Holly Bush Forest
Published by Galway Academic Press
Published by Galway Academic Press
Copyright © Dorothy Aughey 2019
& Galway Academic Press
First published in Ireland
Galway Academic Press
Company Reg No: 488084
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Cover Design: Dorothy Aughey
Published by Galway Academic Press
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from The British Library
Holly Bush Forest
The October afternoon crept in almost unnoticed – it
had been a long day's journey; the Gordon family
were on a well-deserved break. James Gordon a
chartered accountant had been working non-stop
building up his business for the past two years. He
and his wife Jane live in New Jersey with their five-
year-old daughter Amy. They decided they would
travel up North, they wanted to see the Rocky
Mountains and perhaps venture further north into
Canada. This was as good a time as any the scenery
would be at its best as it was the fall season. The
colours of the landscape were at their finest with
copper, green, gold and red arrays of trees and
leaves, it was almost breath-taking. Amy was sitting
between her mum and dad on what would be an
adventure of a lifetime for her and she was so
looking forward to this holiday with her mum and
The further north they were travelling the colder it
was getting and the evidence of the frosted film was
beginning to show on the windscreen of the old
camper van. James had a few reserved worries about
the camper, would it be able for the journey?
Amy had been so excited about the trip; she could
hardly contain herself. She hadn't slept much the
night before. She was just about to drop off to sleep,
when suddenly there was a loud thud and the camper
van came to an abrupt halt. James Gordon got out of
the camper to take a closer look at what might be the
problem. As it was getting dark and cold, he decided
that the best thing to do was settle down for the
night. In the depths of the forest and mountainous
rocks that merged with the roadside, the Gordon
family retired to the back of the camper.
It was nice and cosy; they had a gas stove which was
instantly effective and welcoming in the cold night.
Jane Gordon had it nicely decorated with frilly floral
curtains with tiebacks, patchwork quilts and pillows
to match for the pull-out beds. Fridge and cupboards
above the circular stainless-steel sink was full of
food supplies. James organised the oil lanterns
which gave a nice warm glow of dim light to the
nicely decorated little home. Jane got supper,
comprising of hot cocoa and sandwiches. Amy
found this all very exciting and couldn't wait to get
into her snug little bed. She could hear all the
different sounds from outside, all the various animals
settling down to sleep for the night.
Unaware of another family deeper in the forest, was
a bear family. Benji the baby was a one-year old
brown bear with his mother and father.
His mother too was preparing supper, entirely
different from the Gordon family – leftover salmon
and some honey. Benji's dad insisted they get an
early night as they had an early start of salmon
fishing next morning. Benji of course didn't have to
be told twice to get into bed as he loved salmon
fishing with his dad.
Early next morning the bear family were fishing for
their salmon supplies down at the brook which
connected with a large lake. It wasn't too far from
their tree-rock home. Benji was trying his best to
compete with his father but of course the older bear
was quicker and wiser. After some time Benji was
getting bored and losing interest, he'd watched his
father intensely all morning but only managed to
catch one trout! He felt miserable; his feet were wet
and cold. He decided to take a stroll to see what he
could find, perhaps some nuts and berries if he was
Meanwhile, James Gordon black with grease and oil
was examining the engine of the camper. The birds
were singing cheerfully in the bright sunny but crisp
morning. Amy was outside playing and checking out
her surroundings. The trees, which were mostly
evergreens were slightly dusted with snow that had
fallen during the night. The oak, ash and maple trees
were bare and their copper, red and yellow leaves lay
like a blanket on the hard-frosted ground. Some
trees had unusual shaped trunks with hollows, which
made them very interesting to play in. The
movement of rabbits and all the other inhabitants of
the forest could be heard all around. A gaggle of
geese passed overhead most likely on their way
further north. Amy skipped from one tree to another
tree happy to be in the midst of it all, she loved
adventure and loved to be outdoors. She saw a little
rabbit scurrying from one of the trees and assumed it
was its home, she followed it for a while and before
long she arrived at an opening, a patch of green,
frosted at the sides where the tree line met, the
midday sun hadn't quite touched it yet. On one side
congregations of rabbits were feeding, to her
amazement on the other side she saw a fawn with its
mother moving along gracefully through the trees.
