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Old 10-01-2016, 09:13 AM
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joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sarzana,Italy
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Default A short story for your enjoyment

Every thing I have posted here as been true,(With a bit of creativity here and there where needed.)This short story is all imaginary, I wanted to write something that perhaps a young child would like. As most of the people I know as engravers are also child like and have great imaginations I thought you would be a good review panel. Please let me know your opinion
Thank you
Joseph.
The Hermit and the Boy
Once there was a small, shy, orphaned boy who lived on a farm in New England with his great Aunt and uncle. This boy was never far away from the faded blue and white flour sack apron that his aunt always wore. He would follow behind her around the kitchen. And when she went outside to collect the eggs that the red hens laid in the hayloft he was with her .He was always close by sitting on a small wooden stool watching her as she milked the family cow so there would be cream for his pudding in the morning. The boy never left her side until the day he was old enough to start school. Early that spring morning she took him out to the barn where the yellow school bus that his uncle drove every day was kept. She gave him a paper sack that held his lunch, kissed him on his cheek and told him to be good.
As the boy was the first one to board and the last one to get off at the end of the day. He always sat in the front of the bus. Just as the sun was just waking up, sitting in the front seats of the bus he got to see all the animals that were up and searching for their breakfasts.
The deer, stood along the road side browsing on clover and flowers. The squirrels ran along the stone walls looking for acorns that the night winds had made fall to the ground. Once in a while he would catch a glimpse of a fat porcupine as it climbed a tree to spend its day sleeping in safety as the blue jays sitting on the roadside branches would shriek “thief, thief “as the bus rumbled by. But even seeing all these beautiful forest creatures could not take away the loneliness he felt away from his aunt. As the boy grew and his aunt got older, she would send him to collect the eggs and milk the cow, for she had become very tired and her legs caused her much pain.
One day his aunt said “Jimmy, please take a basket and go out into the woods and pick some delicious blueberries so that I can fix muffins for your breakfast. “ Now this boy loved his aunt and would do anything she asked of him. He was not a brave boy and was afraid to enter the nearby woods, but without complaint he took a basket and went to find blueberries for his aunt. To his surprise the woods were not as scary as he supposed them to be. There was sunlight pouring down between the branches and the woods gave off a sweet fragrance of wild violets while the songs of birds filled the air, but there were no blueberries to be found.
Not wanting to disappoint his aunt the boy ventured deeper into the woods. As he went deeper the forest became darker, but the boy did not notice the change, for he found a huge bush loaded with berries .He picked one and ate it, it was delicious, with enthusiasm he began to fill the basket with the bright blue berries. As he picked the sun disappeared and the woods got darker and the birds stopped singing, still the boy did not notice the change., It was only when the basket was full that he realized he was lost in the woods and did not know where home was, for the trees now looked all the same, mist began to cover the ground. It was then that fear entered his mind. He began to walk, not knowing where he was going, but hoping he would find his way home. It was not long before he found a narrow path which the lost boy began to follow, hoping it would lead to his home and his beloved aunt.
Instead, the path stopped in front of a very strange hut made of sticks, and stones it’s roof covered with thatching of moss and grass...Sitting on the step was a bare footed man wearing thick spectacles, corduroy trousers held up by a bright red pair of suspenders over a brown wool shirt-and he was reading a leather covered Bible .When he saw the boy he put a marker in the book, closed it and said.” Who in the blazes are you, and how did you get here?” The boy did not answer at first for he was so happy to know that he was no longer alone in the woods and was sure that this man with shaggy white hair and beard could tell him how to find his way home to his aunt.” My name is Jimmy Tucker and I got lost in the woods. Can you please tell me how to get home from here:” The man stared at the boy then shook his head and said “well that is impossible to do unless you can tell me where exactly you belong, because you certainly don’t belong here? My name is Chester and I am hermit because I don’t like people, and I don’t like to be disturbed and you lost boy, are absolutely interrupting my peace and quiet.
Now if you tell me where you live I will be pleased to tell how to get home.”
“Mr. Hermit I live on the farm with my great aunt and uncle on the dirt road that passes by Horseshoe pond... Can you tell me how I can find the way to Horseshoe pond?”
