Long before the sun came up Hadara was wide awake and afraid. Every sound startled her. She thought about what Zeev told her about wolves and bears how that they would eat her. Terrified of what might be lurking in the dark, her head darted from side to side staring into the darkness.
It seemed like an eternity before sun finally began to lighten the skies, she began to make out her surroundings and was relieved that no bears or wolves were around. She reached inside of her robe and pulled out her breakfast. She was sick of corn, but was thankful she had it to eat. She wrapped her blankets tightly around her,
After she ate every kernel of corn, she tossed the husk aside, and stood up, looked around and all she saw was trees and every tree looked just alike. She was too young to know her directions and she could not remember which way she came. Looking around she wondered which way she should walk. Terror struck her heart at the thought that she could walk back toward Zeev. She knew that Zeev would not hesitate to beat her. At that thought, she rubbed her bruised thigh.
Her little heart cried out, “What am I going to do?” She thought about her father, he would know what to do! If only her father could help her. She began to cry again, this time she wailed, holding nothing in she sobbed. Fell on her tender knees, crying out to her father. She wailed. She cried until their were no more tears.
Hadara stood, looked around and somehow felt better. A peace came over her, though filthy she felt clean, though hopeless she did not feel helpless, even though she did not know where she was, she did not feel lost. For some reason she was not afraid anymore. She looked up and the sky was an amazing blue. Then she heard a voice call her name,
“Hadara!” Startled she quickly turned about but their was no one. “Hadara!” She heard her name again. She looked all around, but no one. “Hadara” the third time someone called to her, this time the voice was strong and direct. She simply answered, “Yes?”
“Follow the Red Bird.” The voice instructed and suddenly out of nowhere a cardinal landed on a low lying branch about ten feet from where she stood. The Cardinal turned and looked at Hadara, as if making sure she saw him, then flew about ten feet away and landed. Hadara walked toward the ‘red bird’, the Cardinal flew another ten feet or so and Hadara followed the ‘red bird’. This routine continued for about an hour. The next time the Cardinal flew he landed by a brook. The brook was only about a foot wide, but the water ran clean. She knelt and drank her fill of water and washed her face and arms. She felt refreshed. After about twenty minutes she stood and was amazed that the ‘red bird’ did not fly away, but just watched her.
The routine of the cardinal flying ten feet and landing began again. After about ten minutes the ‘red bird’ landed in a thicket of wild plums. plums do not grow this early in the season; it was only the latter part of April. Hadara did not know that. She did not understand that she was in the midst of a miracle. That the unseen hand of God was leading her and providing for her.
She smiled as she bit into a plum, it was sweet and juicy. She ate until she could eat no more. She filled her pockets with the fruit. She thought about throwing away the last corn husk, so she could pick more plums but decided she better keep the corn for her supper.
The Cardinal patiently waited for Hadara, When Hadara made a step towards the ‘red bird’, He flew ten feet and landed again, this continued for several hours. It was about three in the afternoon when the ‘red bird’ landed on the ground, Hadara kept walking towards the Cardinal, but this time the bird did not fly away, it just kind of danced or hopped about. Every time Hadara would step towards the bird it would just flutter a little and land in the same spot. Hadara took one of the blankets, laid it on the ground and sat down. She took the other blanket and placed it behind her head using it for a pillow, leaning against a tree. She sat watching the ‘red bird’. The Cardinal just hopped around, ate bugs, but stayed within ten feet of Hadara.
It was not long until Hadara was sound asleep. This time she fell into a deep sleep. She had not slept this good since before her parents were killed. As a matter of fact this is the first time she had slept sound in days. She slept for about two hours, and when she awoke she felt rested. She yawned and stretched, looked about and the ‘red bird’ was still their. She folded her blankets, tucked them under her arm, and was ready to go. She did not have any idea where she was going, but she remembered the man’s voice, “Follow the red bird”. Thus the journey began again, and for several more hours she followed the bird.
The cardinal led her to a clearing in the forest, looking down Hadara could see a distinct trail. It was evident that many horses had passed upon it. The Cardinal flew a few feet to the East and landed, Hadara followed, another ten feet and the Cardinal landed again, then the Cardinal flew towards Hadara landing on her shoulder, pecked her lightly on the cheek and flew away.
