ThibodeauxThibodeaux was lost and very lonely when I found him. He had become separated from his family and friends
during a strange, magical storm in which bolts of purple lightning suddenly made his entire world disappear into a misty memory. For years, he had been wandering in this strange, new world, desperately trying
to find his way home again.
While he searches for the doorway to his home, I've asked Thib to stay with me, and he entertains me each night with glorious tales from his homeland: tales full of wizards & elves, gnomes & faeries, dwarves & dragons.
Thibodeaux is certain there are more lost and lonely friends wandering around, and I've made it my quest to find them and give them a place to live.
One afternoon in the fall, as Thib and I walked aimlessly through the forest near my home, we sat down on a fallen tree to rest and to sip some of the fern nectar that Thibodeaux makes. (It's horrifyingly green, but surprisingly
tasty and refreshing). Thib once again launched himself into one of his countless adventures of his youth and, for an hour, he rambled on in his soft, raspy voice as I absorbed every exciting word. My world disappeared around me as I became lost in his tale.
Suddenly he stopped. I became keenly aware of the deadened silence of the woods. Not even the sound of a breeze-rustled leaf. His head tilted slightly, then turned to the left just bit. His eyes narrowed in concentration. I held my breath. In a flash, he jumped to his feet and ran deeper into the forest shouting, "Come! Quickly!"
I chased him, surprised at the speed of his short little legs. Afraid to call after him in case we were in danger, I simply ran. My heart pounded. Sweat covered my face and soaked my shirt. Moments later, I found him, standing near some bushes and pulling them to one side to peek beyond. I dropped to my knees and crawled quietly to him. Panting for breath, I tried desperately to listen to what he was hearing. I could hear nothing but the pounding of my protesting heart.
Thib looked calm... relaxed... as if he had taken nothing more than a leisurely stroll. I hung my head. He rested his strong, tiny hand on my shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "Worry not, my friend," he said gently. "As a gnome, I could run like that for many hours before I would require rest. It is part of being a gnome. Feel not ashamed."
I looked at him and he smiled. "Now, look there," he said, pulling the bushes even further apart.
I looked. "Why, it's a... an egg," I said rather incredulously. At least it looked like an egg! Taller than Thibodeaux, I could only imagine the creature from whence the egg came. Even as I watched, I could see it quiver, and suddenly a large crack appeared. Whatever was in there was trying to get out.
"It is time," Thib muttered. "You must go to it."
"Me! " I whispered anxiously. "Aren't you going, too?"
"I cannot," he answered. "I must not."
"Without you, it will have no existance. Now hurry! It comes!"
I quickly looked around for a stick that I could use as a club and began reaching for one when Thib said, "You will not need that." And then, with a smile, he whispered, "Trust me."
I sucked a deep breath of air into my heaving lungs and rose to my feet. As I stepped through the bushes, I could hear Thib's encouragement behind me: "You must stand beside the egg, and do not move!"
The short distance to the massive egg seemed to take forever to traverse. I swallowed deeply, knowing full well that Thibodeaux, who had heard an egg, would most certainly hear me! I approached cautiously. The crack had lengthened and the egg had begun to shake rather ominously. The sounds coming from inside it made me wish I had not taken Thib's advice and had grabbed up a club instead. Yet, somehow I found courage in his words and I managed to hold my place despite my growing fear.
With an ear-cracking snap, the egg exploded, and there beside me was the most odd creature I had ever thought I would see! In my fear, I took a step backward, slipped, and fell flat on my butt. From behind the bush, I could hear
Thibodeaux calling me: "Good! Stay there! You must stay there!"
The strange creature blinked several times, then looked around itself. Spying me, it let out a squawk that caused me to fall to my back. Then, with a mighty pounce, it burst out of the remains of the shell and planted itself frimly on my chest. It's purple face pressed close to my own (which could very-well have been purple at that moment for all I knew!) and it's nostrils flared as it drew in a deep sniff of my scent, and then my face was being covered by sloppy baby dragon licks.