Suddenly she realised that she'd forgotten the
direction from which she came. This cold feeling
suddenly came upon her. Without realising it she
had gone too far; she had been so taken in with all
the goings on of nature all around her. She thought
quietly and tried not to panic; she surely couldn't be
that far away! She had lost all track of time and
realised she was lost.
Benji had wandered away from the brook, everything
was beginning to irritate him, thorns on his soft
padded feet, flies and insects in the bushes were
buzzing around him and still no result with getting
some berries, just a few nuts, he was too young to
know he was looking in all the wrong places for
berries, God bless the poor little innocent bear!
Oblivious to the fact he was getting further and
further away from the brook. He continued to
rummage around the forest floor to see what goodies
was in store.
The midday sun was high in the sky and warmed up
the cold November air. Both families at this stage
were under the illusion that their children were with
either mum or dad. Benji's dad had enough of
supplies and Amy's dad had discovered what was
wrong with the engine – the gasket was completely
worn. This meant going back approximately ten
miles of rough road to the nearest garage on foot. He
went to his wife Jane and explained the problem,
they decided that all the family should walk back
together as it would be safer. He called out for Amy
and received no answer, panic setting in; the
Gordon's called out her name again and again as they
searched the forest. “Amy, Amy …?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, Benji's
parents were missing him. Benji's dad had thought
he'd gone home to his mum but when he arrived with
his salmon catch, Benji was nowhere to be seen. The
mother bear was extremely cross with Benji's dad,
“why is it you let him wander off like that on his own,
he's too young”! Both families were out searching
for their, children. The day was moving on and the
light seemed to be fading a little.
Amy was very worried at this stage; the forest was
too big. Contrary to how happy she had been feeling
earlier towards the forest and its occupants, she was
quickly changing her mind. Every movement in the
bushes or trees was making her nervous and jumpy.
Benji on the other hand knew he was a little lost but
it wasn't causing him much concern as he was too
busy eating nuts and he was delighted with his
discovery... a bush of elderberries he came upon at a
clearing. Besides he thought to himself... “I am a
bear and I am getting big now, how lost can I GET”!
GOSH!!!! The little bear stood frozen, Amy whiter
than snow exclaimed a low-pitched scream that was
barely audible, a Bear, small, but a Bear! A real
Bear, what was she going to do? The bear on the
other hand, just stood there looking at her, what
should he do? What would his dad do in this
situation he thought to himself, should he ROAR!?
Would that do the trick? Gosh he thought to himself
– she isn't much bigger than me! Should he say hello
or what? Amy was very worried, the bear seemed to
be looking at her a lot. All of a sudden there was a
bang, both of them jumped and ran off in different
Amy found herself under a clump of bushes and
evergreens. The heavens opened and the thunder and
lightning were consistent. Daylight was running out
ever so quickly and Amy was getting very worried
indeed. She started to cry. The little bear wasn't too
far away and could hear the whimpering. He also
was scared of the thunder and being on his own. He
wondered to himself was the little girl crying because
she was lost? What should he do?
At this stage both Amy's and Benji's parent were
looking hysterically for their children and were very
concerned for their safety. The weather had changed
dramatically and night was approaching, which
would make their search very difficult.
Getting some courage up, Benji decided to go to the
little girl, as he approached, he could hear her sobs
getting louder, he wondered should he change his
mind again? Amy stopped as she could hear
movement and branches break. Benji was walking
towards her. There, stood the bear not five inches
from her, but for some strange reason, all fear left her
as she looked into the little bears' eyes. He too didn't
feel threatened any more. They were both small, lost
and cold. The little bear went closer to Amy, he was
wet and shivering and something strange happened,
Amy not sure if she was hallucinating thought she
heard him speak, “Hello my name is Benji” she
wasn't sure she heard right, so she said nothing. The
little bear was taken aback by this... was she not
friendly? Why didn't she answer, he felt quite alone
again. Amy looked into the little bear's face again
and saw his sad brown eyes; she thought she could
see tears beginning to well up in his little brown
eyes. She felt sorry for him and without thinking
said “don't cry little Benji, my name is Amy” They
both knew that as long as they had each other, well
they wouldn't be as afraid.
