Episode 2 – A Companion
“I’m sorry to interrupt at an inopportune moment,” the boy said. He had a winning smile…seemed very friendly and animated.
“It’s quite all right,” I said. “You know how it is…sometimes you’ve just got to go.”
“Yes, I know what you mean.”
He was at least five inches shorter than I…still had a high-pitched voice. I guessed him to be eleven or twelve…but, it was obvious, when the time came, he would have no problem finding a mate. His features were comely…sparkling green eyes and a splash of freckles across the bridge of his fine nose.
“What are you called?” I asked.
“Sam Rain. I’m from the Tumble. What about you?”
“My family lives in a cave we call Fox Glen…my mother, stepfather, and two sisters, Sally and Thimble.”
“Where are you headed?” Sam asked.
“Actually, I’m traveling to your homeland to find a wife. I’m thirteen,” I proclaimed proudly.
“Oh!” Sam gasped. “Are you really?”
“Yes. Maybe you can point me in the direction of an appropriate maiden.”
Sam smiled. “Maybe I can.”
“Do you have a sister?” I asked.
“No,” Sam replied. “I’m an only child.”
“What’s a young fellow like you doing alone in the wilderness?”
“Visiting relatives in the Ravine of the Mist. Do you know it?”
“Can’t say that I do, but you’re very brave to be making such a journey.”
“You too, but you’re so tall, I doubt any animals would attack you.”
“Perhaps…but over the past year, my father and I have spent many hours in the wilderness, so it’s become very familiar.” Then it struck me I was supposed to be on an important family mission, and I felt irresponsible gabbing away. “Let’s be off,” I said. “Confidentially, I’m nervous about successfully completing my goal. I have no experience with maidens my own age.”
Sam smiled. “I don’t think you’ll have a problem. You’re very handsome…and your body is remarkable.”
“It is? Why do you say that?”
“I’m very observant,” Sam said mysteriously.
I wasn’t sure what to make of him. He had a twinkle in his eye, but his compliments made me a uneasy. I’d never heard such words from a boy or man before.
Shortly thereafter, we set off. In spite of his size, Sam marched through the snow without hesitation…more easily than I on long spindly legs, and the terrain became more and more rugged.
Still, he seemed rather odd…very modest for a young lad. After a few hours, we both had to drain ourselves, and I simply unbuttoned…jokingly wrote my name in the snow, while he retreated behind boulders to do his business…figured he had more to do than make water.
In spite of that, it was fun to have him along. We had a lively time sharing hunting stories. He seemed to know a lot more than I at twelve. Apparently his father started teaching him the skills at the age of eight….and I got an impressive demonstration. A pheasant flew across our path and, before I could even unshoulder my bow, Sam launched an arrow through it’s heart. I was flabbergasted.
“That was incredible,” I exclaimed as he retrieved the prize. “Where did you learn to shoot like that?”
“My father is champion of the Tumble,” he explained, and I had no doubt it was true.
Not long after, the Winter twilight descended, and we decided to camp for the night in a narrow crevice…soon had a fire roaring. Sam was as skillful at starting fires as he was at hunting. Not only that, he offered to pluck and cook the pheasant, but I was so tired, I shared my dried venison with him instead.
After that we stretched out side by side, and as the fire died, stared up at the stars.
“I’m so happy we met,” Sam said. “I wasn’t looking forward to spending the night alone.”
“Me either,” I confessed.
Soon we were fast asleep, but during the night, my rebellious member stiffened, and I had to poke it to avoid discomfort.
Sam was amused. “You certainly have a problem down there.”
“You’ll see,” I replied. “The same thing will happen to you.”
“I certainly hope not,” Sam replied. It seemed like an odd comment for a boy. I wrote it off as more of his unusual modesty.
To be continued….