( Book 1 - Heir to the Throne )
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18. Again winter; first snow; and a beautiful badger fur coat.
All our pairs of kids went to their traps through different routes, sneaking away in total silence.
I followed Misha into the surrounding woods; where he stopped and felt around, as usual.
This time, I concentrated immediately on the energy of my own trap, trying to have another 'vision'.
To my disappointment, nothing happened; and, after a moment, I stopped my efforts and just followed my friend.
Obviously, I still had to learn quite a lot more...
Suddenly, out of the blue, I 'knew' that our traps would be empty!
Don't ask me how I knew; but I was absolutely sure, as if I could see them with my inner eye, or 'remembered' how they looked.
This strange experience was totally new to me, and I stopped in surprise...
Then, faintly, my own trap pulled at my energy, or called me, to let me know where it was.
Feeling even more surprised, I saw Misha walking into exactly the same direction!
Was this how Misha always knew where our traps were?
Was he concentrating on our traps, and feeling from where their energy pulled at him?
He had promised to teach me how he did it, but I didn't know when he would finally begin my lessons...
Again, I decided to ask him about his 'built-in compass', as soon as we were back in our camp and I didn't have to be silent any more.
Feeling more and more curious, I tried again to contact the energy of my trap...
This time, I sensed all sorts of different energies around me, but I didn't know how to use them.
Vaguely, I 'remembered' I had to use the correct way of 'tuning in', after filtering all the other energies out.
If only I could remember how to do it...
Was I unexpectedly remembering my past life as a little trapper, or maybe another life as a powerful shaman?
Feeling a bit frustrated, I stopped my efforts and again followed Misha.
After some time, we left the dense forest, and arrived exactly at the ridge of our steep ravine.
I still didn't have a clue about how Misha had found our spot, by using his built-in compass...
Side by side, we sneaked to the far end of our ravine, heading for our traps.
Of course, on the way, I looked around for another zigzagging badger trail; but I didn't see any.
Even the old badger trail had disappeared under many new layers of fallen leaves and other litter.
Well, not every day could be my lucky day...
We arrived at our traps, and I looked at them in surprise...
Just as my 'vision' had told me, our snares didn't hold any animals, not even another fox!
Was I really becoming a little clairvoyant?
We set up our new traps along other faint animal tracks, and went back along our ravine.
Then, we sat down on the same flat boulder as before, and stared into the depth.
After a moment, I positioned myself in between Misha's legs, and leaned into him.
He draped his arms around my small frame, and pulled me close.
Sitting together, we enjoyed the beautiful sight of the meandering water stream at the bottom of the ravine.
I felt happy to have Misha as my good friend, my excellent guide, and hopefully soon my prolific teacher...
I was sure he would be able to teach me quite a lot about finding my way through our forest!
Only, when would he finally start?
Half an hour later, we left our boulder, stretched our stiffening muscles, and decided to go home.
The air started to feel too chilly; and the increasing wind made us cold and shivery, even while we warmed each other.
The sky had already been dark and clouded when we left our camp...
Now, a few tiny snowflakes started to whirl down, creating a very thin layer of white crust before it melted and disappeared.
Soon, our surroundings would disappear under a much thicker blanket of snow!
Winter had definitely set in.
I followed Misha through the dense forest, as usual letting him lead the way home.
From time to time, I thought I sensed the energy of our campfire, faintly pulling at my aura...
However, I still wasn't absolutely sure.
Maybe, I only imagined the very faint and almost non-existent feeling, because I wanted to be home and warm my shivering body...
However, Misha went into exactly the same direction, determinedly paving his way through the dense undergrowth.
Soon, we reached our waterfall and joined the shivering others, huddling together to keep each other warm.
Many kids had already gathered along its ridge; impatiently waiting until everybody had showed up and they could go home.
They welcomed us, teasingly looking at our empty hands:
"Hi, Har and Mis! Didn't you catch any special animals today?"
"Nah, we can’t be lucky every day. This time, our traps were empty..."
"Just like ours. Soon, more snow will fall; and, then, we have to wait until spring..."
"I hope our parents will have some more luck in the gadjo world. Otherwise, we will be hungry again, like last winter."
