Book 2 - Our Lucky Mascot
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This is the SECOND book of my famous sequel 'I am a Gypsy Prince'.
2. Spring arrives; and everything in our camp returns to normal.
A few weeks later, SPRING arrived in our mountains, and nature started to blossom abundantly!
I woke up early in the morning, and immediately sensed that the air outside our caravan had changed.
Even the sunlight looked different, while the sky was brighter, and the cold mountain wind was replaced by a much warmer breeze.
The birds outside were twittering their most beautiful chants; and the thick bushes around our camp were already budding!
I bolted outside, without putting on my beautiful badger fur coat and warm fox boots, almost crying from happiness.
Finally, we could be naked during the whole day again; instead of wearing our clammy garments whenever we wanted to leave our caravans!
My Mom laughed at my enthusiasm; while she put my fur coat and fox boots away, until I would need them again next winter.
Within a few minutes, our camp was crowded with laughing and frolicking kids.
We all loved feeling the warmth of the sun directly on our bare skin, while we tried to get our bronze complexions back as soon as possible.
It was as if we felt more alive now, while we gathered around our campfire and started to dance in the warming sunlight.
It felt good to be a five-year-old Gypsy boy, worshipping spring in our secluded camp in the Rumanian mountains.
After all our friends had gathered, we deliberated about what we were going to do.
Immediately, everybody agreed about going into our woods and setting our new traps, first thing tomorrow morning.
Although most animals still had to wake up from their hibernation, we were all craving for our first portion of fresh meat!
Pietro promised to provide us with new pieces of wire; and the experienced kids would tell us where we could find the most animals.
Then, the day after tomorrow, we would finally roast the first beasts of the new season over our campfire!
We couldn't wait to savor our first fresh and nourishing meat, of course spiced by my tasty herbs...
Misha, my now fifteen-year-old best friend, came up to me, and asked me a bit hesitantly:
"Harry? We have a question for you... May we still count on you to be our Chief Cook?"
"Duh! What do you think? You cannot get rid of me that easily!"
"Sorry... We only wanted to know for sure. We really don't want to miss your tasty herbs on our meat!"
"Okay; but you have to stop calling me 'little cookie'. Else, I will tell my herbs to give you a nasty stomach ache!"
"What? Oh no, you wouldn't DARE..."
"Just try me..."
Of course, I smiled at my friends, so that they knew I was only kidding.
They could be sure I would never misuse their trust in me; or take revenge on them, by abusing my knowledge of herbs...
Misha chuckled, lifted me onto his shoulders, and playfully horsed me around our camp, while he sang:
"Our 'little cookie' grows up; and now we call him our 'big cookie'."
Then, he put me down hastily, because I strangled his neck and threatened to suffocate him!
He tried to say something, but only produced a few hoarse squeaks, until his breath returned...
Then, he started to laugh, tickled my ribs, and called me a 'little devil'.
Of course, I tried to tickle him back, while I admonished him:
"The only thing you may call me from now on, is 'little badger'!"
All the others started to laugh too, and told me they agreed with me.
Then, they playfully admonished Misha not to pick on the smallest kids...
It felt good, to banter like this; and I was sure it deepened our mutual friendship even more.
Little Dimi had followed our conversation intently, chuckling and with sparkling eyes.
I was sure he couldn't wait to join our group of older kids and partake in our playful bantering!
However, he had to wait until he would be dry during the night and no longer needed any diapers.
I knew how it felt...
And, I surely hoped he would join us SOON!
Our frolicking kids group parted; and we all went our own ways, to wait for the next day to show up.
Our 'toddler group', consisting of our three-to-six-year old 'diaper kids', started to play their game of hide and seek around our caravans.
Many older kids strolled to our parking lot, planning to play soccer with an old and worn leather football.
The oldest kids sat together on our wooden benches, talking about where the fattest animals could be found.
Most grown-ups had disappeared in their cars, to find some work in a far-away gadjo town.
They would return near the end of the day, hopefully bringing us something healthy to eat...
Michail played with his little sons, this time accompanied by a few other little toddlers and their parents.
Pietro started to go to his spare caravan; but he beckoned ME to follow him...
Immediately, little Dimi came racing up to us, while he panted:
"Where are you going? Can I come with you? I don't want to play hide and seek with the toddlers..."
