Clark hastened to his friends’ house in response to their urgent request. When he arrived, he saw Skunk and Mole earnestly staring at a large round piece of wood. It appeared to be the cross-section of a young tree.
“Oh, Clark,” said Mole, “We are so glad you’re here. We need your help. Skunk and I dug up this HUGE tree root in order to save the flowers. In doing so, we unearthed Stumpy. Now we have to put him somewhere.”
Clark looked at Stumpy; Stumpy gave Clark a look that would have unnerved a lesser cat. Clark merely scratched his ear.
“Why don’t you just bury Stumpy where you found him?”
“Oh, no, we couldn’t do that!” Skunk exclaimed. “Now that Stumpy has seen the light, it would be too cruel to send him back into the pit.”
“We want to set him in the flower bed where he can check things out,” said Mole. “But he can’t be too close to the flowers. Isn’t that right, Stumpy?”
Stumpy made no reply; his appreciative look said it all.
“Can you help us, Clark?” Skunk and Mole asked in unison.
Clark glanced at Stumpy and nodded. They understood each other. Then Clark made a circuit around the flowerbed, taking measurements and making sketches in his notebook. After a few minutes, he walked over to Stumpy, who looked at Clark apprehensively.
“Stumpy,” said Clark, “this may tickle a bit, but it won’t take long.”
He then measured Stumpy’s height and circumference. Skunk and Mole looked on anxiously while Clark made his calculations. Every so often, Mole cast a reassuring smile at Stumpy, who was the very picture of despair. After a quarter of an hour, Clark looked up and stretched.
“Done,” he said. “It wasn’t that difficult at all. I merely had to factor in the flowers’ growth rate with Stumpy’s zero growth rate.”
He drew a circle in the dirt in one corner of the flowerbed.
“Here is where you should semi-bury Stumpy,” he said. “I recommend a hole two inches deep. That way Stumpy gets plenty of sunlight and can observe things from all angles, and the flowers—originating from rather dim bulbs—will think that Stumpy is rooted like them. They won’t try to attack him.”
Mole clapped her hands.
“How wonderful! What a great solution! We knew you could do it.”
Skunk shook hands with Clark and then gave Stumpy a hug. Stumpy was understandably relieved and not a little impressed. Clark arched his back and tried to look nonchalant, but Stumpy could tell that he, too, was impressed with himself.