They mentioned it again, the mysterious gadjo world outside our secluded camp!
I so much wanted to have a look at their strange gadjo caravans without any wheels, called 'houses'...
Most of my friends had already been there to beg, while I had to wait for another two or three years...
When would I finally have my growth spurt; or be allowed to join Misha to beg for food and money?
I hated being too young and too small!
Today, we were too cold to undress and play under our waterfall; so we just went home.
The snow had stopped; but the sky was still cloudy, and the wind became stronger and even chillier.
Many kids had chattering teeth and goose bumps, while they tried to get some warmth from the others...
We only hoped our grown-ups would have stoked our campfire sufficiently to warm us!
After we left our huge clearing, we forgot to be silent and just raced towards our campfire.
Cheering, and playfully bumping into each other, we fought ourselves through the bushes to be there first.
Fortunately, our stoked campfire glowed invitingly; and we started to compete for the best and warmest place.
Of course, the older kids unselfishly allowed our youngsters to step in front of them.
Little Dimi wrestled through our huddle until he reached me, and asked:
"Didn't you catch another fox? I feel jealous; and I cannot wait until I can join you into our woods..."
"I know the feeling... Just wait until you are dry during the night; and I hope for you that will be soon."
"You were dry rather early, weren't you? I hope I will be early too; and I want to be like you!"
"You will never be like me. Only I am like Harold, and you will always be like Dimitri! What is wrong with that?"
Suddenly, a couple of smiling grown-ups showed up, telling us to sit down.
While we started to cheer, they offered us a steaming pan full of substantial and healthy food!
Fortunately, they still had a little bit of money, from their scarce work in the gadjo world and our begging.
Within a few weeks, they would try to sell the gathered gadjo goods, to buy all the necessary things we needed to survive our upcoming winter...
With happy faces, we filled our hungry stomachs to the brim with the warm and tasty nourishment.
Then, we filled the remainder of the day playing our games around our caravans.
Now, with so many kids to search for, playing 'hide and seek' was real fun!
Little Dimi and I turned out to be really good at it, hiding together in a small ditch under one of the caravans.
After quite some time of searching in vain, the others gave up their efforts, and asked us to show up!
With proud faces, we popped up from under the caravan; and all our friends started to cheer and compliment us.
Dead tired, but feeling very content, we finally sauntered to our own caravans, to join our parents.
By then, lots of little snowflakes were coming down, melting away immediately when they reached the ground.
Before we left, we promised each other to work together to make a huge snowman, if there would be enough snow during the next day.
We only hoped it wouldn't melt away too soon...
The next morning, I woke up with a very strange feeling.
It was as if the daylight was brighter, while all the normal sounds outside our caravan were dampened and muffled...
Feeling very curious about what could have happened, I jumped out of my bed and raced to our living room.
I looked out our windows, and stared in awe at a beautiful white snow blanket that covered our entire world!
Vaguely, I remembered the first day of my life, when I had seen the same blinding white blanket for the first time...
I turned around, raced back towards the small hallway, and bolted into my parents' bedroom.
Of course, my Mom and Dad were still sleeping in their double bed, softly snoring in unison.
However, today, I couldn't wait until they woke up from their beauty sleep!
I HAD to tell them the important news!
Unceremoniously, I jumped onto my Dad's stomach, while I shouted:
"Dad, Mom, wake up! It's SNOWING! Come on; let's go outside! Please, could you show me how to make a huge snowman?"
My Dad grunted, while he tried to open his sleepy eyes and squinted at my enthusiastic face.
At the same time, my Mom started to mutter, while she pulled at the blankets and tried to disappear under them.
However, they HAD to listen to me:
"Come on, lazy slackers! It's time to get up and go outside! On the double!"
Now, my still yawning Dad grabbed my waist and started to tickle my ribs.
He didn't stop, until I shrieked with laughter and almost emptied my bladder onto his bed.
However, he left his bed and followed me to our living room, to have his own look outside.
To my surprise, he admonished my Mom to hurry up, because he wanted to help his son make a snowman!
My Mom started to chuckle; while she mumbled something about my Dad living through his 'second youth'...
However, she left her bed, and hurriedly started to prepare breakfast in our small kitchen.
