Spotted Owl sat cross-legged on a large rock. Red Bobcat watched an eagle wheel about in the sky until it passed directly overhead right through the blinding brightness of the sun.
"we should go down from here" said Spotted Owl, climbing down from his pedestal.
"Down to there you mean?" Red Bobcat asked, indicating the forests below the large rock outcropping they had been living on.
"Yes, down below." said Spotted Owl.
"We should see things from another perspective. And meet people other than only those who seek us out."
Red Bobcat nodded, it sounded wise. They collected their few possessions and that very afternoon picked their way carefully down the steep sides of the rock. Once they were amongst the pine forests below, they continued in a generally downward direction meandering through the hilly terrain. Birds flitted about, butterflies danced in the light, the occasional startled marmot darted behind rocks at their approach. The wind made a gentle sibilant sound amongst the pines.
Finally they descended into a sheltered meadow with a stream running through it and forming several crystal clear pools, and Spotted Owl declared "This is as far down as we shall go, let us set up camp here."
Red Bobcat wondered if Spotted Owl had already had this spot in mind, but didn't like to bother him with such mundane questions. They immediately started building a hut by the edge of the meadow.
After a number of days, a traveler came upon them. He was a rather large fellow with somewhat unkempt hair. He introduced himself as Standing Bison, explaining he was traveling between two villages. As it was late in the day Spotted Owl invited him to stay the night with them. The man was friendly and talkative, but Red Bobcat presently began to notice he was prone to be argumentative and stubborn, tending to loudly criticize things he didn't agree with. The man contributed to dinner a rabbit he had caught earlier in the day and after loudly criticizing the way Red Bobcat was roasting it he proceeded to take the roasting and cutting of the meat in hand himself. Red Bobcat began to feel a bit resentful that Spotted Owl declined to argue with the man, instead when the man became brash and obstinate on a point Spotted Owl would smile serenely and let the man continue his exhortations until the subject changed.
As the evening darkened to night Red Bobcat became tired, but the visitor seemed happy to keep piling more wood on their fire. Spotted Owl lay down in his corner of the hut wrapped in his furs. And presently Red Bobcat did so as well in his own corner, but still Standing Bison talked to them and put more wood on the fire. Red Bobcat found it very hard to sleep with the fire burning so bright and hot so close, much less with the man blithely talking to him. Finally Red Bobcat managed to fall asleep, only to be awoken in the night by the man chastising him for snoring. And then much to Red Bobcat's surprise the man was up again at the very first light of day talking to them again and rousing them for breakfast.
Finally the man left to continue his journey.
"Why did you not chastise that man for his behavior??" Red Bobcat asked Spotted Owl as soon as the man was out of sight.
Spotted Owl smiled knowingly a little and said "It is well for you to master your patience against such tests."
"Surely it is not manful for us to let him behave so to us" insisted Red Bobcat
"Sure some times one must stand against those who would take unfair advantage of you," explained Spotted Owl, "but the true art of winning battles is to know when you don't need to fight them. This man wasn't trying to take advantage of us, he was just badly behaved. If we had quarreled with him we'd have had a worse evening and he would have gone away thinking we are disagreeable instead of impressed with our imperturbability."
"Hmmm" said Red Bobcat.
"Try to understand this man, consider his motivations and his troubles. Even looking into the lowest pool of water you will find reflections of yourself looking back at you."
Red Bobcat glanced over at the nearby stream. He felt inclined to argue, he stubbornly didn't want to find any merit in that loutish man.
This has been sort of a sequel to this earlier entry.