Book 2 - Our Lucky Mascot
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This is the SECOND book of my famous sequel 'I am a Gypsy Prince'.
4. Following an elusive porcupine; and lost in our dense forest.
I sneaked towards Misha as noiselessly as I could, on my way listening for any more telltale sounds...
Suddenly, I heard a faint rustling, coming from slightly to my left.
There he was, this time sounding quite nearby!
I chuckled inwardly; while I already enjoyed my second victory, planning to jump onto his back again...
Carefully, without making any noise, I tiptoed towards his sound, sneaking like a hunting cat chasing its prey.
However, Misha seemed to hear me; and he rustled away in a sudden hurry!
Wow, he certainly had a shockingly good sense of hearing.
Again, I was jealous of his extremely good skills.
Obviously, I had to train myself quite a lot more, to be able to outdo my trained trapper friend!
I tiptoed after Misha's faint rustling sound, now doing my utmost to sneak even more silently.
However, after a few steps, he seemed to hear me again, and immediately sped up some more!
Feeling a bit disappointed, I stopped for a second, so that he couldn't hear me anymore.
A moment later, Misha stopped too, and waited.
I even thought I heard him sniff the air...
Had I really heard him sniff?
Had my friend really tried to smell my scent?
Again, I started to sneak towards Misha, slowly and carefully.
This time, I was sure I didn't make any noises at all.
Only a few more steps; and I would jump onto his back in triumph...
Alas, a small branch swished; because I forgot to guide it back after passing by.
Immediately, Misha hurried away from me, again making the same rustling sound.
Okay, nobody is perfect...
I still had to learn quite a lot more, before I could call myself a real trapper!
Again, I followed Misha's faintly rustling sound into the dense undergrowth.
This time, I heard him curve to the left, obviously trying to get rid of me...
How did Misha know I followed him again, while I was sure I hadn't made any audible sounds?
It looked like he had sort of a sixth sense...
This was almost eerie!
Again, I envied him for his excellent trapper skills...
Determinedly, I followed Misha's faint rustling sound through the dense forest.
Now and then, he changed directions, obviously trying to get rid of me...
However, I didn't give him a chance to get away; and just followed him, like a sneaking predator following its prey.
Every time I thought I would finally see him, he changed directions and sped up!
He seemed to have an extraordinary good sense of hearing; or he was able to feel my aura from some distance...
It seemed to be impossible to catch up with him and have my victory...
However, I was very stubborn, and didn't want to give up; although I started to feel more and more tired.
When would Misha finally stop, and tell me I had done very well?
I really needed some rest...
I followed Misha through the dense forest for quite some time.
Every time, he changed directions, zigzagging from left to right and back to the left.
All the time, he produced the same rustling sound, without ever cracking a branch or stumbling across a hidden pothole.
I really envied him now, for being such an excellent trapper!
And, I really hoped he would teach me how he did it!
After a very long time, I became too tired to go on, and slowed down.
My legs started to cramp, and my feet were already aching.
Why didn't Misha reckon with me and stop for a rest?
Ultimately, I was only a five-year-old small boy...
Should I call him, tell him I was too tired, and ask him for a pause?
However, then, he might think I was too weak to be a real trapper...
Being stubborn, I decided to hold on some more.
I just didn't want to give up!
I hadn't the faintest idea where we were heading, but I trusted Misha's excellent trapper skills.
He had already proven to know his way everywhere, even through the densest of forest.
I was sure he would bring us home safely, after I had finally caught up to him...
However, every time I got a bit closer, he immediately sped up and changed directions.
When would he finally stop, and let me have some rest...
Then, I suddenly saw the sun, shimmering faintly through the dense foliage!
Now, I knew we were about to reach a big clearing, or maybe a ravine.
I heaved a deep sigh of relief...
Here, Misha would finally take a rest and sit down, to let me build up my energy.
Of course, he would also tease me about not being able to catch up with him...
I followed Misha's rustling sound into a spacious clearing, and stopped.
Planning to congratulate him with his victory, I squinted at the sudden sunlight that dazzled my eyes...
Finally, my friend had decided to stop and let me have some rest!
I stepped forward and looked around, expecting to see a smirking Misha...
At the same moment, I froze on the spot, not believing my own eyes.
Instead of seeing a smirking Misha, I stared in total disbelief at... a trembling porcupine!
The beast stared back at me with a frightened face, while it set up all its quills, as if wanting to protect itself...
