A Walk In The Forest

It started out as just an ordinary Sunday walk with our nine foster children. It was a beautiful, crisp December day, just after the first snowfall of the season. Our intention was to find the perfect Christmas tree, mark it, and come back in two weeks to get it, just in time for Christmas.

The children ranged in age from four to fourteen. As we walked, the younger children would point out different plants, or spot a bird, and ask their names. It became a game amongst us all, to see if we could name them correctly.  The older children, having recently learned in school, about forest Flora and fauna, were more knowledgeable than my husband and I were about the subject. But soon the game became stale and the children began flopping in the fresh snow to make snow angels. And that's when we heard it. It sounded like a gunshot. We all froze in our tracks as a blood-curdling scream echoed across the snow covered forest.

That there could be danger never entered my mind.  I motioned the children to stay put, and despite my husband's protests, I scrambled through the bush to investigate.

The remainder of the story I will tell in a story poem.
She went for a walk in the forest. The weather was crisp, but not cold. She had with her all of her children. While they walked, a story she told. She taught them of Flora and fauna, explaining the plants growing there. She said, "See these gifts God has given? All nature He's put in our care."

The snow was as soft as a carpet. The children made angels, and sang. The air was filled up with their voices; with laughter the whole forest rang. Then all of a sudden she heard it--a sound like the crack of a gun. She motioned the children to silence. They ceased all their laughter and fun.

‘Twas then that they heard something shrieking, the sound sending chills down their spines. Determined to learn what was crying, the mother crawled near, through the vines. She stopped at the scene of the ruckus. She gasped, taking in a quick breath, for there in a trapper's cruel leg-trap, was a mink facing ultimate death.

He was snapping, and snarling, and struggling, his eyes flashing terror and hate. The mother knelt down by the ermine, speaking softly, his fears to abate. She wiggled and worked at the leg-trap,
till at last she pried open its jaws. With a leap he jumped free of his prison, unharmed, but for one of his paws.

The mink, in his white coat for winter, slithered swiftly away from the site. Then he stopped. He looked back at the mother, his beady-eyes black as the night.

The children have now grown, and left her. That mother's had much time to think. She's convinced that he turned ‘round to thank her for helping God's creature, the mink.
A true story incident from the 60's.

- Helen Dowd -

[ by Helen Dowd Copyright © 2004, ( -- submitted by: Helen Dowd ]


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