As the night got darker and colder and the sounds
from the forest got eerier, both Amy and Benji
snuggled closer, the rain and thunder had stopped but
a slight dusting of snow had begun to fall again but
they were sheltered by large white and black spruce
The following morning, stiff and hungry, the little
bear awoke. He looked at this little companion
beside him, he had never come in contact with a
human before, his dad had mentioned it on one
occasion about humans and how to stay out of their
way. Benji just stared at her, should he just go off on
his own and try and find his mama and papa. He
missed them terribly, he was just about to get up
when Amy opened her eyes, startled at the sight in
front of her she had forgotten where she was but
quickly remembered her situation. She was lost and
afraid and very hungry and she too missed her mum
and dad and wondered would she ever see them
again. Benji interrupted he thought, he said he was
hungry and asked if she was hungry also, Amy
nodded. They both went off through the forest, Benji
came to the place where he had been the previous
day, the opening where the elderberries were and
beside it was a tree of nuts which Amy decided to
They both had their fill and continued on walking,
the sun was high in the sky indicating to Amy that it
was approximately noon. All the animals of the
forest were out and about. A snowshoe hare was
feeding on some grass and leaves, pine martin were
scurrying into the depths of the forest. Amy was
amazed at all the activity around her. She looked up
at a particular large tree and saw two purple finches,
a male and a female. The male had the most
beautiful colours; raspberry red with some white
streaks throughout his plumage, the female on the
other hand was brown with white streaks. Listening
to their song was heavenly Amy thought. Benji was
showing Amy different animals, birds, berries, wild
mushrooms and sharing stories with her, she was
impressed at all the little bear knew. He too was
impressed with Amy, her family and their moving
home, it being the camper. He couldn't grasp that;
his home didn't move! This made Benji sad again...
thinking about his home! Would he ever see it again?
They both went quiet.
At this stage the Gordon family were frantically
looking for Amy had covered a lot of ground but still
no sign. If they hadn't been in this situation and if
their daughter was with them, they would have been
able to enjoy the breath-taking autumn foliage that
Canada had to offer, they had crossed the Rockies
the previous day and were in awe of the scenery.
They both were extremely exhausted, wondered
should they get back to the camper and fetch help
from the nearest town but that was miles away and
they figured they would be wasting precious time
and every minute counted at this stage. Eventually
their optimism grew when they came across foot
prints, which could only be of little Amy they
thought and continued on.
Benjis' mum and dad had been through the woods
from early morning, and still no sign of him. The
mother bear decided to return to the den to see if her
son may have returned home while Benji’s dad went
back to the brook where they had been fishing, he
continued downstream to the lake but still no sign of
the little bear.
Amy was getting hungry again they decided to gather
nuts, Benji being a pro at that gathered loads in
seconds. They both sat down to take a rest and
munch on the nuts, Amy was sitting on a log, Benji
was busy opening the nut shells and giving them to
her, he feasted on some himself as he too was
hungry. They also got some wild cherries; these
were so sweet and reviving Amy thought. All Benji
could think about was salmon, he really could do
with a salmon dinner he mused to himself.
HEE!!WOO!!AHH!!EEEE!! Amy and Benji both
heard the commotion at the same time, BANG!!!
Ouch!!! Then some more muttering......! Ooh!
Benji instantly looked behind towards the trees and
bushes and to his delight he spotted his old buddy
Castor – the beaver. “Ah he exclaimed, my goodness
Castor, your sure do know how to make an entrance,
where on earth have you come out of ?!”
Castor: “Out of a tree to be exact! My friend”.
Benji: “It's so good to see old buddy”.
Dusting himself off, Castor finally composed himself
after his fall off the tree
Castor: “What has you so far away from home...?
em ah Benji”, Castor realising that his friend had
company... “and whom may I ask is this”?
Benji: “This is Amy, we're both lost I am afraid...”
Castor: “How did you manage that Benji”?
Benji filled his friend in on how he'd got bored with
fishing with his dad and his adventures through the
forest searching for food and how he had come upon
Amy. He went on to explain how nice she was and
that she too was lost.
Castor: “Hey my old buddy, I'll sort everything.
Follow me and I will lead you home”
Benji: “But...but what about Amy?”