“Of course I can.” the hermit growled. “But you can find it yourself. All you have to do go flying up that tall tree and from there you can see it.” The boy was confused by the Hermits answer and said “Mister Hermit, I am a boy and everyone knows that boy´s cannot fly” The hermit stared over his spectacles shook his shaggy head pulled hard on his long beard and said. “That is nonsense; every one can fly if they learn how to do so. Why I can teach you to fly like a bumblebee, and as you must surely know they are not supposed to fly. I must tell you that I will not do so for free, and it will take time, imagination, and willpower to learn how. Now if you want to fly, you must agree to my terms .Only then I will show you how to find your home.
Without waiting to know what the hermit’s terms were, and because he wanted to go home, the boy agreed to learn to fly... “I think you need to know my terms before you commit to such a difficult task as flying,” the hermit said, and he reached out and patted the boy on his shoulder. “By the way, those are the finest looking blueberries I have ever seen, and I want you to give them to me as payment for telling you how to find your way home.” Upon hearing this boy took two steps backwards and said as he turned to go. “Mister Hermit, these berries are for my aunt to bake muffins and I will not give them to you, I will find my own way home, and I don´t care if I ever fly.”
“Well, well, well! At least you have integrity little boy, but how do you intend to find your way home without me helping you?” Holding his basket to his chest to boy replied. “You have just told me how Mister Hermit. I shall climb a tall tree and be able to see my home when I am at the top”. “Well, well, well,” Said the hermit. “Not only do you have integrity, you also have a good brain and determination very necessary things a small boy such as you needs to learn the art of flying. I think we can negotiate a reasonable solution to this, as I happen to very much like blueberry muffins. If you bring me a fresh muffin each time you come, I will teach you to fly like the bumble bee.”
“But Mister Hermit, what if my aunt does not bake muffins and no muffins are available?” The boy wanted to know.
“Then I will settle for a nice piece of pie. Apple, peach, pear, cherry, all acceptable, but I don’t like pumpkin. Does she bake pies?” the hermit asked and the boy nodded. “And if no pies are baked I will settle for two fresh eggs and a pint of sweet cream .Now if you can agree to this we will shake hands.” Then the hermit and the boy shook hands, sealing the agreement that every day after that when the boy came for a lesson he would bring the hermit something delicious to eat. The hermit patted his round stomach as if he could already taste one of the boy´s aunt´s delicious muffins and said. “I will now tell you the easy way to find you home. Your home is south of where you are standing. Do you know how to find south from here?” Jimmy Tucker´s silence told the hermit that he did not. The hermit continued. “Do you know that moss grows only on the north side of a tree? So if you want to go south you must follow the trees where you can see moss. As you walk south you find a meadow and across that meadow you will find the road that leads to Horseshoe pond and your home. And make sure that you remember how to find you way back here when you bring me a freshly baked muffin. Also, before you go, I must warn you cannot tell others that you are going to learn to fly.”
“But Mister Hermit, I will not lie to my aunt and if she asks I will tell her the truth.”
The hermit thought for a moment and said, “Jimmy Tucker, I can tell that you are an honest boy and that is a very rare quality in people. Do you know how the game of chess is played?” Jimmy proudly said, Yes sir Mr. Hermit they teach us that game at school.
“Very good, that will save us time, as your flying will depend on also playing a chess game with me every time you come here, you can tell anyone who should ask that you are taking chess lessons from me. That will take care of the need to lie.
Now it is late and past time for my nap, go find your way home.
The boy, following the hermit´s instructions set off into the woods, and it was not long before he came to the meadow. At first he was uncertain the meadow was not covered with water, instead of millions of pale blue flowers...As he reached the edge, the meadow suddenly began to tremble and buzz, then a mighty swarm of black and yellow bumble bees filled the air. When the boy saw this he said to himself. “If they can fly then so will I.”
Across the meadow he could see the cupola that topped the huge red barn and the weather vane that glowed in the late afternoon sun. He knew he was soon to be home with his aunt and the anger of his step uncle.
When he reached his home she was in the kitchen. Jimmy ran to her carrying the basket of berries. He said “Auntie I am sorry to be late, but I did find your berries and after picking them I got lost in the woods. Then I met a hermit living there and he told me how to find my way home. His aunt looked up from the big wooden churn where she was turning cream into butter. “So you have met Chester, I have known him for many years; he is a good and kind man. Not many others have seen him. And fewer still have spoken to him. Now you can help me to make the butter for my arm is tired from doing what is your job and you can tell me all about that old hermit Chester.” Jimmy took his aunts place in front of the butter churn and began to tell her of his adventures in the woods and how Chester was going to teach him the game of chess in return for muffins, but he made no mention of flying.
