Still panting Gretel gazed at the giant rock. She knew this boulder like an old friend. She fingered the crevice to her right and felt the spongy moss under her trembling fingertips. She stepped toward the crack and peeked inside. There was a small collection of seeds and berries nestled inside. She remembered watching the woodland creatures scampering up the side of the stone to hide their precious stash. It would seem that they still did.
Gretel walked around to the front of the rock and peered up to the ledge where she and Hansel and loved to sit and tell stories. Spying the makeshift steps that they had carved into the face of the rock, she smiled. Gingerly she placed the toe of her right boot onto the bottom step and gripped the ledge with her hands. She steadied herself with both hands and climbed up the boulder. At the top she turned and settled onto the edge of the rock and looked around. She saw the familiar trees surrounding her - years older but beckoning her to remember...
She and Hansel were perched on the top of their castle wall. They had spent much of the morning gathering berries and seeds in the folds of Gretel’s apron. Then they had filled Hansel’s pockets and he had ferried their precious cargo up to the top of the castle wall. It had taken them several trips up and down the face of the boulder to fill all the nooks and crannies with seeds and berries. Now they stood as sentries on the top of the castle wall each armed with a handful of seeds and with their eyes trained on the ground below.
Hansel called out, “Halt! An intruder!”
He pointed to the pine tree down below and the invisible enemy under it’s branches. Gretel joined in the defense and rained down a barrage of ammunition at the intruder. They heard the cacophony of birds in the tree as they were startled by the shower of berries. When they were both certain that the threat had been eliminated, the sat back and laughed together, as siblings often do.