Looking for Boris

Barend and his wife Barbet are busy preparing a nest. Okay, it’s at the beginning of March, but Barend has an unpleasant feeling about the weather. His gaze is focused on the clear blue sky and he gently mumbles: “I think It’s going to be a bad wintertime; I can feel it on my beak.”

On the edge of his nest, they can look over the entire garden. In the garden, he sees Boris, as always drowsing in front of his loft. Barend knows that Boris enjoys the sun when he spreads his warmth like no other.

“What’s the matter Barend,” Barbet asks. “You act so restlessly.”

“I’m worried about the weather. The tip of my beak tickles and that makes me suspicious. That happened to me before. It is a long time ago, but I still remember it well. Come on, let’s make sure our nest is ready and we have a good shelter before the weather turns.”

Quickly he goes back to work and Barbet, who doesn’t understand what he means, reassures him and works diligently to get their nest ready. When they are almost finished, Barend looks at Boris and he understands that he has no idea what a disaster is coming up. “Honey, can you fix the rest of the nest? I have to warn Boris. He just lies there as if he were the king of the neighbourhood.”

Barend floats through the air and eventually lands on the ridge of the loft.

“Boris, If I were you, I would just make sure you get some shelter. Crawl deep into your loft. It’s getting cold, terribly cold,” says Barend.

‘Leave me alone. I’m not afraid of a little bit cold. By the way, the Winter is long gone. It’s almost spring, you should know that! And now just leave me alone. I want to take my nap.”

Barend spreads his wings and starts flapping them. “You are stubborn. I have warned you. So, if you’re freezing to death, don’t complain,” Barend replies angrily.

Boris chuckles for a moment and mumbles: “Then I don’t have to complain. What are you imagining? Go away,” he answers, and he jumps up and bites at Barend a few times in a friendly way.

Barend easily avoids him. Flies up and laughs at him. He knows quite well that the bite has a playful character. Boris would never hurt him.

“Crow …, crow …, you have been warned. I’m going back to my sweetheart to settle in together in our new nest.”

Just as he wants to fly away, Boris asks: “Tell Barend is it true, is the weather turning?”

“Crow…., Crow…., Of course. I’m your friend. Yes, right?”

“Yes, with my paw on my heart. You have to believe that” Barend replies.

“Then take my advice and get deep into your cage. I’m going. Bye Boris and good luck.”

Boris looks after him and shrugs. There’s nothing wrong yet, so I’ll finish my nap first, he thinks and drowses off again.

Daisy is not feeling well. The world seems to spin around her. She is looking confusedly at her mother and whispers, “Mom, I’m not feeling well. Maybe I am sick.”

She takes her mother’s leg and puts it on her forehead. Mother smiles at her and replies: “No, girl, that’s because spring has arrived. You’ll feel a little better in a few days.”

Daisy is not satisfied with this answer. “What does spring have to do with this,” she responds to her mother’s reply. She thinks and begins to understand what she means. Daisy is an older cat, from a few litters back. At that time, the boss allowed her to continue to live in the big house, while all her other brothers and sisters were taken in by other people. “Does this mean I’m starting to grow up, Mom?”

“Yes, darling, it will certainly come in a very short time. Patience girl enjoys your childhood just a little bit longer,” mother replies.

She decides not to go into this topic too much. Mother walks to the cat flap in the door and carefully peers around the corner. She sees her offspring busy and tells them to stay at the house. The little ones struggling against, but mom is not to be mocked. Rules are rules.

The kitten plays hide and seek, and Sammy is always the bobbin. Somehow, they always manage it to make him the one who had to look for them.

“I quit, you are cheating,” he shouts and sits on one of the sleepers at the edge of the yard.

He feels a shiver running down his body and notices that the weather has suddenly changed. It’s cold and the air is cloudy. The sun has given way to dark clouds and a cold wind. The rain that falls turns into snowflakes.

“I’m going home,” he says and is stamping his feet. “It must be a lot warmer there and I’m hungry!”

The others laugh at him. The cold has not yet gotten a grip on them because they are still warm from all that running after each other. The snowflakes are a new challenge, and they don’t understand why he’s going home. When the wind starts to pick up, they too get a bit shivery and they decide to follow Sammy inside. Mother sees that the cat flap is constantly being lifted by the wind. She counts her children and finds out that two of them are missing.

Tootsie and Lotte roam through the garden, while Mother had distinctly told them to stay close to the house. The snow hits upon their faces and soon they are up to their waist in the snow.

“Hold on Lotte, I think we’re almost there,” she says just to convince her sister. In reality, she feels just as anxious.

The snow hurts their eyes and their heads bent against the stormy wind.

