Sensuous, curving willow branches stretch over the lake. Green leaved shrubs soften the water's edge. Straight reeds with black tips grow along the lakeshore causing tiny ripples in the water's still, smooth surface. Coloured stones decorate the lakebed.
An Inspiring Escape Plan
Patrick sits on the bank, occasionally dipping his toe into the water, to feel the chill of the water and watch ripples from his foot spread out across the perfectly still surface. He gently and lovingly contemplates his future as he plays with the lake's calm water.
"Will I escape? If I were to decide to escape how could I possibly manage it?"
Patrick sits with these questions, letting them gently come and go in his mind, as he rests in the place where everything begins and ends.
Then in the distance he sees movement. Looking up he watches as the pure white swan glides from behind a reed bed across the lake's calm surface. He watches the swan drift into the centre of the lake where she floats motionless. The swan watches Patrick from a distance. Her beauty captivates Patrick. As he gazes on the pure white body reflected in the still water he senses that it is right for him to escape. He feels a steely resolve.
As he accepts and embraces this resolve, he hears voices coming from the forest. Out from behind the trees run the children laughing and singing. They dance around him, teasing him with little rhymes,
"Pat. Pat. Where's your hat. You haven't got one, because your heads too flat."
Patrick smiles and playfully picks a large leaf, and puts it on his head pretending it's a hat. The children fall about laughing and gather at his feet.
"Have you thought any further about escaping," asks Maebh.
"I've given the matter some thought and I've decided to create an escape plan," Patrick replies.
The children all cheer, except for Ossian who sits brooding to one side.
"Will you help me?" Pat asks.
"Of course we will," they reply.
However Ossian is not happy.
"I think it's impossible to escape. The roads are all patrolled by warriors, the woods are too dense to walk through, you would be cut by brambles and, you would be killed if the warriors caught you. It's not worth trying."
"Steady on Ossian, let's just try and see if we can create an escape plan. If we all pool our ideas you never know what we might come up with," replies Patrick. "Why don't we all sit silently and see if anyone has a good idea."
As the group sits in silence the swan glides over to be near the riverbank where they are gathered. The swan stops and floats motionlessly beside the children. Everyone is still and quiet. Suddenly one of the boys suggests,
"Why don't you walk along the Way Dheas out of D l Riaghada. If you wear your golden brooch nobody will suspect you are a slave." Another boy adds, "We'll follow you. If any warriors appear we'll dash into the woods. Then when they challenge you we'll fire stones at them."
Another boy says, "And then they will chase us into the woods and we will run, leading them further into the forest." A girl joins in, "That'll give you a chance to get past the patrol."
The children are delighted with their ideas. They jump up and down excitedly and cry,
"What do you think Pat? What do you think?"
Patrick ponders for a moment and replies,
"I think it's a great plan... I need time to think it over."
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