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Walk to LüneburgBack

Fragrant steam rose from the warmed

fertile fields and dissolved quickly in a clear morning

breeze as they headed north to Lüneburg. The early

heating sun had them sweating profusely within an hour

and the duffel straps cut relentlessly into their shoulders.

They stopped to rest. In the refuge of a giant pine on a soft

bed of needles, Sebastian lay with head propped on his


Above him, two chaffinches were preening. The male

began to trill a repeated melody. George walked towards

the tree and opened his mouth to speak. Sebastian signaled

him to stop and be silent, then rose slowly to a sitting

position and listened intently. His keen ear immediately

deciphered the haunting melodious sequence. Over and

over he hummed to himself, then placed it in memory.

There it remained to later be reborn as the theme for the


Three weeks after departing, their loads were no

longer so heavy. They hadn’t quite made the halfway

point, but their daily progress would improve as they got

stronger. Both were transformed. The greatest physical

change had taken place in George. His frail look had vanished

and he now walked with an air of confidence about

him. Sebastian began to emerge from his shell. Today they

had the good fortune of stumbling upon the rural farm of

a hospitable Lutheran family. The boys splashed each

other playfully as they bathed in the warm pool of a

spring-fed pond. They’d been invited to supper and a bed

of hay in the barn. The aroma of the pig roasting in the

hearth drifted down to them and their stomachs grumbled

in anticipation. “My God, how can a pig smell so good? I

despise pigs.”

“George, when you haven’t eaten a hot meal for as

long as we, a roasted rat would smell divine.”

“I hope it’s a very big pig. Maybe they’ll let us take

some with us.”

“Let’s not be greedy. We can eat enough to last two


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A sure Candidate for the BOOK SENSE book of the year award.

© 2005-2006 Joseph Mastroianni


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