Then, it turned around, and hurriedly rustled back into the safe woods.
I HAD FOLLOWED A PORCUPINE!
For a moment, I was dumbfounded and didn't know how to react.
Then, I started to laugh at my own stupidity, immediately trying to stifle my sound.
Looking back at the past hour, I should have known I had followed some frightened animal...
No human being could ever be able to hear that well, or sneak away that noiselessly!
Did I ever think I could be a real trapper?
I didn't even know the difference between a porcupine and Misha...
Of course, Misha had followed me and my porcupine from a small distance.
Most likely, he would have a stomach ache from suppressing his laughing at my stupidity!
Now, he would show up, look at me triumphantly, and ruffle my hair as usual.
Then, we would sit together, and wait until my worn out muscles had recuperated...
However, I also expected Misha to tease me with my 'old trapper' skills for at least the next ten years!
Probably, the whole camp would soon laugh at my supposed 'natural abilities'...
Maybe, they would even take up my adventure into their many ancient folklore tales.
After a hundred years, they would still narrate their funny story of a little Prince following a porcupine instead of his friend...
Had I ever advised my Dad to breed a 'duffer'?
I slumped down onto a flat boulder, trying to give my tired legs their much needed rest.
While I rubbed my painfully cramping muscles, I waited for Misha, to show up and laugh at me.
However, I waited, and waited, and waited some more; but nobody showed up...
Now, I started to be a little bit apprehensive.
Where was my friend Misha?
Why didn't he show up and laugh at me?
Or, hadn't he followed me, while I chased that wary porcupine through the undergrowth?
Had he lost me after some time, in the dense forest?
Or, maybe even worse, had I lost him?
Or, was he still teasing me; waiting until I would finally give up and call him...
I started to feel a bit more uneasy...
What, if Misha didn't know that I chased a porcupine through our forest?
What, if he had waited for me to show up, instead of following me?
What, if he still waited for me, feeling more and more uneasy?
I hadn't the faintest idea where Misha was; or, even worse, where I was...
How would I ever be able to find my way home from here, without Misha's help...
What should I do now?
Should I give up, and call Misha?
However, I had promised to be absolutely silent while we were in the dense forest.
I didn't want to make an even bigger fool of myself...
But, I also didn't want to wait in vain...
I decided to wait some more; still hoping that Misha would show up...
However, after another couple of seconds, I started to feel too uneasy.
Obviously, Misha was NOT going to show up...
Okay; Misha had told me to be silent, but this was an emergency!
Maybe, he would be mad at me for making so much noise, but I also had to reassure myself...
I NEEDED him!
Hesitantly, I started to call him, with a quivering voice:
"Misha?... Misha, where are you?... Misha! Please, show up... MISHA!!!... MIIIIIISHAAAAAA..."
My high-pitched voice reverberated through the trees and along the clearing, causing a spooky effect.
A couple of birds twittered angrily and fluttered away, looking for a quieter place.
Then, the forest fell silent again.
I listened carefully, hoping to hear Misha's voice answer my cry for help.
Alas, nobody answered my call, and the forest stayed silent.
Maybe, Misha was too far away to be able to hear me?
I climbed onto the boulder; and called Misha again, this time yelling at the top of my lungs...
A huge swarm of angry birds flew up and disappeared; and several small animals scrabbled away from the loud noise.
Again, the forest fell silent after my reverberating echoes subsided...
Again, nobody answered my cry for help.
Obviously, Misha was NOT here!
What should I do now?
Then, I heard a faint echo, coming from behind, across the clearing...
Where did that faint echo come from?
Feeling a bit more hopeful, I went to the other side of the clearing...
Suddenly, I stared into an unknown, bottomless, and uninvitingly steep ravine!
Now, I started to panic.
I had followed that scared porcupine for more than an hour, zigzagging across a huge forest...
Therefore, there was only one frightening conclusion:
I was LOST.
Here I was, a naked five-year-old 'little runt',
totally alone, dead tired, not knowing what to do,
lost in a vast forest...
I slumped down onto my boulder, and started to cry from panic and exhaustion.
Why hadn't Misha followed me and my fearful porcupine?
I thought I could trust my friend...
But, where was he now?
Would he already miss me?
Would he now go back to our camp, to alert our grown-ups?
Or, were my parents already looking for me?
Did I have to spend the night here, in this unknown forest?
What would happen, if I didn't find my way back to our camp and my people couldn't find me?
