The Boundary Stone - Chapter 2: Decision Time

Chapter 2 - Decision Time

Jacob was summoned.  As the oldest (and certainly the biggest) of the family, it was hoped he would have wisdom and some good ideas.  It was difficult to get him to move out of his upside down position, where he looked like a loosely folded umbrella hanging from its handle.  When he did upright himself and spread his lengthy legs, Anita thought he must be at least one hundred and sixty times as big as her.

Jacob decreed that they should send someone in to locate the stone.  However, he thought himself much too visible, given his size.  Anita tried to shrink herself even smaller and prayed that she wouldn’t be sent on this dangerous mission.  Everyone was deep in thought when a delightful figure pirouetted, twirled and landed gracefully in front of Jacob.

            “I’ll go,” she said.

Jacob looked at Dancer admiringly.  She hadn’t been called Dancer originally but had quickly become known by that name because of her elegant and agile dance-like ability.  Jacob was torn.  Dancer was still quite young and obviously unaware of some of the dangers.  However, she was very nimble and young enough to be almost transparent. 

Dancer’s friend Caroline pushed herself forward.

            “Show them your disappearing act,” she urged.

Dancer had been perfecting this and went into a rapid gyrating motion.  The others gasped as Dancer blurred herself out of sight.  Gregory gazed in awe.  He made a note to keep practising this movement himself as he realised how useful it could be in a dangerous situation.  Jacob prepared to return himself upside down.

            “Ask Ruth for travel instructions,” he called as he turned.

All eyes looked at Ruth, who had to think for a few minutes before she plunged into verse:

“On this journey take good care
 To follow the footsteps of Mary Fair
 An archaeologist of times of old
 Who made some maps and notes I’m told
 But don’t you worry or dig too deep
 The best way there is to travel by sheep.”

Caroline and Dancer knew that the sheep did indeed follow the ancient tracks and were as regular as trains and buses.  They also knew that some of Mary Fair’s old maps were in one of the older barns, so they hurried off to have a look.

            “I’ll come with you on the journey,” said Caroline.
            “And will you wait for me while I am in Parsnip Park?” Dancer asked.
            “Of course,” said Caroline.
            “Me too,” called Gregory as he scurried into the barn behind them.

They looked at some maps and decided they would need to catch a sheep at Silver Knott and get off when they reached the edge of Thwaite Wood.  The three of them went to report to Jacob but they found him fast asleep.

            “Don’t wake him,” whispered a soft voice.

Looking around, they saw Celeste draped in her web, with Anita fast asleep beside her.

“Too much excitement for the oldest and youngest,” said Caroline.

They all smiled fondly at Jacob and Anita.

“Don’t worry,” said Celeste quietly.  “I’ll get a message to Stan to let him know you’re on your way to locate the boundary stone.”

Chapter 3 - Travel