- I am a Gypsy Prince -
by Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'

( Book 1 - Heir to the Throne )

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16. Roasting marshmallows; and I catch a fox and a badger.

    I overslept a huge part of the next morning; until the abundantly shining sun finally succeeded in waking me up.
First, I opened my eyes, squinted at the bright daylight, and produced a couple of heartfelt yawns.
Then, I saw I was in my own sleeping den, lying on top of my bed, still wearing all my evening clothes!
Obviously, my Mom hadn't even bothered to undress me, after our big feast.
Or, she had been too sleepy herself...

   Immediately feeling bright and shining, I jumped out of bed, shucked my clothes, and relieved my bladder.
I washed my hands and face in our little sink, drank some water, and brushed my teeth.
Next, I tiptoed to our bedroom, and peeked around the corner...
Of course, my parents were still snoring in unison in their double bed, the lazy slackers.
For a moment, I thought about jumping onto my Dad's stomach, to wake him and demand a quick cuddle.
Then, I decided to let them have a bit more of their beauty sleep...

    I put on some fresh clothes, and 'combed' my unruly hair using all my fingers.
I looked in our mirror, smiled at my shaggy image, and felt very satisfied with myself.
This was how I really was, and always wanted to be!
I went to the door, left our caravan, and looked around...

    A couple of children and grown-ups had already gathered around our smoldering campfire.
They were roasting marshmallows, from one of the gadjo paper bags.
Little Dimi and another small boy had lots of fun, heating them in the fire until they were burnt and pitch black.
Biny admonished them not to make such a mess of their food, but they didn't listen to her and just went on...
After a moment, she stomped away with an indignant face, and ignored them.

    Michail was feeding his little sons small pieces of roasted marshmallow; assisted by a happy looking Misha.
Misha offered them the next piece; and both boys opened their small mouths immediately...
They reminded me of little birds in their nest, being fed by their parents; and the scene made me chuckle.
The resemblance was striking!
I leaned into Michail, next to his fidgeting little sons, and opened my own mouth...

    Misha grinned, while he told me with little fun lights in his brown eyes:

    "Look, there's a stray birdie! Do you want a piece of marshmallow, little birdie? Or, do you want your diaper replaced?"

    Grrrrr... but I got my piece of marshmallow!

    I thanked my friend for his generosity; and sauntered to the table.
There, I filled my hungry stomach with lots of leftover gadjo goodies, and drank some juice.
Next, I took a couple of marshmallows to the campfire and sat down, to roast them myself.
I even showed little Dimi and his friend how they should roast them properly, by keeping them at some distance from the fire...
To my surprise, they really listened to my advice and did as I had taught them!
From the corners of my eyes, I saw that Biny looked a bit jealous...

    Half an hour later, my yawning parents joined our slowly growing group.
I climbed onto my Dad's lap, still nibbling on a marshmallow; and snuggled into his safe arms.
My Mom looked at my hair, shook her head, and went back to our caravan to get a comb.
After she returned, she started to comb my hair and clean my face, using some water and a few tufts of grass.

    Misha laughed at the sight of my sour face, and suggested:

    "Shall we have a look at our traps?"

    I nodded vigorously; and hopped off my dad's lap, with a sigh relieving my Mom from her self-allotted task.
I preferred my hair and face to have a bit more 'natural' look!

    My Mom chuckled, mumbled something about being 'pigheaded', but made no further remarks.
Well done, Mom! You are learning...

    On our way to the surrounding bushes, I grabbed another buttered roll from the pile, to munch on.
Misha swallowed the rest of his marshmallow, and took some gadjo bun called a doughnut, filled with yellow pudding.
Walking together, we sauntered into our woods, on the way bumping into each other on purpose.
Now and then, we burped loudly, to thank the gadjo's for the tasty food they had given us.
It felt good, to have a close friend like Misha!

    Soon, we arrived in our huge clearing; and Misha started to feel around, to take us straight to our traps.
Of course, I tried to copy him; but I didn't know what kind of energy I should feel for...
I was aware of many different energies, all of them pulling at my aura; but which energy belonged to our steep ravine?

