Brothers Campfire An Ongoing Tale  #253

Brothers Campfire, Brotherscampfire, Brother's Campfire

Hello, Benjamin from Brothers Campfire here!

Alexander had spent a good portion of his life pacifying everyone in his family and so learned to find the middle ground in everything. 

Because of his upbringing, he didn’t know what the truth was or wasn’t, so it was difficult for him to take sides on a matter or commit to a purpose. 

Usually, folks know who their mother is, and mostly who their father is, but Alexander was never completely certain about anything.  

Astride his trusty steed Bartholomew, Alexander reflected on his life, and what he would do with his future. It depended on a lot of factors.

“Bart,” he said to his favorite horse, 

“Let’s travel to the prairie dog-infested hundred-acre wood at the base of the hills said to be haunted by haints.”

“There, we will build a kingdom, but it will not be known as Pooh by the locals for much longer.

Just at that moment, Bartholomew slipped, almost unseating Alexander. Bartholomew snorted and whinnied then whinnied and snorted. 

He had stepped on his tail, ripping it clean off. Alexander dismounted and examined his friend. It was bad, but not as bad as it must have felt. 

Accustomed to livestock, he calmed his mount. 

 “There, there, Bart, it will grow back, don’t you worry.”

Alexander rode for a good way and arrived at his inheritance to discover there were no structures, men servants or maidservants, and most assuredly no population to preside over. 

Four dead cottonwood trees slumped over a long dried-up water hole; the adjoining hills were rather ugly and unsuitable for anything useful. 

This was the hundred-acre wood.

It was disappointing; much more disappointing than he anticipated. 

Alexander was more dejected when he rode into the hills to find they were not haunted by haints as far as he could see. 

A gentle wind blew softly in his face. At least this was some consolation. Hearing a loud crash on his property, he spurred his steed and raced back to see what the commotion was all about. 

Three of his four trees had toppled to the ground. 

He watched in horror as the fourth fell in a crumpled heap on the others. 

Indeed, it was a hundred acres of Pooh. 

Feeling a bit unsupported and let down, Alexander unsaddled his horse, unpacked the pack animals, and put them to pasture. 

Alexander’s dejection carried much further than it would have if his mother were there. 

“I will fall on my sword,” he cried. Not feeling very ambitious about it, he sat on the ground instead and dwelled on his predicament. 

Finding a semblance of order, he stood and brushed himself off. 

Pointing an index finger towards the sky, he thoughtfully stated, 

“First, I shall dig my own grave.” 

His precious ego bruised, Bartholomew whinnied his encouragement. He had lost his tail after all.

From his supplies, Alexander procured a shovel. A robust man, he lamented that his resting place would be much larger than others, requiring more work. 

Tracing an outline in the dirt, he began to dig. He dug and shoveled, he shoveled and dug.

About knee-deep in his plot, he sat down on the ledge, feet firmly planted at the bottom. He was tired. It is a lot of work to dig a grave, especially your own. 

It was then he heard a scratching sound below. Was it the haints? Alexander forgot his plight and readied his sword. Glory was soon to be his! 

Alexander remained seated, sword in hand,  his other planted firmly on the ground for balance. This could be a momentous event. He whispered to himself,  “Just think, me, Alexander, a haint slayer.” 

Alexander mentally prepared for when the haints would emerge from his grave and he would overpower them with the might of his right hand. There would be bloodshed, some of it his, but he was confident in victory. 

Alexander envisioned the pain of battle in his mind. A sharp pain, a dull ache, the fear, all of this would be overcome with his valor and courage. 

He yelped, and stood bolt upright, nearly falling over from where he was seated. He had been bitten on his hand, and he was bleeding! 

Looking for an enemy, he was horrified; what if the enemy was invisible. Spirits had a way of doing things like that. 

Swinging wildly with his sword, Alexander hit nothing until he was exhausted. 

He lay down and had a good cry. His thoughts were a muddle of all the events lumped up together. He felt rejected, stupid for fighting the air, and a bit helpless. 

Sometime after the snot ceased to flow, he heard a small voice in his ear. 

“Hey bub, are you lying near my nest for any particular reason? I have a family and you are not welcome here.”

Alexander turned his head to see that a prairie dog was speaking to him. 

“Yea, you robust wannabe warrior, if you don’t move, I will bite you again.”

Alexander was more shocked that a prairie dog was speaking to him than anything. 

“What is this? You talk?” 

“Duh, you lumpy excuse for a man, if you listened, you would know.

Alexander, adept at deescalation and pacification, was a bit thin on patience. 

The prairie dog prattled on. 

“Why did you dig a hole next to my nest, you big oaf?”

Standing up, sword still in hand Alexander was thoughtful. 

“Well, I couldn’t decide whether I should fall on my sword, find my own way in the world, or dig a grave first.”

The prairie dog didn’t hesitate.

“You absolutely should have killed yourself. We need more fertilizer for roots to grow around here. You have plenty of it, why.. I think…”

We will never know what the prairie dog had to say because Alexander cut him in twain with his sword. 

Thus, a new sword form called Mogura Tataki モグラたたき, or Whack a Mole was developed. 

 

Author: The Storyteller

Benjamin Thiel is a husband, father, correctional professional and author of The Ongoing Tale at Brothers Campfire.

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