“Jimmy chess is a very old complex game and I am sure Chester will be a good teacher, I think that his payments are very fair:
Now I want to tell you how you came to live here on this farm. You need to know about your mother and your ancestors...I know that your uncle does not think well of you and has called you terrible names many times and says you were abandoned by your father and mother.
This is not the truth; your mother was a beautiful woman who fell in love at a young age. The man she fell in love with was a soldier. He left her without marrying to fend for herself when he was called to defend our country, even when he learned that she was carrying you, his child.
You were a very difficult and painful birth and you mother who was my niece died giving you life. Although I know little of your father except that he was killed in the war. I want you to know that you have heroes blood in your veins. You must never be ashamed of your mother or yourself. Always remember that sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt you...Your ancestors came to America on the Mayflower and settled the colony of Plymouth in 1620. In you veins is the blood of brave Pilgrims’ like William Bradford. Never be ashamed that you have no living mother or father. Your ancestors have fought persecution, the Indians, French, and British for independence, and, the wars against slavery. To this entire narration Jimmy only said as he looked into the churn” Thank you auntie, I have you and, I think the butter is made.”
That night as he was sleeping Jimmy dreamed for the very first time that he was flying. He flew not like a bumble bee or a bird. He simply floated up into the sky as the winds carried him aloft, like the floret of a dandelion. Below, he saw the farm and its gardens, and then he looked down on the beautiful blue meadow and woods where he could see the hermit sitting in the sun, who looked up and waved.
In the morning he tried to recall the dream but its vision escaped him. He only knew that one day he would defy gravity and be able to soar up into the sky.
Part 2
The chess lessons
The very next day as soon as he had finished helping his aunt with the chores He asked permission to go visit the hermit to begin chess lessons. Hearing this, the uncle said. “Chess lessons? That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard this worthless brat say in weeks. Why he doesn’t have the brains to learn anything more than how to milk a cow and take the horse to water.” Now jimmy did not like milking the cow but he loved taking the horse Molly down to the nearby spring every evening to drink. He had learned that Molly came from France as a foal and was a wedding gift for his aunt twenty five years ago. She was as black as coal and weighed more than one ton and her ancestors were once war horses that carried knights into battle. Even as big as she was Jimmy loved her, and hoped one day he would be tall enough to climb on her back so he could ride her.
Once again Jimmy´s aunt came to his rescue. “Andrew, you are cruel, deplorable man. This child is not worthless and I have given him permission to go, and he will prove you wrong.”
“Wrong! What is wrong is that I allowed him to come into my home in the first place. The brat should have been left in the care of the state orphanage where he belonged .Now I have to feed and clothe him, and continue to put up with your foolishness.” Then he turned and left to go into the sunroom to read his newspaper and smoke his corncob pipe.
When the boy arrived at the hermit’s house, he carried with him a small paper bag that contained a pint of fresh cream and a large blueberry muffin. When the hermit saw this he clapped his hands, rolled his eyes in happiness, and said “Thank you little boy, I am now sure that you are honest and can keep your word, but I require a bit more proof. I want to tell you about the game of chess. Do you know chess dates back over 1500 years and has been part of the culture of India, Persia, Mongolia, and Russia, not to mention China, Japan, England Norway and all of the European countries? It has been used to decide kingdoms, and battles. It is a game of logic, mathematics and complex strategies, many books on chess were written between the 12th and 15th centuries. So you can see that this not a game for people of no intellect.
Before you will be able to fly you must learn to use the power of your mind. That is why you shall begin flying lessons by playing chess. In this way I shall see if you are even capable of developing the will needed to fly. Are you willing to do this Jimmy?” “Yes sir, last night I dreamt that I was flying and I could see you below me” the boy said. The hermit smiled and said “I know, I could see you also, now come inside my home and we shall begin your lessons.”