    Misha saw me trying to feel around, stopped, and waited to see what I would do next...
However, he didn't do anything to help me, and just smiled at my frustrated face.

    This time, I decided to ask him about it; and I turned towards him and asked:

    "How do you always know your way, even through the densest of forest, while I get lost immediately?"

    "I thought you would never ask! A few years ago, Michail taught me how to tune in to the energies of the places where I want to be; because I am a natural trapper, just like you.
"One day, I will teach you the same thing; but that will need a lot of preparation in advance... For now, just follow me to our traps in silence."

    I nodded, and followed my natural trapper friend across our dense woods.
Obviously, I had to repress my curiosity, until Misha thought I would be ready to learn how to tune in to certain energies.
'Patience' had never been my best quality...

    However... Tune in to certain energies?
Wasn't this exactly what I had done before, when I focused onto Jonno's energy, and 'saw' him hiding behind one of the older women?
And, wasn't this what I always did, when I talked to our herbs and sensed whether they were poisonous or not?
Would I be able to try out the same thing with my trap at the end of our steep ravine?
Silently following Misha, I felt around and tried to tune in to the energy of my trap...

    Suddenly, I thought I sensed a big reddish FOX with a long tail, caught in my snare!

    Nah, that was impossible; because foxes were very rare animals in our mountains.
They only entered our surroundings, to look for food, when they were extremely hungry and got lost...
The last time I had seen one, was at least two years ago; when one of our bigger boys caught a small stray one.
I was clearly making up this picture in my mind!
Feeling a bit disappointed, I just followed Misha...

    Soon, we reached our steep ravine; and tiptoed towards its end, to have a look at our traps.

    Suddenly, I detected a very obvious and strange animal track, zigzagging on the ground...
What kind of an animal could this be, making such a strange and clearly visible zigzag trail?
It was as if this animal didn't care about being seen or followed...
    I took Misha's arm, pointed at the strange track, and whispered into his ear:

    "Look at the strange track over here! Do you know what animal it is?"

    Misha looked at the track in surprise; and whispered back:

    "I am not absolutely sure... but it seems to be a fresh track. Let's try to find the animal, but be very careful..."

    I left Misha's arm, and enthusiastically started to sneak along the zigzagging track.
The track disappeared into a thick shrub; and I decided to pick it up at the other side.
Trying not to make any noises, I rounded the shrub; but the track didn't reappear from the bush...
Obviously, the strange animal was still hiding in it!
I listened carefully for any suspicious noises, but didn't hear anything unusual.

    Careful not to alarm the unknown animal, I went on all fours and peeked into the shrub...
My eyes were able to follow the still clearly visible zigzagging track, until it disappeared into a dark hole.
Would the strange animal still be in that hole, or had it disappeared under the ground?
I felt very curious, and decided to have a closer look.

    Very carefully, being ready to flee immediately, I crept towards the hole and peeked into it...
To my surprise, a big furry animal in the hole heard me, perked its ears up, and slowly turned around!
Two reddish glowing eyes stared at me, while a jaw with sharp teeth opened and produced a soft growling sound...
Immediately, I crept backwards out of the shrub, as fast as my small arms and legs could move me!
All our grown-ups always taught their kids to be safe in the first place...

    I left the thick shrub, turned around, and looked at a rather worried Misha.
My friend had a thick branch in his hands; and he seemed to be ready to defend me with his own life, if necessary!
Well, the animal hadn't followed me; so Misha wouldn't need his branch.
But, I still wanted to know what kind of an animal it was!

    I whispered into Misha's ear:

    "Please, can you have a look for yourself? It's a big furry animal in a hole; and it growled but didn't follow me..."

    Misha nodded, put his branch onto the ground, and slowly crept into the shrub on all fours.
Of course, I took the heavy branch in my hands and stepped nearby, ready to defend my friend if necessary!
One could never know; and my parents had always taught me 'safety first', while I had to use their proven technique...
If any animal ever attacked me, I had to push a long branch forcefully into its mouth, to distract it.
Then, it would attack the branch, or flee from the sudden pain, and leave me alone.