Castor: “First things first, we find our way back to
your folks’ home and you never know in the
meantime we could find Amy's folks, just trust me my
All three of them ventured along for a while but as
the night was approaching quickly and the
temperature was beginning to drop, they decided to
go deeper into the forest to get shelter for the night.
All three were getting tired and not really aware of
the dangers that surrounded them until... Castor the
beaver fixed himself firmly to the ground!
Benji: “What's wrong buddy”?
Castor with a low tone barely audible said – look
ahead to the right, both Benji and Amy could hardly
keep themselves from screaming. There in front of
them stood a cougar, Amy ashen coloured felt fear
real FEAR for the first time in her life. Benji
whispered to his pal, “he is just a big cat”!!!
Castor: “Yeh right Benji whatever you say bud!!
You go talk to the Big Cat then! Amy and I will just
sneak off if that's ok with you bud!
Benji: “oooh, weelll, perhaps not”.
Castor: “Thought so”!!
The mountain loin roared fiercely at them, Amy
asked Benji what he was saying, Benji said “He
wants us out of this territory and now”! Castor then
said “I think we should take his warning and
The three of them scurried away as quickly as as
their little legs could go without looking back, alas,
they ventured upon a lovely little sheltered area, it
had plenty of pine trees and bushes they decided this
would be the safest cosiest spot for the night.
As they all sat down on the bed of moss and leaves
Amy was happy to share the array of berries and
nuts, she had collected during the day with her two
friends. They were all relieved they got away
unharmed from the mountain lion, “it appears he
wasn't interested in them after all” Castor said.
Benji replied in a nervous laugh, Ah Castor that's
because he saw me! I am a bear after all! All Castor
could reply to that was “yeh right – You the Bear”.
Benji still being young and innocent couldn't hear the
sarcasm in the beavers voice and really did believe
he should take acclaim for saving their lives. Wait
till he tells his papa this, he would be really proud of
him the little bear thought to himself but he was
rudely interrupted by Castor's next sentence....”he
had possibly a bigger dinner in store”! The three of
them laughed, until they heard...... Ooooh, Ooooh,
“what on earth is that Benji whispered”?
“Shush, Ooooh” all three of them looked upwards to
where the noise appeared to be coming from and to
their amazement, they saw the owl looking very
crossly indeed down at them.
“Could you kindly pleeeze keep the noise down”!
They did try their best to be quiet during the night
but they had whispered long into it as they were very
well aware of the occupants that dwelt within the
forest. The rustling of leaves, the squaking of birds
and the howling of wolves in the distance was
chilling and lonely and they all took solace in each
other's company. It seemed they hadn't been asleep
long when Amy awoke to see both Benji and Castor
one each side snuggled right beside her, she felt very
cosy and warm. The sunlight was breaking through
the pine trees and she could see spider's webs
glistening in the morning sun. Benji opened one eye
slowly asking Amy was the cranky owl still there?
With both eyes opened widely, the owl retorted, “I
heard that!! My goodness do your parents not teach
you youngsters any manners these days?! And for
the record as you can see, I am still here”!
Benji: “Oops sorry Mr. Owl, I didn't mean to be
nasty but you just seemed so grumpy last
night, please forgive me”
Owl: “Well I had good reason to be Grumpy as you
put it, you lot were making such a racket and
interfering with my work with all your chit chatter
and why on earth are you here in the first place”?
Benji: Well. um… Well, it's kinda a long story....em
.. Amy you explain”.
Amy found herself telling the whole story from the
beginning …. by the time she had finished the owl
just sighted and said., “Luckily I stayed guard here
last night then! Do you realise how dangerous the
forest can be for youngsters like yourselves, there are
lots of undesirables out there for young innocent folk
like yourselves”. Amy could hear the softness come
over the wise owl. Benji explained where he and his
Dad had been fishing and asked politely if the Owl
Owl: “Ollie's the name and yes perhaps I may be
able to help”.
Benji: “Well pleased ta meet you Ollie Owl and
thank you so much kind sir”
Ollie Owl: “You do realise that owls sleep a lot
during the day as we do most of our work at night
and seeing that I got very little work done and not a
morsel of food to eat! I am afraid I can be of little
use to you at this moment however, if you all would
be so good as to keep quiet for an hour or two
then, perhaps I may be able to help in a while”.
