Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rabbo Tales - Chapter 9

By Mark Crocker

The Village

    Rabbo awoke to being in something dark and being bumped up and down and side to side. He was not sure where or when he was other than it was dark and he was in something big heavy and soft. Rabbo pictured Athena in his mind and called her on the private telepathic mode “help I’m in something big black soft and it’s moving from side to side and up and down”.
    The motion stopped and two hands reached down and pulled him out of the back pack.
    “You were still sound a sleep when we got up and you would not wake so dad put you in his back pack. We did not mean to frighten you” said Athena as she hugged Rabbo close.
    They had just walked out of the woods and Cat was close at hand leading the way and cutting back and forth in front of them. Sometimes Cat would rush ahead and then wait for them. Athena sat Rabbo down on a rock and looked around. “We have a long walk and we should make it sometime late this afternoon”
    Rabbo set off followed by Merwyn Athena and Bastet. Cat was out in front following the pathway and sniffing as he went. “Do you think it’s safe for me to be in the village” asked Rabbo full of worry that the people in the village might think he was something to eat.
    “Don’t worry Rabbo I will make you seem like an owl to them so that they will leave you alone. You will just have to stay close to us that all so no sneaking off on your own. As I don’t want you ending up on someone’s table as dinner” said Athena with a smile on her lips.
    They walked until the sun was high overhead and then sat under the shade of an olive tree and eat lunch. Then after a short nap they continued down towards where the village was. They were coming up out of a valley when Rabbo smelt something different in the air. It has a kind of salty smell that Rabbo had never smelt before. His nosed twitched as he sniffed and sniffed. Then he saw a stone wall and was about to run to it when Athena stopped him.
    “There are people in that field now stay close. Better yet let me put you on my shoulder and make you look like an owl” said Athena.
    “Good idea sweetie. We don’t want stewed Rabbo” snickered Bastet.
    Merwyn looked over and Athena and Bastet. “I think you two should put on longer skirts now. And Bastet put the cloak on with the hood they might not like your face. No offence meant. Just a woman with a cat face might upset them”
    “Good point dad. Bastet you best do as dad said”
    Bastet stuck her tongue out at Merwyn as she pulled the cloak out of his pack and put it on pulling the hood up over her head so that her face was concealed. Athena pulled her short toga off and stood naked for a moment as she pulled a long toga out of her pack. She winked at Bastet and then pulled the long toga over her head and down her body.
    They continued to walk passing more stone walls and sinking down into more valleys and the smell that Rabbo had smelt got stronger and stronger until he started to sneeze at all the salt in the air. Rabbo sat or rather floated on Athena’s shoulder and at last he could see where the smell of salt was coming from. Rabbo could see a huge body of blue water stretching off as far as he could see and below him was a huge village with a building on a hill that was being built. Around the huge village was a stone wall much higher and thicker than those that they had passed along the way. And below the huge village further away was a harbor.
    Merwyn turned looked first at Athena then turning to Bastet said “Welcome to Athens. Named in honor of the hero who drove the raiders into the sea.”
    “Oh my you never told me that, darling” said Bastet to Athena.
    “It’s something I am not proud of something I wish I had never done. But it’s done, it happened, and I have to live with it.” said Athena looking down at the ground.
    They walked up to a huge gate that was built into the wall and walked down between two other walls that were a little lower and had towers at each end. Merwyn walked up to a man dressed in a chest plate of bronze holding a long spear. “Where is the senate my good master at arms” asked Merwyn.
    The guard suddenly had a glazed look in his eyes and looked at Merwyn without seeing him. He raised his arm and pointed down a wide road.
    “Thank you my good man” said Merwyn.
    “What did Merwyn do?” asked Rabbo on Athena’s private telepathic mode.
    “He read his mind. Now we know all we need to know to blend in and be safe.” replied Athena.
    “Ok Athena you go and warn the senate and I will escort Bastet to he ship.” “Ok dad and I will meet up with you at the ship. Oh you best take Rabbo as I won’t be able to hide him when I warn them.”
    Rabbo was passed over to Merwyn and Athena suddenly faded into nothing that Rabbo could see.

    Athena walked invisibly up the pathway to the temple in her honor. She walked past half finished walls and outer buildings before she entered the roofless temple. She looked around to see stone masons and construction workers busy at work sweating hard while moving blocks of marble around and carving them into shapes and pillars. Athena sat down on a huge stone table and thought for a moment. It was the silence that made her look up from her deep thoughts. She looked around and all the masons and construction workers where standing looking at her.