The licks ceased a few moments later and I opened my eyes to see Thib standing next to us, himself now being bathed in dragon slobber. "Now you show up, you big chicken!" I taunted as I heaved the little dragon of my chest and
struggled to my feet.
"He knew you first," he answered with a happy grin as he hugged the little dragon. "You are his papa. And now he is my friend."
As I watched the two, I realized what he meant. 'Imprinting', or something like that, I believe.
Later, as we were walking home with Balthazar trotting along cheerfully at my heels, I asked, "How did you know he was alone?"
"Dragonesses are very protective of their young," Thib explained. "She would never have left a hatchling alone at a time as vital as that. Without you, he would never have survived the day."
I knew then that I had much more to learn.
Balthazar is growing faster than I care to see (although Thib assures me that he will never grow larger than my living room), and he is no longer that ugly purple colour. In fact, I've grown quite fond of his new 'grown-up' colour... much like that of a beautiful sunset on a warm, summer evening. I think I'll keep him.
I discovered Frost all by myself, and proudly, I might add! I had read a report in the newspaper about the rapid decline in the tiger population in the world as a result of human influence. It suddenly occurred to me that we must begin taking responsibility for our carelessness. The report gave an address where we could adopt these unfortunates, so I promptly sent in a request to adopt one of the few remaining kittens. Frost was my favourite of the lot (there are many more, so be sure to send in your own request before it is too late! Frost can tell you the way...) and I was able to pick him up a few days ago.
Balthazar loves him and has taken Frost 'under his wing', so to speak, since Frost has slept beneath it since his arrival. They play together all the time. Balthazar is quite pleased with the company and has taken to the role of 'big brother' with great aplomb.
The two have given Thibodeaux and me many wonderful hours of enjoyment as they romp about. Frost particularly finds enormous pleasure in trying to catch Balthazar's tail.
My 'family' grows...
Grumpy & Stevie
Balthazar, who I soon learned, is apparently capable of learning human speach, and Thibodeaux is a very patient teacher. He has quite the vocabulary already, although the only word we ever hear is 'Food!' The 'th' sound was a particular challenge for his poor reptilian tongue, but once he mastered it, Balthazar began to use it every chance he could.
Imagine our surprise, then, when one evening (only a few days after Frost's arrival) Balthazar began thumping the door with his head and shouting 'Mootheth! Mootheth!' I quickly glanced at Thib with a questioning look, just in case 'mootheth' was a gnomish word he had taught his friend, but he merely shrugged his shoulders. Apparently, he had no idea what a 'mootheth' was, either. I reached the door first, opening it to allow the bulky dragon body to tumble into the room with Frost tumbling in right behind him and scurrying behind the sofa. I dared a peek outside.
There, munching on the lilypads in my fish pond, were two rather adorable 'moose. One question answered...
I approached slowly, watching as the larger animal lifted it's head toward me, harrumphed once, then casually returned to his evening buffet. I had time to notice a collar around it's neck with a tag hanging off it. A quick clance at the other moose revealed the same.
They must have been quite accustomed to human contact because they allowed me to approach and even to pet them. The larger moose didn't even miss a chew when I pulled the tag around so I could read it:
His friend's tag read: 'Stevie'
"At least we know what a 'mootheth' is now." That was Thibodeaux. He was now standing behind me, and a quick peek at the door revealed Balthazar huddling in the doorway with Frost peeping out from under a protective wing.
"I think they're lost, too," I said to my little friend. "Watch them while I phone, would you?" I ran inside and called the number. Grumpy and Stevie, it seemed, had been previously adopted, but, for whatever reason, had never been claimed and were left to fend for themselves. 'So', I thought to myself, 'it's only another plate or two on the table...' "I'll take them," I said.
Grumpy and Stevie have settled into the family quite well. Grumpy continues to grumble about everything that seems to go on around him, but Stevie seems particularly pleased that he doesn't have to sit around listening to his companion doing his 'Eyeore' impressions all day long.