c h a p t e r  1

curious calamity

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when winter came to THE FOREST AROUND the cabin...

the boy's grandfather began to take in even more cups of his daily tea. Sometimes, he drank up to five in a single day. The tea was important, as the seeds in it kept the old man's mind sharp. On his good days his tea would help him be the great explorer that he was. But if he missed even a single day, his memory would begin to crack and soften, eroding the remnants of his once curious and spirited mind..

            The boy often watched as the old man drank, feeling a hollow in the pit of his chest, and wishing he could make the old man's troubles go away. They each were all the other had in this world, and the boy shuddered to think what would happen if his grandpa's mind got lost forever.

            During most days, however, the boy didn't bother with such grim thoughts. The winter snowfall made for an enormous amount of fun outside. He built fortresses. He crawled through tunnels. He usually found himself outdoors until the sky grew dark and the creatures of the night were humming.

            One evening, upon the boy's return, out of breath and with redness filling his cheeks, he saw his grandfather standing near the cupboard...frowning.

            “What is it, Grandpa?”

            The old man turned. “Bandits. They took the tea.”

The little boy's heart deflated.