The Vole


Ever since his grandfather came back from The Field of the Giant Stones, in such a state of terror that all his whiskers had turned white, no sensible vole had ever dared venture there.

'Old White Whiskers,' as he was known as, enjoyed his fame and loved to relate his adventures. Each time he told 'The Famous Tale', he would add a little bit more to make it even more exciting.

His grandson, who was considered a headstrong, not particularly sensible vole, admired his grandfather very much. Although he didn't believe half of the old vole's story, he always pretended he did. And even if it was so incredible, it inspired the young vole in many ways.

When he was old enough, he decided, he would have his own adventure, and see for himself.

So one day, when he had grown little bigger, he set off towards The Field of the Giant Stones.
It was a calm, autumn morning. The grass was bejewelled with dew drops. The earth was still sodden from the fierce storm of the day before, but the sun shone quite warmly through a thin curtain of cloud.

The young vole kept his little ears well back (for maximum speed) then made a dash as fast and as straight as he could. First there was a ditch in which he got even wetter from the long grass there, then he went under the great bushes and brambles that seemed endless, and then, there in front of him was the first of the Giant Stones.

They were huge, squared blocks of grey stone deeply embedded in the ground and covered with moss and lichen. Some of them were were so high that they appeared to touch the sky.
It was believed that they once belonged to ugly giants. Perhaps it was true. But it didn't seem to be a dangerous place at all that day.

The little vole thought how foolish everyone was. In any case he was almost certain that he would never be scared of dark monsters and moving shadows that make awful noises. He measured only an oak leave in length, but he thought he was big enough to look after himself.
Without the slightest fear, he nibbled nice grasses that he found between the stones as he explored.

There was one moment when he was startled by the sight of a large, white bird. It was strange, but seemed so peaceful that he felt quite safe.

When he grew bored, he went home.

He never told a single vole about his daring visit to The Field of the Giant Stones.
He would listen to his grandfather, and he loved him all the more.

From the Rainbow Series

The Bank-vole illustration is another of the 'animal series'. It was first published as one of a series of 16 folding cards. It was also published in 'The March Hare'. The following is the original, children's 'doggerel' poem that goes with it.

Saving for the winter
And many rainy days.
The Bank-vole seems
To spend his time
In the best of ways.

His fortune grows about him
Enriched by golden sun
And blest by charming rainbows 
When rain-cloud's work is done.
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Texte  and images © Mirino (PW) September, 2010

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