THE DENIZEN OF TUMBLE HILLS
Once there was a Sasquatch who lived in Tumble Hills. Where he came from no
one knew, not even himself. Most people didn't believe he really existed at all. Had
he known about this he would have been glad that they didn't know, or they would
have begun organized searches to find him, for putting in a zoo. As it was, he
didn't care to meet them and they didn't really know about him, which was much
the best way ... until one day, well, after all, when you stand six feet eight and
weigh 600 lbs. with feet the size of dinner plates - it's rather hard to be a will o'the
wisp all the time even in the dark forest. And so it was with Oomgar.
On that fateful day a father and small boy
and his even smaller sister
entered the forest. As to the small boy's name - you see he had a bad habit of
boring into everything that interested him, so that was why, although it's a strange
reason and although his real name was Waverley, but that was far too long, he
came to be called Weevil.
The real name of Felicity, his sister, was Joanne but you see she sometimes
sang just a little bit off key and got the words mixed up - because she was very
small - so her mother Nancy and her father John called her Felicity.
As I was saying, Weevil and Felicity and their father John were now in the forest.
Mother Nancy had sent them off because it was a nice day and she had things to
do in the house and things to do in the garden and Weevil had asked so many
questions and Felicity had sung off key so much, well, we all know how it is with
mothers and fathers, don't we?
They had all three travelled for miles over trails that twisted and turned, while
Weevil was busy darting off in one direction after another, looking behind trees to
see what was there. And then it happened. There was Weevil at least 50 yards
away into the forest, and his father calling "Come back here this minute Weevil"
with Felicity sniffing wild flowers and watching in amazement a may fly in the
clearing, as it moved gracefully trailing its enormously long twin tails. But Weevil
had seen ahead of him in a low wet patch a sort of footprint, if that was really what
it was. Her stood astounded, head down, peering at it. Gingerly he stepped into
it, with both feet, and put his hands down to touch it. There was still lots of room
for more hands and feet, if he'd had them. "Where are you Weevil?" a voice
floated to him through the dark, red-glinting forest air. Weevil crouched and stared.
"What is that?" he muttered, out of character. Felicity waved her hand pointing
past the mayfly, "Over there" she called to John who was looking this way and that
for his errant son.
"I think", said Weevil, talking to the footprint, "you must belong to an elephant that
never was, in this wide green forest." But Oomgar was sitting, hunched up against
a tree not fifty feet away, all dark brown, like the tree trunk. He had stopped eating
the thimbleberries in his left hand, where he was collecting them one by one
so that he could have one nice, large, squashy mouthful.
He had heard the sound and sniffed on the faint breeze the scent of the human
family far off, but wise and clever though he was, he had stayed to pick just one
more berry, and then another, and then another, for that big mouthful, when, sitting
down to watch them wander aimlessly by, Weevil had darted closer. Although
Oomgar never put his feet in wet patches to leave tracks, just as his parents
taught him, he had reached for one more handful of berries, and then there was
a footprint. The blue jays had called to let all the forest dwellers know that people
were coming, but for once Oomgar had not heeded them or his own instinct, After
all, he himself was not a very old Sasquatch.
The sunlight sifted gently through the glades and corridors of trees, soundlessly
in the quietness of the late afternoon. The birds had stopped calling, the squirrels
did not chatter, even the wind had dropped. All the wildlife was still there, of
course, but silently waiting to see what would happen next.
Weevil heard his father and sister, but faintly, as if in another world. "I wonder" he
thought to himself. "If there's another footprint over there" ... He stepped out of the
one he was in, forward into the forest again, looking down intently, not even
picking the berries as her went. "Or there" he thought, and off he went again,
further still into the forest, "or there", and he thought he saw a faint imprint this
By now he was twenty paces from Oomgar ... ten paces ... and then, there they
were, face to face. Oomgar, dark brown, covered in hair, sitting back against a tree
with his mouth full of thimble berries, and Weevil standing, hunting for footprints,
looking up towards the head of the young Sasquatch right there in front of him.