The first thing Jimmy noticed was how neat and clean the hermits home was. The second thing he saw was a small checkerboard table set with only two chess pieces facing each other and a single chair. One piece was a black king that had a crown of gold and a silver sword in his left hand. The other piece was a white knight holding a wooden lance in his right hand. “First tell me what you know about these pieces little boy, if you answer correctly I will begin to teach you how to fly. If your answer is wrong then I know you are a liar and will send you home, eat my muffin and drink my cream and go back to my peace and quiet.” Jimmy took his time, he thought carefully about how to answer the hermit, for he desperately wanted to learn to fly.
He said “The king can only move one square at a time in any direction, the knight moves three squares, two in one direction and one to the side, it can never put the king in checkmate by itself, and it is the only chess piece that can jump over another piece.” The hermit shook the boy´s hand. “You have given a very good answer. For I now know that you are not a liar and I can trust you to keep a promise. I too am not a liar and to prove to you that I can show you how to fly, I will now give you a small demonstration on the power you have in your mind. You say that the knight is the only piece that can jump over another. Sit down, watch carefully, and I will show you what can be done with the mind.” The boy did as told while the hermit walked to another chair in the corner of the room. Once seated he said to the boy, “I want you to concentrate on the king, you are going to make it move to the other end of the board. And I want you to imagine the king lifting up into the air and flying to the end of the board. You first must see this in your imagination, and then you must will this to happen with all your heart.”
He then adjusted his spectacles opened up his leather covered Bible and began to read.
The silence settled into the room as Jimmy stared at the chess board and wondered how he could make the king move by will power alone. After a long while he sighed, and slumped defeated down into the chair. The hermit looked up from his reading, put a marker in his book and stood up, walked to the boys side and said “I told you this would not be easy and it will take time to learn how much power you have in your mind, now I am going to prove to you that it is not an impossible task. Get up from that chair and go to the other side of the room and watch the King. ”The hermit sat down in Jimmy´s place and stared at the chess board. Time seemed to stop. The hermit ´s face turned a bright red, he began to tremble, as beads of sweat appeared on his brow, suddenly the king lifted up into the air and like a black feather floated across the room to settle on the Bible that lay next to the boy. The hermit looked at the boy and said. ” It has been many years since I have used my brain power, thank you little boy. Now that you have seen me do this you must never tell a soul, not even your aunt, and especially your uncle. This ends your first lesson, now go home as it is time for my nap and I will give you your next lesson tomorrow.”
That night the boy could not sleep, he lay awake imagining making the king float through the air as the hermit had. In the morning after all his chores were done he again asked for permission to visit the hermit. The uncle hearing this became angry and said, “That is enough of this nonsense. Do you think you can do a few chores and then skip off to waste time with that crazy old fool? You have too much free time for nonsense. From now on you will make sure that the wood box is full, the kindling has been split and you have emptied my chamber pot, only then can you try to learn chess ...do you understand me! You worthless brat?” Happy that his uncle had not forbidden him from seeing the hermit, Jimmy nodded and said “Yes Uncle I do understand and I will do the extra things you ask of me.” The uncle smiled with satisfaction, saying as he did; “Good! Now get out of my sight you stupid boy.”
It was late morning when the boy was done with the extra chores. His Aunt said to him as she gave him a warm hug and a smile. “Remember that you have heroes blood in you veins and you uncle is a cruel man, now run to the hermit and give him this.” When the boy arrived at the hermit’s home´s carrying a whole apple pie his sweet aunt had given, the hermit was pacing angrily outside. “Well, well the second day of your lessons and you are late. I think you need to go home and not bother me anymore. Now get you away from here.” Jimmy did not move, he stood his ground in front of the angry hermit and said. “ I am late because my uncle gave me extra chores to do this morning, I am sorry that you had to wait, It will not happen again as I will get up extra early and finish my chores ,that way I shall be here on time in the future.” The hermit looked down on the boy and noticed the pie he held in his hands. “Is that a blue berry pie you have there?” He asked.
Jimmy handed the hermit the pie and said. “No sir, it is apple and my aunt made it just for you.”
“Apple, a whole apple pie for me!” said the hermit as held it close to his nose and inhaled the flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar, clove, raisins, and granny smith apples. “Your aunt certainly knows the way to this hermit’s heart. Come in boy and we will have you flying soon. Now today I want you to focus on the knight and in doing so imagine that it is you riding a horse doing battle to save your aunt from a terrible tyrant. To do this you must make the knight move across the board in one leap.”
