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Hieracium and the Earthquake (youngsters:fairy tales, 3186 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Aug 04 2006Views/Reads: 3681/1506Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Much later, when Hieracium woke, Tritoma was gone, but soon the cat returned, licking his lips. ‘Water rat,’ he said, guiltily… Another bedtime story from Astrantia (Following on from Hieracium and the Lady of the Lake).
 



Hieracium and the Earthquake (Another tale from Astrantia) 

© 2006 Ian G. Hobson 

Autumn was turning into winter and the days were growing shorter, and as
Thymus and Callistephus sat enjoying the rest of what was left of the 
day's sunshine, Thymus began to tell him of his latest dreams... 

*** 

As sunlight filtered down through the woodland canopy, Hieracium knelt
down to drink before kicking off his shoes and wading out to where the 
water was deepest to wash his hands and face.  He was exhausted and 
hungry, but glad to be out in the fresh air again after so long 
underground.  His faithful feline friend, Tritoma was also exhausted 
and had already fallen asleep beside the stream, so Hieracium came and 
lay down beside him and fell asleep too. 

Much later, when Hieracium woke, Tritoma was gone, but soon the cat
returned, licking his lips.  ‘Water rat,' he said, guiltily.  ‘Would 
you like me to catch you one?' 

‘No thanks,' replied Hieracium, suddenly thinking of home and his
mother's cooking.  ‘I'm hungry, but not that hungry.'  Then he began to 
wonder just how far away home might be; surrounded by trees, it was 
hard to guess.  Though he thought that this forest was probably the one 
that he and his father had passed through towards the end of their 
journey to the coast. 

‘Hungry!  Hungry!'  Suddenly Hieracium's last word was repeated by a
loud squawky voice that came from somewhere up in the treetops.  
‘Hungry!  Hungry!'  As Hieracium and Tritoma looked up into the canopy, 
a large colourful bird swooped down towards them, but as the bird saw 
the cat, she spread her wings and flew over to a nearby tree to land on 
one of its lower branches. 

‘Yes, I am hungry,' said Hieracium, fascinated by the bird's colourful
plumage and guessing correctly that she must be a parrot. 

The parrot tilted her head this way and that as she looked first with
one eye and then the other at Tritoma and Hieracium, as though 
surprised to see a boy and a cat together in the forest.  But then she 
took to the air again.  'Follow me,' she chirped as she flew off. 

Intrigued, Hieracium put his shoes back on and picked up the sword and
scabbard that he had found in the pirates' cave, and ran after the 
parrot, quickly followed by Tritoma.  The parrot flew from branch to 
branch, taking them uphill and eventually leading them to a clearing, 
where a long and shabby-looking wagon stood beside a cart track.  The 
wagon was like a house on wheels, with a curved roof and a chimney and 
a double door at the end, with two small windows, and steps leading up 
to the door between two poles that were obviously for harnessing a 
horse to. 

'Food inside!' chirped the parrot as she landed on the roof. 'Food
inside!' 

Hieracium cautiously climbed the steps and tried to peer through the
windows, but they were too high.  'Who lives in here?' he asked, 
looking up at the parrot. 

'Gone away,' replied the parrot.  'Gone away.  Food inside.' 

Hieracium knocked on the door but there was no reply. So he tried the
handle and found that the door was unlocked and easily opened. 

'Food, food, food!' chirped the parrot as she flew past Hieracium and in
through the open door.  Hieracium followed and found that the vehicle 
was furnished with a tiny stove and a bed set against the wall and a 
wooden table fixed to the floor beside it.  But there was hardly room 
for these as the wagon was mostly filled with goods: pots and pans, 
spades, saws and axes, three barrels like the ones Hieracium had seen 
in the pirates' cave; and unusual things like a wooden carving of an 
eagle and another one of a bear and even ones of little men with 
pointed hats, all sitting in a row on a pile of old sacks.  And there 


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