It is a well known fact squirrels make the best scrumpers*. And Cyril was the best scrumping squirrel of all. He had a nose for the finest apples in the orchard and the farmer’s gun was no match for his nimble footwork through the trees.
For as long as anybody could remember, the squirrels traded the scrumped apples with Bodger Badger in return for nuts. It was the order of things and nobody ever questioned it. Except, of course, Cyril who, being a naturally suspicious fellow, wondered what a badger wanted with so many juicy apples...
One dark night, he followed Bodger deep into the woods in search of an answer and was horrified to discover the apples being delivered to the den of Willy Weasel. This aroused Cyril’s suspicions further. Weasels didn’t eat apples. They ate squirrels.
Any sensible squirrel would have scurried away at this point but sensible Cyril was not. He snuck into the den where he discovered the terrible truth...
Willy and Bodger were feeding his beloved apples into an enormous crushing machine.
‘I smell squirrel,’ growled Willy, sniffing the air. Cyril dived into a nearby barrel hoping to hide. What he didn’t know was that this barrel contained Willy Weasel’s woodland reserve apple cider.
Cyril had never tasted anything like it. Crisp, refreshing and utterly delicious. No wonder Willy Weasel was so eager to get his hands on Cyril’s apples and no wonder he kept his secret cider so closely guarded.
From that day, rather than trading all his apples, Cyril secretly kept the very best apples for himself. A seed had sown itself in Cyril’s head. He would discover the secret art of cider and with his treasured apples, he would make the most splendid cider of all!
And that’s how the trouble began
*Scrumping; to steal fruit, especially apples, from a garden or orchard