"Weevil, come back" a voice faintly wafted towards them through the warm
summer air, but Weevil and Oomgar could have been on another planet for all
they heard of it that day.
"Well," said Weevil finally (for he was a brave little boy despite his pernicious
inquisitive habits), "and who are you?"
Oomgar stared at him speechlessly, partly in frustration at having a small boy find
him so easily, partly because he spoke a different language.
"Atch," he said in a deep but kindly voice. This was much simpler than "Who are
you?" though it really meant the same thing. He could not help smiling at this
ridiculously small person, almost a plaything, or a toy.
"Um," he said, holding out his right hand, the one without the berries in it. "Um"
meant hello, and Weevil knew because he smiled and said "Hi" and held out his
hand. Now Oomgar's hand was at the end of a long arm which hung down almost
to his knee when he walked, and Weevil didn't need to come any closer for
Oomgar to reach him. Weevil's hand was lost in the great hair-backed hand of
Oomgar, although it only had four fingers, one very like an opposable thumb,
instead of five, and he could still pick berries very well, thank you!
The distant calling had quite gone away now and in any case Weevil was much
too busy studying Oomgar to notice anything else. Oomgar held out his other
hand and opened it up. There were two berries left in it which had escaped his last
"Thanks," said Weevil, picking the one which was less squashed, and politely
leaving the other one for his host.
"Lah," said Oomgar, meaning "thank you too," and quietly pushed the lone berry
into his mouth with his free left hand. They still held hands and warm and friendly
feelings ran up and down their arms.
"Where do you live?" asked Weevil, now pulling at Oomgar's arm. Oomgar slowly
uncurled himself and rose to his full height. His small friend was so far below him
now that they could hardly reach one another, despite his long arms, so he let go
and started picking berries again. But Weevil didn't come by his nickname for no
"Well," he said, "if you can't tell me where you live, what do you do? You can't just
pick berries all day, can you?" he said, looking at Oomgar's great size. "Do you
live in a house?" but Oomgar just kept finding and collecting thimbleberries in his
left hand ready for the next juicy mouthful. "Well, if not a house," said Weevil, "do
you make one out of tree branches and things?"
Oomgar grunted "uh" just as Weevil's father did when questioned, but Oomgar
was thinking: "What do I do now with this fascinating small person, the like of
which I have never seen before. If I take him with me, he may lead others to me
who will look for him as we do in Sasquatchland. If I run away, he may be lost and
not find his way back to where he came from." He could of course hear Felicity
and her father searching and calling far away in the distance now, although Weevil
They shared the next handful of Oomgar's berries, because Oomgar saw them so
much more quickly, could reach further and didn't mind the thorns catching in the
hair on his arms, while Weevilo picked berries slowly because he asked so many
questions: "Where do you go in the winter? Do you have a family? Why don't you
wear any clothes? What else do you eat? Why don't you have five toes and five
fingers?" And so on he went, questioning. Oomgar stopped picking berries, for
now he had thought of a plan. He reached down, scooped up Weevil and carried
him aloft with both huge hands, perching Weevil firmly on his broad shoulders.
"Hey," said Weevil, squirming a little at first , "What did you do that for?" and he felt
just a little scared of the great size and strength of his giant friend. But Oomgar
began strolling off quietly between the tall trees. Now in, now out of the slanting
sunlight they went, and Weevil had a wonderful view so far off the ground. Oomgar
as usual was careful where he trod and there were no more footprints left behind
"Where are we going?" asked Weevil, and Oomgar seemed to guess the question
because he said "Aah" which in Sasquatch means "home." So they walked past
the tamaracks and cedars and hard maples, striped maples and silver birches and
yellow birches , ironwood and black cherry, aspens and white pine, white oak and
red oak, deeper and deeper into the wild forest. There were tall rocks and short
rocks, black rocks and grey rocks and green-with-lichen rocks and here and there
a small stream wandered by. The bush was alive with the birds and squirrels,
marten and woodchuck, chipmunk and raccoon going about their business again,
making criss-crossing sounds through the air as they went. Weevil was amazed.
