Updated: Feb 25
Rag stared in delighted surprise at the little creature. In return he got a startled and vaguely worried look, the animal’s mouth trembling slightly.
‘Good morning’ said Rag, trying to sound reassuring.
No reply. Maybe he doesn’t speak English, thought Rag, maybe he’s from France. Where France was he had no idea, but he did know that Henrik learned French at school and would occasionally stand in front of the mirror in the evenings having pretend French conversations with his reflection. France is probably on the other side of the farmer’s fields he decided, or maybe even further away, and it wasn’t impossible that this little fellow had been traveling for days and had crossed great distances in spite of being rather mini-sized with very short legs. So he decided to give it a go.
‘Bon sure’ he said, mimicking Henrik, ‘Shh sweet Rag’.
This was always how Henrik started his mirror dialogues so he figured it was polite and an appropriate opening line.
Feeling immensely proud, he looked down expectantly only to be met by a look of puzzlement quickly followed by a hesitant and whispered ‘what??’
Looking on the bright side, Rag felt encouraged. Not only had he established his companion was able to speak English but, more importantly, he had managed to get him to respond. So he tried again.
‘Hello, I’m Rag. Who are you?’ he blurted out a little more brazenly this time, with an added ‘very pleased to meet you’.
To his horror the little fellow’s eyes immediately filled with tears as he bit his lower lip.
‘I don’t know my name’ he mumbled in reply, ‘and I’m lost’.
He sighed deeply and then explained to Rag how he had come to be lost. A few days earlier he had seen a colourful bird in a tree and, being curious, had decided to get a closer look. So he left his mother, brothers and sisters behind following eagerly the path of the bird. Of course it didn’t take long for the bird to spread its wings and fly off and it was only then, when attempting to retrace his steps, that he realised he had lost his way. This had been many days ago and now he was just tired and lonely and feeling rather sad. He went on to explain that he was a hedgehog and that when old enough to leave home, it was common for hedgehogs to undergo a naming ceremony whereby the whole family would get together to discuss a name and then, once agreed, would announce it to a chorus of cheers and hugs and maybe even a sing-song. Sadly he had left before any such ceremony had taken place, so he was still nameless.
‘Well’ said Rag, a sympathetic smile on his face, ‘I’m not sure I can find your family for you, but I can help you find a name and, with all the animals in this neighbourhood, you will soon have a great many new friends to call family’. ‘Yippee’ exclaimed the hedgehog looking up at Rag thankfully, and then for the first time since leaving his family, he laughed.
To be continued ...