From time-to-time Tootsie, checks to see if her sister is still following her. Even though they are so tired, they have to stay strong and bravely in the cold. But it becomes too heavy for Lotte and she stops. “I can’t do anymore,” she shouts.

Tootsie runs back to help her sister. “Let’s rest for a while. My legs hurt so much, and my ears are very, very cold, “Lotte moans.

Tootsie hugs her and shouts that they have to keep on walking.

“We cannot rest, it is much too cold for that. We have to keep going. Come on, Lotte, don’t give up. We are almost there. Look, I can already see the tree over there. You know, the tree where Barend and Barbet are living. Tootsie tries to encourage her sister, but Lotte can’t see anything through the snow. 

“I can’t do it anymore,” she says, lying in the snow.

“No Lotte, don’t lie down, otherwise you will freeze to death, “Tootsie tries to persuade Lotte, but she is just like Lotte so tired.

“What are you both doing here, so far from home?” they suddenly hear a familiar voice ask.

Frightened they look up, but also with joy. Till their great relief, they see father standing in front of them.

He takes the tired Lotte on his back and tells Tootsie to hold his tail firmly fixed and follow him. When they arrive at the cat flap, they see mother standing. She looks at her two children whit relieved.

“They were lucky that I happened to drop by. It seemed like I sensed it because normally I never take that way back home,” father tells his wife. “Just put them under the covers because they are ice and ice cold,” he says, chattering his teeth.

Outside the temperature drops sharply and the wind blows the snow against Barend and Barbet’s nest. The loved ones huddle close together to keep them nice and warm. The gusts of wind occasionally bend the tree violently back and forth.

“Honey, luckily we were able to make the nest windproof just in time. I don’t want to think about sitting on a bare, unsheltered branch now. “Barend spreads his wing over her back and tells her to conserve all her energy. Barbet pushes herself even more tightly against him and slowly feels the fear of leaving her body. Now that she feels his warmth, her love for him grows. What a good father he will be, she thinks.

When the storm is at its highest, he turned the garden into one big white blanket, the kitten are purring in front of the window.

Sammy stretches himself princely, but if he wants to look outside, he cannot see anything. The wind has pushed the snow against the window. Buckie stands next to him and presses his nose against the window, but he can’t see anything either.

“Can you see anything,” Sammy asks anxiously?

“No dude, it’s snowing so hard I can’t see further than the fifth row of tiles in the yard.”

“Won’t it be too cold for Boris,” asks Sammy concerned?

“Of course not, he has a thick coat,” replies Buckie.

Sammy nods, but his anxiety persists. Together they try to get a glimpse of Boris.

They eat dinner with difficulty and when Mother tells them that they must go to their basket to rest. Buckie is lying on his back and can’t get Boris out of his mind.

“Say Buckie, Sammy asks, who has come to lie next to him. “How will it be with Boris. He has nowhere to go because he is on a leash. Shouldn’t we be going to help him?”

“You know, I would like that, but it’s way too dangerous,” Buckie replies.

Helplessly he gets out of his basket and jumps limberly on the kitchen counter and disappears behind the curtains. In light of the outdoor lamp, he cannot discover anything but a blanket of snow. He runs back to Sammy and shakes him vigorously and whispers.

“We have to do something, otherwise Boris will freeze to death! “

Sammy jumps out of his basket and follows his brother. Together they run to the cat flap, but it is impossible to open it. Again, Bucky jumps up the kitchen counter and makes himself as big as possible. He sees that there is a mountain of snow against the hatch. “We can forget that. Boris will have a hard time, “sniffles Sammy. Together they sit in front of the window and soon they fall asleep.

They wake up yawning and look outside. The wind has died down and their boss is walking past the window. He shovels the snow, and the path becomes visible again.

“I’ve never seen so much snow in my whole life,” he smiles at his wife. “Keep the cat flap closed, because it is far too dangerous for the kitten in this cold.”

Bucky overhears the conversation between the boss and his wife and doesn’t hesitate. Mother has also heard the conversation and keeps an eye on her offspring. Before the boss can close the hatch, Bucky and Sammy run towards it. Tootsie wants to chase them too, but mother grabs her by the scruff of the neck just in time and laughing she says: “You stay here young lady!”

Buckie and Sammy disappear into the snow and keep themself as quiet as possible.

“Now,” Buckie whispers, and they dig a passage through the thick coat of snow. Now and then Bucky jumps up to see where they are. Suddenly, he sees the boy next door approaching. He doesn’t trust that, and they see a lot of snow in front of Boris’s loft, but to their great relief, they also see that the neighbour boy is leaving the garden.

