"Where is Bongo?"
Corn is sitting next to Fleurt’s bed and he constantly dabs her forehead with cold water.
Quietly Trip enters and Corn asks, where’s Wappert?
‘The weather is very bad outside. Because of the snow, we can’t see further than the second tree. Is she still coughing so bad?’
‘No, fortunately at the moment it is not too bad, but she falls deeper and deeper and sometimes she starts to delirious. Maybe it is best if she just doesn’t get better. When she hears that her grandmother has passed away, then… ‘ Corn replies. He feels very guilty and sad. ‘If I hadn’t fallen asleep then… then…’
‘Don’t be silly, Corn. Stop that, it won’t help anyone.’
Corn stares at Trip. He doesn’t know what he can do for her anymore. Again, he dips the cloth into the wooden bowl and puts the cool cloth back on Fleur’s forehead.
‘Hey, did you hear me,’ Trip asks, slapping him on the ends of his tail.
Corn just nods and Trip steps through the room. Where are they, he thinks.
Suddenly, Wappert hops into the room unharmed. He jumps on the chair next to Fleur’s bed and puffing he asks: ‘Have you already administered the medication?’
Corn and Trip look at him quizzically. They have no idea what he means. Wappert immediately gets a strange premonition. He looks at them both and asks: ‘Isn’t Bongo arrived yet?’
‘Bongo, but you were going to get the medicine,’ asks Trip.
Wappert tells them what happened and that he had no other choice than to give the medicine to Bongo.
Corn is near exhaustion. During his sleep, he had been awakened by the others. They told him that Fleur wasn’t doing well and that they needed his help. He had come along, grunting, not knowing the situation was so serious. When he saw her, he immediately understood that they had to take action. She urgently needed medication. Wappert, Bongo, and Harry had suggested they go to her house and somehow get those drugs there. Every now and then Corn is overcome with fatigue complaints and admonishes himself to stay awake. Yawning, he stares at the other and dips his head underwater, which refreshes him a bit. Worried, Trip looks at him and asks if he can still handle it.
‘If necessary, I use sticks to keep my eyes open, but I will stay awake. Until the last minute,’ Corn replies.
Wappert and Trip decide to go to the exit and don’t understand where Bongo is.
Meanwhile, the news has spread like a wildfire and others are coming to ask if they can do something.
‘Where is he. He should have been here already,’ Wappert whispers.
Trip makes a decision and shouts, ‘I’m going to find him, even if I have to give my life for it.’
‘You can’t do that, Trip. If you are outside the camel hill for half an hour, you transform and you cannot enter the camel hill anymore. You know you will get the size of a normal dog again,’ says Wappert.
‘I do not care. I will do everything for all of your existence. Fleur really needs to get better, we need her.’
Trip runs to the opening of the hill and asks the defender to open and close the door once he is outside. Another wolf runs after him and in a sobbing voice he whispers, holds on, Trip, ‘and he hugs him tightly.’ I think you are very brave, but I understand if you stay here.’
‘No way,’ he replies. ‘I’m going.’
‘Okay then, but make sure you are back within half an hour.’
‘That will work out. But if I transform, I am not dead yet. Only then I will no longer have eternal life, but I will be a big, tough wolf.’ And with his paw, he wipes away a tear and whispers: ‘If I don’t get back in time, send my regards to…,’
‘To Fleurtje when she gets better. Is that what you want to ask?’
The wolf nods and says, ‘Exactly. What do you know me well!’
Then Trip leaves the camel hill, quickly.
The others do not understand why Trip is looking for danger and it is Wappert’s job to explain to them exactly what is going on. He asks if they want to be quiet for a moment so that he can explain it to them and then there is dead silence.
‘Okay, as you know, Fleur has serious pneumonia, and she needs medication urgently. Unfortunately, she is not yet ready to tolerate our medicines, so we are forced to get them from her own world. Because of Fleurtje’s disease, the transfer between Fleur and her grandmother cannot be completed in time. Anything can go wrong. In addition, she was paralyzed by the accident and her lungs were seriously weakened. The transition should have been completed within a certain time frame. You also know that her grandmother is our guardian angel and that she is no longer among us. She had to hand over her tasks to her successor, but when Fleurtje dies, it is done with all of us. The saddest thing is that the fairytale world is then also finished. What is a world without fairytales?
