The squirrels all huddled around the bull in the classroom, and they couldn’t believe what he was telling them.
“Really, guys,” he said, “it’s okay. I want you to have my crayons.”
The bull, whose name was Ward, had won third prize in a raffle at the local arts and crafts shop. He really wanted first prize, which was a camera, or even second prize, which was a table easel, a drawing pad, and some artist pencils.
He wanted these things because, like all bulls, he could only see in black and white, and therefore dreamed of taking black and white photos, or doing sketches. But he had won the crayons, and they really weren’t much use to animal whose vision was so chromatically limited.
He was the only bull in class, and the squirrels, who all saw color quite well, as all squirrels do, liked Ward a lot. Being what he was, he was quite good at protecting his classmates from bullies, and when he himself stood up to a bullfighter who frantically waved his red cape back and forth (“actually, everything looks gray to us,” he said with a smile, before aiming the points of his horns at the brute), the squirrels had all applauded.
And now the squirrels--who had boxes with only red, yellow, blue, black, and white crayons in them--gathered around the jumbo 152 color Crayola box as if it were a treasure chest.
“Oh,” said Ward, reaching into the box, “if it’s okay, I’d like to keep these three.”
He took out the black, white, and grey crayons, and, with a sigh--for he was a fine artist, and really, really wanted to take black and white pictures or draw with fine pencils--began to sketch a meadow with finely shaded crosshatches. The squirrels, looking at their small boxes of crayons, began to form a plan.
They shared their idea with their teacher, a badger named Mrs. Potts, and she immediately set up a double boiler in the staff lounge. Taking all of the black and white crayons the squirrels had donated, she mixed then in the double boiler, sometimes with more black, sometimes with more white. Then she poured each successive creation into a separate mold, and the students carefully wrapped them in paper.
So it was that when Mrs. Potts displayed their artwork for Back to School Night, Ward’s picture, the best of all of them, was dead center. It was a portrait of his classmates, rendered in black, white, and the myriad shades of gray in the jumbo crayon box that his classmates gave him in appreciation of his kindness.