    Misha crept towards the hole, stopped, and peeked into it.
He looked at the again softly growling animal, shook his head, and crept back.
Again, the animal decided to stay where it was, and it didn't follow him.
Although it looked dangerous, it seemed to be very friendly when left alone.

    Misha looked at me with gratitude in his eyes, when he saw the enormous branch in my hands!
I had positioned myself at his back, ready to push the branch into any open mouth that would show up...
Now, Misha knew that he could count on me, always and anywhere!
    He threw his arms around my tiny frame, and whispered into my ear:

    "Thank you, my friend, for backing me up. It's a badger, a dangerous animal with huge claws that's afraid of nothing. We better leave it alone."

    I felt a bit disappointed, but understood we didn't have any chance to catch it.
Of course, I had heard stories about furious badgers, gnawing huge trees into small chunks to free themselves from our traps...
This animal would only laugh at all our efforts, and win any thinkable fight with ease!

    We left the badger alone, turned around, and went to the end of the steep ravine to look after our traps.
I knew where we had set them up; and led us straight towards Misha's trap.
Unfortunately, his snare turned out to be empty.
I waited until Misha had set up a new trap along another faint animal trail and covered it with some forest litter.
Then, we went to my trap...

    Suddenly, I jumped up into the air and nearly started to cheer with joy, while I had to restrain myself with all my might!
Feeling totally in awe, I stared at the beautiful animal I had caught in my snare!

    Much to my own surprise, I had really caught a big FOX, with shiny reddish fur and a very long tail!
My earlier 'vision' had been absolutely correct!
I could really trust my 'inner pictures', although they had been faint and almost non-existent...

    Misha tried to calm down my over-enthusiasm, while he whispered:

    "Congratulations, my friend! You've caught a really beautiful fox. And, it's a big one too! Now, I am a bit jealous...
"Although its meat is not tasty, its fur will be very usable, for example to make a pair of nice gloves or boots."

    Well... I didn't need any gloves; but wearing a pair of warm boots during the winter sounded good!
After we got home, I would ask my Mom or my Grandma to make me a pair of boots from my beautiful fox fur...

    I went to another small hill, and set up my new trap along a faint track, next to a huge hole in the ground.
Of course, I attached my snare carefully onto a very rigid branch!
Since I had caught my enormous pig, I always hoped to catch another one; and pigs were very strong animals!
I covered my trap to make it invisible, crept back, and wiped my own trail.

    Misha nodded approvingly, while I draped my beautiful fox around my neck.
Whispering into each other's ears, we decided to go home, to return here within a few days.
We only hoped winter wouldn't set in too early, covering our woods with a thick blanket of snow...
Then, we would have to wait until spring, before we could return.

    We started to turn around, to go home...
Suddenly, we froze in our tracks, and stared at each other with shocked faces!
Unexpectedly, some unknown animal made a loud sniffing sound at our backs...

    At lightning speed, we ducked to the ground; trying to find anything usable to defend ourselves!
Misha snatched a big rock from the ground; while I took a long branch into both trembling hands.
We turned around; while I pointed my branch towards the unknown animal, ready to push it into any open mouth that would show up...
At the same time, Misha lifted his rock high into the air, ready to throw it at the attacking beast with all his might...

    Then, we saw our badger; standing still, and staring at us with curious eyes...
It seemed to have followed us unseen; and clearly didn't plan to attack us.
It only sniffed the air again, as if wanting to know us a bit better...

    I stared at our badger in sudden awe, and couldn't believe my own eyes.
I had never seen such a beautiful animal before, and thought it had to be the most wonderful design our Supreme Being ever created!
Our badger had a very thick and heavy dark fur, decorated with a broad white band on its back, going all the way from front to rear.
This animal had to be the most splendid beast I had ever seen; and I stared at it as if in a trance...
Misha didn't move either, and just waited to see what the badger or I would do.

    The badger stared back at us with its curious eyes, staying motionless.
It seemed to be a nice animal, and not dangerous at all if left in peace.
I couldn't help smiling at it, while I slowly lowered my branch.