Children without fairytales are children without dreams.
Trip is looking for Bongo and he should be able to do that within half an hour, otherwise, they also will lose Trip. Nobody should step outside the door. Trip is a good detective, and we have to rely on that, Wappert concludes and then runs to Corn to inform him that Trip has gone looking.
It is incredibly quiet. Defeated, they turn and look at the exit. Together they hope for Trip’s return and, of course, also for Bongo’s.
Will Trip succeed?
Trip scans the area. He uses all his senses in the hope to find Bongo quickly. He knows well what is at stake for him, but not just for him. He is mostly concerned about Fleur. If Bongo is not found, she too is a victim of this tragedy. From time to time he must plod along and jump up to get through the snow. His ears pick up every sound and he looks around inquisitively. Time passes and he feels the pressure build. A little further on, he sees a large tree stump protruding far above the snow. If I jump on that I might catch his smell, he thinks. He jumps nimbly on top of the stump and walks over it as far as possible. He tries to locate Bongo with his keen eye and his searching nose. Suddenly he sees a pile in the snow at a distance and recognizes Bongo. He immediately jumps off the stump and runs towards him.
‘Hi Bongo, are you still alive?’
Bongo opens his eyes and recognizes Trip. He gives a sigh of relief and mumbles: ‘I’m still alive Trip, but I cannot fly with my wings.’
‘Can you walk?’
‘I do not know. Let’s try.’
Trip helps him, but immediately he understands that his friend is in bad shape. Bongo staggers on his feet and says: ‘If I stand up, it seems like the whole world is spinning.’
Trip supports him and together they try to walk back to the camel hill, but it is much too slow. ‘Please Trip, take the medicines and make sure Fleurtje gets them.’
‘No, I will not leave you here alone.’ Trip replies.
‘You’ll have to, you don’t have that much time left either. Run before it’s too late or everything will be in vain, please,’ begs Bongo.
Trip is aware that Bongo is right. His feeling says something completely different from what his friend wants from him. He can’t just leave him here alone. He cannot ask that of him. Bongo again begs him to deliver the medicine.
‘Okay, but I’ll be right back to pick you up,’ he finally admits.
‘Good. Just go, or you’ll be late,’ Bongo replies.
Trip says goodbye to his friend, who reminds him to go fast now. Then he runs back to the camel hill, where the others are encouraging him.
‘Faster Trip, Faster. Your time is running out,’ he hears them calling. He runs as fast as he can, but when he’s almost there, he feels a strange shiver through his body. Suddenly he feels enormous fatigue and he has to do everything he can to get ahead. The closer he gets to the camel hill, the harder it gets for him. He thinks only a few more meters, but then he collapses. Wappert sees it happen and realizes that they are going to lose Trip forever. The others are looking at him and Wappert asks who will voluntarily go outside with him to pick up the medicine. That question is unnecessary. They all go outside and run towards Trip. Wappert sees that the medicine has been tied around Trip’s neck, but also sees that his body is changing. ‘We have to hurry. The package has to be taken off his neck or he will still stifle,’ he shouts disturbingly.
They try to untie the knot, but it doesn’t work very well. Mussie, the mouse decides to use her fingernails to get a little more space between the knots. Finally, there is some movement in the knot, and they can unbutton it.
‘Hurry up, Trip is starting to grow,’ Wappert shouts.
Then the lace and the box with the medicine fall into the snow. At that moment, Trip gets bigger and bigger and life is slowly coming back to him.
Wappert sends the other back to the camel hill, but he stays with Trip.
Trip comes dangerously close to him and Wappert closes his eyes for a moment. He feels Trip’s breath flow down his body and whispers, ‘If you have to kill me, do it quickly, Trip. You can’t help it either. Nature is like that.’ Then he suddenly feels a wet rag sliding over his head and thinks, that’s it, but nothing happens. Slowly he dares to open his eyes and sees that Trip is still standing in front of him. He stares at him and whines softly. Wappert understands and knows that from now on he never has to be afraid of him.