Hadara watched the Cardinal disappear into the forest, her little heart pondered about the ‘red bird’ and the voice that instructed her to follow it. Where did the voice come from? She was all alone in the forest. She did not understand it, but she was amused and comforted by it.
She continued to follow the path the red bird had led her to, the path was flat and she walked without any struggle, as she walked she would eat a plum enjoying its sweetness.
The trail made slight turns to the left and was gradually going down hill, which made her walking even easier. The day was quickly passing, and she had walked most of the day and was tired. As the sun began to make its descent upon the horizon, she looked for a place to rest. About twenty feet from the trail she spotted a huge tree that had fallen over, the trunk of the tree was big enough for her to lie down upon. She examined the tree for bugs, took her blanket draped it over the trunk and would use Zeev’s blanket to cover up with. She sat down on the trunk, reached in her pocket and pulled out the last of the corn, then she ate her last plum. It seemed sweeter than the other plums, maybe because it was the last one? She was a little saddened by the fact that she would have no more plums. However, She would not miss the corn!
It was getting darker and fear of the night began to creep into her heart. She did not like the noises the forest made at night. She did not hear anything during the day, but at night the forest was full of sounds, owls, mice, frogs, and deer seemed to join together and fill the night with noises. Darkness engulfed the forest; she lay down on the stump, covered up and was soon fast asleep.
That night Hadara had a dream about a beautiful young lady about eighteen years old. The young lady was short in stature, just a little over five feet tall. She was wearing a beautiful free flowing silk gown, her hair was long black and shiny, it reached to the small of her back. On each side of her were two ladies in waiting, which escorted her down the long marble floored hallway, which led toward two huge solid mahogany doors, with beautiful brass door knobs. On each side of the doors stood two huge men that held spears to their sides. As the young women approached the doorway, the men first bowed, and then opened the doors for the ladies to walk through.
They entered a huge dining room, which had a very long table. In her dream Hadara counted forty chairs, twenty chairs on each side. The table was adorned with a beautiful pink lace table cloth. The table was full of all sorts of meats, vegetables, breads and fruit. Gold knifes and forks were placed on burgundy napkins. The place settings were pearl white with a gold rim. The goblets were polished gold. The beautiful young lady in the dream walked slowly around the table as if inspecting it. In the dream she saw the lady smile an approving smile. Her face lit up, and her beautiful blue eyes sparkled as she ran her delicate hand over the table cloth. In the dream the young lady reached over to one of the bowls of fruit and picked up a plum, and began to savor its sweetness.
Hadara was startled awake by the rustling of the leaves, to her surprise the sun was already up. That was the first night she had slept all night since her parents died. She quickly turned towards the noise and not fifty feet from her was a huge black bear! When Hadara saw the bear her heart leaped into her throat! She lost her balance on the log and fell off. The noise of her falling caught the attention of the bear and he began to make his way towards Hadara. Not knowing what to do she scooted up against the fallen log, terrified she began to scream! Fifteen yards from Hadara the bear stood up on its hind legs, threw his front paws in the air, tilted his head back and let out a terrifying roar! Zeev had told her about wolves and bears in the forest and that they would eat her!
The bear fell back down on its front paws and shook himself abruptly, his mouth was open wide revealing huge teeth, white foamy saliva was dripping from its mouth, it came closer and Hadara could hear its deep breathing. She buried her hands in her face, and kept screaming!
All of a sudden, a gust of wind blew from behind her and a bright light flashed, like a bolt of lightening! Even with her hands over her face and her eyes tightly shut, she saw the light. When she saw the light she dropped her hands to her side and at the same time the bear turned and ran as if something had scared it away!
Hadara did not move, she just sat their, her heart still pounding in her chest, and then another gust of wind came in from behind her and then she felt what seemed like a hand touched the top of her head, soft and gentle, the hand moved from the top of her head to her shoulder. She turned and looked but no one was their, but she still felt the hand on her shoulder. She did not move for another fifteen minutes. She just sat their looking around wondering if the bear might come back. Eventually she stood up, grabbed her blankets and started down the trail.
