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HOME > Short Stories > The Children's Pilgrimage > CHAPTER XVIII. AN OGRE IN THE WOOD.
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 Full of his idea, Maurice slept very little more that night. He tossed from side to side on the pine needles. But though he felt often drowsy, he was afraid to yield to the sensation; and early, very early in the morning, before the sun had risen, he got up. Going to the door of the hut, he stood there for a moment or so looking down into the forest. Just around the little hut there was a clearing of trees; but the forest itself looked dark. The trees cast long shadows, and Maurice felt rather nervous at the idea of venturing into their gloom. Suddenly, however, he heard a bird sing clear and sweet up into the sky, and the next moment two squirrels darted past his feet.  
These two events decided him: the day was coming on apace, and soon Cecile and Joe would wake and begin to prepare for their journey. Without waiting to look around, he stepped into the dark shadows of the trees; and, in a moment, his little figure was lost in the gloom. To enable him to creep very quietly away—so quietly that even Toby should not awake—he had decided not to put on his shoes and stockings, and he now ran along the grass with his bare feet. He liked the sensation. The grass felt both cool and soft, and he began to wonder why he had ever troubled himself with such clumsy, tiresome things as shoes and stockings.
The sun had now risen, and the forest was no longer dark; and Maurice, looking back, saw that he had quite lost sight of the hut. He also, at the same moment, discovered, growing in great clusters, almost at his feet, dog violets, some as large as heart's-ease.
He gave a little cry of delight. He was very fond of flowers, and he decided to pick a great bunch to bring back to Cecile; in case she was a little vexed with him, she would be sure to be pacified by this offering.
He therefore sat down on the grass, and picked away at the violets until he had filled both his hands.
Then hearing, or fancying he heard, a little rustling in the grass, and thinking it might be Joe coming in search of him, he set off running again.
This time he was not so fortunate. A great thorn found its way into the little naked foot; the poor child gave a cry of pain, then sat plump down; he found that he could not walk another step. The day had now fully come, and the forest was alive with sights and sounds. Maurice was too young, too much of a baby to feel at all frightened. The idea of getting lost never even occurred to him. He said to himself that, as he could not possibly walk on his lame and swollen foot, he would wait quietly where he had planted himself, until Cecile or Joe or Toby found him out.
This quiet waiting resulted, as might have been expected, in the little fellow making up for the night's wakefulness, and soon he was sound asleep, his pretty head resting on his violets.
For several hours tired little Maurice slept. When at last he opened his eyes, a man was sitting by his side.
He looked at him for a moment sleepily and peacefully out of his velvet brown eyes; then sitting up, he exclaimed in a tone of joyful recognition:
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