Daniel and the Woodland Gnomes

Jeremy Perry

Sunrise Publishing

A cool, satisfying breeze whisked across Daniel Martin’s freckled brow as he stood alongside his favorite fishing stream. With a smooth underhand flip, his cork bobber went sailing, and when it hit the water, it made a subtle splash. The 12-year-old boy then sat against a shady oak tree and stretched his spindly legs.

“Okay, fish,” he grumbled. “Come and get it.”

It was a hot day, which made Daniel more irritable than he already was. The fight he’d had earlier with his younger brother, Alex, was fresh on his mind, and he couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Daniel grumbled again, “Why is he always such a little pest? I told him we both could go fishing tomorrow.” His voice grew louder as he continued. “Sometimes I wish he was never born. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about him annoying me all the time.”

Daniel had never spoken of his little brother in such a way. Dropping his head in shame, his face reddened and guilt struck him. He sighed and picked aimlessly at the grass on which he sat. His biggest regret had been shoving Alex to the ground. He could still see the image of his brother crying and running home with his fishing pole. Daniel’s eyes moistened with tears.

Though it wasn’t long after, he felt a nibble, and his thinking skipped back to the present. Excited, Daniel stood up and waited.

He could see the trout’s brilliant rainbow colors through the rippling of the clear water. The fish toyed with the big, red worm, playfully bumping it with its mouth. When the fish finally gulped the bait, Daniel jerked his fishing pole. The trout tugged and zigzagged left to right, jumping and splashing. Wide-eyed with excitement, he held the pole with all his strength as the battle continued. Finally, after the fish tired and gave-in, Daniel reeled the trout to the stream’s bank. He was happy once again.

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