Have you inadvertently mislaid Part One? Well, I found it *here*.
Each and every mission undertaken was fraught with danger. Wild wolves, tricksters and hags may cross his path. Yet, it was something that must be done: If the crumbs were left unfollowed it would bring the ultimate terror to their part of the world. Then, life as they knew it, would be no more.
When Silvius had been a young and inexperienced pup, his great great grandfather, Avus, told him bedtime stories of the mischievous crows, the crumbs that could be elusive as gold dust and the evil lurking in the depths of the woods. He also elaborated on the cunning hags who appeared as breath-taking beauties with a penchant to mislead and steal, and other villains such as the wolves with yellow eyes and bad breath, and the little people, although nothing much was seen of them.
Silvius’s mother sighed. “How is the boy supposed to sleep without bad dreams if you fill his head so?”
“If he doesn’t learn of the dangers now, he will be, but ill prepared later.” Avus argued.
However, Silvius had much later received an almighty shock when he discovered that the wolves with the yellow eyes and bad breath, also have dangerously sharp teeth. This lesson additionally taught him to be prepared for the unexpected – and so, he spent a lifetime imagining all kinds of horrors just around the corner. Whether Avus had intended this, he never knew. Whenever he felt himself becoming too lax, he only had to see the meandering silver scar on his belly to remember just how important it was to be vigilant.
That night he walked for a solid three hours before stopping to rest behind some thick bracken and below an ancient oak tree. He extinguished the light of the hard working fireflies – “Time to rest, lads.” – then made himself comfortable on a patchwork blanket his mother had made, and leant against the tree. The back-pack put to one side and a catapult resting on his leg. One eye half open.
In due course, his eyes completely shut and he fell into slumber. The three fireflies, with their strong working ethic, kept guard.
He dreamt of his great great grandfather.
“In this here box, see, you collect the crumbs. It’s hung around your neck for practicality.”
Young Silvius, his eyes glistening with awe, outstretched a paw to touch the small wooden box that had a hole in its top, the size and shape of a pea.
“Yes, pup, in there. Now, haste and thoroughness are of paramount importance. Heed my words: If you happen to leave just one crumb – however tiny, however much it may blend into the floor of the wood – it will surely bring everyone’s downfall. Never, never leave a trace of the crumb trail.”
Abruptly, he awoke to the chattering of the fireflies. They were calling out: “Danger! Danger! Silvius, danger!”
His paw scrambled for the catapult, whilst the other quickly located the hazelnuts in the pocket of the back-pack. In readiness, he seized a handful of them. Despite the fat yellow moon, it wasn’t illuminating enough to see the creature on the path, beyond the bracken. The experienced fireflies remained unlit, their acute eyesight tracking the shape.
Silvius, his heart beating loudly, strained to see through the less dense edges of the bush. And, then he saw something: a pair of yellow unblinking eyes.
Yellow eyes, bad breath, dangerously sharp teeth.
Had the creature caught the smell of his being? Had the wolf been tracking him as he dutifully tracked the crumbs? Very likely.
Gradually, the form of the wolf – as his eyes adjusted to the dim light – became apparent. He had wandered on further up the path as the trail of crumbs had already been collected some way; this was a typical safeguard Silvius employed for the very reason of being tracked and found. The crumb trail never led directly to him.
“Target stopped!” The fireflies whispered.
Yes, he had been following the crumb trail in search of him. The crumbs had begun again and so the wolf had halted. He raised his pointed snout and sniffed the air for any sign of Silvius.
The crumb hunter – short and stout, small and surly – recalled great great grandfather’s words: “Always dispose of extra crumbs along the trail and then backtrack and hide for rest. Keep one eye open. When the predator has realised the crumb trail has ceased and you are not there, now is the time to act.”
“NOW!” Yelled Silvius and the fireflies cheered their support, as he took aim with the catapult and accurately shot his target.
He was in luck that night, it only took three hazelnuts to do their damage. The wolf had been lean and hungry. Silvius pushed his body to the side of the path and covered it with leaves and sticks. For a solemn moment, he wished him well in the hereafter; for he was only a wolf, being a wolf.
The fireflies supped on berries to rejuvenate their light for the way forward. And, Silvius swigged a few mouthfuls of apple cider from a flask he always carried.
He had earnt it.
To be continued…….!
Silvius = Surly, short tempered, short statued admirable crumb hunter. Sort of like a terrier-dog.
Musskit = Resembling a hamster, impatient, clumsy, physically strong, loyal to Silvius.
Petiole = Little-footed mole like creature with bad eyesight, tons of patience and ever helpful.
Avus = The great great grandfather of Silvius. Renowned and fearless crumb hunter.
Hänsel und Gretel – Illustration for Grimms Fairytales, by Professor Paul Hey
Writing prompt: n/a
Writing inspiration: A certain little dog who goes by the name of Oscar Dandelion, who favours tidying up the residue of crumbs on my chest. He does love a good sandwich crust!
What’s a Chi Tale?: n/a
Copyright Faith McCord 2016
Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.