The days turned into weeks as jimmy sat every day that he was free, willing with all his heart to make the knight move. The weeks turned into a month and soon they became two, yet the knight never moved. It was the beginning of third month that something happened. The knight did not move across the board, instead it fell over. The hermit who had become quite plump eating pies, cakes and drinking cream jumped up from his chair and went to the boys side saying as he did “don’t stop concentrating ,now is the moment you must find the will to make the knight upright again. You have made him move, you can certainly make him stand.”
In the distance the boy heard the hermit´s voice as he imagined he was on the back of Molly. He could see himself on the black mare, dressed in armor, charging over the meadow at full speed, while across the meadow stood the black king, his sword drawn waiting to fight him to the death as he urged Molly on to battle. Suddenly the white knight righted its self and leaped to the other side of the board. The boy felt the hermit´s hand on his shoulder and heard him say “That is enough for today. You must go home and tell your aunt that I thank her for the delicious pies and allowing me to teach you chess, you are a good student. Now it is time for me to take a nap”.
At suppertime the uncle asked the boy what he had learned from the hermit about the game of chess. “I have now learned how to move the knight and I understand how the king can be moved also, uncle.”
“Do you hear that? That is all he has learned from that lazy old fool who drinks my cream and eats my desserts, that is all he has been able to teach this stupid boy. School starts soon and winter is coming. Fire wood needs to be cut from the forest and brought home to dry so we are warm when the cold arrives. I want this nonsense to stop soon.” The aunt also agreed that the chess lessons did not have priority over the harvesting of fire wood. She said to the boy, “You have heard your uncle and he is ruler of this home. You will stop seeing the hermit at the end of this week, which is our decision. You have three more days, now take the horse for water and don’t complain” The boy nodded his head and said “I do understand aunt.”
As the boy lead Molly down the lane to the spring he noticed that she was limping and her front leg fetlock swollen badly. When he had returned her to the barn gave her a portion of oats, rubbed liniment on her ankle then he went directly to his uncle to tell him. “Uncle, Molly´s ankle is swollen and she is in pain, something is wrong and I don’t think she should be made to drag logs out of the woods until she is better.” The uncle got up from the table, he yelled at Jimmy´s aunt. ” What do you think of this stupid brat, he is now a veterinarian and just told me what to do with my horse? That dumb horse is going to pull logs this week, lame or not, that is final.”
That night Jimmy dreamed he was flying. He was high in the air and gliding with the wind over Horseshoe pond. He could see the orange and black turtles and bright green frogs sitting on rocks and logs sunning themselves as the sunbeams sparkled on the water. Then he saw his aunt standing on a small island in the middle of the pond. She was picking golden peaches from a tree that its leaves had turned snow white. As he sailed overhead she looked up and called out to him but he could not hear what she had said.
Then he awoke and the dream vanished.
Even before the first glow of morning pink showed on the horizon. Jimmy had dressed and was in Molly´s stall rubbing her ankle with more liniment. He looked into her brown eyes, patted then kissed her big nose and said, “Don’t worry Molly you will soon be better and I won’t ever let him hurt you.” then he left to finish his morning chores.
This morning there were no pies or muffins in the pantry to take to the hermit. His aunt had finished the daily baking fresh bread and it lay on a shelf cooling, he asked her if he might take a slice to the hermit. She turned from her work bench and said to the boy, “Of course you can Jimmy, and also take him a jar of strawberry jam. I know he will like that. Tell him about Molly, he has a way with animals and perhaps he can give you a poultice to put on her ankle to ease her pain.”
Part 3
The dance of Mercurys shoes

It was still early when jimmy stood in front of the hermit´s front door, a large slice of fresh bread in one hand and the jar of jam in the other. ” Mister Hermit are you up! I have come to learn, but also I need your help. Are you home sir? The hermit opened the door dressed only in his red wool underwear and still barefooted, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Then he saw the bread and jam, “Of course I am up, and I am also hungry, come in, sit down and tell me what is troubling you while I put my trousers on.” “Mister Hermit, our horse Molly has gone lame. My aunt said to tell you as she thinks you can help her get better. Also, I have only three days left to learn how to fly then I will have to work in the woods with my uncle cutting trees for winter firewood. Then school will begin and I won’t see you till next spring.” “Is that all?” the hermit said as he smiled. “Let me first eat my breakfast then we will find solutions to these things that have you so perplexed. When he had eaten the bread and emptied the jam jar. He said to the boy “Do you know anything about the Greek God Mercury?”
