Friday, 19 July 2013

Encounters with mountain monsters (or an evening walk up a hill)

There was once a little girl who lived in a cottage by the mountains. She always peeked out of windows at the big, wide world out there. One day she decided to be brave and go on an adventure, so she ventured out across the farmlands of burnt winter grass and up into the mountains. She passed through forests and said, "if you hold my hand I won't be scared." So we held hands and carried on walking. She passed by thorny shrubs and said, "if you hold my hand, the monster won't get me." So we held hands and it didn't.

At last she emerged at the top and the setting sun tickled the dry landscape with the last of her dusty-yellow rays. It was beautiful and felt like the top of the world had been conquered. But then, emerging out of the dazzling light, she saw an approaching figure. It was big and shaggy and had a long tail. The mountain monster had come.

The little girl stood frozen to the spot and squeezed my hand. I told her, "it's only a monster." She believed me and stared him down as he extended his curious, sniffing nose. She giggled. He was delighted. And then they played across the mountain top together, running and calling and standing on rocks as if they were kings.

And later, as she descended the mountain on the shoulders of giants, she told me, "It was okay, the mountain monster is friendly."

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