ariah knew that she had been spotted. When the two men staring at her from the wagon did not accost her immediately, she understood that they were waiting to see which house she would enter. She felt a wave of sadness wash over her as she realized she could never again return to the Jewish family that had kindly taken care of her.
She took a deep breath, shifted the heavy stacks of hay she was carrying with her, and walked directly in the direction of the men.
“Huh? She’s coming toward us, Arthur!”
“I can see that, carrot man. What is she doing?”
Mariah stopped in front of the wagon.
“Hello, gentleman. How is your day going?”
“You decided to give up, eh? Figured it was safer for you to just come to us and not wait until we pounced?”
“Something like that.”
Without warning Mariah lifted the hay and tossed it over their heads.
“I can’t see anything! Where did she go?”
The men screamed in anger and swiped hay from their eyes and hair.
“I don’t know which direction she went in! Let’s split up. You go that way and I’ll go this way!”
They hopped off the carriage and sprinted down the street in opposite directions.
A high-pitched whistle caught their attention and they turned around to see Mariah sitting on top of their horse that she had just unhitched from the wagon.
“I hope you don’t mind if I borrow your horse. I have to travel very far, now that I know you wicked people are still searching for me. I would rather go by horse instead of walking. I do hope you understand.”
“You evil girl! You’ll pay for this!”
The men ran in her direction, but she was already galloping away.
“Go! Go!” Mariah urged the horse onward. “Faster, faster! Away from those terrible men!”
Jan and Arthur the priest watched her disappear into the horizon.
“Well… You owe me a new horse.”
“Forget about it. Come on, let’s start heading back for the orphanage. We have to alert the authorities at once before the girl escapes too far.”
“No, no, no. We’re done here. I tried helping you, and now I’ve lost my only horse. You are on your own.”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 796)
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