As she walked she thought about the voice that told her to, “Follow the red bird’ she smiled as she remembered the pretty red bird that had become her guide. Then just a few minutes ago the flash of light that scared the bear away and the hand she felt on her head and shoulder? She looked up into the sky and she thought…”God?”
After she had walked for some time she sat down to rest on a boulder. She looked down at her robe that was filthy. She had not changed clothes since she had to run away from home, and she had only washed them once in the creek by Zeev’s shack. She longed for a change of clothes. At home she had enough robes for every day of the week. Now to have worn the same robe for a week gave her a nasty feeling. She longed for a good bath and a change of raiment.
By now she was getting really thirsty and hungry, but their was nothing to eat. So she just kept walking. After about another three miles she heard a noise, she stood their listening, it was the sound of fast moving water! She walked hastily towards the sound, and the closer she got the louder the sound. their it was, a waterfall. It was not very tall only about six feet, but it was what was at the bottom of the water fall that made Hadara happy, a pool of water. She had no idea how deep it was, it didn’t matter she could swim anyway. She slipped off her sandals and sat down by the edge and slowly pushed herself off into the water. The water was cold, but felt good! The water came up to her chest, she splashed around, enjoying the feeling of getting clean. She dunked her head under the water and scrubbed her hair and face. She scrubbed her robe best she could. She was having a wonderful time of bathing. She never knew water could feel so good. She made her way over to the waterfall cupped her hands and drank. The water was clean and tasted wonderful.
Because of the waterfall she could not hear the sound of the horses hoofs. She did not know that anybody was watching her until she heard a mans voice yell out to her, “Girl!” She quickly turned toward the voice and their were two men on horses looking down on her. She did not say anything, she just stared up at them wondering what they were going to do.
“What is a child like you doing out in the middle of this forest all by yourself? Where are your parents?”
Hadara answered, her voice trembling, “My parents are dead sir, and I am all alone.”
“How did you get way out here?”
“I walked sir.”
“From where?” The man asked.
“I do not know from where, a man took me from a village, and took me to his shack, he called me Abda, saying I was his slave. He hurt me, so I ran away. I have been in the forest for three days.”
“Three days!” The man seemed surprised by her answer, “How did you survive three days in the forest without food?” And this is the only water this close to the trail for miles. “Have you eaten anything?”
He asked. “Yes sir last night I ate the last of the corn I took from the shack, and the last plum I had.”
“Plum, you say you ate a plum?”
“Little lady that is impossible because plums do not grow this time of year, it will be two more months before plums will be ready to eat.”
“I do not know sir? A red bird showed me where the creek was and the plums. I filled my pockets with plums”.
“Did you say a red bird showed you where a creek was, and then led you to the plums?”
“Yes sir Hadara answered.”
The men looked at each other and smiled, and then shook their heads in amazement. “Little lady you better get out of that water before you get sick.”
“Yes sir,” Hadara answered. She made her way to the edge of the pool, and climbed out.
The quiet man that hadn’t said a word climbed down off of his horse and walked over to the water fall filling two goat skin containers. As he was filling them he glanced at Hadara, and smiled a warm smile. Hadara wrung her robe out the best she could, slipped her sandals on and waited. When the containers were filled the younger man walked back to his horse and mounted. The older man simply said, “Come on little lady, you go with us.
” She timidly walked toward the man who leaned over toward her and stretched out his hand. Hadara took his hand and pulled her up on his horse.
“My goodness child you can’t weigh fifty pounds!”
“No sir.” Hadara replied, “I am small.”
What is your name again?” “Hadara.” she answered.
“That is a beautiful name! I bet your father named you that!”
“Yes sir, my father said it means, adorned with beauty.” “Your father named you well! Because you are adorned with beauty.
My name is Gabriel, and this is my son, Yanni. “Yanni, this is our new friend Hadara.”
“Hello Hadara, it is good to meet you.”
“How old are you Hadara?”
“I am eight years old sir.”
Gabriel was thankful that Hadara did not have eyes in the back of her head, because when she said she was eight and had been all alone in the forest. His eyes misted over. Yanni turned abruptly and looked away. He too had tears forming in his eyes. Hadara did not know that only a month ago, Gabriel’s only daughter who was also eight years old had passed away from a high fever.
