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Edited Words: 152,263
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May 3, 2006


We're walking up a slope, through some woodland.

Callum (age 3.5 years): I don't want to be in the forest. I was going home and now I'm in the forest.

Duncan: You're feeling sad aren't you?

Callum: Yes.

I crouch down look at him. He's pulling an exaggerated sad face. I hug him and kiss his head and then stand up again.

Duncan: Mummy must have taken you home asleep and put you in bed and then I collected you and put you in the car and you were still asleep. You only woke up when we got here. We'll go home in a while after we've walked.

He puts his arms out and reaches up. That means he wants a cuddle or to be carried. He doesn't say anything even though he could. I pick him up and carry him. He snuggles into my shoulder. We stop at a bench and I hold him against my chest and sing a song while rocking gently back and forth:

Callum and daddy, we're in the woods.
Callum and daddy, there's only us.
Callum and daddy, no need for shoulds.
Callum and daddy, no need for fuss.

After a while I tell him that he needs to walk because we're going up the hill.

Duncan: We're entering a hollow through a little tunnel in the bushes designed especially for Callum. It's really hard for me to go through here. I have to stoop right down. Can you see?

He turns and sees me hunched over as we travel through the hawthorn tunnel. He has a big smile on his face. Soon we enter a clearing.

Duncan: Do you see the white flowers all over the bushes that we just walked through?

Callum: Yes.

Duncan: Can you smell them?

The air is filled with the perfume of the may bush and he takes a big breath and grins.

Callum: Let's find some sticks.

Duncan: Okay. How about this one?

Callum: Yes. But you need to break it because it's too long like that.

I snap the stick and hand half of it to him and then I pick up my own stick.

Duncan: We're leaving the hollow now. We're entering the field. Are you ready?

Callum: Yes.

Duncan: As we get to the edge, we need to be very quiet. Stop and listen. Can you see those two white panthers over there?

Callum: Yes.

Duncan: Well normally we'd need to be concerned with them, but they're down wind from us and walking away, so it's safe. Can you see anything else? Look around.

Callum: I see a bird.

Duncan: Where.

Callum: Up there.

Duncan: Okay. It's just a crow. If it was a pterodactyl then we'd be worried.

Callum: Pterodactyls died out.

Duncan: Really? Then I suppose we have even less to worry about.

We walk out into the field and Callum holds his stick in the air.

Callum: Hold up your sword and run. Run with your sword.

I hold up my stick and run along next to him, our sticks above our heads. Later I realized that he's not allowed to run with sticks; I guess that swords are okay.

Duncan: Shout, I am a knight with a sword.

Callum: I am a knight with a sword!

We climb further up, and reach a track.

Duncan: When you look along the field can you see where the grass has been cut shorter?

Callum: Yes.

Duncan: That's a track where they train racehorses and we're standing on it.

Callum: It's not a track for training racehorses. It's a track for knights.

Duncan: It's true. It's for training knights.

Callum: Mummy and me practice being racehorses in the woods.

Duncan: That's very nice. I bet that's a lot of fun.

Callum: It is.

Duncan: The grass that we're walking in is quite long. There is only one kind of dangerous snake in England; it's called an adder. But if there's an adder it will probably hear us coming and slither away. Anyway, I've never seen an adder and they're very rare, so I doubt that we need to be concerned.

Callum: I've seen an adder.

Duncan: Really? Where did you see it?

Callum: They attach these things to it, like cups, and then they suck the milk out.

Duncan: That's an udder. It sounds very similar to adder but an adder is a snake and an udder is where the milk comes out of a cow.

Callum: The udder is here on the cow; on its belly. And they put the things on it and then a blue machine pumps the milk out through tubes into a big glass bottle. Then they take the milk to the shop where you can buy it.

Duncan: Did you see that happening?

Callum: Yes.

Duncan: That's great Callum.

We walk down and into the woods again.

Callum: If you scrape a stick around in the leaves then a razorpersingfleematook might get inside of you.

Duncan: A what?

Callum: A razorpersingfleematook.

I crouch down in front of him.

Duncan: Can you say that again, I don't understand.

Callum: A razorpersingfleematook! [He shouts with a grin.]

Duncan: razorpersingfleematook?

Callum: Yes.

Duncan: It might go inside of you if you disturb it with a stick?

Callum: Yes. Mummy has a leaflet about it.

Duncan: Is that one word or multiple words?

Callum: It's one word.

Duncan: That's one of the longest words that I've ever heard.

Callum: It's a type of parasite.

Duncan: Do you know what a parasite is?

Callum: Yes.

Duncan: What is it?

Callum: I don't know.

Duncan: It's a thing that lives off another thing, by sucking blood out of it for example.

We walk back to the car and I start driving home.

Callum: Do knights kill dragons?

Duncan: They can, and sometimes they do. But it's better if they can tame a dragon and use it to their own ends. That's because a dragon has a lot of useful characteristics. A dragon can fly and it can breathe fire, so it's better if they can tame it. But in a worst case scenario, in a matter of life-or-death, a knight can always kill a dragon if necessary.

Callum: Do knights kill dragons with swords?

Duncan: That's a good question. They kill them with anything that they have available. That's the nature of the knight: he uses what he has at the time. Sometimes he'll have a sword, sometimes only a rock, and sometimes he has to use his bare hands. But a knight is very versatile and is able to make-do in any situation.

Callum: Sometimes a knight has to fight a dragon when he doesn't have his horse with him.

Duncan: That's right. But the thing is that a horse is not much of a challenge for a dragon because a horse only has hooves whereas a dragon has claws and it can also fly.

Callum: But horses can run very fast and also their hooves are very heavy.

Duncan: True. A horse could whack a dragon with one of those hooves and really hurt it.

Callum: A horse could kill a dragon.

Duncan: That's true, it could.

Callum: This isn't a car.

Duncan: It's not? What is it?

Callum: It's a castle-dragon-cart.

Duncan: It certainly is. And we are knights. We wouldn't be seen traveling in a car!

Callum: Yes. We're going back to my house-castle. And my house-castle is connected to your castle.

Duncan: What, by a bridge or something?

Callum: Yes, by a drawbridge. And if it's lifted up, then people will fall into the moat.

Duncan: Then let us cry out, we are knight returning to our castles!

We both yell and continue our journey home.

"[This] was so touching. It's not surprising that you and Izzy have such a cute, loving, and intelligent child." — Basi

"Ah! That's what happened to the world: people got udders and adders mixed up! Callum is brilliant. Now we can all move toward what nutures us. Thank you Callum." — Trish


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