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Hieracium and the Great Wave (youngsters:fairy tales, 3388 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Jul 25 2006Views/Reads: 3329/1269Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
…his thoughts were of sailing off to foreign lands where battles were waiting to be fought, and where princesses waited to be rescued... Another bedtime story from Astrantia.
 



Hieracium and the Great Wave (Another tale from Astrantia) 

© 2006 Ian G. Hobson 

The boy Callistephus and his feline friend, Thymus ambled along beside
the river.  ‘So you have not ventured into the village yet?' said 
Thymus. 

‘No, not yet,' replied Callistephus.  He was no longer bewitched, but
still felt unwelcome.  'Tell me about your dreams, Thymus,' he said, 
changing the subject.  'The ones that you said were very real.' 

'I've had so many,' said Thymus, 'because, as you know, cats have nine
lives; and we often dream of past ones...  But perhaps I could put some 
of the dreams together to make a story.' 

*** 

Springtime was giving way to summer, and sitting high in the Biloba tree
in the field behind his father's cottage, Hieracium looked out across 
the rooftops of the village, dreaming of the far off places he had 
learned of from his father and from the stories his mother had read to 
him.  And beside him sat Tritoma, the family cat.  'A penny for your 
thoughts,' said Tritoma as he rubbed up against Hieracium's leg and was 
rewarded with a rough scratch behind the ear. 

'I'm going to be ten soon, Tritoma,' said Hieracium.  'Ten!  That's how
old Father was when he ran away from home and became a soldier.'  This 
was, of course, not quite true; Ranunculus had run away at the age of 
ten to escape an evil stepfather, but he had not become a soldier until 
he was much older. 

'Then I must be ten already,' said Tritoma.  'I was only a kitten when
Father brought you home in a basket, but I remember it because after he 
made you a cradle he gave me the basket to sleep in.' 

Yes, Hieracium was a foundling; a child abandoned by his mother but then
found and adopted by Ranunculus and his wife Luzula; who, despite being 
quite old, were surly the best father and mother a boy could have.  
Though that didn't stop him from wondering where he came from.  He was 
a handsome boy with raven hair, and his features gave him a proud and 
intelligent look.  His mother had taught him to read and write, but his 
father had made him a wooden sword and taught him how to fence with it. 
 So as Hieracium looked westward, towards the setting sun, his thoughts 
were of sailing off to foreign lands where battles were waiting to be 
fought, and where princesses waited to be rescued, and where dragons 
waited to be slayed. 

Of course, things are never quite that simple, even in Astrantia. 
Hieracium was still very young and though he felt sure that his destiny 
lay in far off places, one thing did trouble him.  No, it was not his 
tender age, or even the thought of dragons and other dangers, because 
even from a very young age he had always been completely fearless.  No, 
it was the thought of leaving his parents that worried him. They were 
old and he was their only child, and he knew that he would be missed. 

As he heard the door to the cottage open, he swung down from the branch
he was sitting on and continued his decent until he was low enough to 
drop to the ground.  And as he ran towards his mother, his faithful 
playmate Tritoma dropped down from the tree and ran after him. 

*** 

Hieracium's birthday came a few days later, though in truth, it was not
his birthday at all, but the anniversary of his being found by 
Ranunculus.  His real birthday was a few days before that and, though 
neither of them knew it, it was in fact a birthday shared with Tritoma, 
as they had both been born on the very same day. 

'Where are we going?' Hieracium asked his father as he climbed up to sit
beside him on the horse-drawn cart.  The cart was laden with vegetables 
and also a hamper of food prepared by his mother, Luzula, who stood in 
front of the cottage and waved as the cart set off. 

'We're just making a delivery,' replied Ranunculus as he and Hieracium


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