Cackles of laugher pierced through the air as the three walnut friends strutted into the pumpkin and watermelon encampment. The giant’s tents dwarfed the nuts, but they boldly marched into the middle of the mammoth pavilions knowing that their owners were off on a hike. “Hulloooo? Is anybody home?” Bodin, the leader of the three nuts, cried into the cavernous mountain of burlap canvas, just to be safe. There was no response. The three nuts chuckled again and continued walking.
“I’m home.” Martin, the pumpkin lad, said as he stood to his feet from within the pavilion.
“Well hello!” Carla said in surprise as her and her friends stared up at the baby giant.
“What are you doing here?” Martin asked.
“Just strolling through, about to go out on an adventure.” Mary said, as they turned to march on their way.
“Can I come?” Martin asked with eyes wide and lips drawn.
The three walnuts paused and looked at the boy as if he were a joke.
“Please?” The lad said taking two quick steps forward.
“We are going on an adventure, and we don’t want to be slowed down.” Bodin said with a shrug.
“Oh no, I won’t slow you down. I’m quick.” Martin shuffled forward and soon was standing right in front of them. “See?”
The three walnuts craned backwards and smiled at them. Bodin then said, “Alright, I like your spirit. You can come with us, but don’t go crying home to mommy if you get hurt.”
Martin’s face lit up. “Oh, no way! I don’t cry anymore. That’s for babies. Come on let’s go!” The pumpkin lad started to run down the trail.
“Hey, Martin!” Bodin pointed in the opposite direction. “It’s this way.”
The four of them marched out of the encampment and began to hike. They crossed the green foothills speckled with wildflowers, the narrow creek with a small pool for lilies and frogs, and a grove of dozens of coastal live oak trees. It was when they arrived at the trees that Carla came up with a fancy idea. “Let’s climb that tree!” She pointed to a large oak with a wide trunk and thick branches.
“Yes, let’s do it!” Bodin cried.
“Yippee.” Mary said.
The three walnuts merrily skipped to the base of the tree, but before they climbed up it, Carla asked. “Martin, can you climb this tree with us?”
Martin sized it up and stuck out his chin. “Humph. I’ve climbed trees five times as big as this one. Of course I can.”
“Alright, then let’s do it.” The three nuts quickly shimmied up the side of the tree and sat down on one of the branches.
“Come on up, Martin!”
“Join us.” They shouted down to him.
Martin looked up at the three of them with an impious frown and stepped up to the trunk of the tree. The pumpkin lad leaned forward and clenched the bark of the tree with his roots. He heaved himself from the ground with a grunt, and lifted himself into the air, limb by limb. He climbed higher and higher until he reached the branch of the tree where the walnuts sat. He breathed a sigh of relief as he lifted himself onto the branch, causing the entire tree to tremble and several leaves to fall. Birds too flittered away, shocked by his force. “Haha!” Martin cracked. “I did it. See? You didn’t think I could.” He said while huffing to catch his breath.
Bodin and the other looked at each other, rolled their eyes, and chuckled. “Happy to have you aboard.” Bodin smiled and patted the boy’s massive thigh.
The three of them sat in the tree and passed the time watching a doe quietly walk through a meadow as it munched on grass. The deer approached the middle of the field. Suddenly, a flock of resting spinachflies took flight, causing the deer to spook, and the friends to gasp. “That was quite a sight to see!” Bodin said to them as he led the way back down the tree. “Come on everyone! We’re off to our next adventure.”
They marched through the fertile foothills as the sun travelled across the sky. Soon, they arrived at the northern base of the Primary Mountain range. The grey, rocky slopes rose steeply before them. A narrow trail made its way up the side of the mountain. The sturdy golden poppy and yellow thistle grew along both sides of the trail It was a beautiful sight for Martin to see.
Bodin led the way as the others smiled and followed behind. The warm noon sun cast their shadows upon the mountain as they marched ahead. Soon, the trail approached a narrow ledge. There were sharp rocks fifty feet below, and there was only one way to go forward.
“Have you ever been across this trail before?” Mary asked Martin as they approached the side of a cliff.
Martin looked at the ledge and stuttered, “N-no… but I’ve been across chasms twice as big!” He assured.
“Alright. If you insist.” Mary led the way and the two friends followed close behind. Running straight forward, they sang as they crossed the chasm. Martin took a deep breath, and then he followed. He turned sideways and forced his back against the mountain side. He clung to the wall and began to creep his way cross. Beads of perspiration clung to his brow as he concentrated all of his efforts on the task at hand. Once, he lost his footing on some loose gravel and thought he was a goner, but he quickly recovered and watched the pebbles fall into the chasm below. His head grew light and his stomach turned at the sight of the sharp rocks. Slowly, he inched his way forward. Finally, he made it to the other side.
“Hurray!” The three walnuts cheered. “We’re so glad you made it! How do you feel?” They asked him.
Martin’s face was pale orange. He looked at the ground and managed to say, “I’m fine.”
“That’s good to hear! Let’s continue to the next adventure!” Bodin, turned and led the way towards their next destination.
The four of them marched along the rocky trail, exploring and adventuring all the while. They listened to the mountain birds sing their songs and flitter over head. They were having such a lovely time. Carla then said, “Can you believe how beautiful the wildflowers are in the mountain? Look how many there are.” Martin ran off the trail and plucked a handful of the mustard flowers and a handful of the red carnations in one swoop. The soil still clung to the roots as Martin returned to the trail and handed them to Carla. “I wanted to pick you some. Do you like them?”
“They’re beautiful!” Carla said as she held them before her face.
“Ya, I know. That’s why I got them for you. I thought it would be nice of me.”
“Yes… thank you.” Carla lowered the flowers from her face and gave a puzzled look to her friends. This rude moment was interrupted as they heard the sound of water rushing echo off the mountain walls around them.
“A river!” Martin said, racing down the trail. “Let’s go!”
As they approached the river, rainbows scattered across the mists of a giant waterfall. They hiked along the wide, raging river till they reached a small log bridge. They approached and Bodin asked, “Have you ever crossed a river like this before, Martin?”
“Of course I have! I’ve crossed rivers three times as big.”
“Okay, if you insist.” Bodin said as he led the way. The three nuts happily rushed across the log bridge, smiling and singing all the while.
Martin, eager to follow, stepped out onto the log. The poor boy’s foot slipped on the sleek surface, and he tumbled over side and into the water. His buoyant head popped above the surface before he was swept over the side of the falls. The nuts raced back to the base of the falls to see him. As Martin swam to shore, he saw the nuts laughing hysterically.
“Why are you laughing?” He asked, near to tears.
“Up the tree you go, with your huge ego. Along the chasm side, with your foolish pride. Then you trip and fall. And go over the water fall. My, oh my, it is true! Pride goes before the fall!”