In the meantime, my Dad and I sat glued to our windows, commenting on everything we saw...
Everybody outside our caravans had left behind a series of clearly visible footprints.
My Dad and I had lots of fun trying to discover where they came from and where they were going.
We saw that Michail had already left his caravan to scoop up some snow, while his little sons had been stepping around near their front door.
My Grandma had left her caravan and returned immediately, because her footsteps went to and came from another caravan.
Misha still hadn't shown up; but we saw little Dimi, looking out his caravan windows, while hopping up and down with excitement.
We waved at him, and he waved back at us immediately.
At last, my Mom entered our living room with our breakfast; and she joined us at our window to have a look outside.
She even helped us guess who went where, while we wolfed our breakfast down and drank our milk.
Unfortunately, many more people started to leave their caravans and walk around.
Soon, too many footsteps transformed the snow into mud; and, at least for today, our little bit of fun was over.
I dressed in a hurry; and went outside to join my friends in a serious snowball fight.
Unfortunately, the snow was too muddy to make a proper snowman.
From now on, the cold mountain wind forced us to wear a couple of thick clothes whenever we went outside.
Even around noon, the weak sun still wasn't forceful enough to dispel the more and more freezing chill...
However, whenever we entered our warmed caravans, we always immediately shucked our clothing!
None of our kids could get used to our heavy and sticky garments that felt unnatural and started to stink after some time.
Now and then, we met each other outside; and talked about gadjo kids, who were forced to wear their clothes all day and everywhere, both in summer and in winter.
They had to be really frustrated, having to listen to their parents and wear their garments even during the summer when it was way too hot and sweaty!
We were VERY lucky, to be born in our beloved camp, where we were free to decide about what we wanted to wear and when.
If asked, we absolutely wouldn't want to swap places with any gadjo kids, not even for a million LEI money flaps!
Only Jonno was in doubt and hesitated... until we told him what 'money' really was, and how the gadjo's were using it for trading their goods.
Then, even he agreed with us; although he still thought that having a lot of money could be handy...
The next morning, a lot more snow had fallen, and the now very inviting snow blanket was much thicker.
Again, I told my parents to leave their bed and hurry with breakfast, so that I could play outside as soon as possible.
Today, I wanted to help my friends build a huge snowman in our parking lot, as we had promised each other!
Impatiently, I helped my Mom in our kitchen; and I wolfed my healthy breakfast down while looking outside longingly.
Then, I started to dress in a hurry; but my Mom chuckled and told me:
"Harry, please, stand still and wait. Close your eyes, and don't look until I tell you to open them..."
Reluctantly, I stopped dressing, and did as she told me.
Inwardly, I felt a bit annoyed, wondering why my Mom would ask me to wait...
Didn't she know it was important for me to join my friends as soon as possible?
However, she had called me 'Harry'; and she used my self-chosen nickname only when she felt really proud of her little boy...
I felt very curious about why she wanted me to close my eyes, but decided not to peek through my eyelashes.
My parents knew they could always count on me, and I didn't want to disappoint their valuable trust.
Therefore, I closed my eyes, and kept them tightly shut while my Mom hastily left our caravan.
On the other hand, my Mom had not told me to stop using my sixth senses!
Thus, I felt free to follow her energy...
Following her aura with my inner eye, I sensed that my Mom entered my Grandma's caravan and wiped her feet.
She talked to my Grandma, but I couldn't hear or feel what they were talking about.
Then, both my Mom and my Grandma left the caravan, carrying some huge package...
Now, I was even more curious, and nearly forgot to keep my eyes closed!
Did they have a surprise for me?
Ten seconds later, both my Mom and my Grandma entered our own black-and-golden caravan.
They rummaged with the huge package, and seemed to unwrap something I couldn't see with my inner eye.
Now, I almost couldn't stand still any more, and started to fidget with curiosity...
Finally, my Mom told me, sounding joyful:
"Harry, thank you for your patience; and you may open your eyes now."
I opened my eyes immediately, and stared in rapt at what my Mom and my Grandma showed me...
For a moment, I couldn't believe my own eyes; but then, I nearly exploded from enthusiasm!
