( Book 1 - Heir to the Throne )
Greetings from Little Harry; and from me, Big Harry, his adopted Dad!
After the enormous success of my series of books 'Born to be a King';
(please, buy my books, or read them again, by clicking on the link below),
I am now helping my 'adopted son' rewrite his own story of growing up...
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13. Outdoing a real trapper; winter sets in; and out of money.
Again, Misha felt around, before he determinedly made his way into the heavy undergrowth.
I followed him at a safe distance, while I tried to hone my trapper skills some more.
Pretending Misha was my prey, I tried to catch up with him noiselessly, by sneaking like a hunting cat.
Now and then, Misha looked over his shoulder to see if I was still following him.
Then, he smiled happily when he saw me sneaking after him.
Obviously, he wanted to be sure I was still behind him and followed his trail...
I let him lead our way through the heavy undergrowth, while I observed what he did and how he did it.
He slid through the dense shrubs without making any noises, and I wanted to learn that too!
Soon, I started to see how Misha avoided all the dry branches and nasty hidden potholes.
I looked at how he used one foot to feel around first, before he carefully took the next step.
Then, he did the same thing with his other foot, looking out for hidden obstacles and loose pebbles.
At the same time, he used his hands to untwine the many entangled branches.
I tried to copy what Misha did; until I discovered my own natural way of sneaking.
Now, I started to feel a lot better, while my hands and feet seemed to move on their own.
Obviously, my unconscious mind remembered some more of my trapper skills from my past life...
I also discovered that being small was an advantage, because I could wriggle my little body through the narrowest gaps!
At last, I left the too easy trail Misha had blazed; and started to pursue my own path, parallel to his.
That was a lot more difficult, but it helped me develop my trapper skills even more.
I moved just as silently as Misha did, without cracking any dry branch or stumbling into any hidden pothole.
Now, I had a lot more fun; while I tried to make myself invisible in the dense shrubs!
Misha stopped, when he couldn't see me anymore.
He looked around and nearly panicked; until he saw me sneaking towards him from a small distance.
He seemed to be very surprised; but didn't say a word, and only smiled proudly before he went on...
Again, I followed a couple of steps behind my friend, exploring my own path.
Finally, I sped up until I reached Misha, and just walked alongside him without saying a word.
Of course, I still pretended to be a hunting cat, sneaking around, looking for some wary prey...
However, Misha stopped, stared at me in marvel, and showed me a huge smile from ear to ear!
He put his arms around my shoulders, and whispered with a proud voice:
"I think you are outdoing me! You are a real natural, and I am very happy to have you as my companion."
Had I, a four-and-a-half-year-old baby-trapper, really outdone a fourteen-year-old experienced boy who had been scouring our woods all his life?
I could hardly believe it; but my sneaking felt absolutely natural, as if I had done it all my life...
Maybe, I had really been a little trapper in one of my past lives, following my Dad across our rocky mountains and dense forests.
I only wished I could remember when and where that was...
Proudly, I walked alongside Misha, feeling curious about where he brought us.
He seemed to know exactly where he wanted to go...
Suddenly, we arrived at the border of a very steep ravine I had never seen before.
We stopped; and I stared in awe into its depth, looking at a fast stream full of foaming rapids, meandering along its bottom.
I was sure it would be impossible to descend into this ravine, or to ascend from it in case you happened to fall down...
Misha stopped, pointing to a flat boulder near the border of the ravine for me to sit on.
From here, I looked down, marveling at the splendid sight of the foaming water along its bottom.
Misha sat down next to me; and protectively put an arm around my shoulders.
Feeling his love radiating towards me, I shifted towards him and settled in between his legs.
Now, he put his arms around me, and held me close.
Sitting together, we enjoyed the beautiful sight of the foaming water stream, which seemingly disappeared into nowhere.
I could clearly feel our love radiating between us; and I felt happy with our special friendship.
Now and then, we looked at each other, and smiled.
When it was time to go on, Misha whispered into my ear:
"This is one of the steepest and most dangerous ravines; but here we may catch the biggest and fattest animals...
"Shall we go on now; and set our traps at its far end, where nobody else ever comes?"
I nodded; and we rose from our bolder, and started to follow the steep ravine upstream.
We rounded a couple of nasty thorn bushes, and jumped across a couple of small cracks; until we finally reached a huge gap.
Here, Misha stopped; and he pointed silently at a faint animal track, leading into a dense shrub...
I nodded and took my snare, while Misha sneaked towards another dense shrub.
We understood each other perfectly, without using any words, as if we were reading each other's thoughts...
I folded my snare into my own special knot, and attached it firmly to a heavy branch.
Then, I covered my trap with some forest litter, to make it invisible to any wary animal.
Finally, I crawled back; on my way wiping my own trail, as I had done it many times before.
Misha returned to me, looked at my nearly invisible snare, and nodded approvingly.
