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Hieracium and the Lady of the Lake (youngsters:fairy tales, 3098 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Aug 01 2006Views/Reads: 3471/1351Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Tritoma moved cautiously in the darkness, guided only by his sense of smell and the touch of his whiskers against any obstacles he found in his path, while Hieracium followed closely… Hieracium and Tritoma’s adventure continues.
 



Hieracium and the Lady of the Lake (Another tale from Astrantia) 

© 2006 Ian G. Hobson 

Callistephus had accepted an invitation to come and live in the old
tower with Thymus and Holcus, and he was sitting on the floor of his 
new bedroom.  'Can we continue with the story?' he asked. 

'Very well,' replied Thymus, collecting his thoughts and making himself
comfortable on the bed.  'Though this was not altogether my favourite 
dream.' 

*** 

The tunnel was thousands of years old and formed by a flow of volcanic
lava.  Tritoma moved cautiously in the darkness, guided only by his 
sense of smell and the touch of his whiskers against any obstacles he 
found in his path, while Hieracium followed closely, holding the cat's 
tail.  ‘Do you think we are going the right way?' he asked.  ‘right 
way... right way?'  Hieracium's question was repeated by an echo. 

‘There's no other way to go... way to go... way to go,' Tritoma and the
echo replied.  ‘Just keep hold of my tail and stop if I tell you to...  
tell you to...  tell you to.' 

The boy and the cat had been in the tunnel and its complete and utter
blackness for so long that they had begun to loose track of time.  And 
they had only the word of the mermaid princess that it would lead them 
out from under the seabed and to safety. 

‘Stop a moment... a moment... a moment.'  Tritoma's whiskers had brushed
against something wet.  It was the tunnel wall and he tasted the 
wetness with his tongue before moving on. ‘The tunnel seems to turn 
left here... left here... left here... and this wall tastes of fresh 
water.... fresh water... fresh water.  So we are no longer under the 
sea... the sea...the sea...' 

Hieracium felt water drip onto his head and he stopped and tilted his
head back to drink some before allowing himself to be led further in 
the darkness.  ‘You're right, Tritoma... Tritoma... Tritoma.  The water 
is fresh so we must be under land... under land... under land.' 

'Quite so... quite so... quite so,' said the echo, 'but you have a long
way to go yet... go yet... go yet.' 

'Who said that... said that... said that?' Hieracium asked as he and
Tritoma came to halt and listened. 

'Just me... just me... just me,' replied the echo.  'I've been so lonely
down here on my own... my own... my own.  No one ever comes this way 
any more... any more... any more.' 

'Who are you... are you... are you?  Tritoma asked, sniffing the air but
detecting nothing but a damp stony smell. 

'I'm an echo... an echo... an echo,' replied the echo.  'Have you never
heard one before... one before... one before?' 

'But echoes don't answer back... answer back... answer back,' said
Hieracium. 

'Don't they... don't they... don't they?'  Suddenly the echo sounded
quite worried.  'It's been a long time... long time... long time,' he 
said.  'Perhaps I've forgotten how it's done... it's done... it's done. 
 I've only had myself to talk to for ages... for ages... for ages.  
Even the pirates don't come here any more... any more... any more.' 

'Pirates... pirates... pirates?'  Despite the absurdity of talking to an
echo, Hieracium was keen to know more.  'What pirates... pirates... 
pirates?' 

'A nasty lot they were... they were... they were,' the echo replied. 
'Always squabbling and fighting with each other... each other... each 
other.  Their cave is just around the next bend... next bend... next 
bend.' 


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