The Magical Hallerbos Forest
The Magical Hallerbos Forest6 mins 456 6 mins 456
In spring, the Van de Berg’s moved to a cottage, situated in the municipality of Halle, Belgium. They had boarded the train from Brussels to Halle. A car was waiting to take them to their new home. Lucas, Liam and Lisa were tired but extremely excited to see their new home. They were sad about leaving their friends behind in Brussels, but were eager to explore Halle. Lucas and Liam were both ten, and the twins’ little sister, Lisa was seven.
As the car approached the cottage, they couldn’t help noticing a violet flower carpet in the forest nearby. Lucas asked in excitement, “What is this place called? It looks so magical.” Dad replied, “This is the Hallerbos forest, and the violet flowers are bluebells.” Mum said that they could take a small basket of muffins and lemonade, and go have a picnic in the forest.”
Later that afternoon, after taking some rest, the children were ready to take a walk in the nearby forest. They waved goodbye, and mum reminded them to be home by 6pm. As they walked along the yellow walking path, they spotted a good place to sit down, and enjoy the goodies that mum had packed in their picnic basket. Lucas served the Belgian waffles, and all of them enjoyed their meal. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a voice spoke, “I like waffles too, and wouldn’t mind some lemonade.” The children stared in amazement. A huge Bouvier des Flandres dog stood before them. He said, “Hello, my name is Victor. I’m really hungry. Can I have some waffles?” Lisa quickly put two waffles on a paper plate and placed it on the ground. Victor gobbled it up and lapped up some lemonade that Lisa had poured in a bowl. The children introduced themselves to Victor and told him that they had just moved to Halle. Victor asked them whether they would like to meet his friends, Shoot Question at Cat and Sandaled Sparrow. He told them that Shoot Question at Cat is extremely intelligent, and can answer any question that you ask him, and Sandaled Sparrow always wears his sandals where ever he goes. The children agreed, and were eager to meet these oddly named characters. They decided to meet Victor the following morning.
The children reached home, but didn’t say a word to anybody about the strange, talking, animal friend that they encountered in the forest. After dinner, they all went to bed, eager for the morning to arrive, so that they could start their new adventure.
The next morning, Lucas, Liam and Lisa woke up very early. Seeing the children up so early, their mum asked them if they would like to join her, on her trip to the market. Lisa quickly asked, “Mum, can we go to the forest instead, as we had a wonderful time there yesterday.” Mum agreed and packed them a lunch basket along with some snacks. They waved goodbye, and left with their picnic basket.
As they entered the forest, they felt the violet carpet of bluebells welcoming them. They could smell the earthy scent of wet mud, as it had rained the previous evening. The sunlight glistened through the pine, oak, beech and giant sequoia trees. They could hear the blackcap warblers chirping happily in the distance. Suddenly, Victor approached the children looking distressed. He told them his friend Shoot Question at Cat was missing and hadn’t come home the previous night. Lisa and twins asked Victor what they could do to help. Victor decided that they could all go in search for Shoot Question at Cat. He told them that Sandaled Sparrow had already started flying around the forest, in search of their dear friend.
The group decided to start their search at the pond, where Shoot Question at Cat had gone, to have a drink of water. When they reached the pond, they heard a lot of splashing and looked in the direction of the noise. An energetic fish peeped out of the water and said, “Oh Victor, good you’re here!” Victor looked in the water, and saw his old friend Dishy Fishy looking rather nervous. Victor asked his old friend if he had seen Shoot Question at Cat anywhere. Dishy Fishy then started telling him the events of the previous evening. He said a group of men was sitting by the pond, fishing when Shoot Question at Cat arrived. The men were talking to each other when Shoot Question at Cat started answering the questions that they were asking each other. They were stunned to see a talking cat. The men then started talking to the cat and asked him a lot of questions, for which he knew all the answers. Then, the men stated talking to each other in hushed tones. Dishy Fishy overheard them saying that the talking cat would make them very rich, as he could answer any sort of question. But before Dishy Fishy could alert the cat, the men pounced on, and trapped Shoot Question at Cat. They were about to carry him away, when it started raining very heavily. They needed to take shelter somewhere quickly, so they decided to trap the cat in the small cave by the pond, and put a heavy stone to block the entrance. They planned to come the next morning and take him in a cage.
The children and Victor rushed to the cave and started yelling, “Shoot Question at Cat, are you okay?” There was no reply. They tried pushing the stone, but it was too heavy. All of a sudden they heard heavy footsteps. Dishy Fishy yelled from the pond, “Hide, the men are coming!” Victor quickly lead the children behind a big bush. He had a plan to rescue Shoot Question at Cat. He said, “As soon as the men remove the heavy stone and take Shoot Question at Cat in their hands, I will pounce on them and bark loudly. You children start barking loudly too. This will make them think that we are a pack of wild dogs and will scare them off.”
The men reached the pond, and started pushing the heavy stone away from the entrance of the cave. One of the men was standing by the cage, and another was waiting to grab the cat. Shoot Question at Cat tried to escape, but was caught. As soon as Victor saw this, he pounced on one of the men and started barking loudly. The children also started barking loudly. The men were so startled, they just dropped the cat and ran for their lives. Shoot Question at Cat thanked everyone profusely for helping him. Lisa asked, “Now, is anyone hungry? I’m starving.” Everyone nodded in agreement. Sandaled Sparrow had heard Victor barking loudly and flew over the pond in search of him. He soon found the group and was happy to see his dear cat friend safe. They all sat and enjoyed the lunch mum had packed for the afternoon.
THE BEGINNING OF AN ADVENTUROUS STAY IN HALLE.