Ollie closed his eyelids, Benji and the rest stayed so
quiet as they didn't want to jeopardise any chances of
finding their families. While the owl slept, Amy
looked up at the branch in which he was perched
upon, she was amazed at his heart shaped face and
Castor was a bit miffed with this new arrangement he
was going to be a Hero and show his buddy the way
home! Ah well he thought to himself – the more the
merrier and perhaps an extra pair of eyes and large
eyes at that he thought to himself, yes, the owl would
have the advantage point of being able to see from a
After what seemed to be a considerable time Ollie
woke up, eyes fluttering and eventually opening, he
looked down at the trio and sighed! “Plans, we have
to make a plan, first things first – describe if you will
where you were last with your folks”
So, each in turn described as best they could to the
owl where they last seen their parents and the
Ollie: “Leave it with me and don't venture too far
away from here” then he was gone – soaring high
above the trees”.
All three of them took the wise old owl's advice and
didn't move too far from their base. They finished
off their food supplies and collected more berries and
nuts in the surrounding hedgerows waiting patiently
for Ollie to return. Eventually he did and perched
above the pine tree where they were sitting.
Ollie: “First things first, I have located the brook
that you described Benji but there was nobody to be
see, however, Benji if I were to lead you to the brook
perhaps you may be able to retrace your steps back
to your home from there”?
Benji: “That would be most kind of you Ollie Owl
but I am not sure if I could find my way home from
Ollie: “We could try Benji, perhaps your parents
may come to the brook to see if you have returned
there, it's worth a try don't you think”?
Benji: “Worth a try Ollie, I am most grateful but
what about Amy”?
Ollie: “I was just about to come to that my friend, I
did see an object on the outskirts of the forest,
peculiar sort of thin, I know humans move around in
these objects but this was different, it looked like a
Amy: “Tell me Ollie it had frilly curtain in the
Ollie: “Could have had my little friend, I didn't get
that close to see”.
So, while they were making plans to first of all find
Benji's way home, Amy spotted something moving
in the bushes not far from where they were sitting.
As Amy went over to investigate Ollie exclaimed
“Be careful Amy”! But before Amy had a chance to
respond a small figure emerged, small grey fluff!!
There stood in front of her was a wolf pup with
fearful eyes, he too looks like he was lost.
Ollie: “Ah come on now! What's this? Another lost
youngster I have to reunite with its parents? What
am I? The lost and find – re-allocator of children
who clearly do not listen to their parents”.
Amy thought Ollie had a kind of snooty air to his
voice, a cool crispness but behind it she felt he was
softer that he made out.
Turned out the wise owl was right, another
adventurer gone wrong! Lost in action... curiosity
getting the better of these know it all's - learned it all
in one day attitudes. Benji at this stage was beside
Amy and the new found losty, the little wolf pup was
frightened and shivering nervously.
Pup: “My name is hmm, well my mum calls us all
the same... “pup”
Benji: “Well that's strange... we will have to give
you a name because calling you pup sounds strange
Ollie at this stage was running out of patience. “Oh
for goodness sake, christen him now and let's get on
with our plans pleeeeze”!
Benji: “Now Ollie your being grumpy again and it's
not helping the situation one little bit with this little
fellow, looks like he's very upset, let's ask him where
he last saw his mum”.
Ollie: “Very well Benji, very well”.
Amy: “Sorry Ollie, no need to be like that, give the
little guy a chance to explain what's wrong...”
Benji: “First of all I think we shall call you Mist,
what do you think”?
Pup: “Yeah ok, but I want my Mum” as he started
whimpering it was obvious to all that the little fellow
was very upset indeed”.
Ollie: “Where on Heaven's did you come up with
that name Benji”?
Benji: “Well Ollie, I can think of a few reasons!
First of all, when we didn't know what was shuffling
in the bushes, it was a mystery, secondly when the
little fellow came out of the bushes there was a mist
around him and thirdly, he looks mystical with those
blue-grey eyes”. They all agreed with Benji.
Mist: “It seems like a while since I saw my maum!