    “Oops” she thought to herself. “Dad would be very upset and me doing that.”.
    Athena stood up and looked around. She spotted a young woman holding a baby in her arms come running towards her. Athena smiled at the young woman “don’t fear me, my child.” she said in a soft voice.
    The young woman stopped bowed low and walked up to Athena.
    “May I look at your daughter” asked Athena.
    The young woman handed over the baby girl to Athena and bowed low.
    “Stand up my child and sit next to me and tell me what you have been doing since you visited the home of the gods?”
    In a weak hoarse voice the young woman spoke “I am no longer high priestess to you, my goddess. But I was here and saw you appear so I came while the high priestess is brought before you”.
    “You are staying off those leafs I hope” said Athena.
    “Yes, my goddess. I am doing as you told me”.
    “Good and please you can call me Athena not my goddess. After all you are my child”.
    “Yes my um Athena”
    “Good now tell me what you have been doing since last we talked”.
    For the next thirty minutes the young woman told Athena all that she had been doing since she had visited Athena at the house.
    Athena looked up and saw another young woman who was swaying unsteadily on her feet. Athena beckoned her forward and noticed that her pupils were very dilated. They were so dilated that Athena felt that all she had to do was reach into her pupils and she could touch the retina.
    “You are my voice” asked Athena of the new high priestess?
    “Yes, my goddess” slurred the new high priestess.
    “Then tell the people here and in the village that the sea raiders are coming. They will be here the day after tomorrow. Tell them that they need to arm themselves and be ready to fight” Athena said.
    The new high priestess turned and weaved side ways and spoke but her voice was so slurred that none could clearly understand what she was saying. Athena looked at her disappointed. She then looked at the young woman handed her back her daughter.
    “You better stand back a little” Athena said softly to the young woman. “When I am done we will talk some more”.
    Athena moved to the center of the huge stone table and let herself seem to grow tall until her head was above where the roof would be when the temple was finished.
    “You have done well my beloved people. I am much pleased with what I see” Athena’s voice boomed out over the temple and down into the village. “In return I bring a warning. Arm yourselves as the sea raiders will be here the day after tomorrow. They come in five great ships. So to arms and prepare yourselves for battle”.
    Athena shrunk back to her normal size. She turned to the people in the temple and pointed at the young woman and said. “This woman is a child of Athena. Honor her protect her and her blood. She is blessed by me.” Athena looked at the young woman and beckoned her to join her back at the altar.
    Athena sat back down next to the young woman who had been standing at the top of the stairs leading to Athena’s altar. Suddenly there was a gasp and everyone in the temple started to look around.
    Athena giggled softly as she sat next to the young woman and her baby daughter. “That should give them something to talk about”.
    “What happened” said the young woman.
    Athena giggled “I made you and me invisible. They can’t see us. Let’s go to your house and talk”.
    As they walked invisibly out of the temple Athena spotted Cat weaving his way though the crowd that was heading to the temple.
    “Over here, Cat” said Athena.
    “Can’t see you. You not seeable” said Cat
    “Towards the wall at the end” Athena told Cat.
    Cat turned towards the top end of the wall and started to walk in that direction.
    “Other end, silly cat”
    As Cat got close Athena made herself visible to his eyes only and then made Cat invisible to the people around him.
    “The cat of the gods” hissed people that had witnesses Cat turn invisible.
    The house of the young woman’s was small and a little untidy. But what Athena noticed most was that there was very little food in the house.
    “You don’t have much food here do you” asked Athena.
    “You are hungry” asked the young woman?
    “No just that your daughter needs you to eat better as she is not getting the milk she needs from you” said Athena.
    “Since I am no longer high priestess at your temple food has been hard to come by. I try to make money for food but I have a baby and well I can’t afford much”.
    “Where is your husband” asked Athena.
    “He was killed defending our house when the sea raiders came last time” said the young woman almost breaking into tears.
    Athena’s heart went out to the young woman. “Well food won’t be a problem now will it”?
    There was knock at the door and the young woman opened the door and a man with a basket of bread stood in the door way. Behind him was another man with a basket of fresh vegetables. And behind him stood a woman with fresh fish wrapped in a cloth and behind her another young woman with a basket that had a jug with milk and butter and cheese.