Wondering what a Greek God that he knew nothing about had to do with his troubles, Jimmy shook his head. “I thought not little boy, but He is a part of the answer to your problems. In Greek mythology Mercury had a pair of sandals that made it possible for him to fly. Together we are going to invent a pair for you, so you can also fly. All we need is for you to take off your shoes, place them on that chess table then using your imagination and the concentration you have already developed with the knight. You will make those shoes fly to the other side of this room. Now, you think of something that is so important that you need a pair of shoes with wings so you can fly. Meanwhile I will find a book that has a remedy for what is wrong with Molly.” Jimmy took off his worn out shoes and placed the on the table. He no longer doubted the hermit´s word. What he was uncertain about was the ability to imagine anything so important that he really needed to fly.
Jimmy was so deep in thought that he did notice the hermit put on his boots and coat then take a willow basket and his axe then open the door to leave. It was only when a draft of cold air brought a shiver to his spine he looked up and saw that the hermit was about to leave. “There is cold weather coming. “ He said as he buttoned his coat and put on a pair of gloves. “I will be back soon with herbs that will help your horse,” Then he closed the door leaving Jimmy is silence to think. It was the cold air that made the boy to remember his dream of flying in the fall air over Horseshoe pond. He remembered the island and his aunt .Now he thought of the cold, suddenly he saw himself standing on the island next to her. A bitter wind was blowing snow through the air. The peach tree had lost its leaves and stood like a black skeleton. The water in the pond had turned to an icy froth as the wind shrieked across it. He heard his aunt say to him. “You must find help Jimmy for I am so cold and my dress is so thin that I will soon die.” Jimmy thought of the hermit who lived close by, suddenly he was flying across the water going to find help for his beloved aunt.
At that moment the hermit returned with the basket full of peppermint leaves, fresh pine needles, cones and chunks of resin from cedar trees. As he set the basket down Jimmy´s worn tennis shoes suddenly took flight. “Well, well, you have exceeded my expectations little boy, I honestly was not sure you would find a way to make them fly.” Picking the floating shoes out of the air the hermit gave them to Jimmy. “Now is the time for me to show you how to make them walk up the wall and over the ceiling. Before you put these on your feet, I must tell you that the things I teach you are not to be used on childish pranks, you will not be able to go to school and fly to the top of the flagpole and impress your friends, or go flitting around the land like a swallow chasing insects on a summers evening and you most certainly cannot fly into the church steeple and ring the bell on Sunday mornings to impress the town folks. The only way you can fly is if, and when, those you love are in grave danger. Also, you must know that your ability to fly will only last as long as you have imagination and honesty. I will first put these herbs in a pot to soak. Then I will show you how to make Mercury’s shoes walk across the ceiling.
“Do you recall the first time we met and I told you that I could teach you to fly like a bumble bee? Well now is the moment. The bumble bee cannot fly in the beginning of its life. First it must crawl as its wings grow, then it needs to exercise those wings until they are strong enough for it to defy the force of gravity. You are now like that baby bee, I want you to put on your shoes and imagine you are a baby bee, and then you will begin to climb the wall, and when you have reached the ceiling just like the bee you will be able to walk upside down across it.” Entranced by the hermit’s voice, Jimmy put on his shoes and began to climb. Up the wall he went not fearing to fall .When he reached the ceiling the hermit said, “you have done the hardest part, walking across the ceiling will be easy. Hearing the hermits encouraging voice the boy crawled onto the ceiling then stood up. He looked down to see the hermit standing below him, tears of happiness flowing from beneath his spectacles. “You have done it my boy, let go of all fear and you will float in the air.” Suddenly Jimmy was floating around the room. So excited was the hermit he burst into laughter, singing at the top of his creaky voice, “Dance Jimmy, dance on air, dance with your heart filled with joy.” So Jimmy danced. He did the foxtrot, and then he waltzed, and did the polka, while the hermit stomped, clapped and whistled below. Then he slowly floated down to the chair he had been sitting in.
