The storyteller began:
“There once were two men, each getting dressed in the morning when they each broke a shoe lace. “Damn!”, they both exclaimed.
The listeners cried, “These were equal acts! The two men had the same exact thing happen! They responded identically!”
But the storyteller went on:
“There is more to the story. The first man was an old sailor who could cuss in seven languages. He said the nicest thing he could think of to say. The second man, a priest and pious soul, said the worst thing he could think of to say.”
“Ahh, we see”, said the listeners when they had heard it all. “Do tell us another story!”.
“Very well,” said the storyteller and he began:
“Once upon a time there lived a distinguished, intelligent, and industrious tribe of small, furry animals called beavers. They were admired among the creatures for their dedication to work, love, and great industry!
The beavers knew how to fall trees and had mastered the fine and handy art of containing water. They built dams in streams that would back up the water to make a pond.
The forest creatures loved the beavers because of how much they did for the community. Their ponds gave hundreds of other animals their home and helped to feed them. They helped keep the water clean as well. All the creatures of the world had voted that the beavers were the single most important creature on earth for the creation of wetlands.”
The storyteller paused to marvel out loud.
“Yes, the beavers were indeed remarkable master architects as well as master engineers! They built their homes in the middle of the ponds. There, they were safe from predators. Ingeniously, they built secret under water entrances so that the animals that wanted to eat them, couldn’t get in. Inside their little abodes, they were above-water and dry.
The beavers, just like us, loved their babies and wanted their family to be safe and cozy. The “kits” as they were called, were so cute that even the April-snow itself, seemed to melt at the sight of them.
Life had been happy in the forest for as long as anyone could remember. A very old tree said that was true, “even when she was just a sapling”. “Hundreds of thousands of years”, said the wind. “For as long as I have been blowing.”“
The listeners exclaimed, “Heaven on earth! What a perfect story!”
“But there is more to the story”, said the storyteller, and his tone became hushed:
“One day, a new two-legged animal came to the forest. A very smart animal, indeed, but a very frightened, self-centered, and greedy one.
The new animal took the trees and the land and streams. They wanted it all for themselves.
Little by little they killed the beavers because they were disrupting what they considered to be their own stream. And, they wanted their fur to sell. Their pelts would be made into coats, hats, and other fanciful or practical uses, fetching a pretty penny at market.
Life grew even harder for the poor beaver tribe as the two-leggeds began to cut down more and more trees near the streams. They needed those trees for their dams, their homes, and food! How could they protect their family or have a good nights rest? How would they feed them?
Time went by and the two-leggeds kept on killing the beavers. They killed many other animals too, especially the beaver’s predators. (They found them quite scary). In time, the beavers and predators were gone. None were left alive.
The forest grew sparse and quiet. The ponds were gone. The two-leggeds left other animals without food or habitat. It was very hard times for the animals that still remained, and many did not survive. First one animal was gone and then another who had depended on the first .”
“What a horrible story!”, lamented the listeners. “What a dangerous thing it is to loose the forest’s diversity!” Some hung their heads. Many shed tears.
“Yes, it is”, said the storyteller, “but I am not finished yet”.
“This all took place over centuries. During this time, the two-leggeds also took over other forests throughout the world, doing the same thing everywhere they went. As they did, the great balance of the forests, the the living wild-lands, and even the earth herself became horribly disturbed. Very few natural forests remained in the great balance. It began to be dreadfully worrisome.
Even the two-leggeds saw what had happened and began trying to fix the problems. They found other beaver tribes in the world and brought them to their forest.”
“Thank goodness!”, said the listeners. “A wonderful step in the right direction!”
“But it hasn’t turned out so well”, said the storyteller, “There is more to the story”.
“Life was very good for the new beavers for fifty years or so. They made hundreds of babies, who when grown would move to a new part of the stream, or to an entirely new stream.
The foolish two-leggeds didn’t think about how the forest now had no natural predators of the beavers. Without predators the beavers did what beavers do, which was to make many, many babies.
What happened next shocked everyone. There were so many beavers that they were no longer good helpers of the forest ecology. They were destroying it. Each beaver had to find trees, further and further from their stream. They also ate the bark of trees. As they went, hardly a tree was left standing.
“Oh no!”, wailed the listeners. “What a terrible mess!”
“Well”, said the Storyteller, “It certainly was. But brace yourselves. That’s not all”:
“As time went by, the beavers caused great damage to the forests. Naturally, they ate tree bark and never stopped gnawing down trees for their dams and lodges.
Wherever the beavers went, they regularly created floods in nearby towns because of the unpredictable overflow of their ponds. Homes, business, and crops suffered damage. Other forest creatures that depended on trees for habitat and food were devastated too.
Even the beavers were starving! They were forced to move to other areas where they would eat grass and water-plants just to stay alive. Sadly, this further disturbed the environment.
The two-leggeds finally realized that they had no choice but to stop the beavers. It was a very hard lesson. They became remorseful for what they had done.”
“Oh dear”, said the listeners, “We hope they trapped the beavers and took them to a new home?!”
The storyteller shook his head, and continued on:
“It had become a big disaster for all. Once the two-legged animals fully realized their mistake and what it had led to, they knew that they had no choice but to act. They couldn’t even trap them to be released elsewhere because the same devastation would happen again. Sadly, culling became necessary. Some tried to be humane about it but the final solution was sad.”
“That is really sad”, said the listeners. “We must be very careful to not disrupt ecosystems from here on.”
“Yes, very much so”, said the storyteller. He hung his head. After a reverent pause, he realized that there was a small bit of the story that he had forgotten:
“There is something left to tell”, he said. “A bittersweet thing happened in the midst of the culling”:
“The two-leggeds who were hired to cull the beavers started to save their castors, the glands that make the beautiful scent that beavers charm each other with, for the purpose of love, babies, family, and home.
The perfumers of the world had long loved the beaver’s magical fragrance, so the trappers offered it to them. Beautiful perfumes were then made, carrying the smell of love itself – rich, warm, and deeply soothing.”
“And if I may”, said the storyteller, “Perhaps the two-leggeds will long-remember and become wise:
The beaver’s beautiful scent should always be associated their with love, industry, and skill in providing for others.
Their lesson and story will travel like scent on the wind, to warn the two-leggeds to be humble enough to share the forests generously and wisely.
Of the many lessons learned, great gratitude and love for how much Mother Nature has given them, will be their guide.
To always seek more to the story in all that they do, so that the end-result of their choices will be clear in the beginning. And see to it with respect and justice for all.
With that, the room grew silent for some time. When someone finally spoke, it was a child: “Thank you for telling the story”, she said. “I will share it with others from now on. And I promise to always, always remember.”
The beautiful perfume ingredient from beavers is called, “Castoreum”. It is used in perfumery and other products. It is derived from the castor sacs of beavers, both male and female.
Here, at APOLOGUE our ethical judgements in regard to the use of “animalics” (animal-derived raw perfumery materials), are on a case by case basis.
In perfumery, other stories about the use of other animalics in perfume can be told. Some ethical, some not.
On our FAQ page you can read more under, “Are Apologue Perfumes Cruelty Free”.
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