    When the people saw Athena sitting in the young woman’s house they muttered and bowed to the young woman.
    “I better go” said Athena. As she walked to the door followed by Cat she stopped and turned. “You will have the pick of any man you want you know”.
    The young woman looked sad “The only man I want is dead. I will have no other man in my bed until I join my love in Hades. I made an oath to him as he died in my arms that I would have no other man in my bed apart from him”.
    Athena bowed her head. “I understand”

    Rabbo, Merwyn and Bastet arrived at the ship just as Athena’s voice boomed out over the village. Merwyn turned and looked up at the hill that Athena’s temple was being built on and shook his head. “I guess it the only way she could get the news out fast” muttered Merwyn to Rabbo.
    A man dressed in a white heavy kilt stood at the top of the gangplank and looked down.
    In broken Greek he asked “Who below there”.
    Bastet pulled her hood back “I am here now so knock off the formalities”
    “Oh, Bastet, we have been waiting for you. My daughter is asleep in your cabin but your son is awake in my cabin. I will go get him for you” said the man in the kilt.
    “Who’s that” asked Merwyn.
    “He’s father of the captain and master of my body guard. Don’t worry he knows the truth of what we are. All my crew does. They don’t look at me as anything more than one of them”.
    Rabbo wriggled on Merwyn’s shoulder as sitting up high and not moving was starting to make his body ache and hurt. Merwyn but Rabbo down and he hopped up the gangplank onto the deck of the ship. He looked around and all the wood and rope.
    Bastet walked up the gangplank and bowed to the few sailors that were sitting around talking.
    “This is Rabbo. He is not to be hurt or eaten” said Bastet to her crew.
    “Pity a nice large fat rabbit would make a great stew” said one of the sailors as he licked his fingers.
    “Try to harm me and I will pee in your water and bite your arms off.” said Rabbo trying to sound tough and unaware that the sailor was joking with him.
    Merwyn and Bastet started to laugh as did the sailors on deck. “He is joking with you ,Rabbo.” said Bastet
    A young man walked up on deck and looked around. As soon as he spotted Bastet he ran over and threw his arms around her and hugged her tightly.
    “I missed you mom” said the young man.
    “Mom” asked Merwyn.
    “A long story. I am not his real mom. The captain of this ship is. But he is like a son to me so he is my son without all the pain I will be going though of giving birth to him.”
    “I understand” said Merwyn.
    Bastet lead the way below deck followed by Merwyn and very close on Merwyn's heels Rabbo followed behind. They walked into a large room where a woman was sprawled out on a huge bed.
    “Shhh she is still asleep. Most likely she has not slept in days”. Said Bastet
    “Tell me about the young man. There is an air about him that is different than almost every human on this planet Bastet. Did you do something to him” asked Merwyn.
    “I did not need to. His father’s gene and his mother’s gene are different. His genetic back ground is the same as the humans on this planet. Yet at the same time different. I did nothing to him. I did not need too as it was already there in his mother and father. All I did was make sure that his mother and father shared the same bed so that he could be. I was hoping for a girl but we got a boy instead not that I minded”.
    “Is his father still alive or did Ra get to him” asked Merwyn.
    “Yes he is very much alive. He is the master of my body guard” said Bastet.
    “Father Daughter pairing” asked Rabbo. “That’s inbreeding and Athena tells me that is bad”.
    “Not always” said Athena.
    “Where are you Athena” asked Bastet?
    “I’m not sure. I see buildings with lots of things in them all kinds of stuff in them. But this dam wall keeps blocking my way” answered Athena.
    “Project a picture of what you see” said Merwyn.
    “Ok keep going and you should see an arch way go though that and then come back down. We are the only ship that has a bowsprit” said Bastet.
    “Oh ok. Well as I was saying and Bastet will back me. Inbreeding is ok if the genes are clean with both parents of the child and that there are no negative reinforcements. If both parents have clean gene and are willing it can be gone but the normal method of delivery. Or it can be done by artificial insemination. Myself I much prefer the normal delivery method” stated Athena.
    “Oh yes I agree totally not that I would let a man touch me in that way” replied Bastet.
    “I see your ship Bastet. Yes well its better when a baby is made with love” said Athena. “Don’t you agree dad”
    “Well yes my dear daughter. It’s the only way” replied Merwyn to Athena.
