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

( 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...
Have fun; and, please, send us your email if you appreciate our stories!


7. Entering our woods; and setting a trap like an old trapper.

    I woke up early in the morning, and immediately felt full of anticipation and energy.
Today was my Big Day, finally!
Today, I would join my friends into the vast forest that surrounded our secluded camp.
Today, I would set up my own trap and catch my own animal, for the first time!
Misha had already told me how to fold a snare; and how to cover a trap with some litter to make it invisible to the animals.
Our woods were waiting...

    I jumped out of my bed, and hurried to our living room to have a look outside.
Were the other kids already waiting for me?
Alas, nobody was outside, and our camp was still enveloped in darkness...
The wooden benches were empty, and our campfire shimmered faintly in the crack of dawn.
Where were my friends, the lazy slackers?
Come on, let's go...

    Feeling disappointed, I went to my parents' bedroom, to be held and comforted.
Silently, I crawled in between them, planning to wait until the sun showed up and it was time to go outside.
My Dad woke up, turned around, chuckled when he felt me, and threw his warm arms around me.
That felt safe and cozy; and I tried to let myself melt into his strong and warm body.
For a moment, I closed my eyes...

    I woke up at the abundant sunlight, peeking through the bedroom curtains and tickling my eyes.
Immediately, I was in a tremendous hurry, and hastily jumped out of bed to have another look outside!
Indeed! Many kids had already gathered around our campfire, and they were waiting for me!
Why didn't my Mom wake me up, after she and my Dad left out bed to prepare breakfast?
Now, I belonged to the 'lazy slackers' I always loathed; and that on my first Big Day...

    I stormed towards our kitchen where my Mom was busy, and told her:

    "Please, Mom, hurry up, because my friends are WAITING for me!"

    "Calm down! I am sure they will not leave without you. And, you have to eat something healthy first."

    I couldn't stand still from frustration; and hopped up and down, while my Mom prepared our breakfast.
Then, I rushed my plate to our living room; and hurriedly wolfed my food down, while nervously staring outside...
More and more children were joining our steadily growing group, and they were still waiting for me!
After I was ready, I gulped my milk down; but, now I had to wait for my parents to finish their own meals...
Finally, they chuckled at my impatient fidgeting; and my Dad allowed me to leave our table early, telling me to have fun!
I jumped up and raced outside, even forgetting to say goodbye...

    A couple of children saw me bolting out of our door, almost tripping over my own feet.
They pointed at me, nudged each other, and chuckled at my feverish hurry...
    Suddenly, they started to cheer:


    My face blushed fiercely, while I felt a bit timid and slowed down considerably.
At the same time, I was also very proud to be 'one of them' from now on, finally!
My friends recognized me, and they were obviously very happy to have me here!
Now, I was even more determined to prove them that I was a valuable part of our group.

    The cheering kids surrounded me; and Misha teased me:

    "From now on, you don't have to beg for a piece of OUR meat any more! Tomorrow, you will have your own animal to roast.
"But, do you still want to be our Chief Cook; and help us spicing our meat, as before?"

    "Yes, of course I will help you as before! You cannot get rid of me that easily... Now, come on, let's go to our woods!"

    "Not yet. Just be patient! Not everybody is as quick as you are. First, we have to wait for three more kids..."

    What? We had to wait even longer, for three other tardy lazy slackers to show up?
Then, I had NOT been the slowest kid; and my friends were not waiting for ME, as I had assumed in my eagerness.
Well, okay... Again, I had to learn that our world didn't always turn around me...

    After some more waiting, finally three more yawning sleepyheads left their caravans and joined us.
They grinned sheepishly, and told us they were sorry for oversleeping...
Then, they blended into our group, acting as if this could be their normal daily behavior!
I didn't understand how they could be so tardy, while our woods were waiting...
However, the other kids didn't seem to mind.
They just started to walk towards our surrounding bushes.

    The oldest kids disappeared into one of the narrow winding paths first; as they did every morning.
The others followed them slowly, on the way creating a long and twisting line.
Feeling elated that I finally belonged to them; I blended into the moving line, directly behind Misha.
I felt a bit shaky, while my body started to tremble with anticipation...

    For the first time, I saw that our winding path ended up in a huge clearing.
Here, the oldest kids stopped, and patiently waited until all the others had joined them.
Now, finally, I entered the place where I longed to be for such a long time, our WOODS!
I looked around in awe; and, suddenly, I felt very small and vulnerable...

    Thousands of huge trees majestically rose high into the sky, having their top branches entwined.
Their outspread treetops formed what looked like an enormous cathedral over our heads.
On its floor, the spongy ground and fallen leaves were damping all the sounds, creating an eerie silence.
Beneath my bare feet, the very soft and mossy carpet felt like walking on a moving cloud...
The sudden difference was overwhelming; and I almost forgot to breathe from the initial shock!
Ultimately, I was only four years old, and the smallest runt in our kids group...

