Bravery Comes in All Shapes

Starting the Flash of Magic posts today – I plan to write a tiny little story every week, following writing prompts. And since I love fantasy, those tales might have a bit of magic in them.

Today’s prompt: bravery, eagle, fox

Little Eagle and Quick Fox were walking along the river’s edge. It was spring, the salmon were running, and catching a few would feed their clan for a day or three.

Of course, the bears were also there and had already taken the best spots to catch salmon navigating the rapids.

Little Eagle sighed. “I don’t know how we can get any, with the bears there.”

Quick Fox shrugged. “They are all well fed. I think we’ll be okay. I’m going to walk out there and get our salmon.”

“Are you crazy? I’m staying here.” Little Eagle sat down on a log to demonstrate his point.

Quick Fox just smiled. With slow, careful steps she walked out into the river, where the water boiled over the rapids. She picked a spot between two bears and simple got her net ready. The bears ignored her.

Soon, she had caught her first salmon and put it into her backpack.

Little Eagle felt sheepish. Wasn’t he supposed to be the brave one? And now his sister stood among those bears and was catching salmon looking as cool as a cucumber.

He took a deep breath and stepped out into the river himself. Holding his head high, he tried to hide his fear and demonstrate that he was just as good at catching salmon.

His foot twisted on a rock in the river and he fell, grunting and splashing.

One of the bears looked at him and growled.

Little Eagle got up, lost his balance again and flailed his arms.

“Go back, brother,” Quick Fox called to him in a very calm, cheerful voice. “You’re upsetting the bears.”

Two of them were now looking at him, and one was posing.

“Go back, brother,” Quick Fox said again. “I’m almost done and we can go home.”

No,  he thought, how can I do that? He took one more step towards the bears.

One of them dashed towards him.

How was it able to run that fast in a river with lots of rocks?

Little Eagle knew he couldn’t run. Knew he wouldn’t be able to fight. He could barely move.

The bear stopped right in front of him and growled again.

“It’s… it’s all right,” he heard himself say in soothing voice.

The bear stood up on its hind legs, towering over Little Eagle.

“Oh, Brother Bear,” he said, his voice trembling. “I’m already leaving. Please go back to your salmon.”

The bear dropped back down. Once more, it growled at him, before it left.

It took a while before Little Eagle could move again. Then he turned and made his way back to the bank of the river on unsteady legs.

Just as he stepped ot of the water, the cheerful voice of Quick Fox reached him. He looked, and she was almost next to him already.

“That was well done, Little Eagle,” she said. “Quite brave of you to stay there and talk down the bear.”

He straightened his shoulders. If she said he was brave, then maybe he had been. Even though he felt like a loser when he had caught nothing.

“But you got the salmon,” he protested.

“I did. By making myself small and unthreatening.” She smiled at him. “Bravery comes in all shapes.”

About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
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