It Doesn’t Take Much To Be Brave

Excellence Award in the 'National Treasures 2022' competition

Autumn was April’s favourite time of the year. Glorious autumn, all red and gold, with warm mornings when the roads and towns were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of magic had flowed them in for the sun to drain-purple, ivory, silver, pink, and dark blue. Autumn was always the time of April’s dreams, adventures, and discoveries.

One beautiful autumn morning April decided to ride her favourite horse, Buttercup, and explore some mysterious places usually so well hidden from peoples’ eyes. While riding Buttercup she came across an entrance to a cave. The sign said ‘Lush Cave. DO NOT ENTER!’ April has always been mischievous and curious and liked to explore new things. She dismounted Buttercup and went inside the cave leaving her house at the entrance.

She immediately regretted her choice and wanted to go back home but it was too late - the entrance to the cave got blocked and securely sealed by an accidentally fallen from the top of the mountain, huge boulder. The cave was grim and dreary, and the only sound that April could hear was the drip, drip, drip of water from the stalactites. The air was heavy and humid, and it was very difficult to breathe. The darkness was so thick that it was impossible to see more than a few meters in front of you.

Swallowed up by a merciless cave and surrounded by darkness, April lost all sense of time. Fear and terror have crept in. But she was nothing but determined to survive. She remembered her teacher’s saying: “When you need to relax – imagine that you smell the flowers and blow the candles. Breathe”. The meditation technique helped a lot and April could stay calm and used as little air as possible. She laid still to conserve her strength. She did not have food, but she did have a supply of drinkable water in the form of moisture dripping from the cave walls. There was also enough air for a while - because the porous limestone and cracks in the rocks meant air could come through.

Finally, her breathing became calm and regular. April started thinking. It was pitch black inside the cave, but fortunately, she remembered that she left Buttercup’s saddlebag just at the entrance to the cave. She went back and found out that the bag was still there! She got the matches from the saddlebag and lit them up so she could see. April slowly walked up to the entrance and touched the boulder. She smiled. Optimistic and full of energy, April, with all the strength she had, banged her shoulder against the boulder sealing the entrance. And it crumbled away!

Fresh autumn air, blue sky, warm sun, and happy Buttercup’s neighing welcomed their brave, courageous, and strong friend outside the cave. “Beautiful autumn”, thought April, “and it made magic again - it just showed me the truth that a positive attitude, courage, and calm can make dreams come true! Well, they did for me!”

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