!”
“Huh….whaaaat”? both Becky and Billy said in a startled tone of voice.
“Let’s make a company to build the dam, and sell a piece of the company to the deer, elk, muskrats and all the other raccoons and beavers who want a new dam. They could all invest in our new company and we would all own a piece of the dam. Since we wouldn’t have to hunt food anymore, we would have time to build a new dam. Then we could all use it and have lots of water and food for everyone! We would all have lots more assets if we did that!”
“Wha? What’s a company?” queried Billy. “An asset? What’s an asset? Asked Becky at the same time.
“A company is just an association of people who supply what is needed to pursue a common purpose.” explained Ricky the Raccoon – who was very ingenious. “Our purpose is to build a dam! An asset is just something valuable – like food.”
“But why would someone give us food – why would they invest in our company?”, wondered Becky.
“Because, by giving you food now, they will get a lot more food later – after our new dam is built”, shouted Ricky the Raccoon, they will invest to grow their assets.”
“OK!!!! Lets try it!, exclaimed Becky Beaver. “We can name it the Beaver-Coon Dam Company. The risk is that we might go hungry for a few days while we try to sell shares in our company to everyone.”
The very next day, Becky and Billy Beaver and Ricky the Raccoon went around to all their animal friends and explained what they wanted to do. The deer and the moose, and the other raccoons and beavers (especially Mama and Papa Beaver!) did invest in the dam company, but the muskrat chose not to do so. The geese and the ducks all said they were in and immediately started gathering some food for Becky, Billy and Ricky the Raccoon.
Ricky the Raccoon roamed far and wide looking for a wetter stream on which Becky and Billy Beaver could build a dam. The deer, moose, geese, ducks as well as Becky and Billy and the other beavers and raccoons spent that time gathering food for Ricky the Raccoon so he could spend all his time finding a really good stream. For five days he hunted a good stream. Each day he came back with bad news, the drought was really widespread. Each night he found piles of food ready for him to eat. Finally on the sixth day, he came back shouting with joy – he had found a big stream where the new dam could be built.
Now it was Becky and Billy Beaver’s turn. Ricky the Raccoon took them to show them where the big stream was. As promised, it had lots of nice trees close by that Becky and Billy could use to build the dam.
Every day for ten days, Becky and Billy went to the big stream and worked hard to cut the trees. First they cut poles to stick in the stream bed to hold the dam in place. Then they started filling in between the poles with more logs and twigs and rocks and leaves until the dam held water. Each day they went home and found mounds of food gathered by Ricky the Raccoon, the other raccoons and beavers, the deer, moose, ducks and geese for them.
Finally the day came when the dam was finished and the stream was forming into a pond. All of the animal investors gathered by the side of the new pond and rejoiced! Their company had built a dam and now there was a pond.
The deer and the moose could already see the new scrub brush coming up where the trees had been felled. They would have plenty of new foliage to eat in the coming winter because of that. Their assets grew – from the little bit of food they gathered to feed Ricky the Raccoon and Becky and Billy Beaver while they found the dam site and built the dam – to acres of new scrub brush that would yield food for many winters. In addition, they would have a nice pond to get a drink and cool their hooves.
The ducks and geese saw the dam and knew they had a sound place to begin building their new homes.
The beavers who invested in the Beaver-Coon Dam Company were excited that they could build many more new lodges along the new stream bank.
The Ricky the Raccoon and the other raccoons ran to the water to moisten their paws and get a drink, knowing they would find lots of frogs and fish to eat here!
Becky and Billy Beaver were bursting with joy and anticipation of building their very own lodge, the very first lodge on the new pond formed by their company’s dam! Soon they could start their own family and move out of Mama and Papa Beaver’s den. All because they formed a company and sold shares in it so they would have time to build the dam.
Becky and Billy Beaver and Ricky the Raccoon were able to build the new company dam because their investors provided the assets needed to get it done. Their investors: the other raccoons and beavers; the moose; deer; ducks and geese, made their assets (the food they gathered for the Beaver’s) grow. By investing in the dam, they would have food and homes for many months or years.
Moral: Invest to grow your assets.