Book 2 - Our Lucky Mascot
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(This is the SECOND book of my famous sequel 'I am a Gypsy Prince')
6. Rescued by my Dad; back home with sore feet; Misha is sorry.
Groaning from the stinging pain in my swollen feet, I rounded the umpteenth thorn bush.
Suddenly, I thought I heard a faint yelling sound, coming from the ravine...
Immediately, I hobbled towards its border, bent over, and listened intently...
Alas, the only sounds I heard were coming from many happily twittering birds and the softly murmuring water stream.
Yet, I could have sworn that I had heard a faint human voice, shouting my name from a far distance...
Were my people looking for me?
Had they tried to call me, and were they now listening for my answer?
Hastily, I folded my hands around my mouth to amplify my voice, and shouted into the ravine:
"HERE I AM! PLEASE, ANSWER ME! I WANT TO GO HOME!"
For a long time, lots of echoes from my high-pitched voice reverberated back and forth through the ravine.
A flock of beautifully colored birds flew up into the air, looking angrily at my ministrations.
Several small animals scrabbled away hastily, trying to find some quieter place.
Then, the ravine fell silent again, except for the softly murmuring water along its bottom.
Again, I listened intently, standing close to the border to hear even better...
Alas. Again, nobody answered my cry for help.
Maybe, my wishful mind had played some dirty trick, by making me imagine the yelling voice?
Again, I shouted into the ravine; yelling at the top of my lungs.
Alas. Again, only my own echoes returned...
Now, I started to feel disappointed.
Maybe, my people already assumed that I was dead, and they didn't even bother looking for me...
Obviously, I had to find my way home all on my own, without any help...
Again, I went on and on, stubbornly clambering along the ravine and jumping difficult cracks.
My cramping legs were trembling more and more, making me waver from left to right.
My swollen feet started to look like two wrinkled balloons, stinging with every step.
Now and then, I had to stand still, to regain my balance...
But, I went on again, gritting my teeth, stubbornly walking home.
Suddenly, I stumbled over a wobbly piece of rock, and nearly tumbled into the next crack!
At the last moment, I grabbed a nearby thorn bush, without feeling its many sharp thorns.
With a shocked face, I stared into the narrow crack, which disappeared into a bottomless depth...
Slowly, I realized that this near-accident could have cost me my young life.
Then, I looked at my bleeding hands, with many nasty thorns sticking out...
This time, I gave up!
I slumped down onto the ground, and started to wail from agony.
Why was life so cruel to a little boy, who had done nothing but follow some scared porcupine?
Why didn't my people show up, to rescue me and take me home?
Where were all my friends, now that I needed them?
Still sobbing and sniffling, I pulled the many thorns out of my hands, using my teeth as Misha had taught me.
Next, I looked around for the foul-smelling healing plant, which would soothe my pain and prevent any inflammation.
I found one, squashed its leaves, and rubbed the stinking brownish sap into my wounds.
Almost immediately, the bleeding stopped; and I felt happy to have such a good friend as Misha!
However, would I ever see Misha again?
Or, would Misha be too disappointed in me, and no longer want to be my friend?
Again, I started to sob.
I MISSED my trapper friend!
And, I missed my Mom and Dad, Michail, our camp, and little Dimi...
Would they all miss me too?
Suddenly, I jumped up and raced towards the ravine at lightning speed, forgetting the searing pain in my feet.
This time, I had clearly heard a faint yelling sound, coming from the ravine!
My people WERE looking for me!
I folded my hands into a trumpet, and screeched into the ravine:
"I AM HERE! I AM HERE!"
For a long time, the high-pitched sound of my yelling voice echoed back and forth.
Impatiently, I waited until the silence returned...
Then, I heard a faint but well-known voice, answering my yelling from far away:
"Harry, where are you? My son, please, answer me. Where can I find you?"
I started to cry again, when I recognized the voice of my Dad.
However, this time, my tears were tears of pure joy!
My Dad had found me!
Now, everything would be all right, and all my worries vanished.
My Dad would take me home!
I folded my hands into a trumpet again, and yelled into the ravine:
"I AM HERE, DAD, NEAR A RAVINE. PLEASE, TAKE ME HOME..."
