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The Bush and the Bull
I'd never seen an elephant outside of a zoo. I'd never seen a teacher outside of a classroom. Yet here I am in a bizarre oasis in Egypt, unable to find my way out. I had been hacking my way through the jungle, tripping on vines and getting hit in the face with giant leaves attached to huge bushes. Sweat trickled down my forehead and I sat down against a tall tree. I was getting out a small snack when I noticed the noisy tropical forest had become dead silent. Looking around me and I slowly stood up. A crashing sound came echoing through the forest around me. THUNK. THUNK. The ground shook and an enormous giant stopped in front of me.
As I faced the monster I suddenly felt hopeless. I knew I wouldn't find the Egyptian treasure, it had all been a hoax; I was just another fool to those greedy liars who sold me the map. I'd fallen for the trap and now I was going to die, killed by my once favorite animal. I was really sweating now. My clammy hands felt for the tree behind me and I got to one side of it, but as I was moving the elephant trumpeted in my ear. I thought I would go deaf from the noise and I slid back to the ground. My mind began to race. I didn't know if I should attack it or run, so this is fight or flight I thought to myself.
I stared at the animal, seeing into its eyes and I realized it was more scared than I was. I took a deep breath. I closed my eyes and imagined myself in the elephant's position, why would a creature like that be scared? I opened my eyes and noticed that the animal's eyes were looking behind me. I heard a small rustling in the plants so it couldn't be something like a lion. What could it be? I began to feel worse and worse. I finally, very slowly turned around, unsure if I wanted to see what was lurking behind me.
When I saw what was causing the elephant to tremble a wave of relief hit me and I felt so much better I burst out laughing. I fell to the ground clutching my side, tears trickling out my eyes. How could I have been so stupid? I thought it was only in stories but the one thing an elephant was afraid of was something so small it was scared it might step on it. It was a mouse! When I got control of myself I picked up the small light brown mouse.
He was a skinny little thing and I could feel his ribs. I gave him some of my snack, which was a little smashed from my death grip, but tasted good all the same.
I wondered how he had gotten here and I held him up so I could look him in the eye. His small black eyes looked at me with out fear and he seemed to be a very bold little mouse.
"You're a very cute little mouse," I complemented him, knowing he didn't understand but still glad I had a friend. I went to pet his head but his little arm shot up and stopped me. He stood up on my hand.
"Thanks. The names Ferdinand." He stuck out his paw to shake and I gave him one finger.
"Ferdinand like the bull in that old story? Yes? It's nice to meet you. My name is Briar." I said politely.
"Briar like the bush? Yes?" I blushed, embarrassed by my weird name.
"Yes, like the bush, but please don't make fun of me. I didn't name myself." Then I paused. "Oh my god I'm talking to a mouse!" I almost dropped him.
"What? You've seen a mouse that couldn't talk? How ridiculous!" He chuckled. "So, what are you doing in this neck o' the woods?" He asked. I reluctantly told him my story and how I had foolishly spent almost all of the money I had on a phony map. Afterward he nodded. "I thought you might be after treasure." He pulled a card out of nowhere and handed it to me. "Read it. I might be able to help you." I took the card and read it over several times not really taking it in the first time. It read as follows:
Finder and Aid of Lost Treasure and Humans
Red Badge Awarded
Member of M.A.W.B.
"Um, 'member of… mawb'… What's that?" I asked. I was beginning to get a little worried that I was either going crazy or the elephant had killed me and this was some test I had to pass before I could go to heaven. I tucked the card in my pocket as the mouse answered.
"Mouse's Association for the Willing and Brave." Ferdinand stated proudly. "I've heard of this treasure you're looking for and I've always wanted to looked for it. I think I would be able to help you if you'd let me." I took the faded map from my bag and unfolded it. I knew where I wanted to go but I couldn't figure out how I would get there.
"Would you?" I practically pleaded.
"Well…" He seemed to be actually pondering this. "Oh, of course silly! You didn't even have to ask!" He slowed down a bit and spoke in a fake pompous voice. "I would truly be honored." Ferdinand climbed up my arm and onto my shoulder. I searched my map for a moment, glanced at my compass and we started off to the East towards the Sun high in the sky.