    “I’m here and the man at the top of the gangplank won’t let me up” said Athena.
    Bastet Merwyn and Rabbo headed back on deck to greet Athena who was waiting on the dock with Cat sitting at her feet.

    That night after the feast of greeting Merwyn and Rabbo retreated down into the master cabin and sat down ready to make that nights astral travel trip. Partly as the continuing training lesson for Rabbo and partly to check on the small fleet of ships heading towards the village of Athens.
    Rabbo and Merwyn watched from on high as the five ships sat at anchor in a small cove of an island. Each ship had sixty warriors and oarsmen armed with bows spears and swords for a combined force of three hundred warriors.
    Before they had headed off to check on the fleet Rabbo and Merwyn had traveled to where the villagers force was being mustered and had count over four hundred men with weapons that were ready to defend the village.
    Rabbo had pointed out to Merwyn that the village was too large but the definition that he had learned from Isis and the term city would be a better description of what Merwyn and Athena called the village.
    Merwyn pointed out that when they had first arrived it was a small collection of huts with a rammed earth wall surround the huts. But over the few hundred years that they had been there it had grown and could be called a city but Athena liked to call it “the village” as that was how she knew it.
    Rabbo and Merwyn descended lower to have a closer look at the warriors camped on the beach. It seemed that most of the warriors had only light armor and weapons that had seen many battles.
    “These men are possible very skilled with their weapons so it might be quite fight for the villagers even if they do out number these men camped her on the beach. Let’s look at the ships and see what they have to help them” Merwyn stated to Rabbo.
    As the moved from ship to ship it became clear that while the men were very possible well trained that they did not have the weaponry for an attack on a well defended location.
    Rabbo and Merwyn returned to the beach and started to drift from camp fire to camp fire listening to what was being said and how each warrior was acting. It soon became very clear that they thought that the villagers would run and hide as they had in the past and that the raid would not last more than a few hours. Rabbo and Merwyn moved towards the only tent on the beach and listened to one warrior how had real armor.
    “If their goddess shows up I know how to deal with her. They say that a spear to the eye will kill a god or goddess and I have brought a special spear that I had made as I want revenge for my brother that she killed.”
    Another warrior sitting by the fire looked over “think you can get that close without being killed my lord”?
    “I prayed to great bull that she would be made weak if she is there so that I can slay her. And I will. I will put her head on my spear and show these people that we can wipe them out at anytime and that their goddess is nothing next to the great bull.”.
    “Yes, my lord, and I know that you can. After all she is only a woman. A goddess maybe but still just a woman”.
    The others sitting around the camp fire laughed.
    “I plan to capture myself a virgin when we attack” said another warrior.
    Again there was laugher around the camp fire.
    “They make small talk as they are over confidant” said Merwyn to Rabbo. “See how they laugh and joke and none looked worried or are checking their weapons or armor. Listen how the talk as if victory is already theirs. And see how they eat as if the expect there to be plenty of food to haul away”.
    Rabbo felt himself start to drift upwards and back towards the main land and the village.
    Rabbo opened his eyes to see Merwyn slowly stand up and look around the cabin that they had been using for their astral travel trip. Rabbo sat still on the bed checking his body to make sure that his heart rate was coming back up to normal when Athena walked in.
    “Dad what news of the fleet” asked Athena?
    “They are over confidant but one plans to kill you with a spear though your eye.”
    Athena laughed “as if they could get that close. Beside I am not planning on being at the battle anyway” stated Athena flatly
    “Go to the council and inform them of what I saw. Make it sound like you saw it and what you heard.” said Merwyn.
    Rabbo watched as Athena closed her eyes and rocked on the heels of her feet as Merwyn projected what they had seen and heard while they had been at the beach where the warriors had been camped. Athena left the cabin so Rabbo hopped up close to Merwyn. For some reason Rabbo felt chilled to his bones and could not get warm.
    “I am cold” said Rabbo. “Oh yes I forget sometimes that you are still learning about astral travel and don’t know all the tricks yet. And I forget too that because you are covered in fur does not mean that you don’t get cold” said Merwyn.
    Rabbo felt warmth start to spread though out his body gently warming him from his stomach out to his feet and ears. Once Rabbo was warm he curled up to sleep on the huge bed.

