Erik chooses the path that leads to Mystery Mountain:
Before they went more than two steps down the path to Mystery Mountain, Benton walked off the path into some lush, if rather wet, tall grass, and bent his head to crop some of the delicious greens. Erik promptly slid down Benton’s neck to land kersploosh in a puddle hidden by the heavy undergrowth.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” Erik said.
Benton nickered an explanation, but his words seemed to go over Erik’s head, so he illustrated by flopping down on his side in the damp grass and rolling back and forth, his hooves flailing the air. When he stood up again, he gave a mighty shake, showering Erik with clear, cold water from the grass. Benton was much cleaner.
“Good idea, Benton!” Erik said, pulling some of the grass and wiping off the worst of the mud. “But this isn’t getting us any closer to finding my present. Even if we are more presentable. Get it? PRESENTable?” Benton just shook his mane.
Erik pulled himself up onto Benton’s back and nudged his sides. He had to nudge several times before Benton was willing to walk on into the dark as night forest that lay ahead of them.
The path narrowed. If Benton had been much larger, it would have been a tight fit between the trees. Could Lady Josie really have come this way on the black horse? “Look, Benton! There’s a hoofprint! We must be on the right path...”
Something swooped by them in the dank darkness. “That was just an owl. Right, Benton?” Erik said aloud. “Right?” Benton didn’t answer. He was too busy laying his ears back on his head at the creature that blocked the path in front of them.
“WHOA, Benton! What IS that?” It looked like a wolf, or an ogre, or something that neither of them really wanted to encounter close up.
Erik looked from side to side, hoping that the path might have a fork in it. Usually when you want a fork, you can’t find one (ever have to eat your dinner with a spoon?) but almost magically, there was a fork. The road kind, not the dinner kind. A sign pointed in two directions. Ahead of them, past the wolf-ogre, was Mystery Mountain. Off to the right was Otterley Creek.
“Otters? Lady Josie likes otters. Do you suppose she went that way, Benton? Or did she try to get past the ogre?” Erik leaned forward to get his pony’s advice.
Benton neighed, but his answer was carried off by a strong wind that whirled past them. Erik would have to decide for himself.
To face the ogre, go HERE http://mylmnopreadstokids.blogspot.com
To go to Otterley Creek, go HERE http://joannamarple.com