    For a moment, the badger seemed to smile back at me...
Then, it sniffed the air again, and turned around as if it tried to shrug its shoulders!
    Maybe, it thought something like:

    "Little human, what are you doing in my territory?"

    It resumed its way without looking back; scrabbling into the bushes along the path we just left.

    For a moment, Misha and I stared at each other with beaming faces.
Both of us were still totally in awe, feeling delighted to have met and looked at such a beautiful and friendly beast!

    Then, we turned around and resumed our way; planning to go home.
Inwardly, I hoped to be able to see our badger and greet it again; maybe the next time we were here...
I looked back over my shoulder, but the animal had already disappeared into the thick shrubs.


    All of a sudden, we heard a couple of very angry sounds...
Then, all hell broke loose behind our backs!
The bushes moved wildly, and we heard a lot of heavy growling and gnawing.

    Misha and I stopped dead in our tracks; and we looked at each other in shock...
Then, we turned around and raced towards the sound, nearly tripping over our own feet.
What was happening?

    We stopped at a small distance to my trap, and looked at an unbelievable spectacle...
There was our badger, caught in my snare, and obviously not liking it at all!

    The angry animal rolled around wildly, desperately trying to free itself.
It nearly tore the entire shrub out of the ground, in its wild efforts to get rid of that strangling thing around its neck.
It tried to bite into every single branch it could reach, but to no avail.
Then, it started to throw its head back and forth with all its force, trying to free itself from my snare.
Fortunately, I had attached my snare to a very rigid tree branch, using my own special knot!

    The badger started to jump up into the air on all fours,
rolled around and around in its efforts to free itself from the snare,
planted its huge claws into the tree and all the surrounding branches,
tried to bite into every single branch it was able to reach,
but it couldn't free itself from my strangling snare.
It stopped when it saw us, growled, and showed us a couple of very sharp teeth...

    Misha looked around, until he found a tall branch that would be strong enough.
He smashed its top against a nearby rock, until he had a sharp point at its smallest end.
    Now, he hesitated, and looked at me with proud eyes but also a bit doubtful:

    "Do you mind if I take over? It is still YOUR badger, but this animal can be very dangerous..."

    "Yes, please! I don't know how to kill it, and you are the strongest..."

    I felt both very relieved and very excited at the same time!
Of course, our badger would be way too strong for me; and what if I made some stupid mistake?
The angry beast would easily tear me to pieces, with its enormous claws and sharp teeth!

    I stepped back from the still raging animal, and took a sturdy branch from the ground to feel a bit safer...
Then, I looked from a distance at what Misha did.

    Misha stepped towards the badger, and started to poke it with his sharpened branch.
The angry beast reacted immediately, by trying to bite and crunch the irritating thing.
Misha poked it again; and again the badger reacted, now trying to attack the nasty boy who pestered it!
However, it only strangled itself even more, in his futile efforts to counterattack...

    After some time, it started to slow down; while Misha continued to poke it, to tire it out even more.
At last, the badger got too tired, gave up, and just stared at Misha...

    Now, Misha positioned himself in front of the badger, and pointed the sharpened branch to its head.
He pricked it a couple of times, until the dulled badger didn't want to react any more.
Suddenly, Misha stepped forward and planted his branch deep into an eye of the badger, using all his force!
The badger fell down, shuddered, and was dead almost immediately.

    Of course, I felt a sudden pang of compassion for my beautiful badger.
It seemed to be a nice animal; and it hadn't done anything violent towards us...
However, I also knew this was a painless death, compared to being strangled in my snare until it suffocated!
Ultimately, it wasn't MY fault that the badger had chosen this hill, to look for another hole in the ground...

    I went to my succumbed badger, and tenderly stroked its beautiful fur...
Remembering my Dad's wise words, I thanked my badger's spirit in my mind, for offering me its beautiful fur and tasty meat...

    To my surprise, I suddenly heard its spirit chuckle, while it congratulated me with my victory!

    Had I really heard the spirit of my badger, talking to me in my mind?
Or, did I make this up myself?
I wasn't sure, but also didn't feel guilty any more.
And, again, being thankful felt great!



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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'

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