Obviously, Dimi had the same feeling I once had, of being much older than he was in reality...
It was almost eerie, to see how much we resembled each other!
Pietro turned around when he heard Dimi's pleading voice; and he chuckled:
"Of course, working with two 'mechanical engineers' may be even better than having only one helper..."
Little Dimi started to cheer, ran up to Pietro, and leapt onto his back.
Pietro chuckled again, put his hands under Dimi's little bottom, and horsed him towards our spare caravan.
There, he put him down, and ceremoniously opened the caravan door, grinning:
"Entrez monsieur; and after you."
Suddenly, little Dimi acted a bit hesitantly, looking at me for support...
Obviously, his parents had taught him that grown-ups ought to enter a caravan first, and little kids had to wait their turn...
Well, Pietro was our FRIEND, and both he and I had shucked our courtesies a long time ago!
It was rather difficult to keep acting polite, when both of you were covered in dirty oil and smear...
I chuckled and dived into the caravan, on the way dragging my little friend with me.
Now, Pietro explained what he wanted us to do.
He offered us a spool of glistening wire, and told us to cut the wire into many equal pieces.
We got a pair of sharp wire cutters, and a length of rope to use as our measure.
We were going to produce many new snares, for our group to use them in our traps!
For a moment, Dimi and I deliberated about how we were going to do it.
Then, I took the spool into my hands, while Dimi pulled at the wire until he had freed some length.
Next, we placed the rope measure alongside the wire, and I cut the first length off.
Now, Dimi took the spool into his hands, while I freed the next length of wire, and he cut it off...
After measuring and cutting a couple of pieces of wire like this, I started to think.
Measuring and switching turns, like we did now, took quite a lot of time...
Wouldn't there be a faster way to accomplish our rather tedious task?
What if we put the spool onto some pin, and fastened the pin onto Pietro's workbench?
However, little Dimi already beat me to it!
He took a screwdriver, put its metal part through the spool, and pushed its end firmly into an existing hole in the wooden workbench.
Next, he took our rope measure, and laid it out from the spool along the bench.
He took a small nail, and hammered it into the workbench, exactly at the end of the rope...
Now, we only had to pull the next piece of wire from the spool onto the nail, and cut it off where it left the spool!
Both Pietro and I looked at Dimi's silent ministrations with surprised faces.
We never thought that our little friend would be such a clever technical inventor...
Pietro ruffled Dimi's hair with a proud smile, while he told him:
"See? I knew you would be a valuable mechanical engineer!"
Little Dimi beamed, while he asked me to pull the next piece of wire towards the nail...
He cut it off and added it to the other snares, while I already pulled the next piece of wire.
In no time, we had readied a whole bunch of glistening snares; probably more than enough to last the entire season!
With proud faces, we brought them to our oldest kids, who would distribute them among our friends.
The next morning, our happy group of kids gathered around our campfire, feeling bright and shining.
We waited until all the lazy slackers had joined us, and enthusiastically followed the oldest kids into our woods.
Soon, we entered our huge clearing with its majestic trees and mossy ground; where we halted, as we always did.
The oldest kids gathered us around them, and told us:
"Because most marmots here are still in hibernation, we will set up our traps further away, where the animals already started breeding.
"Just like we did before winter set in, we will again pair up into couples. Every older kid will again take a younger one under their wings."
Immediately, I trotted towards Misha and took his hand, before any other young kid had a chance to claim him!
Misha smiled at me when he felt my hand; and he seemed to be very pleased with my decision.
He bent over, and teasingly whispered into my ear:
"Are you sure? Maybe, one of the other kids will be more entertaining..."
"Okay. Then, I will leave you, and look for another guide."
I left Misha's hand, and pretended to walk away...
When I turned around, I started to chuckle at seeing his very disappointed face!
I went back to him, retook his hand, and whispered:
"I am only teasing you, silly! Of course, we are going together again; unless you want to guide Jonno instead of me..."
Misha shuddered at the thought, and unconsciously clamped onto my hand some more.
Obviously, he remembered last year, when Jonno panicked and refused to follow us into the 'creepy' forest...
For a moment, I thought of little Dimi, who had stared at us with a deep longing in his eyes when we disappeared into our woods.
I knew how he felt; because I had stared at our disappearing group myself many times, until I no longer wet my bed at night...
