yesterday does not define you


Loholt turned his back on the wall and threw the ball again, back up the length of the lawn towards the castle. It was less likely to escape in that direction. With a woof of delight Mort set off after it, his long legs carrying his gracefully over the ground. The boy laughed, enjoying his share of his familiar's elation. The sun was warm, the gardens were full of rabbits, and they were young and alive. Lost in Mortimer's excitement, Loholt didn't sense the girl at all. He jumped when she spoke, and spun around quickly, his eyes wide.

"Where did you come from?" he asked her curiously, and with no small amount of awe. She looked like the kind of girl who might suddenly appear out of a flower patch. She wasn't as tidy as the little girls he knew around the castle, there was a natural wildness to her. "Did you magic your way here?"

He bet she had.

At his back, Mortimer skidded to a halt just as the wolf emerged from the shrubbery. Loholt would have been frightened if the wolf hadn't spoken so quickly. He had a deep kind rumbley kind of voice, a bit like Loholt's very favourite guard. Callum always had sweets in his pockets, and always had one to spare, two for princes!

The girl is right Mort thought, "losing the ball would have been very sad. It smells good."

Loholt nodded. He addressed the wolf first.

"Hello, Sir," he said, remembering the manners his Mama had tried to teach him. "It's nice to meet you." He paused, taking a deep breath as he tried to remember what was supposed to say next. "I am Prince Loholt, welcome to my Papa's house."

I think you got it! Mortimer enthused, it sounded very good to me.

Lo smiled and turned to the two visitors.

"Mort is very happy you found the ball. He says it would have been sad to lose it because it smells very good."

As if on cue, Mort pushed the now wet and sticky tennis ball into Loholt's empty hand. He grinned and held it up for the girl and wolf to see.

"Would you like to stay and play with us?" he asked. "I've got other toys by the apple tree over there." Loholt gestured vaguely to his left. "It's also very good for climbing, but not if you're a dog."

He stroked the top of the Borzoi's black head. "Mort doesn't like climbing."

photo by SheltieBoy at flickr.com


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