Sunday, January 13, 2013

Please Come Away, Mr Hedgehog

The sun, worn out from a day’s hard work, slowly but surely edged towards the horizon.

The Monkey skipped over what he remembered to be an uneven patch of ground, puffing his chest out a little at his mastery of this particular spot in the savannah. With a few more deft leaps, he found himself high above the ground, secure amongst the branches of his favourite tree.

The Monkey fished out a couple of figs from a little hollow in the trunk of the tree (he found it quite agreeable as a hiding place), leaned back and prepared for a quiet evening.

Eyelids drooping, slipping in and out of a dreamless sleep, the Monkey soon became aware of rustling from the bottom of the tree.

“Oi! Who’s there!” the Monkey whispered urgently, suddenly alert and awake.

“Huh? It’s me, just me, don’t mind me!” replied the Hedgehog, in his usual befuddled and carefree way.

“Hedgehog? What are you doing there? It’s late, you shouldn’t be out!”

“Oh yes, yes, I should be going home. But perhaps later. I found this patch of berries, you see, and I’m counting how many I’ve picked.”

The Monkey’s ear pricked up, and he stared intently into the darkness that had now settled on the land. He was very sure he heard something, but the cloud cover was heavy tonight, and he couldn’t see anything.

“Hedgehog, go home, go home. You don’t know what’s out there. It’s not safe.”

“I will, I will, just a bit more.”

“Or if you want, how about you come up here with me? I could, maybe, pull you up, just don’t poke me or anything.”

“Oh no no, that wouldn’t do, I don’t like heights, you see.”

And so on and on the Monkey tried, with suggestions, explanations, requests, appeals. It didn’t work. Nothing the Monkey said could get the Hedgehog to budge from his curious task of counting the number of berries that lay in front of him in a little circle.

Strange, the Monkey thought to himself, the silver tongue I thought I had is having no effect at all on this Hedgehog.

Then, from the corner of his eye, the Monkey saw a flash of two pearlescent eyes away in the distance. Then another pair. And another. When the Monkey turned to get a better look, the darkness bristled with indignation, that a mere Monkey might try to see right past it.

Looking back down at the Hedgehog who was still steadfastly refusing to heed his advice, the Monkey tasted true, unadulterated frustration and helplessness.

The taste was a bitter one.

1 comment:

AWee said...

back after a year long hiatus!