“We must help Boris now, Sammy. He’s lying probably under a lot of snow. “

Sammy jumps as high as he can, just like his brother. “Yes Buck, but that has to be done quickly. I think he’s half-frozen or worse, maybe already dead. “

Suddenly they hear sniffing from under the snow. Buckie arches his back and assumes an attack position. He beats out his nails and anxiously awaits what is coming. Come on, he thinks. I am ready.

The snow is pushed aside, and Momfit the Mole appears. He looks at the brothers with his beady eyes. They almost wanted to flee, but they are relieved when they see Momfit.

“Hello Momfit, it’s Sammy and Buckie,” Buckie whispers.

“Well, I was shocked. What are you doing here in the snow? This is no weather for a young kitten. “

“We’re looking for Boris. We think he is lying in front of his loft under the snow. He must be dead, “says Sammy. “Gosh, the cold air hurts my nose,” but Bucky and Momfit don’t listen to him.

The mole shakes his head and says: “Then we should go and find him quickly. I think that that rotten kid throws some more snow on him. He is still teasing Boris every day. Come after me and we’ll be there in a minute. “

Diligently he starts digging and Buckie and Sammy silently crawl behind him. Momfit crawls upstairs to see if he is digging in the right direction and sees that it is not far anymore.

“Crow…, crow…., It sounds above them. Momfit does not hesitate for a moment and disappears.

Buckie looks over the edge and sees Barend circling restlessly above them. He sees the kitten and sits on top of Boris’s loft.

What are those two doing over there and where are the parents of that couple? I shall take a look at them, considers Barend.

Sammy starts to moan that his legs feel very cold and that there is no other option than return to home. The brothers understand that they have to stop searching now, especially now that Momfit has left. After all, now they can still go back through the road that Momfit had dug for them.

“Barend, do you know where Boris is,” asks Buckie, at him hopefully?

‘How should I know that. I haven’t seen him anywhere. His boss was also looking for him,” Barend replies.

“You have to go and find him,” says Buckie with a lump in his throat.

“I’ve done that so many times and he always comes back on its own. I don’t like it and want to stay as close as possible to our nest. The weather is too bad,” he replies.

“Then you just do it again. Maybe he’s hurt,” demands Sammy.

“Yes .., yes …, calm down. I’m already going,” grumbles Barend and flies away.

The brothers run back to their home and Bucky sends Sammy into the house to see if the coast is clear.

“Why must I always go first?  Let’s go in together. That’s much fairer,” replies Sammy.

Buckie can do nothing but agree and together they sneak in through the back door. A little later they are sitting by the whirring stove, warming up themselves. They had only looked at mother and father and they were happy that their offspring were complete again.

Yet Bucky is keeping thinking about Boris and hopes that Barend was more successful in his search than they were.

Daisy comes close to him and puts her paw around his neck. She asks him softly if they found Boris.

“That’s nice of you Daisy, but unfortunately I have to disappoint you. We couldn’t get to his loft. There is too much snow.”

For a moment she presses her head against his end whispers: “Don’t give up, dude. You still have that jeep in the shed. You may not be allowed to drive it, but this is certainly an emergency. Tie a plank on front and then you have a snow shovel.”

“You are a sweetheart Daisy. Help me get out of here.”

Together with Tootsie and Daisy, they put their parents on the wrong track and Bucky and Sammy can escape outside again. The brothers run to the lean-to and pull the tarpaulin off the jeep. It gives them goosebumps. There the jeep is shining in the reflecting light of the snow. Buckie is very proud of the jeep, but he is still too young to drive. The jeep belonged to his grandfather and he could have it because he had always helped him polish it. Sammy gives him a shove and tells him to hurry up. Together they tie a wide plank to the front bumper and then Bucky starts the engine. The exhaust makes low humming noises, and the two brothers get goosebumps.

“That sound makes my heart beat faster. Let’s go before Dad notices us.”

“Yes, quickly Buck, otherwise we’ll be in trouble.”

He put the gear in its first position and drove it to the snow hill. The jeep slogs and slogs on. On the way, he pushes the snow aside. They will do anything, but anything to find Boris. “I just hope we’re not too late, Sammy,” says Buckie.

Barend and Barbet watch the pair from out of their nest and secretly enjoy it.

Suddenly Sammy taps his brothers on his shoulder and says, “Look back. There behind the window of the living room. We are working so hard for him and there he is lying princely behind the window, enjoying the sun.”

They both stare at the window. Boris is lying there and watch him. For a moment he raises his head and waves to them, but quickly puts his head back between his legs.

The brothers are happy that he is home safely but disappointed that their adventure has now come to an end.

And Boris….! Yes, Boris is glad that he is comfortable at home. Those rascals cannot bother him in the vicinity of his boss.


The End of Part 4