There’s not much time. It’s a warm late summer day in September – and the big moment has come. All of the GINGERMOON family’s belongings have been safely loaded onto the cart. But leaving their friends is turning out to be much more difficult than they thought it would be – especially the HOOZEL family, with whom they have spent so many wonderful hours. ROBBIE and LUKE have been crying so hard that their eyes are all red. They simply can’t imagine that they will ever be able to find friends like JOE and TOMMY again. As they leave, Joe says: “Robbie and Luke, don’t be sad. We will never forget you. We promise that we will come to BUMBERVILLE sometime and visit you.” That makes the Gingermoon children’s eyes light up again. That was the nicest thing they could have said. Robbie and Luke hug their friends Joe and Tommy for the last time and whisper in their ears: “Please don’t wait too long to come and visit us!” Then they have to get going. It is still early in the morning when they set off.
The trip to Bumberville is long and dangerous. All sorts of thoughts go through father Mitchell’s mind as they travel. He knows that he and his family are going to have a lot of work to do at the beginning. It would be best if they could finish building their new house before the Honey Festival at the end of December. Then they could spend the holidays in their new home. And there isn’t that much time until then, so they are going to have to hurry. They have only taken the most important things with them, but the cart is still packed right to the very top. Before they leave Honey Town, father Mitchell turns to his children again and says: “Please always stay near the handcart. Mama and I are going to pull the cart from now on – just like the horses usually do. Now, don’t look around, but pay attention to where you are stepping. We don’t want you to stumble and sprain your ankle! That’s the last thing we need on this trip.” The children promise that they will be careful.
The path they have to take is rough and often winds its way through dark, gloomy forests. After three hours, the children are totally exhausted. Little Robbie’s feet are already hurting him. He keeps on lagging behind and can’t help asking, “Couldn’t we take a break? Luke and I are tired. We can’t walk a single step more. Our legs are killing us!” Their parents agree, but only if Robbie and Luke finally stop tearing leaves and twigs off the trees and bushes they pass out of sheer boredom. “Just remember, plants are also living beings that have the right to grow in peace,” father Mitchell cautions them. Robbie and Luke get the point, and they promise their parents that they’ll stop doing this. They quickly understand that it hurts the plants when people constantly pick at them.
It doesn’t take much longer until they can see a resting area ahead of them. Although there are almost only very big, old and gnarled trees here, a few rays of sunlight still shine through the heavy foliage.
Bear mother Maggie loves to spoil her family with her wonderful cooking. Luke is really hungry now and asks: “Are we going to have your yummy homemade potato salad again today?” “Yes, my child, and that’s not all. I’ve also made some of those fresh hareburgers for all of you that you love.” “Yay! Yay!” scream the children and grab a couple of them. And the bowls are empty in no time flat.
Robbie has hardly gobbled down the last bite when he starts to become a little uncomfortable and asks his father Mitchell: “May I get up very quickly and leave the table? I have to go very badly – oh, help – I really have to go…” “Don’t go too far into the forest. Make sure we can still see one another,” his Papa reminds him. But – as always – Robbie isn’t really listening. He really needs to get going – literally. Because he is always too embarrassed to do his business in front of the others, he goes farther into the forest than he has intended to. Just as he is about to pull his pants up again, he hears a loud and threatening grunting sound behind him. “Nnnoch, nnnoch, nnnoch!” He is so frightened that he can hardly move, but out of the corner of his eye he can see that the sound is coming from a huge wild boar with long tusks. Good grief! Robbie can hardly breathe, he is sweating, and he can’t think clearly. Fear has taken total control of his body. Now he needs to act quickly. He simply has to come up with a good idea – but he can’t even move. His legs won’t even obey him. If he had only not gone so far into the forest. If he had only listened to his parents. All of a sudden, he knows what he has to do – but he has to act fast!
Robbie remembers what his father Mitchell once said: “When you are in danger, act quickly – or you will die.” And he knows what he has to do. The wild boar is now very close to him and is looking forward to a delicious meal. All of the animals love to eat bear meat, for it is so tender and tasty. Robbie thinks, “I don’t want to die yet!” So he summons up all his courage and uses his arms to climb – as quick as a flash – up the ancient oak tree where he had done his business. He is happy that his arms are obeying him. By now his legs are starting to come to life again, too. Robbie can move fast, because he and his brother Luke have often climbed trees together, and in the end he was always the winner.
By now the wild boar can hardly control himself. He is grunting so loud from fury that shivers of fear are running up and down Robbie’s body. But the boar can grunt and rage as much as he wants. Thank God, he can’t climb – and this is lucky for Robbie. The wild boar is so furious that he is foaming at the mouth, standing on his rear legs, and trying to climb up the tree – but to no avail. Robbie is still scared to death. After all, he can’t stay up in the tree forever, and the wild boar is not willing to stir from the spot. But Robbie is not dumb. He knows that he needs to climb all the way up to the top of the tree to get far enough away from the wild boar for him to finally leave him in peace. So he climbs higher and higher, until he finally reaches the crown of the tree. Here there are so many branches and twigs that for the moment he loses his bearings. The leaves all around him rustle constantly. He knows from the very first moment that it is very, very dangerous up here. He has to be careful to always find a branch that can support all of his weight – a branch that won’t break off and let him plummet down to the earth.
Suddenly he hears a loud “JEER, JEER, JEER.” A little bird with colorful plumage is sitting way at the top of the tree crown and asking: “Hello, little bear. Are you tired of living – or why have you climbed up so high?” “No, no. I wish I were back on the earth, but I can’t go back down. A hungry wild boar would tear me to pieces if I did!” “You poor bear! The wild boars have been causing mischief around here for a long time. They can’t get along with almost any of the animals. That’s because they think that they can get what they want with violence, evil and slander. And the upshot of it all is that they hardly have any more friends, and no one wants to have anything to do with them. By the way, what is your name?” “My name is Robbie Gingermoon.
And you?” “I am COCO, the jaybird, and I have been guarding this ancient, gnarly oak tree for many years already. I am the good spirit of this tree – and I know how to imitate the song of any bird there is.” “I don’t believe you!” “Really! It’s true! Tell me which bird you want me to imitate!” “My favorite would be the blackbird,” Robbie answers. Coco knows that it is very important for her to make Robbie think of other things, because he is still shivering all over. Coco does her very best and begins to warble like a blackbird.
AND TOMORROW THE STORY WILL CONTINUE …