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Camp fire stories

In the cave labyrinth

Three red skin boys jumped skilfully from rock to rock to cross the river, which snaked through the land not too far away from the Mohicans’s settlement. The Indian tribe had set up their wigwams here for the summer and the boys were eagerly discovering the woods and mountains around their camp. The blue of the sky was mirrored in the river waters. Large fish darted over the stony floor of the river like silver arrows, when they were reflected by the sun’s rays. It was a glorious day for exploration. „We are sure to find loads of berries over there in the mountains!" said White Bird once they were over the river. The other two boys were there as he ran towards the wooded mountains. They remained silent for a while, but their black eyes darted all around attentively. They discovered the tracks of animals they could hunt everywhere. Everything pointed towards the fact that the Mohican tribe would not have to struggle this summer. The boys decided to head back after a couple of hours. They had eaten berries until they were full and their hands were raw from clambering over the cliffs. „Look how the rain has washed out the cliff wall!" said Eagle Eye attentively. „That is a cave!" said Thunder Cloud and pointed to a dark hole in the mountain. „Come on! We have to take a look before we go home" the three boys were already climbing over the steep overhang and were full of excitement about what they would find in the cave. The entrance was so large that they could climb inside comfortably, „It is pitch black here!" shouted Thunder Cloud, who was the first to crawl inside the hole. „And it is a very big cave," he added as he heard his voice echoing as if he were in a large room. „We need torches" confirmed Eagle Eye, as he climbed inside the cave together with White Bird and behind their friend.

Once they were back home, they quickly told everyone about their news and lots of other boys were jealous of their discovery. Straight away, they agreed to set off early the morning to explore the secret cave more closely. Over a dozen boys got up at sunrise and followed Flying Arrow. The chiefs had chosen him as the expedition leader, not only because he was older than the others, but also because they knew that he always acted accordingly. With their flaming torches held up, the boys crept into the cave entrance, one behind the other. After a few meters they found themselves in a wide a high room of which the distant walls were not recognisable in the red torch light. „It seems to be a massive cave," said Flying Arrow. „Who knows how far the cave goes into the mountain. We can probably only explore a small part of it. However it is extremely important that we all stick together", he told the eagerly adventurous boys. „If one of you does not stick with the group, you can easily get lost and that is not good!" Wonderful colours seemed to dance on the cave walls as the torch light flickered in the draughty cave. To mark the way, Flying Arrow laid out some stones in a pyramid. The boys followed him a single file holding up their smoking torches. Large black bats flew suddenly over their heads and disappeared silently in the gloominess. It was a little scary how the bats made massive shadows on the ground and walls as they flew past the torch light. „Hello!" shouted one of the boys who was also scared of the silence. Hello!" the echo came back and the boys laughed freely about the amusing game. „This is a wonderful cave!" whispered White Bird into his friend’s ear. „But if we walk with the others, we won’t get very far. If we three were alone, we would surely see a lot more."„We would probably even find secret passageways! I saw a gap over there which might lead from this large hall into the cliff wall", agreed Eagle Eye. They secretly pulled Thunder Cloud to one side and explained their plan to him. As they came to a large boulder in the path, they pretended to be fascinated by it’s raw form and let the group walk on past them. Once they were sure that Flying Arrow could not notice them anymore, they quickly ran back to the gap in the wall which Eagle Eye had discovered. A wide path led along a sandy floor. It looked like they had found a stream bed which no water flowed through at the moment. Only a few rocks and debris lay here and there and the boys moved along quickly. They then discovered a massive stalagmites and stalactites which grew from the floor up to the ceiling like tree trunks or hung like icicles from the ceiling. The boys were pleased about their discoveries. What would their friends say when they heard about their finds? We have to go back quickly!" said Thunder Cloud suddenly. „Our torches will only last another few minutes. Look at how much they have already burnt away." They had not thought about this in their eagerness. However they now made their way back to the group. They had hardly moved along 50 paces and they suddenly stood in front of a wall which had two crevices in the cliff wall. None of them had seen or noticed this before and they were now no longer agreed on which path they should take. Eventually they pulled themselves together and tried to feel their way along the cold cliff walls to find the way out. There was nothing but darkness and gloominess. They gave up despondently.

They held onto each other with their heads full of thoughts about dangerous wild animals as they sat exhausted on the cold floor and hoped that someone would look for them and find them. They themselves could not say how long they sat in the dark. It seemed like longer than the time the sun needs to come over the horizon. In the end they had given up hoping that someone would find them. Then they heard voices and eventually saw the flickering red light from some torches, which outlined some men in the cave. Flying Arrow had reported everything to the tribe chief and had called all of the tribe’s men to look for the missing boys. Thunder Cloud’s father was the first to see the boys.

„Let that be a lesson for you!" he said defensively, as Thunder Cloud wanted to apologise. „Never be ashamed to listen to someone who has more experience than you”.

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