Would I feel jealous, if Misha ever decided to guide my little friend instead of me?
I wasn't sure...
However, I already missed Dimi's sparkling eyes full of joy, and wished he would be here and join us!
Misha could easily guide two young boys...
A few older kids offered each of us a glistening piece of wire, to fold our new snares.
Then, each pair of kids took off into different directions, and silently disappeared into the dense undergrowth.
Where would Misha take me this time?
I pulled at his arm, and whispered into his ear:
"Where are we going today?"
"I want to return to our steep ravine; because most of the porcupines are there, and I think we might have a chance to catch one."
"Okay. And, I also hope to see another badger..."
Misha shook his head and chuckled at my eager face, while he turned around slowly.
For a moment, he seemed to feel or sense all the different energies around us, by using his 'built-in compass'.
Then, he decidedly paved his way through the undergrowth, walking straight towards our steep ravine.
Again, I tried to copy what Misha did, trying to tune myself into the steep ravine with its many meandering rapids.
Suddenly, I had a faint feeling of its surroundings; silently calling me towards it, by pulling at my aura...
I pointed my nose into that direction; and, much to my delight, my nose pointed exactly into the same direction where Misha went!
Although the faint feeling was almost non-existent, I was sure this was how Misha always used his own built-in compass...
I only had to train myself some more!
Feeling very happy about my discovery, I followed Misha's footsteps.
Now and then, he stopped to feel around again; and, then, I copied him and tried to feel our ravine.
Every time, Misha walked exactly into the same direction from where I had sensed our steep ravine pulling at my aura!
It also was as if my sensitivity became more pronounced, and I was able to sense the pulling at my aura a little bit clearer.
I was sure that, in time, I would be able to follow my wakening senses without any help...
Walking together, time passed by very fast; and, in no time, we reached our steep ravine.
Of course, we went straight to our old traps; but they turned out to be thoroughly destroyed!
Obviously, some hungry predator had emptied them and devoured our caught animals.
Well, we wished the lucky predator a bon appetite, and went on.
Live and let live...
Stealthily, I looked around for any unexpected badger trails...
Of course, I didn't find any; and I felt a little bit disappointed.
However, Misha turned out to be absolutely right, about catching porcupines.
We really found a clearly visible fresh porcupine trail, disappearing into a thick shrub!
Misha told me to set up my snare; and I set my first trap of the new season along the fresh trail.
Carefully, I covered it with some forest litter, before I wiped my own footsteps.
Then, we saw a second porcupine trail, disappearing into the same shrub!
Maybe, the animals had been breeding; or, they had planned to do so, until we disturbed them and they fled away...
Now, it was Misha's turn to set up his trap, along the second trail.
To my delight, he used MY special knot to fold his own snare...
He smiled at me when he saw me looking; but motioned me to be silent.
Walking together, we went back along our steep ravine, until we reached our flat boulder.
Sitting together, we enjoyed the beautiful sight of the meandering water rapids, while I leaned into Misha.
He put his arm around my body; and we could clearly feel our mutual love radiating between us.
At that time, I was sure we would be friends forever...
After some time, we decided to leave our steep ravine and go looking for the other kids.
This time, I tried to tune in to our group, expecting to feel them pulling at my aura...
However, to my disappointment, I didn't feel or sense anything!
Maybe, my tuning in worked only on a single person, or only on some natural thing like a water stream?
I decided to ask Misha about it as soon as possible...
Now, I tuned in to our waterfall; and, immediately, I felt its faint energy pull at my aura!
Fortunately, my newly discovered ability still worked; although I wasn't sure whether I really could count on it, or not.
I pointed my nose into its direction; and, much to my delight, Misha started to walk into that same direction.
My own 'built-in compass' was starting to work better and better...
Feeling happy, I followed my friend towards our waterfall.
Soon, we joined the others; but the water turned out to be too cold to take a shower or have a swim.
We had to wait for at least a few more days, until our still cold mountains had warmed up sufficiently.
After our last couple of kids showed up, we frolicked home.
That evening, I went to bed feeling very happy and satisfied.
Tomorrow, we would finally roast our first animals and have our first portion of fresh meat!
I almost couldn't wait...
Our camp had finally returned to 'normal'.
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Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'
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