    Rabbo awoke to the sun coming though a porthole and warming his head. He slowly opened his eyes and lying in the bed was Athena, Bastet and the ships captain and Cat.
    Rabbo slipped off the bed and hopped over to a small table that had a low rail around it. He reached over pulled the cover of the water jug filled a glass and drunk. He then hopped over to the door and reached up to pull the lever down so that he could leave the cabin. But the handle was just out of reach. Even standing on tiptoes he could not reach the lever so he looked around for something he could push over and reach the lever.
    Rabbo spotted a small wooden box and hopped over and pushed it to the door. Then he stood on the box reached up and started to pull the door handle down. But the door handle seemed to be either locked or stuck. So Rabbo used his whole weight to pull the handle down and still it did not move. Rabbo tried pushing it upwards and still it would not move.
    Rabbo looked at the door to see if there was some kind of lock that locked the door handle but he could see none. So he closed his eyes and looked into the door handle but could not see anything that would make the door handle not work. Rabbo moved his head real close and looked carefully at the door handle to see if there was something he could do to open the door.
    He rested his paw on the handle to think and the lever came down making Rabbo fall of the box and land on the floor in a heap. From the bed he heard soft giggling and saw Bastet’s cats eyes watching him closely. Rabbo pushed the box back to where he had got it from hopped to the door and turned and looked at Bastet. He stuck his tongue out and turned and hopped out of the cabin.
    Up on deck Rabbo saw Merwyn looking at the buildings that the people kept all the stuff that the ships brought to the village. Without turning Merwyn spoke to Rabbo “I think while we are here we should do some shopping for things that we need like seed grain, wool, herbs and tiles”?
    “Tiles why tiles” asked Rabbo.
    “Well I will have to build an extra room as a nursery for when Athena’s baby is born as it would not be health for the baby once it’s old enough for it own room to sleep in the same bed or room as Athena”.
    Rabbo nodded and moved to where he could look though the scuppers at the buildings on the wharf. Rabbo noticed that there was a lot of coming and going as people came and took things from the buildings in behind the walls of the village. He noticed that there was a lot of carts being loaded up and pulled inside by many men who all seemed very busy.
    “Soon they will have it all secured behind the walls and be ready for when the fleet arrives. Last night Athena told them what we saw and gave them a battle plan so that they could defeat the raiders” Merwyn paused and looked down at Rabbo “They should arrive at about noon time tomorrow. I did see a guard mounted on that high hill over to our left so that they can keep a watch for the fleet”
    “Will we be here for the battle” asked Rabbo rather worried that Merwyn and Athena might have to fight.
    “No sweetie we should be gone by noon time today” said Athena’s voice drifting into Rabbo and Merwyn's head.
    Rabbo looked around and it was clear that the sailors were busy getting the ship ready to sail.
    Athena and Bastet came up on deck holding hands.
    Cat walked behind them his tail swishing from side to side.
    Athena had Merwyn’s back pack and the cloak that Bastet had wore as she walked over to Rabbo and Merwyn.
    Athena turned and kissed Bastet before she walked past Rabbo and Merwyn and started down the gangplank towards the wharf with Cat close on her heels.
    Merwyn reached down and picked up Rabbo and followed Athena down onto the wharf. The four of them stood there watching as the sailors started to cast off, and the ship drifted away into the harbor. Then a wind sprung up out of nowhere and filled the sail pushing the ship around so that its bow pointed out of the harbor.
    Athena stood waving at Bastet as the ship pulled out into the sea. She then turned to Merwyn and Rabbo smiled weakly and brushed away the tears that were streaming down her cheeks.
    “Let’s go straight home, dad. I don’t want to shop I just want to go home” Athena said sadly.
    As they walked though the village they saw many signs that the people were preparing themselves for battle. It seemed at the end of each street there was piles of arrow’s ready to be moved to the walls. Also there were many large amphora’s lining the street filled with water. But when they got to the walls the amphora’s were filled with thick heavy olive oil also at the walls were fires burning with sand in huge copper pots.
    “Why are they heating sand, dad” asked Athena.
    “To pour on the raiders. It gets down under the armor that they might be wearing and will burn and make them back off”.
    “To me it looks like they are expecting the battle to last many days” said Rabbo
    “I am glad you remembered not to talk out aloud Rabbo” said Athena.