Trip sticks his nose in the air and, as a real wolf, he starts howling. The whining can be heard in the wide area. Wappert takes a step back and wonders if Trip is now a wolf or is, he a dog.
Well, what the heck. Wolf or dog, he thinks. He takes a step forward and gives Trip a kiss on one of his front legs. ‘Thanks for everything Trip, we’re really going to miss you,’ he whispers.
Trip whines one more and then walks without looking back into the forest. Wappert sadly lifts his leg and waves to Trip with tears in his eyes.
Wappert picks up the medicine box, which is still lying in the snow, and walks back to the camel hill so that Fleur finally gets the medicine she desperately needs.
Bongo has seen everything happen from a distance. He is weakened and stumbles towards the camel hill. Just keep going. Once I’m inside I can rest and recuperate as long as necessary, he thinks. But then fate strikes.
Some young animals are standing at the entrance and see the stumbling Bongo coming.
‘There is Bongo,’ they cheered, but they don’t see the danger either.
At the top of one of the treetops, Fred the ferret has been watching Bongo for a while and waits for his moment. He sees Bongo weakening more and more and he sneaks down. Bongo doesn’t notice anything and suddenly feels something hitting his back. Fred the ferret bites his neck and drags Bongo to his hole. A bleeding trail runs through the snow to the ferret’s cave.
Beaten from grief, the little ones, who have seen the whole event, put their paws in front of their eyes. Crying over the loss of two dear friends, they return to their own place in the camel hill. There they are taking care by their parents, who comfort them as much as possible. So much has happened in such a short time and they all hope that there will be some more joy soon.
In the meantime, Corn has received the medicine from Wappert and tries Fleurtje to administer the medicine. The capsule is dissolved in a cup of water so that Fleur can drink it. Carefully he brings the cup to her mouth. ‘Swallow girl, please, swallow it.’
Wappert watches anxiously whether Corn succeeds in getting her to drink the medicine. He breathes a sigh of relief when he sees that she willingly finishes the cup.
‘Good girl. Let’s hope you get better soon,’ whispers Corn.
Corn is exhausted. He has been hoping for days and waiting for the moment when Fleurtje gets better. All this time he has not been able to eat because of grief. When he falls asleep, the others let him sleep for as long as possible to give him strength. In the meantime, the other then take over his task and watch and take care of Fleurtje. She gets her medication on time.
Slowly Fleurtje gets better and sees that Corn is sleeping at the end of her bed. She hears from the other that he has been watching her for days. She leans forward and gently strokes his fur.
When the others hear that Fleurtje is on the mend site, they all want to go to her.
Wappert tries to make sure it doesn’t get too busy around her, but he can’t be with her all the time. They decide to wake Corn from sleep. He stretches extensively and at first, he thinks he has dreamed everything, but when Cherry tells him that Fleurtje is on the mend, he comes back to reality.
He jumps up and puts his nose against Fleurtje’s. ‘Gosh, I’m glad you’re getting better.’
She picks up Corn and rubs her cheek against his soft skin.
After a few days, Fleur has completely recovered. She is spoiled by everyone, and Corn thinks all that attention is a bit too much, so he sends them away from time to time. None of the animals resists and Fleur finds that a bit strange.
Would there be something I shouldn’t know, she thinks. When she’s alone with Corn, she asks him what’s going on. Corn takes both her hands and gives her a serious look.
‘I’m not sure where to start, but during the time you were sick something terrible happened.’
‘What then? I’d rather you tell me,’ Fleur replies, and Corn continues.
‘Okay, I’ll tell you. You will have to hear it from someone. I’m very sorry to tell you, but your grandmother is no longer with us.’
‘Is my grandmother dead?’
‘Death is not the right word. Your grandmother is one of us. She had to leave us to safe the fairytales in this world and we assume she is dead.’
Fleur stares at him and doesn’t understand. She thinks he is telling her a strange story.