Feeling very elated, I stared at a beautiful badger fur coat, and a pair of superb fox boots!
Were these wonderful presents really for me?
I felt on cloud nine, and jumped up and down with excitement:
"Yesssss! You DID it! My splendid badger fur coat is ready, and what beautiful fox boots you made for me!"
"Please, stand still again, and let's try them on. Perhaps, we have to adjust a few things, until everything fits properly."
Standing still was impossible for me; but, finally, my Mom had worked me into my beautiful badger fur coat and splendid fox boots...
"How do they feel? Please, move around... Where are they too tight, or too loose?"
I walked around our caravan, almost bursting with pride.
This was my own badger; and I had caught it in my own snare!
Now, I was wearing its beautiful fur coat with a white stripe on its back; and it was all mine!
My splendid fox boots were very warm, and they fit around my feet as if they were my second skin.
I tried to feel where anything felt uncomfortable; but everything fit wonderful!
"Everything fits very well! Thank you, Mom and Grandma; thank you very much!"
I jumped up to my Mom, put my arms around her neck, and tried to hug her to death.
Then, I did the same thing to my smiling Grandma, who didn't mind at all and just beamed.
Working together, they had done a wonderful job!
Again, I kissed them and thanked them a thousand times.
Now, I went to our hallway, to look in our mirror.
Here, I saw a small badger, with a human head, a dark fur, and foxy legs, curiously looking back at me...
I turned around to see its back; and my badger proudly showed me its white band, going all the way from head to bottom.
Chuckling, I waved at my badger; and my badger waved back at me, with a small human hand, sticking out of its forepaw.
I grinned at my badger; and my badger grinned back at me, showing me an impish smile.
It felt as if we already were good friends!
I left our caravan, and jumped up and down in the thick snow to test my new fox boots.
With a proud face, I marched around our campfire; on my way kicking muddy snow towards a chuckling Michail.
My new fox boots felt very warm and comfortable, really feeling like a second skin covering my feet and legs.
The soles were made of strong pigskin leather from my own pig, while the shafts were made of soft fox skin from my own fox.
My beautiful badger coat fitted like a natural and cozy womb.
It enveloped my whole body; leaving only my head, fox boots, and hands sticking out.
I was sure I could get used to wearing this fur coat for the remainder of my life!
Now, I finally understood why Michail wore his own coat always, both in summer and in winter...
It felt absolutely natural to do so!
Feeling wonderful, I went to my friends, who were gathering in our parking lot to build a snowman.
Little Dimi seemed to have waited for me, because he saw me immediately.
He stared at me open-mouthed and totally in awe, until he exclaimed:
"Look at Harold! He is beautiful! Now, he looks like a REAL Prince..."
He raced up to me, immediately followed by all my other friends.
They all crowded around me, admiring my beautiful badger coat and luxurious looking fox boots.
Of course, everybody had to feel the soft fur of my new badger coat:
"Wow, feel that softness! Your new coat is beautiful, and so are your boots! You've got them just in time, before it gets really cold."
From now on, I didn't complain any more about having to dress before I went outside!
I always put on my beautiful badger coat and superb fox boots first thing in the morning, and didn't shuck them until I went to bed.
I even started to understand how gadjo children could get used to wearing their garments during both summer and winter...
After everybody had admired my beautiful fur coat, we started to build our snowman.
First, we rolled a couple of huge snowballs, until they became too big to roll them any further.
Then, we asked a few grown-ups to help lift them one onto another, while stabilizing them with a lot more snow.
Carefully, we sculpted two legs out of the lowest snowball, and attached two arms against the middle one.
We created a nose and two ears; and one of our kids went to our campfire and returned with some pieces of blackened wood.
Misha took me onto his shoulders; and I created two black eyes, a couple of teeth, and two nostrils onto the now smiling face of our snowman.
Finally, Dimi put a stick into its front, in between its legs, and chuckled:
"Now, we can see it's a boy, and he has a stiffy."
We all started to laugh, removed the stick, and created a nice and more natural looking pecker on it.
We were very proud of our handiwork, and hoped our snowman wouldn't melt for a long time...
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Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'
Plus a huge bear hug from your big friend, Prince little Harry...
Thank you, for reading my stories.