Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Book Three, Chapter Seven, Part Six
Jonathan and Sammy moved quickly into the wood on the far side of the path. It was best they stay out of view just in case anyone lingered from the troop that passed through the area the day before, as disappearing within the shadows of the forest was the best approach to take at this point. There was still an uphill gradient to the land within the trees, but at a more gradual slope that was much easier to hike now. The wood was just as dense as it had been before as they paralleled the stream, but the underbrush seemed to thin out the higher the elevation they reached. Hunger pangs began to weigh heavily on Jonathan’s mind as they continued searching for Princess Aydreanna and the cottage, not knowing if they would ever find either one.
Mid-morning they took a break beside the stream and found there was no longer any mud along the stream bank to bother them, and that the way was easier as the trees had thinned out alongside the stream. It would now be an easy hike to just follow the stream directly, and Jonathan could see farther through the wood than he had been able to before. Dappled sunlight gently filtered down through the leaves, leaving a serene and peaceful calm within the forest. The first hints of color were appearing on the leaves and songbirds sang their songs of impending departure prior to feeling the first frosts of autumn. The setting was so peaceful and calm that Jonathan almost forgot the urgency to find Aydreanna, and the fact that a large troop of men and horses had only recently passed through this area.
The afternoon seemed to drag on without hope of accomplishing their rescue mission, for there was no knowing if they were even in the right place, or right world for that matter. Eventually the wood thinned out even more, and Jonathan could make out a large open area ahead to the left of the stream that appeared to be a pasture of some sort, with a small number of horses, cows, sheep and goats all peacefully eating their fill of tall grasses – a meadow! It was the meadow they had been searching for all along and all they had to do now was find the cottage!
Sammy had been ranging wider away from Jonathan now that the wood had thinned out and they could see each other from farther away. At the moment he had dropped out of sight and Jonathan grew concerned that it wasn’t a good idea to become separated. He whistled a low bird whistle his father had taught him to make, but there was no immediate response, so he headed in the direction he’d last seen his adventure companion. There was a small rise within the wood that seemed to indicate a valley beyond, but once Jonathan reached the top of it there was no Sammy in sight. He whistled again without seeing Sammy return, and now became worried that something might have happened to him. It wasn’t possible to backtrack to all the areas Sammy had been wandering through within the forest, and Jonathan hoped Sammy would simply show up once he was finished investigating whatever it was he found.
Jonathan returned to course paralleling the stream, and then wandered back closer to the stream bank where he had a better view of the meadow he was approaching in the distance. After about five more minutes, he saw Sammy running towards him through the trees from the general direction of the meadow! At least they found each other again and it appeared that Sammy was more excited now than he had been before. They were both famished from not having eaten for some time now, but Sammy seemed to be reinvigorated as he came up alongside Jonathan. Instead of remaining with Jonathan though, Sammy immediately turned around and ran back the same way he’d come from, confusing Jonathan by his actions as if uncertain if he wanted to stay or go – or perhaps he’d found something and needed Jonathan to hurry up and follow after him…