The sun was sovereign in a brilliant clear blue sky. Swallows skimmed the lake. Occasionally a fish would break the surface to take a mayfly, leaving a quiet turmoil in the placid water, the only epitaph to the insect's tragic end.
"God’s little fishes are hungry today, Virgie,” Moses observed. "Let’s dig ourselves some nice fat worms and feed them.” Virgil watched as his grandfather uprooted some bushes and picked the worms from the moist soil. Far across the lake, unthreatened by the intruders, brants and mergansers went about their business of raising families.
Moses baited the boy's hook and cast his line over some lily pads, disturbing a dragonfly which darted back and forth from one lily pad to another, suspending itself motionless for a moment, then darting off again, pursued by its watery image. Moses cast his line in the water and sat beside the boy.
"Now we wait," he said.
Virgil picked a blade of grass and placed it between his thumbs, cupped his hands and blew into them, creating a shrill cry that pierced the silence and echoed back from the heavy pine covered mountain on the opposite side of the lake. Red winged blackbirds answered in a chorus of territorial claims.
"Hush now, ” said Moses. "We must be quiet or we'll scare away the fish.” He looked out of the corner of his eye at the boy and added, "And besides, we wouldn't want the Indians to hear us, would we?"
Virgil’s eyes widened as he quickly surveyed his surroundings. "There aren't any Indians around, are there, Grampa?” He moved closer to his grandfather. Stories of Indians intrigued him. They were both frightening and exciting.
"You never can tell,” said Moses smiling. "But you can't be too careful. That's why you should always be quiet in the woods, and never leave a sign that you've been there when you leave.”
The boy put his arm in his grandfathers. Forest sounds began to have new meanings.
Go to Chapter Three.
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