    “I hate being an owl” said Rabbo. “My skin itches and the feather hurt every time the wind blows”.
    As the walked up the track they had to step aside often for carts with people moving into the village. Many of the carts were piled high with the belongings of the people pulling the carts. Often there were small children sitting on the top of the pile of belongs crying and weeping.
    At the top of one hill Athena turned back and looked towards the village. “It’s more of a town now. I guess it’s stupid of me to refer to it as a village”.
    As they started down the back side of the hill an old woman and an old man walked towards them pulling a small cart. “Why are you leaving Athens? It is safer than being outside the city. Come with us to my son’s house you will be safe there when the sea raiders arrive”.
    “Thank you for your offer but our home is up beyond the hills near the mountain” said Merwyn.
    “You live near the mountain of the gods. You are very brave. I could not live that close to the gods. They say that the goddess that comes down from the mountain warned the city that the sea raiders were coming. They do say that she appeared in her temple as tall as the temple itself. They do say that she told those there how to beat the sea raiders. And that she blessed the old high priestess” said the old woman almost breathlessly.
    “Yes I was there I saw her bless the young woman and her daughter” said Athena.
    “Walk with us and tell me all about it” said the old woman trying to get Merwyn and Athena to return to the city with her.
    “Thank you but we must head to our home near the mountain. We will be safe there and far away from the sea raiders” said Athena.
    The old woman turned and looked at Merwyn “may you and your wife be blessed by the great goddess Pallas Athena”
    Merwyn bowed his head to the old woman and her husband. “May the great goddess bless you and watch over you”.
    “Dad that is too funny. If they knew the truth” Athena’s voice laughed in Rabbo’s Merwyn’s and Cats heads.
    After many hours of walking they turned off the track down a path that led up towards the mountain. They had not stopped for lunch as they could see clouds building over their mountain and Merwyn was worried that they might get caught in a thunder storm.
    Rabbo had gotten tired so Merwyn had placed him in his back pack with the top open so that he could ride and see what was going on.
    As they walked though the woods Rabbo closed his eyes and stepped out of his body and traveled a little ways ahead so that he could see what the woods where like as Merwyn and Athena had told him to stay out of the woods.
    Rabbo saw the wild cat with her kittens sitting in a small meadow playing in the rays of sun light that was coming though the trees. Towards one end of the small meadow stood a deer with her fawn feeding from her and at the other end were small birds up in a tree. And below the birds in a hole in the trunk of the tree was bee’s a beehive. The bees were buzzing around in the meadow visiting the flowers that bloomed all over the place.
    Rabbo started to come back towards Merwyn and Athena and saw a pile of bones of some small animal. But what really caught his eye were the glows that surround both Merwyn and Athena.
    Both Merwyn and Athena glowed so brightly that the cast a golden glow that seemed to surround them and join them. Rabbo noticed a duller glow weaving from side to side. He zoomed in closer at the duller glow and noticed that it was Cat.
    As Rabbo watched Cat sunk down and started to stalk a bird that was feeding from a low bush. Cat crept slowly forward moving in on the bird until he was almost right behind the bird and ready to leap up and grab the bird. The bird hopped down onto the floor of the woods and moved backwards towards were Cat had stopped.
    Then Cat pounced forward onto the bird and bit down killing the bird so fast that it was dead even before it had a chance to squeak in alarm. Then Cat walked off with his tail held high and the bird in his mouth. Cat headed towards the small meadow where the wild cat was sunning her self with her kittens.
    Cat walked into the meadow and straight up to the wild cat. He dropped the dead bird down at her paws and sniffed her. He then walked over to one of the kittens leaned down and licked the kitten gently.
    The kitten turned and reared up on his hind legs and spat and hissed at Cat. Cat batted it down and started to roll around in the meadow with the kitten.
    Another kitten watched then bounced over though the grass and pounced on Cat. The third kitten walked slowly over and looked at Cat. It meowed plaintively at Cat and lifted it paw up.
    Rabbo noticed that the paw glowed a sickly yellow color and that there was something clearly wrong with the paw.
    Rabbo returned to his body and sat up looking out of Merwyn's back pack.
    “Cat is with some kittens and one of them has a hurt paw” Rabbo said.
    “Can’t be helped” said Merwyn.
    “Dad it’s a kitten and is hurt”
    “Its nature taking care of its own my dear daughter” said Merwyn.
