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Annemarie shivers in the early morning cold. She is on the path to the boat. The light of the meadow soon fades away and only the dark woods lie ahead. It is hard to run with the basket on her arm. Annemarie thinks of a story she has sometimes told Kirsti, the story of Little Red Riding-Hood. She smiles remembering her sister's constant interruptions. Annemarie starts to tell the story to herself. She hears a noise on the path and stops, but nothing is there. Annemarie tells herself that Kirsti would have been scared, that she would have thought it was a wolf, like in the story. But these woods are not like the ones in the story, Annemarie says to herself. She comes to a split in the path. One way leads to a bigger, lighter road, but it is too risky. Annemarie continues on the path through the woods. She sees why the people going to Henrik's boat needed guidance.
Annemarie continues telling herself the story of Little Red Riding-Hood. When she tells her sister the story, Annemarie sometimes changes her description of the path. Today she makes the path in the story full of light and bird songs. She runs by a meadow where cows usually graze. This is where Mrs. Johansen's dog had waited for her after school when she was a child. Annemarie can hear the sea and see the light coming from over Sweden. She goes by the blueberry patch, one of her favorite spots in summers past. Reentering the dark woods, Annemarie thinks of her mother's ankle. She hopes that the doctor has come by now.
One last turn and she is almost at her destination, a familiar path. The story continues in her head: Little Red Riding-Hood hears a noise. At this point in the story, Kirsti would have been excited. Kirsti always pressed her sister on; she knew it was a wolf. But Annemarie would tell her sister that Little Red Riding-Hood did not know what it was. As she thinks this, Annemarie hears a noise. She stops. Ahead she can see the very last turn. She thinks her imagination might be tricking her. She hears a growl. Four soldiers appear with a pair of dogs.
Annemarie's mind rushes to what her mother told her. She must pretend to be nothing more than a silly, innocent child. She remembers how Kirsti acted when the soldier stopped them on the way home from school. Her sister was not afraid because she did not recognize the danger. Annemarie tries her hardest to act like Kirsti might. One soldier asks what she is doing. Annemarie holds the basket up. She says her uncle forgot his lunch, talking more than she needs to. The soldiers want to know if she is alone. The dogs grow at the basket. The soldier demands to know why her uncle doesn't eat fish like the other fishermen. Annemarie plays her part, giggling and babbling about how her uncle does not like smelly fish, particularly raw! The soldier reaches for the bread in the basket and throws it to the dogs. He wants her to tell him if she has seen anyone in the woods. Annemarie says she has not and innocently asks what he is doing in the woods.
The soldier keeps going through the basket. Annemarie silently hopes that he will not lift the napkin and see the packet. But he does see the packet, and demands to know what it is. Annemarie is lost. She tries to act like Kirsti and finds that she is crying and saying her mother will be angry and her uncle, too. She does not know what the packet is, she says. Annemarie realizes that it is true; she really has no idea what it is. The soldier tears the packet open and tells her to stop her idiot tears; it is only a handkerchief. The packet is thrown to the ground where the rest of the basket's contents already lie. The dogs sniff it, but are uninterested. All four soldiers push by her in the direction she came from.
Annemarie picks up the packet and runs to the harbor. Uncle Henrik's boat is still there. Annemarie calls out to him. He looks worried to see her, but he is relieved when Annemarie tells him she has brought his lunch. She says soldiers stopped her and took his bread. Henrik thanks her. Annemarie is confused; the boat looks empty. Henrik assures Annemarie that because of her, everything will be all right. Henrik tell her to go home and tell Mrs. Johansen that he will be home in the evening.
Honestly, Number the Stars really had me thinking about life. It was just the realistic description of things that really made it go deep. It changed my whole outlook on life in general. It also helped me spiritually. It showed me that people go through bad hardships sometimes, but, you can make it through. It has helped me come to terms with some of the hardships I face in my life. Whenever something miserable happens, my mind immediately goes back to this story. This story really goes beyond a story, it touches you spiritually and emotiona... Read more→
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