I started to sob loudly; while, at the same time, cursing myself for being so stupid.
How would I ever be able to ask anybody for help; while I was here all alone...
Nobody knew I was here; so this had to be the pitiful end of little Prince Harold!
Would dying from hunger and thirst be very painful?
Would my parents eventually find my bare bones?
I slumped down even more, and started to cry my heart out...
Suddenly, I sat upright, looked around, and stopped my sobbing!
I was sure I felt an unknown person around me, trying to get my attention!
Now, I got goose bumps all over my body, while I sensed some powerful energy surrounding me.
A warm voice sounded in my head, telling me loud and clear:
"Stop pitying yourself, and think as a trapper!"
The voice faded away, and the feeling disappeared, leaving me totally bewildered.
Who had been talking to me, all of a sudden, and out of the blue?
I looked around; but, of course, I didn't see anybody...
Yet, I was sure I had felt and heard a powerful aura around me, telling me to think as a trapper!
Were my Ancestors and Spirit Guides around me and helping me, as our Wise Woman once told me they would?
I knew they had promised me they would be there for me, if I ever needed them...
Suddenly, I started to feel a whole lot better, and even smiled!
Obviously, I was no longer alone...
I greeted my spirit friends in my mind; but they didn't answer.
I also didn't feel their powerful aura around me any more.
Yet, I was now sure that I would survive and return to my own people!
Vaguely, I remembered that I had an important task to fulfill on earth...
Thus, today was not my time to die.
I tried to 'think as a trapper', as my Spirit Friend had told me.
What would a real trapper do, if he would be lost in a huge forest?
Of course, he would try to discover where he was, or where his home was!
Now, it was clear to me that being a crybaby wouldn't help me in any way.
Soon, the forest would be too dark and cold; and I didn't have any shelter for the night.
Maybe, I could use my newly discovered abilities, by letting our camp or our waterfall pull at my energy?
I tried it out immediately, and started to think of our waterfall...
Alas, this didn't work, and I didn't feel anything at all.
Obviously, I had made myself way too nervous, to be able to pick up any faint energies.
I had to wait, until I calmed down considerably...
However, the sun had already started to descend towards the mountain tops!
Within a few hours, the forest would be pitch dark.
And, I wanted to be home before that time!
Okay, let's stop pitying myself, and try something else.
Whenever one of our people wanted any help while being in our surrounding forest, he always created a huge fire.
Next, he threw lots of moist leaves and humid moss onto it; thus creating a huge column of black smoke.
The moment anybody in our camp saw such a column of smoke, they immediately sent out a rescue team!
Last year, one of our older boys broke his leg while chasing a pig; and we rescued him within an hour.
However, how would I be able to create a fire?
Our men and older boys always carried at least a lighter or a box of matches, in case they ever needed it.
I knew that Misha had two lighters, a flashlight, and some rope in his string bag, just in case...
On the other hand, I carried NOTHING; not even a pair of glasses, to concentrate the sunlight onto some dry moss and catch it on fire.
Carelessly, I had relied totally on my friend and guide, Misha...
Creating a fire was not possible, although I had plenty of wood around me...
Would I be able to climb one of the surrounding mountains, to look around from there and find our camp?
The mountains looked quite nearby; but climbing one of them would cost me at least a couple more hours...
Plus, my untrained legs were already trembling from exhaustion.
I would never reach any usable observation post before darkness set in...
What, if I tried to follow my own footsteps backwards, thus guiding myself to Misha and our camp?
Yes, of course!
Now, I had found an excellent solution!
As a trapper, I only had to follow my own trail backwards!
Why hadn't I thought of this before...
I jumped off my boulder; and trotted back to the spot where I had left the dense forest.
Soon, I found my footsteps, still faintly visible in the forest litter that covered the ground.
Enthusiastically, I entered the dense forest and started to follow my own trail...
Misha, I am coming!
Alas, this didn't work either.
Within a few minutes, I had to stop my efforts and go back.
My faint footsteps were already covered with too much new forest litter.
And, being a real trapper from the heart, I hadn't left behind any other visible signs...
This time, I cursed myself for being TOO good!
Feeling very disappointed, I returned to the clearing and slumped down again.
I tried to ask my Ancestors or Spirit Guides for more help; but they didn't show up...
Weren't they really around me, and had I made up that warm voice myself?
I started to doubt...
Again, I felt totally alone, and on the verge of crying.
What should I do now?
Sitting down and crying would not help me any further...
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Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'
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