Without using any words, we turned around, and went back to the dense forest from where we came.
Again, Misha felt around, before he stepped into the dense undergrowth and paved his way back home.
I tried to feel around too, and suddenly sensed our secluded camp, in a far distance, faintly pulling at my energy!
However, I wasn't really sure, started to doubt, and soon discarded the too faint feeling.
Although... could this be how Misha knew his way, maybe because he had trained his senses and knew how to use them?
I hoped he would soon teach me how to do it as well!
I walked next to my friend; keeping pace with him, and feeling proud of our special friendship.
Now and then, we playfully bumped into each other; or we teasingly tried to tackle each other's legs without making too much noise.
That was a lot of fun; because I was small enough to tackle him, while he was too tall to be able to bump properly into my tiny frame...
He tried to grab my arms; but I ducked away, and ran off while silently laughing at him and sticking out my tongue.
At the same time, I had to be very careful not to stumble across a fallen branch or tumble into some hidden crack!
Then, I ran away from Misha's grabbing hands, while I forgot to look where I was going.
Suddenly, my foot stumbled into a nasty pothole, and I grabbled around to regain my balance...
To my utter dismay, I accidentally grabbed a thick thorn bush full of nasty prickles!
OUCH! That hurt terribly!
I slumped down onto the ground, gritted my teeth, and looked in horror at a zillion nasty thorns sticking out of my hand...
Immediately, Misha sat down next to me and took my sore hand:
"Let me help you! Please, sit still, and bear the pain until I am ready. And, I am very sorry for my carelessness..."
"You may help me; but only if you stop blaming yourself! The thorn bush just taught me a lesson to be more careful."
"Yeah, well... Fortunately, you are a very tough guy, and I am proud to be your friend!"
"I am proud to be your friend too!"
During the next ten minutes, Misha carefully removed all the nasty thorns, one by one.
To remove the smallest ones, he even used his teeth, to extract them from my hand.
Then, he got a few small leaves from some foul-smelling plant, squashed them, and rubbed the brownish sap into my wounds.
For a moment, the sap stung; but, then, the bleeding stopped and the pain disappeared almost totally!
Misha looked relieved, while he told me:
"This herb prevents any inflammation, it numbs the pain, and it helps the healing process. We always use it when one of us gets hurt."
Of course, I decided to remember this very useful plant for the remainder of my life!
Now, we rose from the ground and walked on, next to each other, until we reached our waterfall.
A few kids had already gathered under the splashing water; and they greeted us enthusiastically.
Jonno raced up to us, looking very happy:
"I decided to swim as many laps in our lake as I could muster, and that felt wonderful!"
"Maybe, you will once become our national Gypsy swimming champion..."
"Yes, I would love that! I think I have been a champion in my past life as well."
Finally, Jonno seemed to have found something he was really good at...
We joined the other kids; and had lots of fun splashing and chasing each other, while we waited for the others to show up.
Slowly, they arrived, a couple at a time, throwing the few meager critters they had caught onto our small pile.
After everybody had joined us, we chased each other towards our lake.
During the remainder of the day, we played in the relatively warm water, swam laps, and playfully dunked each other.
Near the end of the day, our stomachs started to grumble aloud, and we decided to call it a day.
We put our caught animals into our string bags, and went home.
On our way home, I went into our bushes, to gather a couple of nicely smelling herbs.
In the meantime, the others raked our campfire, and prepared our animals to be roasted.
Again, we didn't have enough to fill our hungry stomachs; but we shared what we had, so that everybody got some meat.
Fortunately, a couple of grown-ups helped us with some leftovers, so that we weren't too hungry.
Finally, we went to our caravans, to greet our parents and tell them about our adventures.
A few weeks later, winter suddenly set in, and the weather became too cold to walk around naked.
From now on, we had to wear some clothes outside our caravan, at least during the chilly morning and evening...
At first, that was quite an experience; because we weren't used to wearing anything at all for many months!
The uncomfortable things soon started to itch, and they became too sweaty and sticky after a short time.
Of course, we shucked them immediately, as soon as we reentered our warmed caravans.
Every day, we waited outside until the sun had warmed the air sufficiently.
Then, we raced back to our caravans, to shuck our scratchy garments and feel free!
That is, until the freezing evening cold forced us to wear them again...
Every kid complained about the itchy things we had to wear now, and wished spring would show up very soon.
I certainly wasn't the only one who hated wearing clothes!
By now, all our forest critters had gone into hibernation.
They were hiding in underground caves, or had crawled into almost unreachable small cracks.
From now on, setting our traps would be useless.
Every day, we scrutinized every deep pothole, hidden crack, or small cave.
Now and then, we found a lethargic marmot or a sleeping hare, and shared its little bit of meat.
On rare occasions, we found a hidden porcupine's lair, and brought the fat animal home in triumph.
Now and then, we stumbled upon a small field of edible mushrooms; and took them home.