After my echoes stopped, I heard my Dad's answer, still sounding from far away:
"Please, Harry, keep shouting, and I will find you. Just stay where you are!"
"I WILL STAY HERE, DAD; BUT, PLEASE, HURRY! I WANT TO GO HOME..."
I slumped down on top of a mossy boulder, and started to cry my heart out.
Finally, I could release all my built-up stress and agony.
I didn't have to be strong any more.
My Dad was on his way to rescue me!
I cried and cried; until I started to feel a lot better.
Now, I dried my eyes with a tuft of moss; but I told myself that I had NOT been a crybaby.
I had endured quite a lot more stress than any other five-year-old boy in our camp; and I had survived!
I could be very proud of myself!
Sitting on my boulder, I started to knead my cramped muscles and swollen feet.
That was very painful, but I knew it was necessary to make the blood start flowing again.
Slowly, the trembling in my legs diminished, and the bluish color relaxed somewhat.
Only my feet stayed very swollen and painful.
From time to time, I shouted into the ravine, to let my Dad know where I was.
Every time, I was very happy to hear his immediate answer!
He was on his way towards me; and, every time, he sounded a bit closer.
Soon, he would show up and take me home.
In the meantime, I tried to distract myself, by throwing small pebbles into the ravine.
Now and then, I was lucky to hit the water stream, and I could see the pebble plunge into the water.
After a moment, I had to leave my boulder, to gather some more pebbles...
A crow landed onto a nearby rock, and stared at me for a long time.
It kept its head askew, as if it thought: 'little boy, what are you doing here?'
The moment I started to shout again, it looked angry, jumped up, and flew away.
I chuckled; and resumed my play, soon gathering even more pebbles.
Every time, I was able to throw them a bit more accurate...
Again, I heard my Dad's voice, sounding from even closer:
"Harry, my precious son, are you still waiting? Please, answer me."
"YES, DAD, I AM STILL WAITING FOR YOU."
"Now, I know where you are! Be patient and don't move, because we are on our way."
"OKAY, DAD. I WILL BE PATIENT."
Thinking about my Dad's words, I suddenly realized something important.
My Dad had said: 'WE are on our way'; thus telling me he was not alone!
Who was accompanying him, in his search for me?
Would Misha be at his side?
This time, I felt a pang of fear, shuddering at the disturbing thought that crossed my mind.
Would my Dad be mad at me, for leaving Misha and sneaking away without my guide?
The oldest kids HAD warned us not to get lost in the dense forest...
And, my Dad had told me to ALWAYS listen to the older kids!
What if my Dad thought I had proven to be too young to enter our woods?
What if he now decided to let me wait for another year or so?
I nearly started to cry at the terrifying thought!
I was way too used to our woods, and didn't want to miss them...
Would Misha be mad at me for leaving him alone; and would he stop being my friend?
I didn't want to lose my friend Misha either...
Everything had been the fault of that scalawag porcupine!
The next time I saw it, I would KILL it, and slowly roast it over our campfire!
However, this time, I started to laugh at my own silly anger.
How would I ever catch it...
I resumed my play; and gathered a couple more pebbles.
Feeling bored, I threw a too small pebble high into the air; nearly hitting my crow, or one of its friends...
Then, I heard my Dad's voice again, this time sounding from quite nearby:
"Harry, where are you?"
YESSS! There he was, and I answered immediately:
"I am here, Dad. You are quite nearby."
A few branches cracked, and two smiling men appeared from the dense forest.
They squinted in the sudden sunlight, and looked around to find me...
Then, they trotted towards me, with happy faces.
I jumped up and threw myself at them, shouting a loud Indian howl:
"MICHAIL! And DAD! You found me! Sorry, for being such a nuisance..."
"Boy, you had us really worried! But, you will NEVER be a nuisance! Now, come here, and let me hug you."
My Dad almost squashed me, while he threw his strong arms around my body and lifted me high into the air.
Then, Michail did the same thing, swinging me around and around until I became a bit dizzy.
However, I didn't mind at all!
I started to sob again, feeling overwhelmed by all my emotions.