    “Yes but it’s innocent”
    “If you helped every hurt animal in the woods we would have a zoo at the house” said Merwyn in a gentle yet firm tone.
    As they walked along Cat popped out onto the pathway and walked up towards them with something in his mouth. As Cat got closer it was clear that Cat had a small kitten in his mouth and that he was walking as slowly and as gently as possible as to not hurt the kitten.
    “Help son. Paw wrong. Son hurt. Please fix” said Cat to Athena.
    “Oh that’s different. It’s family” said Merwyn.
    “Oh because it’s family that makes a difference” said Athena with a tone of pure ice in her voice.
    Merwyn sat down on the ground and slipped his back pack off and took the kitten from Cat. Merwyn looked at the kittens paw and gently touched the paw.
    The kitten let out a squeal in pain. And then started hissing and spitting at Merwyn. Suddenly the kitten froze in Merwyn’s hand.
    “Hmm the paw is broken and he has an infection. This is not good, Cat. But I think we can help him a little”. Merwyn turned to Rabbo. “Hop out of my pack and reach into the lowest side pocket. My first aid kit is there. Bring it to me”.
    Rabbo reached into the lowest pocket and pulled out a wooden box. He then hopped over to Merwyn on his hind legs still holding the box in his front paws.
    Rabbo closed his eyes and looked at the bones in the paw. The bones were all flat and squashed as if something big had stepped on the paw making it flat. Rabbo focused his mind and started to realign the bones so that they were in a more normal position. As he did that he noticed that the bones were becoming un-flat and looking more like bones in a paw should. As Rabbo worked he saw a silver glow surround the paw and the red swelling started to go down. After about 30 minutes Rabbo opened his eyes and saw that Cat was busy licking the kitten who was sitting between his legs shaking.
    “Nice team work there” said Merwyn to both Athena and Rabbo.
    Cat looked at Merwyn then Athena and lastly at Rabbo “Thank you. Son be well now”?
    “He will have a better chance now of making it, Cat, so don’t worry” said Merwyn.
    Cat picked the kitten up in his mouth and with his tail held high Cat walked up the pathway until he came to the spot that he had entered the path way.
    “I had forgotten that Athena and Bastet had been training you to heal, Rabbo. Nice job by the way.”
    “Thank you. I did what I could but you filled the bones back up all I did was make them straight.” said Rabbo.
    “Nice job to Athena strengthening the kitten’s immune system. Now he has a fighting chance to get better”
    Merwyn put his back pack back on and they started up the pathway again. As the came to a larger meadow Rabbo saw dark heavy clouds overhead and heard a faint rumble coming from far ahead. They walked fast as they were still a few hours from the house and the storm looked like it was coming down off the mountain and towards them and that it could be a big thunder storm.
    About an hour down the path Cat popped out and sat waiting for them under a tree on the edge of another meadow.
    “Cat, is the kitten ok” asked Rabbo
    “Son sleeping next to mother” answered Cat
    “Why did you not tell us that you had a family” said Athena
    “I not think about it. Mother feed them. Mother clean them. I just bring food when can” answered Cat
    “If your son makes it bring him to the house so that I can take a look at his paw” said Athena.
    They met up with Cat and hurried faster down the pathway. But about thirty minutes from the house they felt the first drops of rain start to fall. Merwyn looked up and though the trees he could see very dark and heavy clouds. Then there was a loud rumble that made Cat and Rabbo jump.
    Merwyn reached down and put Rabbo into his back pack without looking and started to jog. Athena also picked up the pace and jogged alongside Merwyn.
    As the came out of the woods they could see the house disappear behind a sheet of rain that was moving towards them. Merwyn sprinted up the garden path moving as fast as he could he turned and looked at Athena as the rain started to come down hard around her.
    Merwyn put his back pack down so that Rabbo could hop out. He then turned looked at Athena and closed his eye.
    When Athena reached the house Rabbo was very surprised to see that while it had been raining hard on her she was almost completely dry other than her hair being a little damp.
    “Dad threw an umbrella over me” said Athena looking down at Rabbo and noticing his confusion.
    “A what” asked Rabbo?
“I’ll explain later Rabbo. But first I think I need a bath.” said Athena.
Watch for June's continuation of "Rabbo Tales."

Click on Mark Crocker for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

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