Snow Goose

 

‘I can’t keep going’

‘You can. A few steps more. Count to thirty three and we will stop.’

Mia stood still and waited for the others. Huge flakes like feathers fell slowly to the ground. The air was silent and still, a night sky shimmered with stars. The hare in the large round moon looked down on the group with tears in his eyes.

Mia was tearful too. There seemed to be nowhere to stop and the tiny feet and bodies behind her were exhausted. She wasn’t tired or cold. Her blanket, like large wings, kept her shielded from the damp. Her feet were protected against the wet snow. They were sturdy and used to travel.

But she worried about the little ones.

‘Thirty three steps and we can rest beneath that large fir tree ahead,’ she said reassuringly to her little birds.

The spruce was thick and heavy. No snow lay around its base. It would be a good place to sleep thought Mia. The young ones picked up their pace, eager to reach the comfort of the giant fir.

‘They’re not looking for us,’ said a little voice. ‘They have forgotten us. We’ve been walking for hours and hours.’

‘Hush now,’ said Mia. ‘We have enough food for a week. They will find us.’

She didn’t want to say how afraid she was of spending another night without elders to protect them against salivating, hungry wolves looking for easy prey.

‘Come close, under my blanket and we will eat and sleep. It’s nice and warm in here,’ said Mia.

She beckoned the five babies towards her and enveloped them with her arms as they ate bread and drank water.

She started to sing and rock whilst they settled down around her. She stared up at the stars, tears rolling down her cheeks. As long as it kept snowing, it would stay warm. Warm enough to stop her babies from freezing. She hummed gently as the five around here started to fall asleep and she too could no longer keep awake.

Mia felt something warm against her face as she dozed. A tongue licked her cheek. She slowly opened her eyes, afraid of what she might see. She smiled. Beautiful brown eyes blinked at her. She put out her hand and stroked the young face nuzzling her.

‘Where’s your mama, baby deer? Are you lost too?’ she asked.

‘No, I’m not. I’ve come to tell you that we are going to take you with us, to somewhere safe,’ said the young fawn.

Mia rubbed her eyes believing she was still asleep, dreaming. But as she opened them wide she could see a whole family of deer stood in front of her.

‘Come on Mia,’ said the mama deer. ‘Come with us. Bring your babies with you.’

Messengers, thought Mia, are always deer. She knew she had to go with them. She slowly awakened her five children and placed each one on the backs of the four-legged animals, knowing she could trust them.

The snow was still falling. Deep and soft, a large feathered quilt, over the ground. Mia gathered her blanket, like large wings, around her and walked on with the deer, out of the forest, towards the moonlight. The hare smiled down on them all.

A Song By A Soldier – Over there, far away.

Who started the First World War. A man named Princip or an empire called Austro-Hungarian. So much changes over time as history is written and revised. Princip goes from being a member of a Bosnian Youth Movement to being a terrorist.

There’s no doubt that the empire was mighty mad at its little minions who had, for some time, been revving up anti-colonial feelings through articles, posters and meetings. More than one attempt was made to finish off the Duke FF. Princip did it. It wasn’t the only assasination during the early part of the 20th century. So much was going on.

Serbia was in trouble The AH empire decided it was time to get in and sort out the rebels, the Kaiser gave a blank cheque to get it done. It was unpleasant. Bulgaria joined AH and almost finished off the soldiers of Serbia.

Now, the Serb soldiers did an unusual thing. They didn’t surrender, instead they retreated out of Serbia and with the permission of Albania, marched for three winter months down to the Adriatic. The allies said they would meet the soldiers and ensure protection would be given.

The Serbian army was accompanied by King Peter and they took 30,000 boys with aged 12-18. Altogether around 150,000 marched from mid-December 2015 over the mountains and down to the sea.

Many died. Half of the boys died. They had reached the sea but no allies had arrived. German planes bombed them. Soon the allies came and organised for the vast majority of the people to go to Corfu. So they did. Corfu was greeted by as many people as lived on their island.

Food eventually came. Time went by. Those we were ready and fit, readied themselves and with the allies, marched back in to battle.

On Corfu, a soldier wrote a song. It’s quite an important one.

There’s a documentary available as well:

It has English subtitles.

There is also a Serbian museum on Corfu, as well as a church and extensive graveyard.

A special bond was formed with Corfu and France because of their support.

She-roes – Elsie Inglis

“Dr. Elsie Inglis was at the head of the many British women who went out to Serbia before the great retreat, to combat typhoid and nurse the sick and wounded. She remained under the enemy for several months with her staff to attend the Serbian wounded, and after she returned to Britain organised the Kosovo Day celebration.

In September 1916 she took out a unit of seventy-five women of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals to Russia and Romania, to be attached to the Serbian volunteer unit then fighting in Dobrudja, and she returned when the revolution in Russia broke out, but not until she had secured the transfer of the Jugoslav divisions from Odessa to Salonica. Arrived in Newcastle, exhausted by the work she had done since the beginning of the war, she died on November 26, 1917.”

“…the most important Serbian celebrations in Great Britain took place, that of Kosovo Day (May and June 1916), when hundreds of lectures were given over the whole country on June 28, commemorating the day of Kosovo, in English and Scottish schools and churches.

This was followed by a solemn service at St. Paul’s (July 7, 1916), one of the most impressive ceremonies during the war, m memory of the old Serbian Kosovo heroes and in honor of the Serbian soldiers and British doctors and nurses fallen in Serbia in the war. ”  Ivan Ilic

Elsie Inglis (1864-1917)

Elsie Inglis was a Scots doctor and suffragist. She worked to set up the Scottish Women’s Hospitals.

She was born in Naini Tal, India, as her father worked in the Indian civil service. Her family later returned to Scotland and Elsie studied to become a doctor at the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women that had been opened by Dr Sophia Jex-Blake.