    I felt very tiny and fragile, while the shock slowly disappeared and my trembling body forced me to breathe again.
This extremely impressive forest looked totally different from anything I had ever anticipated...
For a moment, I had a strong need to weep; but I decided to be a Big Boy, and not some crybaby!
What would my friends think of me, when they saw their blubbering little Prince and Chief Cookie?
I repressed my tears with all my might, and furtively looked at the other kids...

    To my utmost surprise, everybody else seemed to feel totally at ease in these eerie surroundings.
They all acted as if entering this huge and impressive cathedral was nothing special to them...
Had they already gotten so used to this splendid grandeur of our ancient woods?
I went to Misha, and silently worked my small hand into his much bigger one...
    Misha smiled at me, while he squeezed my hand and whispered:

    "The first time is a bit overwhelming, isn't it? Soon, you will get used to the spongy ground, and then it no longer bothers you.
"Now, let's follow the others to the ravine and the water stream, and look at what we have caught in our traps."

    I nodded my approval, while I forced myself to produce a feeble smile...
Fortunately, Misha didn't think I was a little baby!

    Following the others, we left the huge clearing, and started to walk down a small winding path along a steep ravine.
At first, I was afraid to stumble off one of the many slanting boulders, and fall into the bottomless depth next to me.
This was the first time ever that I left our safe and secluded camp, and I felt very tiny and unsure...
Fortunately, Misha held my hand, and that gave me a bit more confidence.

    Suddenly, to my own surprise, my untrained feet seemed to know exactly what they had to do to walk safely.
They started to move all on their own, planting themselves onto the rugged boulders with an astonishing confidence!
Wow! That felt much better; and I even left Misha's hand to be able to walk faster.
Enthusiastically, I started to climb the steep cliffs and jump across nasty cracks, as if I had done this all my life...

    Misha looked stunned, when I suddenly left his hand and walked on my own, but he didn't say a word.
He only stayed very close to me, so that he would be able to interfere if necessary; and that gave me even more confidence.
Now and then, he pushed me up or carried me; when a boulder was too high or a crack seemed too dangerous for my short legs.
I was happy that Misha had decided to help me; and I was sure we could easily become good friends.
Then, I saw that many other older kids were helping our smaller ones as well...

    After climbing some more, we left the steep ravine and crossed a fast flowing stream, by jumping from boulder to boulder.
Again, the older kids looked after the smaller ones, by helping them not to slip on the wet and mossy surfaces.
Again, I seemed to know exactly what I had to do to reach the other side safely, without any help!
Was I really a 'natural', or had I been living in similar rocky mountains during one of my past lives?
I tried to remember when and where that was, and got a vague idea of being a little trapper and helping my Dad...

    We left the dangerous stream full of rapids, followed a small path along another ravine, and entered an rectangular clearing.
Here, we halted; and the older boys waited until everybody else had joined us safely and unharmed.
Then, one of the boys, Joc, left our group, and disappeared into a thick shrub.
A moment later, we heard a bit of a wrestle and a beeping sound, coming from within the shrub.
Joc returned, proudly carrying a struggling marmot with a snare around its neck!
Triumphantly, he showed it to us; before he killed it, by smashing its head against a boulder.

    For a moment, I felt shocked, pitying the poor animal that couldn't help being caught in Joc's snare!
I almost got tears in my eyes, and started to tremble from frustration.
How would I feel, if some huge giant smashed MY head against a boulder, to kill me and eat me?
Then, I saw that this beast had a painless death, compared to being eaten alive by a predator with huge teeth and sharp claws!
When I looked at it from this point of view, Joc's marmot had been lucky, to end its life like this.
Fortunately, after I got this clarifying insight, such a fast and painless death never again bothered me.

    A smiling Joc went to two older boys, and proudly put his fat marmot into the string bag they carried.
Next, he returned to the shrub, folded his piece of wire into a new snare, and attached the snare onto a nearby branch.
He used a bit of litter, to cover his trap and make it invisible to an animal, before returning to us.

    All the time, I had looked carefully at what Joc did, with scrutinizing eyes!
Yes, this was what Misha had taught me, when he showed me how to fold a snare from a piece of wire.
But, wouldn't this nearby branch be too thin to withstand a bigger animal, in case it ensnared itself in Joc's trap?
Nobody else made any comments, so I decided to let it go; although I was sure I would have chosen a sturdier branch...

    Then, one of our girls, Biny, disappeared into another shrub along a faintly visible animal track.
Almost immediately, she returned, proudly showing us another, even fatter, marmot.
She put the dead beast into the string bag, and adeptly set up a new trap along another faint animal track.

    At the same time, Jonno had disappeared behind one of the surrounding thorn bushes.
Soon, he returned with a disappointed face, shaking his head... His snare was empty.
He took the same snare, and clumsily set another trap at the back of the same bush.
I shook my head, and thought he would never be a good trapper...