My brothers and sisters...” Ollie interrupts – you
mean to say there are more of you little guys out
there”. Mist didn't hear Ollie's sarcastic remark and
continues... well I am not too sure, I don't think
they can be too far from here… mm, well ,
well you see I kinda went off on my own, you see I
was following a rabbit and well then I realised that I
was away from the den, my mum and the others, I
am lost, oh goodness I am lost”. Ollie again – Ten
out of ten, you got that one right Mist”! Mist again
continues not seeing Ollie sarcasm ... “Oh, dear will
I ever see my mum and brothers and sisters again”?
Mist went quiet, deep in thought and looked so sad.
Mist: “My mum always warned us to never ever go
too far away from the den but you see I used to watch
her intently when she was showing us how to catch
dinner and you see I wanted to be the best and make
Ollie: “Funny you should say that – now where did I
hear that before, hmm sounds very familiar, very
familiar indeed and you know what's more
amazing?! Is that you were all following something,
if it wasn't food it was plain curiosity and none of
you guys took any heed of what your parents told
you, which was never to stray off on your own! Did
any of you listen? NO! …. who has to solve all the
problems now? ME”!
Castor: “Well I am helping too Ollie”.
Ollie: “You! Ha ha, what a joke, you wouldn't find
your way out of a mud pile”!
The little beaver was shocked that anyone could be
so hurtful, everyone else just looked at each other not
quite sure what to say but all feeling the same way
towards Castor, thinking the owl was correct again,
first of all Castor as helpful as he could be was as
lost as the rest of them and secondly, none of them
had listened to their parents.
Ollie: “Well we must not delay any further, we must
make a move before it gets too late and foremost, we
must stick together – it's important that we do, we
don't want to be getting lost again, now do we”?
Amy again could hear the softness in Ollie's voice,
while he gave a certain air of authority with his deep
voice and his penetrating eyes, he was really a kind
The plan was they had to do a lot of walking through
the night as Ollie was at his most alert state. Ollie
was at an advantage as he could see all around and
far into the distance. He would be able to warn his
little lost followers where it was needed. They
followed Ollie's commands to a T, but as per usual,
Castor being Castor a curious little fellow would stop
off every now and then. This simply annoyed Ollie
to the core.
Ollie: “Do you have to be such a nuisance Castor?
You are delaying us greatly with your antics, can you
please keep up with us”?
Castor: “Yes Sir – Your Honour”! Ollie flew ahead
to the rest of the gang. Castor ran as fast as his little
legs could carry him but unfortunately didn't see the
big rock and banged straight into it...Ouch Ouch.
Ollie again went back to see what all the fuss and
commotion was about and saw the little beaver
holding his head.
Ollie: “What have you done this time”?
But Ollie said no more, he thought to himself that
perhaps he had been a bit hard on the little chap from
the start and sure all Castor was trying to do was
forage for food for the rest of the gang. He was
trying his best; he was a jolly little guy but clumsy as
anything Ollie thought. He helped him to his feet
and they caught up with the rest of them. They
walked and walked, branches crackling beneath their
feet, leaves shuffling, all exhausted and deep in their
own thoughts and worries until they were interrupted
Ollie: “The Lake!.., the lake is just ahead guys, the
lake that you described Benji, the brook doesn't
appear” too far from it at all, the one you said you
were fishing with your Dad Benji.”!
Benji was so excited, “Yipee, Yipee Yahhoo ee!
Then, silence, they all arrived at the water's edge of
the lake. The moon was glistening across the vast
expanse of the lake, everyone was excited except for
the little bear who should have been elated with
excitement but didn't appear to be happy at all.
Ollie: “What's wrong Benji”? Still silence. Amy,
Castor, Ollie and Mist couldn't understand the silence
and the disappointed look in the little bears' face as
most of the time they had been together, he was an
upbeat, positive little companion.
Benji: “I, I, Well I know this is a very large lake and
you see this doesn't seem to be the place where my
Papa and I were and it doesn't smell like it either, so
you see we could be miles away from the point where
Papa and I were”.
Ollie: “Don't panic Benji, once we get a bit more
daylight, we will have a better idea where we are and
perhaps you will see something that will jog your
memory – a landmark perhaps”.
Even though the big moon was, none of them could
make anything out, all they could see was just
shadows in the distance.