‘Fairytales are gone. Do you have completely mad,’ and she looks at him disappointed.
She realizes that the whole situation is strange. Maybe Corn is telling her the truth, otherwise, she wouldn’t be here, would she?
‘Sorry Corn, if there is someone who has to believe in fairytales, surely I am.’
‘I’m glad you get it a little bit. I’ll try to explain it to you. You know because you got so sick, everything went wrong, but luckily you are better again.’
‘Will I ever see my grandmother again?’
‘It all depends on you. If you do the assignment well, you will see her again one day.’
‘But, once I’m outside I can’t remember anything about this, how can I do my best.’
‘Let me tell my story first. People eventually lose their dreams and fairytales. That’s partly their own fault for becoming negligent or selfish. If your children no longer read or tell fairytales, they will be forgotten, and children will no longer learn to dream or fantasize. The world is impoverished as it was. ‘Children without fairytales are children without dreams,’ I always say. They need dreams to survive. To escape from reality for a while. Do you understand me a little bit?’
Fleurtje nods to confirm and strokes his back. She thinks hard and decides that he might be right.
‘I think I understand. Once I believed in gnomes. Mommy always told me stories about them and in the square near my house, there is a huge, big tree. Under that tree is a large deep hole. I believed that a gnome lived in it and when I walked past that tree, mommy always said: ‘Look, that’s where Bertus the gnome live.’ When I was alone, I always looked anxiously at the tree, but one day I dared to go there. I carefully reached into the gaping hole and felt something. I quickly withdrew my hand and then I felt something. In my hand, I had a small yellow hat. Suddenly I heard a voice asking: ‘Please, may I have my hat back?’ I dropped the hat in shock and ran home.
‘I know that tree. Bertus the main gnome does indeed live there.’
‘So, gnomes really exist? I always thought it was a dream.’
Corn looks at her a little disappointed, but then she starts to laugh out loud. ‘Are you kidding me?’ She asks.
´Seriously, yes, ´ and he continues with his story. ´ Do you know what’s worst? When the fairytales die, everything here is gone too. The camel hill then also stops to exist.’
Fleurtje puts her hand over her mouth. She now understands why Corn is so serious. She wants to stand up, but she still feels a little shaky on her legs. Corn sees that and decides not to tell her the whole truth. He keeps the chapter of their worst enemy ´The Beast´ to himself for a while. He thinks that will come later when she is stronger.
´What are you going to do. I have not finished yet.’
‘Tell me what to do, and I’ll make sure the fairytales last forever.’ Fleurtje replies.
‘Calm down. It doesn’t go that fast. I already regret bringing it up. Careful, if you go too fast you may relapse. We really can’t handle that.’
She gently dismisses his concern and sits on the edge of the bed. ‘Come Corn, tell me. I’m listening.’
He sits down next to her, wraps his tail around her hips and continues: ‘At the moment you will step outside the camel hill, you forget everything that happened inside. Your memory is, as it were, erased. You will remember a few important things.’
‘Things Like What Corn?’
‘It makes no sense to bother yourself with that. Trust me. You will notice that when you are outside again. The ring we gave you plays an especially important role in this.’
Then Cherry comes in and tells Corn to hurry. He lifts Fleurtje off the bed and puts her in the wheelchair. Then he walks to Corn and whispers, ‘Does she already know that Trip has left us?’
Is it wise to tell her? I think I’ve told her way too much already, ‘ Corn replies.
‘Okay, never mind. Come on, let us hurry up.’
Fleur sees the two whisper and becomes curious as usual and wants to know what Cherry and Corn are talking about.
‘Nothing special,’ Corn says a bit harshly. ‘That curiosity of yours always. Let’s go ride.’
Fleur is a bit upset and looks at Cherry who says, ‘Follow me,’ and gives her a wink. That makes her feel good and in a good mood, she sets the wheelchair in motion. They drive through a completely new system of corridors. At least for her. She has never been there. It is a long drive, and the shaking of the car makes her a bit dizzy, but she does not show it. The corridors are narrow and do not seem very solid. Every now and then some chunks of sand fall here and there. These fall on the tray of her wheelchair and sometimes it splashes in her eyes and she must rub the sand away. Finally, they arrive at a corridor that looks a bit wider and flatter.
