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A Real Friend

A new summer holiday has just started and Elsa, a 10 year old girl, was wondering what it had in store for her this time. The sun was smiling at her, promising captivating moments this summer, the leaves were whispering secrets which wind carried along, so that she could hear them…She was looking at the clouds wondering where they led to, wishing she could step into their way, following them. “If only I had wings to fly and lose myself among the birds and the clouds…”, she thought.

“Elsa, have you finished packing? You’ll be late again and I don’t think you want to miss the train,” her mother’s voice sounded suddenly from the kitchen, bringing her back to reality.
“Yes, mom, I’m ready to go. Here I am.”
“Ok, sweetheart, let’s go then. We must hurry.”

One hour later, the train was heading for her grandmother’s at a quick pace. The travel by train was always pleasant for Elsa because she loved to gaze through the window of her compartment, admiring the beauty of the landscape.

Time flew and there she was, right in front of her grandmother’s house.
After long hugs and a lot of talking about school, she escaped into the forest, joined by her friends, Alex, Daniel and Clara.
“We all missed you so much, Elsa and it’s so good to have you back with us again,” Daniel said. “Even the forest missed you, listen how it welcomes you…Look how joyful it is now that you’re back.”
“It’s because it knows I love it and I love you, as well, my friends.”
“Come, we have a surprise for you, Elsa,” Clara burst out enthusiastically. “We want to show you our newest discovery.”
“That sounds captivating. Let’s go, guys.”

They started walking and went deep into the forest, till they reached a point where the sunrays could no longer filter through the branches and the darkness wrapped up everything. It seemed pretty scary, but thrilling, at the same time. They were down into some valley, where only the ripple of some fretful brooks could be heard. Everything else was silent, even the wind stopped blowing and the birds seemed to avoid carefully this place. Right in front of them, a big dark hole opened.

“It’s a cave! Wow! Elsa’s face kindled with surprise.”
“We knew you would love it. This is our new shelter now. We have come here a couple of times.”
“Is it safe in there?” Elsa faltered, having a bad feeling.
“It’s ok. Come and see,” Alex urged.

That moment, a leaf fell from the tree and seemed to wither away right after the fall, unnaturally, like a bad sign. Elsa noticed that, she listened to the forest’s whisper, saw that the sun no longer sent its rays to her, but decided to ignore these signs, though.
“Let’s go inside and explore the cave,” she suggested instead.
“Great,” the others smiled.
At the first step into the cave, a cold shudder spread all over, and the darkness grew deeper. Elsa felt her courage melting bit by bit.
“Does anyone have a flash lamp?” she whispered.
“Yes, here it is,” and Alex turned on his flash lamp.

That moment Elsa saw strange drawings and figures on the wall, showing the hunting of some freakish being.
“That’s pretty creepy,” she remarked.
“Come on, don’t be so chicken-hearted,” Daniel laughed. “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

Right that moment, a fierce roaring was heard just behind them. When they turned around, a huge bear was standing at the mouth of the cave. The children gave out a yell with dismay.
“Let’s run quickly, come this way, I know another exit from the cave,” Daniel cried. “Follow me!” They all started running, but Alex fell and sprained his ankle.

“Fellows, help me, please,” he shouted, but, Daniel and Clara were already gone and, though they heard Alex, kept running.
Elsa saw the danger her friend was in and turned back to help him raise and walk, but he could hardly move. She seemed to have completely forgotten about her fear.

“Look, there are some matches and a sheet of paper into my pocket, burn it and make a fire,” Alex suggested. “It will scare the bear off.”
“We don’t have time to make the fire, the bear is too close already. Let’s play the dead. It will not hurt us this way.”
They both did so, and when the bear drew near them, it smelled them for some moments and then made its way into the depth of the cave.

“Wow, it was easier then I thought. Your advice saved our life,” Alex breathed again.
Elsa helped her friend to walk out of the cave and they were soon away from any danger. Alex received the right treatment to his ankle while Elsa searched for Clara and for Daniel, but couldn’t find them anywhere.

Later, Alex came to her house to express all his gratitude.
“I really don’t know what I would have done without your help. Everyone thought you were the chicken-hearted, but they, actually proved out to be the real cowards. You stood there for me when everyone else left me. I can’t thank you enough. You proved out to be my real friend by what you did.”
“I did just what my heart told me to do. You are my friend, how could I leave you in a bad moment like that? When I saw you in danger, I felt a strange power inside me. My fear was gone.”
“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” Alex smiled.

That was an experience Elsa would not forget easily. She learned about the real value of friendship. And she continued her journey with the clouds and the birds into the deep unknown lands of the mind.

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