    For quite some time, we went on and on; on our way looking for fresh footprints or interesting animal tracks.
Every time, one of our kids stepped aside; to look after a snare, collect the next animal, and set up a new trap.
Only now and then, a trap was empty; and the kid just shrugged, and set up a new trap along another track.
Mostly, the snare had done its work, and another beast was added to the steadily growing pile in our string bag.

    One time, everybody started to laugh and point at the next animal:

    "Jaspi has caught a RAT! Jaspi is a rattler, Jaspi is a rattler..."

    Jaspi glared at his teasing friends with a sour face; and threw the dead rat far away, into the bushes.
Everybody knew that rats could infect us with nasty illnesses; and we never ate their meat unless we were extremely hungry!
Jaspi looked for another usable animal track, and set up his new trap along it.
Then, we went on; looking after traps, collecting caught animals, and setting up our new traps along other tracks.

    All the time, I had looked intently at how my friends attached their snares and covered them with some litter.
Every time again, I tried to understand what they were doing, and why they did it...
Now and then, I even thought they were making silly mistakes, and I could have done better!
How did I know how to set up a trap and make it invisible to the animal, without ever having done it myself?
This was very strange... unless I really had been a little trapper myself, helping my Dad, in one of my past lives...

    At last, we had emptied all our traps; and all my friends had set up their new ones.
Our string bag was full of animals; and our strongest boys carried the heavy thing, now and then switching turns.
We were ready; and I thought we would go home now, to roast our caught animals...

    Suddenly, Misha turned towards me, put his hand onto my shoulder, and pointed to a small hill:

    "Harold? Are you ready to set up your own trap now, on that hill over there?"

    Oh yes! YES! Sure!
Of course, I was more than ready to set up my own trap, anywhere where he wanted it!
I nodded vigorously, and smiled at Misha.

    Suddenly, I felt very nervous, and started to tremble all over...
What, if I made a stupid mistake; and everybody was disappointed in me or laughed at me?
Supposed I forgot how to fold my snare; and Misha had to correct me, over and over?
What if no animal was interested in my trap; and tomorrow my snare turned out to be empty?
Or, even worse, what if I caught a rat?
Hesitantly, I dived from under Misha's hand and stepped back...

    Misha smiled reassuringly, while he took a new and glistening piece of wire from our stock.
With slow movements, he showed me again how I should fold my snare, so that it effectively strangled the caught animal.
Then, he gave the piece of wire to me, and wished me good luck...

    With trembling hands, I took the glistening wire, and started to fold my snare as Misha had showed me...
Suddenly, my hands were moving on their own, as if they already KNEW how to fold an effective snare!
To my utmost surprise, my extremely fast readied snare didn't look at all like the one Misha had showed me...
Yet, I was absolutely sure it would do its work much better, by killing the strangled animal almost immediately!

    Misha looked very surprised; but he didn't say a word, and only nodded at me to go on...

    Feeling very sure of myself, I went to the small hill, and looked around for a recent animal track.
Almost immediately, I saw a fresh and nearly invisible one, leading straight into the thick bush.
I looked at the faint footprints, and saw where the animal had left its wariness and sped up to reach its safe place in the bush.
There was the point where I wanted to set up my snare, so that the animal wouldn't detect it in its sudden hurry!

    Carefully, I folded my open snare across the faint track, and firmly attached its wire to a nearby thick branch.
Then, I covered my trap with enough litter to make it almost invisible to the animal.
Imagining I could be an animal myself, I wasn't able to see my own cleverly hidden trap!
Finally, I crawled backwards; on my way carefully wiping my own trail, so that the animal wouldn't be alarmed.

    I returned to our still waiting group; and looked around, because they all were dead silent...
To my surprise, everybody stared at me open-mouthed, as if they couldn't believe their own eyes!
What was their problem? Had I done something stupid?
I felt a bit nervous, hesitated, and stared at my feet...

    Then, Misha threw his arms around my small frame and lifted me off the ground, while he exclaimed:

    "Wow, little man, I cannot believe my own eyes... You did everything like an old and experienced trapper!
"First, you climbed all the steep cliffs and jumped all the cracks along our ravine, as if you knew exactly what to do...
"Then, you crossed our dangerous stream at lightning speed, without ever stumbling or slipping, and without any help...
"Now, you folded a strange looking snare, using a knot I have never seen before, but I am sure it will be very effective!
"And, you are the only one who thought about wiping his own trail, so as not to alarm any approaching animal...
"As you are doing this for the first time, I am sure you are a natural trapper; and I am proud to be your friend!"

    I looked up at my new friend, suddenly feeling all warm and mushy inside.
Misha said I did everything like an old and experienced trapper... now, THAT was a compliment!
I blushed deeply; but also felt PROUD of myself.



I am desperately looking for somebody special who could help me better my stories!
Please, provide me with as many useful comments and suggestions as possible...
Of course, my 'proofreaders' will have all my books for free, once they are printed.

I am still looking for a competent proofreader!

Please, send me your emails ONLY from my site, to avoid all the spam.

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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'