A young boy visiting his uncle was given the job of mowing his uncle’s front lawn. At first, the uncle was reluctant to teach the boy how to drive a riding lawn mower because he believed the boy was too young. The boy insisted that, at the ripe old age of ten, he had mowed his parent’s lawn many times and he was mature enough to handle a riding lawn mower.
The uncle eventually consented. He showed the boy how to use the riding lawn mower and set the boy to work on a large swath of grass on his front yard.
The boy, eager to prove himself, took to the job with enthusiasm. He cut the grass in long rows, starting at one end of his uncle’s massive lawn and zig-zagging to the other end. He drove carefully at first–avoiding rocks, and slowing down before turning the lawn mower. He gained confidence as he went along. Near the end of the project, the boy was able to drive at top speed with the blade all the way down.
As he entered the final pass, however, the boy heard the blade catch and buzz. The engine stalled. The boy felt a sinking feeling in his chest. He knew he had run over something. The ran up to the house to fetch his uncle who lumbered down to the riding lawn mower, got on his hands and knees, and reached under the stalled blade. The uncle felt around and then finally pulled out a stringy patch of fur covered with blood.
“Looks like a ground squirrel,” the uncle said. The only thing that remained was the tail.
The boy was mortified and for the rest of the summer, he could not be coaxed anywhere near the lawn mower.