First, we asked our Wise Woman to test them; because they might be poisonous, and we had to be very careful!
Our Wise Woman took them into her hands, sensed what they did to her body, and told us to eat them or throw them away...
Then, she told my friends I had the same 'sixth sense', and that she trusted me to test our food for being poisonous!
From now on, any time my friends found anything that might be edible, they asked ME to test it.
I took the questionable food into my hands, and immediately felt what it did to my own body...
That worked infallibly; and, soon, all my friends started to trust me unconditionally.
From now on, we gathered edible plants, roots, and unknown pods, to lessen our always-present hunger...
This helped a little bit, to feed us and keep us healthy during the first period of our harsh winter!
I even taught a few sensible kids how to develop the same 'gift', of testing what food could be edible...
After some time, we became real experts; and even the grown-ups started to trust us.
Every morning, a couple of grown-ups left our camp, to find some work in a nearby 'gadjo' town.
At the end of the day, they returned, sometimes carrying a little bit of money after they had found some work and were paid for it.
When they had gathered enough money, they went to a gadjo 'market', to buy some cheap food or used clothes.
Then, we had a small feast, because we were finally able to eat a bit more and change out of our worn clothes...
Now and then, one of our older kids was allowed to join our people to a 'gadjo market'...
I always envied our lucky friend, who would be able to see a lot more of the strange gadjo world!
At the end of the day, the kid returned, bubbling over with enthusiasm:
"Michail had to bargain quite a lot, to get our clothes and food cheaper! Finally, they got tired, and sold everything for a much lower price..."
Of course, I wanted to join our grown-ups too, to have a look at the strange gadjo world.
Maybe, I could help Michail with the bargaining; because I was very good with words, and could easily switch into my 'brainiac mode'...
Alas! Every time I wanted to join them, they told me I was too young and too small for such a risky adventure.
I had to stay in our camp, until I would be old and mature enough to fend for myself...
Of course, their words were making me pout and feel sad.
Maybe, my small body was still a bit immature, but my bright mind certainly was not!
When would I finally have my first 'growth spurt'...
At last, even the mushrooms, plants, and edible pods disappeared from our winter menu.
From now on, we were always hungry, and desperately waiting until our grown-ups gathered some money.
Day after day, they tried to get some work; until they finally were broke and almost couldn't pay for any more fuel for our cars...
The next morning, my Dad gathered everybody around our campfire, and told them with a sad voice:
"We are out of food, and we don't have any money to buy it. Our children are starving, and we don't know how to go on from here...
"I am very sorry; but, tomorrow, we will take our children to a nearby town, to beg for food and money. We need their help, to be able to stay alive....
"At the same time, a couple of grown-ups will visit another town, to try to gather a couple of valuable things...
"Then, we will sell the gathered goods, and buy the necessities we need for our hungry children to survive the approaching winter."
At hearing my Dad's words, I jumped up, suddenly feeling very excited!
YES! Finally, I would be able to see a real gadjo town, and help my friends with their begging!
This was my chance, to visit the strange gadjo world for the first time, and have a close look at it!
I nearly started to dance from enthusiasm...
Unfortunately, my Dad went on:
"All our children under the age of seven will stay in our camp, and wait here until we come back home."
WHAT? I couldn't believe my own ears!
I had to stay in our camp, only because my Dad thought I wasn't old enough to help with the begging?
All my friends were allowed to visit a gadjo town; and I had to stay home, only because my Dad dictated that I was too young to join them?
Now, I was MAD at him; even though he was our King and we had to obey him!
I stomped towards my sad looking Dad, and angrily pulled at his arm:
"Dad, I want to join my friends to that gadjo town! Everybody knows I'm a valuable part of our group, and you know that I am already a skilled trapper.
"I was the only one who caught a fat pig, I am our Chief Cook, and I am certainly mature enough. I am also very bright, and I know how to fend for myself.
"Surely, I have proven enough that I am no longer a toddler! Please, let me join my friends, and help them with the begging..."
My Dad took my hands into his big fists, and told me with a sad face:
"Sorry, Harry... You are not even five years old, and the smallest boy in our kids group. I know you are no longer a toddler, but you never visited a gadjo town before!
"Begging for food or money can be very dangerous, as the older kids can tell you from their own experiences. I am sorry, but being five years old IS too young!
"You will have to wait until you are at least seven years old, just like all the others. Now, go back to your friends, and stay there."
I stomped away angrily, went to our caravan, and slammed its door shut with a loud bang.
Why had I to wait until I was seven years old, to join my friends and visit the interesting gadjo towns?
I wanted to help them with the begging, and gather enough money to still our hunger for a long time...
Although I had never begged, I was sure I would be a valuable beggar when switching into my 'brainiac mode'!
Couldn't I skip... counting on my fingers... one... two... three years of my life, and be seven years old immediately?
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I wish you lots of Love in your life, and Profound Peace in your heart.
Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'