‘Stop,’ Cherry shouts!
Fleurtje stops and wonders why she must stop so suddenly. She looks around and sees several corridors. She counts six. Corn and Trip get a little nervous, and Corn whispers, ‘We’re getting to the last part and we need to get through that as quickly as possible. This is the territory of the ferrets.’
‘I understand. Let’s get out of here,’ Fleur replies.
Corn runs ahead and Fleur nimbly manoeuvres her wheelchair over the paths. Trip is right behind her. Then she sees that the long corridor comes to a dead end. ‘Now What Corn?’
‘Watch it,’ he replies and push to a stump.
She hears the stump crack and then suddenly a wall is pushed aside. The light from outside enters and the environment becomes a little less frightening.
‘Our engineers made this exit for us, so we have an escape route if needed,’ Corn answer.
Fleurtje no longer listens and drives her wheelchair to the exit. Excitedly, she stops and looks outside. She takes a deep breath of the fantastic forest air. Her gaze explores the area, but it is a dense forest, and she has no idea where she is. It makes her insecure and anxious.
She turns her wheelchair and gives Corn a questioning look. ‘You’re coming with me, aren’t you?’
‘Honey, I really can’t. From here you will have to do it alone,’ Corn replies.
‘Yes really, I can’t help you outside,’ and tears come to his eyes. ‘You are doing well my dear girl,’ and he hugs her tightly.
She wraps her hands around his neck and holds him tight. ‘I hope I’ll see you again,’ She hugs him and gives him one last kiss on the nose.
‘Let’s hope so,’ Corn replies and he is letting her go.
He takes her hand and tells her that once she’s out, she should slide the ring on her other finger from her other hand.
In the meanwhile, Cherry is pacing and urging them to hurry up. ‘Your dawdling and sticky stuff should be over now. You bot look like a married couple.’
‘Are you jealous Cherry,’ asks Fleurtje and beckons him to come over to her? She grabs him firmly and then he also gets a long hug.
‘So, I understand I have to go now. Give my regards, especially to Bongo, because I owe it to him. Do you really want to do that?’
Corn gives Cherry a kick when he realizes he wants to tell her Bongo is no longer alive.
‘Get out, Cherry, we have to go. I’ll come after you. You make sure we don’t encounter a ferret. Wait for me at the sixth jump.’
Fleurtje would prefer to stay, but some force is holding her back. She removes the ring from her finger and looks at it with amazement. The brilliance of the sunlight is enchanting. Corn sees that she hesitates too long to slide the ring on her other finger. The sparkle is beautiful, but we do not have time for that.
‘Slide it on your other finger. Quickly, otherwise, everything will have been in vain,’ he shouts.
While Corn shouts at her, the powers of the ring become strong and, in a trance, Fleurtje slides the ring on her other finger, but then it turns black before her eyes. At that moment Corn disappears back into the camel hill.
Slowly Fleurtje comes to her senses. Behind her is the cave, which she looks at in amazement. She searches the surroundings, where she hopes to catch a glimpse of Corn. Tired and dizzy, the world starts to spin around her faster and faster and then she falls into a deep sleep.
The memories of the camel hill are gone, just as Corn had explained to her.
When she wakes up, she rubs her eyes and looks curiously at her wheelchair. This is not my chair, she thinks. The wheels are different. she doesn’t understand it at all. The sun’s rays make their way through the forest and it gives her a warm feeling. The hill where she is standing is connected by a sandy path, which leads down a winding path.
She slowly rides in her wheelchair to a path down the hill. There she comes to a wide gravel path and she wonders where to go now. ‘Where am I and which road should I take, ‘ she whispers.
She looks from left to right and understands that she must decide which way to go. Standing still is not an option. To her surprise, she sees a large grey dog standing. For a moment, her heart jumps for joy. After all, that means that there are probably also people in the vicinity. They can tell her which way to go.
The End of Part 6