2020. december 21., hétfő

The Tale of Little Hanna

Once upon a time, there was a Valley. In the Valley, there was a happy, noisy stream. Around the stream, there was a forest. In the forest, there was a road. Near the road, there was a big oak tree. Under the oak tree’s roots, lived Hanna, the little striped field mouse with her parents and many sisters and brothers. The striped field mouse family was a nice, but old-fashioned family. They wore similar clothes, as our greatgrandmothers: in the forest there was no fast fashion! The boys wore blue trousers, yellow shirts with little, flat hats. The girls wore nice, blue frocks, yellow pinafores with yellow collars. They wore blue shirts with puffy sleeves. And Hanna was the dirtiest little mouse of all. I think, she was the dirtiest little mouse I have ever known! She really liked her nice, girly clothes, but she couldn’t take care of them. She wanted to, but she couldn’t. Every time she dressed up something happened: she founda nice pebble or a shell in the mud, and put it in her pocket. Or she saw a friendly agile gibbon in the puddle, and gotdown on her knees to talk with him. So, this is why, her clothes were so dirty. But the others in her family never foundanything or paidsuch closeattentionto the other animals in the woods.Hanna had the kindest, bravest heart, and the best ideas, but nobody knew it: not even her! On one fine spring morning, the mouse children woke up early. The eldest boy, Brownie said to the others: ‘I know an old castle in the middle of the woods. I want to be the lord in it! And there we can play there a siege too! ‘Or maybe it is a ghost castle! ‘said Black Belly, a little brother. ‘And I want to be the princess of the castle! ‘said Lily, Hanna’s big sister. ‘Me too, me too! ‘said Little Ear, an other sister. ‘And maybe I can find treasure! ‘said Hanna. They put some fried nuts in their pockets, and off they went! Browney ran at the front. Then Black Belly, and Lilli with Little Ear hand in hand. At the end of the group there walked Hanna. She was not so fast as the others. Her legs were not so strong, and of course, she kept lookingaround as she went, listened to the birdsong, collected pebbles and smelled the spring flowers. She stroked the great pasqueflower, looked at the nice, yellow spring adonis and the little primrose. “‘It has a same colour as my collar!” ‘thought Hanna. Then she watcheda fast brimstone butterfly flutter about too. “Oh, if I couldhave the same wings, - sighed Hanna- then I couldeasy fly after my brothers and sisters!” But nothing happened. No wings grewon her back. But then... she heard something! She heard a scary noise from the direction where her sisters and brothers disappeared. ‘Wahuuu! Wee! Wahaaa! ‘yelled somebody in pain or anger. Then came Browney on the way and cried: ‘There is a witch in the castle! A black, scary witch! ‘said the frightened boy, then ran away. Then came Lily with Little Ear and they shouted: ‘Hanna, run home! There is an ugly, old witch in the castle! She is so old! And she has a long, ugly nose! Hanna stood rooted to the spot. She couldn’tmove. A witch! ‘The forest witch is in the castle! Fortunately, her long nose is stuchbehind the roots, but she is so scary and angry!‘yelled Black Belly and ran home. Hanna still stayed there thinking. “‘This poor, old witch can’t move. Maybe she needs help. And my sisters and brothers simply ran away without trying to help her. I just… can’t! I must help her.” So Hanna slowly tiptoed near the castle. It wasn’t a really castle at all. It was a heap of moss covered in rocks and roots, but for the mouse children it looked like a castle. In the middle of the heap of the rocks stood somebody. The old witch! She leant close tothe earth, and wore ragged, black clothes. And she cried so scarily! When poor Hanna heard it from up close, she wanted run away like the others did. She hated loud things. But then she stepped forward and asked: ‘Can I help you? Is your nose hurt? The witch looked up: ‘Go away! Go away as your naughty brothers and sisters! Nobody can help me! You can’t help meeither, you are too little. When I, the big witch can’t help myself, then nobody can! ‘then she tried to pull out her nose again, but she couldn’t. ‘Please, let me try it! You don’t look like somebody who can help yourself now.‘said Hanna. ‘Ok,’ sighed the witch,’you can try it! But I don’t believe it willwork. Hanna climbed close to the witches’ nose and chewed the roots. Maybe Hanna’s legs weren’t strong enough, but her teeth were!She chewed easily throughthe root, and the witch was free in one minute. ‘Thank you, oh, thank you my dear!’ said the witch. ’You know, I wanted to collect some moss to heal a deer’s footsore, and I wanted to pick up this nice one on the root. But my nose got stuckin the root! I stayed herehelplessly for an entire day. It was horrible! I became a bust-ache and some nasty snail climbed overme! And nothing helped, nor magic, nor anger!How can I return your kindness? I want to give something to you! But what do I have here? My handkerchief is too nasty.’ ‘Thank you, but I don’t need anything!’ said Hanna. ‘But once you may find yourself in need of help too.’ said the witch, thinking ‘ And when I looked at you I saw it in your heart that you need a friend. Take my false scorpion with you from the fold of my skirt. It looks dangerous, but it is harmless and friendly, like me. If you are in trouble and need my help, put this little creature on the road and follow it. It was born in the compostheap in my garden, and it can easily find the way home. But till that time, it can be a little company toyou. ‘ ‘It is a nice little fellow!’ said Hanna’ But is being with me good for it? Maybe the false scorpion will behomesick.’ ‘Don’t be afraid,’ laughed the witch’ he wants to seethe world and makenew friends too.’ Then she put the false scorpion in Hanna’s hands, said goodbye to them and disappeared. Hanna walked homeslowly with hernew friend in her pocket, and she talked in a soft voice to him all the way: ‘I want to take care of you, because you are so cute and so little! You are smaller then I am! I never ever have a personal guest till now, but I think, you and I willbe good friends!’ Spring came and gone. Then nice, hot summer days came. It was not too hot in the forest. Under the trees, near the stream the summer was simply good. One night, after supper, the mouse family sat together undertheir oak tree. Mother Mouse stroked each child’s striped head and told long stories about her childhood. ‘When I was young’ began Mother’ I sailed along the stream with my very best friend, Abby Mouse. We bought a boat together and we sailed down the stream. We came back with plenty of wild berries. These were such nice days!’ ‘Do you want to sail again?’ asked Father Mouse. ‘Yes, indeed!’ answered Mother. ‘Me too, me too!’ cried all the children. ‘And we can visit Abby and her family too’ said Father Mouse, ‘I know, you miss her’. Mother Mouse nodded and gave him a kiss. Next day the whole family wokeup early. They sent a letter with a jay to Abby Mouse: “Dear Abby Mouse! We are making a grand sailing trip on the stream to visit you and your family. Mother Mouse misses you very much and the children wantto meet and play together with yours. We will visit you tomorrow when our boat is ready! Striped Filed Mouse Family” And they started to build a boat. Or better, a raft. At first they collected long branches from the woods and carved them a little bit. Then Father Mouse and Brownie tried to bind them together, but they couldn’t. Mice can easy chew anything, but they can’t bind it! Sadly Mother Mouse had completely forgotten it too, how they made it in the old days. When the jay came with Abby’s answer, the family was really sad. “Dear Friends, my dearest Heather ‘wrote Abby Mouse, Heather was Mother’s name’. I can’t wait your arrival! My children, Cassie, Chrissie, Mack and my Husband too! I’ll bake a hugewalnut cake for you. With love: Abbey” ‘I can’t reply that we are not coming!’ said Mother Mouse. ‘Don’t cry, Mother!’ said Little Ear and she begin to cry bitterly herself. ‘Can I try something, Papa?’ asked Hanna quietly.’ I saw when the golden oriole made her nest...’ ‘You didn’tjust seeit,’ laughed Lily’ you watched the oriole all day long!’ ‘So maybe I can make good knots.’ said Hanna and tried to bind the branches together. The golden oriole was perhaps a good teacher, because the raft was completed and it looked good. The mice put some food and warm clothes on it, and wanted to start sailing. But Hanna cried: ‘I forgotmy rag mouse in the house!’ then she ran to the tree house and came back with Lucy, the blue checked rag mouse. With Lucy in her arms and with the false scorpion in her pocket Hanna felt herself brave enough to sail away. So the mice put the raft on the stream and began sailinghappily. The sail was Mother Mouse’s best sheet, and they sang an old mouse sailor song, what Father Mouse taught to the young ones. Hanna was sitting under the sail, she held on tight to Lucy but she still had butterflies in her stomach. Sailing was (terrific)/terrible but beautiful and exciting too! Green leaves and little dwarf children waved from the riverbankto the mouse family. Once a deer came to the water to drink and a nice, blue-red chaffinch sang on a branch abovethe stream. Waves splashed up against the little raft. Hanna hugged Lucy and dreamed: ‘Maybe when I grow up, I can be a real sailor! I can travel around the world. I can be brave and strong. I can put all my things in a small but heavy bag, and take them with me everywhere. Lucy and the false scorpion can travel with me of course. Without them I don’twant to travel. And I will come home to Mother Mouse for Christmas.’ On the water pond skaters danced, underwater slender fishes did. Hanna watched the nice, bright, yellow pebbles under the dancing fishes and the trees on a bank of the river. Suddenly, she saw a big oak tree near the stream. It looked similar totheir house at home. But this tree had a strange hole in it: it looked like somebody’s nose. ‘ There is the Treeman Nose House, we arrived’ cried Mother Mouse. ‘ This is Abby’s house’. On the riverbank there stand a mouse family: the brave, bright eyed Abbey and her children.

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