In the meantime, the Gordon's were frantic with
worry, they had come upon a farm and the people of
the house couldn't be more helpful. They had made
contact with the Mounties – Canadian Police on
horseback that would be of considerable assistance in
the vast wilderness. They also contacted the
surrounding neighbours to set up search parties.
When the Mounties arrived, they suggested that it
was too dark and it would be impossible to
commence a search and too dangerous in such a vast
area but affirmed they would start first thing in the
One of the Mounties also said he had “organised a
search helicopter. While this eased their minds
somewhat, Jane was extremely worried for their
daughter who was nearly two days missing.
Back at the lake, the gang were trying to settle down
for the night, well the few hours before daylight.
Amy, Benji, Ollie and Mist were chattering low as
not to draw unwelcome attention from other
occupants of the forest.
Benji: “Where's Castor”?
Ollie: “Haven't seen him for a while now”
Benji: “Oh dear., Hope he not in trouble again.
Ollie: “God knows, I am so tired of him, he is a
mennus, always fidgeting and skipping about, I am
so tired of him getting into scrapes of one kind or
another. I find him quite a nuisance. He is
hindering and putting us in danger with his antics,
whatsoever. Try and get some rest Benji.
Castor had a great idea, he sauntered off without
saying a word to any of them. He wanted to surprise
them. He had thought to himself that it would be a
big trek around the lake to get to the spot where
Benji and his dad had been fishing. It would take
them forever and who knows what dangers lie in
those long rushes surrounding the lake. Castor being
a beaver was equipped to chop down trees and
branches, using his front teeth he would be able to
cut down a small tree in minutes. His mission was to
make a boat that they would all fit into. He also
thought they would need oars to move it across the
lake. With the first tree – he kept gnawing and
gnawing making a hollow in the tree and shaping it
into a boat. It was tiring and a little sore on his teeth
but he had to keep going, he had to be finished by
light of day. Next, he scanned the trees looking for
big enough branches that he could shape into oars.
Back at the resting place, Benji and Ollie were still
awake, Amy and Mist were snuggling up together
under some ferns and were fast asleep.
Ollie: “What the heck is that awful noise, do you
hear it Benji”?
Benji: “I can Ollie, it's why I am not able to sleep”!
Who would be up making such a racket during the
night for goodness sake”?
It was beginning to get brighter; you could see it
especially over the lake. Then there was a terrible
noise, shuffling towards Ollie and Benji and the
others. They stood still not knowing what was
coming towards them.
Both unable, hardly able to breath, frozen to the spot
with fear. What emerged from the bushes was some
sight to behold indeed.
There was Castor pushing the boat in front of him
with four oars sitting inside.
Ollie: “What in Heaven's name is this Castor”?
Castor: “It’s a boat Ollie. A Boat that will get us
across the lake quicker and safer than the journey
walking all the way around that enormous lake. I
had this idea you see and I've been working hard to
get it finished in time for us”.
Ollie: “Well strike me down, I could never image
you as a cooperative type of guy. My goodness –
what a work of art Castor, yes it's exactly what we
Benji: “Fair play to you, old buddy, you’re not as
foolish and clumsy as you make out to be”!
Castor did not know what to make out of his friends'
words only to say - “can the rest of ye make
yourselves useful and give a beaver a paw – a hand
even, as we need to get this launched into the lake”.
Ollie was amazed how this little guy had undertaken
such a tedious task in pursuit to help them all across
the lake. He had always been a flighty fellow and up
to this Ollie had been really losing his patience with
Castor but this made Ollie and the rest think – what a
gift this little animal had, he indeed had a purpose in
life and at such a crucial time. This was Castor's
opportunity to shine and feel proud of himself, for
his somewhat hidden talents – turned out after all has
a helpful companion.
Ollie: “Well guys we best make a move and get
Ollie Castor, Amy, Benji and Mist all pushed and
shoved as easy as they could placing wide logs
underneath so as not to damage the boat. When they
arrived at the lakeside, they placed it allowing the
boat to slide down the incline way to the water.
Castor being familiar with water gave the
instructions as he got into the water first and steadied
the little boat. When it was settled, he instructed
Benji to be at the port side of the boat and Amy to be
positioned at the starboard.
Benji: “Run that by me again Caster my friend”.