He had never seen so many wild birds and animals before as none of them feared
the Susquatch. He almost forgot to ask questions such as: what bird is this? Who
is that? Where are we going now? and so on.
At last they came to a large mound of rock and Oomgar climbed easily up part of
it to a hanging ledge. At the end was a cleft in the rock face but so similar were
the sides that the opening could not be seen easily from the ground, and even
Weevil had not spotted it. A sharp turn right, out of sight now from the ground,
brought them to an entrance into the rock and here Oomgar let Weevil gently
down to the ground. "Thanks, that was great," he said and peered inquisitively into
the cave ahead. "What's in there?" he asked. "Do you live there? Are we going
in?" Weevil was almost inside before Oomgar, and he found it cool but dry with
soft pine needles to sit on and walk on and smelling of cedar and cinnamon.
"Where did you get cinnamon?" he asked, but he never did find out about that.
"You haven't got any furniture, have you?" he said "but it's nice isn't it?" Gradually
he made out, in the dimmer light at the back of the cave, further recesses and
thought he could hear far-off sounds much like those that Oomgar had made. And
he was quite right, because the rest of Oomgar's family and his parents were right
there, back out of sight deeper into the cave.
"Why didn't I bring a flashlight?" mused Weevil as he looked around, restless to
explore the back of the cave from beyond where the sounds came. "Don't you
have a fire?" asked Weevil, "Howe do you cook your food?" But Oomgar, even if
he had understood, was lost in contemplation of his small charge and was working
out the rest of his plan. Weevil found some drawings on the rock face on one side
of the cave
"Did you draw these?" he asked, but Oomgar was already calling to him because
it was time to go. The sun was going down now with a red and golden glow from
the skyline to the tree tops over the forest.
"Mm" said Oomgar, uncoiling himself a second time and moving outside the cave
again. Weevil followed. "Where to now?" He was ready this time for a lift up to
Oomgar's shoulder, and away they went down the rock face in great style. The
shadows lengthened and the evening birds, the loons and whippoorwills, began
calling. Small mice began rustling under the fallen leaves and the first barred owl
hoots were heard. Overhead a hawk cried and then came plummeting down,
pulling up again with a great whistling of wings. Not far ahead a blue heron rose
slowly from the water and flapped its wide, wide wings four or five times to cross
the small lake to its night resting place.
Still Oomgar strode on with Weevil peering this way and that, full of questions.
Oomgar, hearing all the familiar sounds around him, and undistracted by Weevil's
inquiries, heard, coming closer and closer though still far off, the anxious and near
frantic calls of Felicity and her father John. Soon Oomgar with Weevil reached the
footprint so unintentionally made and Weevil found himself set down on the
ground by the great Sasquatch who without another word rubbed his hand for a
moment on top of Weevil's head and then turned and vanished silently into the
bush by the track.
At once Weevil began calling out for his father and Felicity because the forest
seemed much darker now in the fading light, with himself alone. He ran in the
direction he was facing, calling aloud and wondering if the track was familiar and
seeing human footprints here and there ahead of him on the way. Soon he thought
he heard voices calling, stopped, and heard them for sure. Within five minutes he
saw his father ahead down the trail and ran calling in the dusk with all his might.
It was a happy and thankful reunion, and Weevil at once began to relate the whole
story, convinced he would now be a hero at home and at school.
His sister looked at him witheringly. "Well," she said, "just because you got lost for
so long you don't have to make up all that." His father said "If we had been in
Western Canada, at Prince Rupert or the Rockies, then that might be different,
son." Weevil was almost in tears. He told them both the whole story again; about
finding the footprint, the Sasquatch, eating the berries together, the trip to the
cave, hearing the others, and the trip back to the trail again. "You do believe me.
Dad, don't you?" pleaded Weevil. John put his hand gently on Weevil's shoulder.
"Well, son," said his father, "let's be going home."
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