Then, I laughed and cried at the same time, while my sobs tried to make me hiccup.
My ordeal was over!
My Dad took me onto his safe lap; and I 'octopussed' myself against his huge chest.
He folded his strong arms around me, and that was the most wonderful emotion I had ever felt!
I was safe again!
After a moment, I put my sore feet into Michail's lap, wanting to have some bodily contact with my Big Friend as well.
Michail looked at my swollen feet and cramping legs, shuddered, and winced at the terrible sight!
He spat into his hands; and tenderly started to massage my sore muscles.
That felt good; while I tried to bear the pain and smile at my Big Friend at the same time...
My dad had tears in his eyes, while he went on cradling me and kissing my head.
I sensed his powerful love engulfing me; and felt very happy to have him as my Dad!
He wasn't mad at all, and just accepted what had happened...
Then, he looked into my eyes and asked me:
"Boy, am I happy to have you on my lap healthy and unharmed! Never before have I been so worried and frightened...
"I was afraid you had fallen into a ravine and broken all your limbs... But, how did you lose Misha and get lost?"
I told my Dad how Misha and I had been practicing our trapper skills, by silently sneaking after each other.
When it was my turn to sneak after Misha, I went after a rustling sound and followed it for a long time, thinking it was my trapper friend.
At last, we reached a clearing; and I saw that I had been following a porcupine instead of Misha!
Shuddering at the disturbing thought, I told my Dad:
"Now, I am afraid that Misha will be mad at me, and not want to be my friend anymore..."
"Misha is devastated; and he blames himself for losing you. He thinks you fell into a ravine, and that everything is his fault."
"It was NOT Misha's fault! Everything is the fault of that porcupine! I wish I could kill it and slowly roast it over our campfire!"
Both my Dad and Michail started to laugh at my indignant face and blazing eyes...
Then, my Dad rose from our boulder, and carefully lifted me onto his broad shoulders.
Michail followed us from a short distance, carrying the long pieces of rope they had brought to rescue me.
Walking together, we went home.
Fortunately, my Dad knew the way back to our camp...
An hour later, we entered our camp, and my Dad took me straight to our Royal bench.
Carefully, he sat me down onto a soft pillow one of the onlookers offered us.
Everybody started to cheer and dance, when they had me back in reasonable health!
Obviously, they had been very worried about me.
Little Dimi stormed towards me, wrestled himself through the forming crowd, and panted:
"Did you really fall into a ravine? Where is your broken leg?"
Then, he saw my bluish legs and swollen feet, and almost fainted...
Looking very pale, he sat down next to Michail, leaning into his side to find some solace.
My Mom made her way through the still growing crowd, lifted me from our bench, and took me into her arms.
She started to sob and tried to squash my sore ribs, but I didn't object at all.
I was home again!
Now, I had only one burning question:
"Where is my friend Misha?"
Michail rose from our bench, patted Dimi's head, and went to Misha's caravan.
A moment later, a pale looking boy appeared, hesitating, and looking at his feet.
Trembling all over, he sauntered to our bench, where he stammered:
"I am so sorry... Everything is my fault, and I shouldn't have left you alone in the dense forest. I have been so careless..."
Suddenly, I knew exactly how I could bring my trembling friend back to life.
I left my Mom's lap, hobbled towards Misha, and threw my arms around his waist.
Then, I punched his arm and told him:
"Misha, shut up! Don't try to get so much attention, by playing the victim. The only careless one in our dense forest is a frightened porcupine, and not you!
"Now, I want to have a big hug. That is, of course, if you still want to be my friend, after I was so stupid to follow that beast instead of you."
At first, Misha stared into my eyes, with a shocked face.
Maybe, he thought that I was trying to pull his leg, or make fun of him...
However, all he could see was my honest friendship and sincerity!
For a moment, he didn't know how to react...
Suddenly, a couple of kids started to laugh, and that seemed to wake him up.
Now, Misha couldn't keep a straight face any more.
The sun returned into his eyes, and he got some more color on his face.
He smiled, punched my arm in return, and tentatively started to tickle my ribs.
Of course, I tickled him back immediately!
A second later, we both were hiccupping with laughter, as usual.
I had my friend back!
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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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