Castor: “Well port side is left side and starboard is
right side, abeam to port is where I want you Benji,
its half way or centre of the boat, likewise abeam to
statbaord is right side”.
Benji: “Where did you learn this my dear friend”.?
Castor: “Well you see Benji, I do spend a lot of time
in the water and have watched with great interest
different boatsmen up and down the lake and the
surrounding rivers, taking in all their thermology, I
find it very interesting indeed”.
Ollie: “My goodness Castor I've eh underestimated
you altogether, you really have surprised me with all
the knowledge you have. I guess everybody has their
own hidden talent that they can contribute when
Castor: “Thank you Ollie for those kind words”.
Castor thought to himself – my goodness he hadn't
expected such praise, especially from the wise old
Ollie: “Well no time to waste my friends. Castor you
tell us what to do, Thank you”.
Castor: “Well as I was saying Benji and Amy can
manage the rowing, Benji and Amy take your
positions, Ollie you can be at the front – the bow,
Mist can sit behind Benji and Amy, I myself will be at
the back – the stern and will be ready for all
eventualities that may lie ahead – All Aboard”!
With those words they all followed Castor's
instructions. Amy at a few reservations about
Castors word – Eventualities, what did he mean by
that she thought, she also knew she wasn't much of a
swimmer but this was no time to be having any
They all at to go on the boat and that was that.
Castor interrupted her deep in thought - “All Aboard
Amy”! Take your position”!
Nobody questioned Castors' order, he seemed to take
an authoritative tone which indeed surprised them
all. From what they all perceived him as... a clumsy,
not a care in the world type of fellow. If you could
just imagine the scene Amy mused to herself, it was
some sight to indeed! Ollie at the front perched
proudly – guiding the little boat from hitting rocks or
any other objects that would jeopardise them. Benji
at the left oar and Amy on the right rowing away,
Castor at the stern pushing, Mist was sitting behind
with his blue grey eyes looking very bewildered
Amy thought. This must be very frightening for the
little wolf. As they travelled through the beautiful
mornings' rising sunshine glistening on the lake
when Ollie interrupted! “Stop pushing Castor at
Castor: “What's the problem Ollie”?
Ollie: “Well I see a silhouette up ahead, I think it
may be some large rocks we have to avoid, so instead
of going straight we have to veer right or left Castor,
what do you think”?
Castor: “I suppose if we veer right, we will be closer
to where Benji's brook is”
Ollie: “Right it is then Castor, full throttle ahead
They could see progress as they were nearing the
other side of the lake. Eventually with one Thud
they arrived at their destination. They all happily got
off the little boat.
Ollie: “Well done all, Bravo to you Castor, we
wouldn't have done without you”!
They all chimed in with praising the little beaver.
Benji - “High fived” his little pal. Castor blushed but
it was evident how chuffed and proud he was Amy
Ollie: “Well guys let’s not get carried away, we need
to quieten down and not draw unwanted attention to
They all gathered themselves and discussed their
next plan of action, they set off in search of the
brook, all quietly as possible making their way
through the forest. It was evident to them the other
occupants of the forest were rising or already awake,
little creatures scurrying about and the melody of all
the various birds in singsong was heavenly Amy
thought. As they ventured throughout the forest all
anxious to get to the destination – Benji's brook.
Ollie flew ahead and would return at various
intervals and advise the rest of the gang of the pearls
and dangers and steer them in the right direction
advising them of the easiest way in avoiding the
rocky terrain. As they neared the brook Benji could
hardly contain his excitement, it was evident to Ollie
that this must be the correct spot – Benji had sensed
his familiar surroundings.
Benji: “This is it guys – this is it! My Papa's fishing
brook …. Yepee, Wahoo~ee”!
They were all excited and relieved to have arrived
eventually. All exhausted and hungry they all seated
themselves around the little brook. Benji sauntered
around smelling, trailing any scent to see if his papa
had been around recently. His face showed it all.
“Oh yes” he exclaimed, “papa was here, he was here
and so was mama” The little fellow was so
overjoyed with excitement. He hopped, skipped
followed by some cartwheels which landed him
smash, splash into the water’s edge. They all giggled
and laughed. Benji got up a little embarrassed but he
also joined in and they all laughed and danced
merrily around the brook.