Chester the hermit was very excited; he took the boy by the arm and pulled him out the door. He pointed to the very same tree that he had told the boy to fly up to its top many weeks earlier. “One more test to see how well you can fly little boy. Now I want you to fly up to the topmost branch of that tree and tell me what you can see from there.” Without a second thought Jimmy lifted up into the morning air and flew to the top of the very tall tree. When he was comfortably perched, he looked across the country side where he saw the meadow and his uncle´s farm. Why, he could see all the way to the village, and the dirt road that led to his school house. He could see his aunt standing in front of the cloths line and the white bed sheets fluttering in the wind. Suddenly he noticed his uncle with a whip driving Molly towards where the wood yard and the wagon were. He yelled down to the hermit. “My uncle is taking Molly to haul wood”. Upon hearing this, the hermit shouted back to the boy. “Come down right away, that idiot is about to permanently lame her.” Jimmy looked down and suddenly realized how far up in the air he was. “I am afraid I will fall, it is a long way to the ground”. “Jimmy!” the anxious hermit called to him “You flew up there with no trouble. You can most surely fly down as easily. Now hurry Molly is in danger, we have no time to lose, let go of that limb and come back to earth. Now!!”The thought of Molly in pain was all that the boy needed to set free of the tree limb. As he was floating back to earth he noticed a glint of gold protruding from twisted roots of a neglected pear tree. He opened his arms, changing direction. Now he was falling head first at breakneck speed. When he was very close to the pear tree he raised his arms, threw back his head and spread his legs. Then he settled feet first to the ground with the grace of a swan landing on the water of Horseshoe pond. He walked over to the tree reached down and pried from its twisted roots a gold pocket watch, turning it over he wiped away the dirt clinging to it. Then he saw the inscription engraved into its case. “To Chester with love, Lilly” Walking over to the hermit he gave it to him. The hermit looked at it for a second, saying to the boy, “You have found a part of that which I had lost many years ago.” Then he put it in his pocket and told the boy, “I will explain this to you one day when you are older. Now you must fly to Molly and stop that cruel man from harnessing her to the wagon. Fly now Jimmy and I will be along as fast as I can with the poultice for her leg. Fly, fly now, her life depends on you.” Instantly Jimmy was in the air, flying towards the woodlot with the speed of a falcon.
He found the Uncle was there angrily harnessing Molly to the loaded wagon. He suddenly heard Jimmy say. “Stop that uncle you must not let Molly work for another week it will cause her too much pain.” Surprised to hear the boy´s voice behind him he turned and said. “How did you get here you interfering brat” and struck the boy knocking him to the ground and bloodying his nose. “Don’t you tell me about pain you brat, my back hurts from loading this wagon and this dumb horse is going to haul it home now” Dazed and bleeding Jimmy launched himself at his uncle, kicking him on his shin. Again the uncle struck the boy who fell stunned to the ground, he turned to the frightened horse cursing it and hitting it with his whip.
Molly’s brown eyes were wide with pain, fear, and hatred of the man. She reared up, her front legs flailing in the air, her warhorse instincts now in control. She lashed out with her iron shod hooves knocking the whip from her cruel masters hand. The next strike was the one to deliver the fatal blow to the side of her tormenters head.
She broke free, and then started to run for the sanctuary of her stall in the barn. She was about to trample the fallen boy when he heard the hermits voice say “Now is the time, you must fly to the branches of the oak. I will take care of the horse.” Instantly Jimmy found he was standing on a large branch safely out of harms way. The hermit then spoke in whispers as he calmed the terrorized Molly down. “Hello, Molly do you remember me? I am the man who named you?” The horse stopped still as the hermit stroked her shivering body “So you have not forgotten me after all these years old girl.”
Then saying to the boy “you can come down now, I want you to go as fast as you can to your aunt Lillian, tell her what has happened and give her this watch. Jimmy tried to fly but he could not, he looked at the hermit wondering why. The hermit understood his confusion and said.” There is no danger now. That is why you cannot fly. Now run Jimmy, run, and I will soon come with Molly and your uncle´s body.
Jimmy was in the farm yard when curiosity got the better of him; He stopped, looked at the watch then saw a small button which he pressed. The case lid opened; inside he saw an enamel painting of a young handsome woman. He knew in an instant it was his great aunt Lillian.
The End
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"What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything"-Lawrence Sterne
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