Gabriel cleared his throat, quickly wiped a tear from his cheek, and started his horse down the trail. Yanni chose to stay behind about twenty feet. He could not contain the tears that were flowing down his face. Yanni softly whispered, “Thank you Jesus, thank you!”
Gabriel Rasul was an average size man about six feet tall with curly black hair, and a well trimmed beard and mustache. He had dark skin, and hazel eyes. He was one solid muscle. As a young man he had worked in a rock query cutting stones for building. He had known nothing but hard work from the time he was fourteen years old. His hands were rough, but he himself was gentle and kind until he was pushed into a corner or you messed with his family. Several men had discovered that Gabriel did not mind striking out, if striking out was what it took to bring a good understanding to the fact that, ‘you do not bother my family.’
Yanni was in his early twenties and handsome. Standing at six foot two inches tall and dark complected like his father, and had the same black curly hair, however his hair was a little longer, it reached just above his shoulders. He was more like his mother very docile, yet strong like his father.
From the time he was old enough to ride a horse he had always been with his father. It did not matter if his father was splitting logs, or hauling stones from the query, or working out in the vegetable garden, Yanni wanted to be by his father’s side.
Yanni admired the strength of his father. He had watched his father through the years pick up a huge hammer and chisel and carve out big square stones and load them into wagons. What would take two men to lift and load, his father did by himself. Yanni was proud to be the son of Gabriel Rasul.
As they rode down the trail Gabriel tried hard to retain the sniffles and the tears that forced there way out of the corners of his eyes.
Sefa was Gabriel’s pride and joy. She was beautiful and full of life! Curious in nature, everything amazed her. Flowers, bugs, birds, rocks interested her. She was such a loving and playful child.
Sefa looked just like her mother, long golden hair that was naturally wavy, big dark eyes, puffy rose colored cheeks. She was tall for her age standing at almost five feet tall. She got her height from her mother who stood right at six feet.
Gabriel wiped another tear from his cheek, cleared his throat again, and tried not to think about the events of last month.
Sefa got sick all of a sudden, seemed like one day she was laughing her beautiful laugh, acting silly at the table and the next day she was lying around listless. By the third day she did not get up from her matt. Her mother went to check on her and she was burning up with fever. Her mother tried to bring the fever down by washing her off with cool damp rags, but nothing would hold the fever down. It was the fifth night that Sefa stopped breathing.
It had been just one short month since Gabriel and Yanni dug a grave for there little angel. The thoughts of Sefa were torture to Gabriel, he wanted his baby back, but knew she would not be back. The sound of her laughter would never be heard again, her smell, her hugs, her tender kisses on his cheek were gone. No matter how hard he tried to hold the tears they came anyway.
Gabriel looked down at the small figure riding on his horse. Hadara was the same age as Sefa, but much smaller. Hadara’s robe was still wet from the pool, and she was shaking. Gabriel took his strong arm and wrapped it around Hadara, and pulled her closer to him. Leaned forward, whispered in her ear, “Every thing is going to be alright now baby girl, Gabriel is going to take care of you now.” With that he gently kissed her on the top of her head and leaned back, wiping the tears from his eyes.
Yanni took his time catching up with his father. His heart ached, not just for himself but for his parents. He had never heard such lamenting, all through the night, into the next day he heard his parents wail. It was difficult on all of them to dig the grave, prepare Sefa for burial, and lay her to rest.
Yanni wandered, what are the chances of finding a child in the middle of the forest? “God, you are so good.” Yannie said aloud.
“What did you say son?” Gabriel turned to look at his handsome son that had grown into a fine young man that any father would be proud of.
“I was telling the Lord how wonderful He is” Yanni replied. “I know we have a lot of healing to do father and it is going to take some time, but what are the chances of finding a little girl out here in the middle of the forest? She could not have survived out here by herself. God led us to this child!”
They both looked at Hadara who had leaned back against Gabriel and was sound asleep. She was way too thin, and her robe was tattered, the hem line had unraveled and it was dingy yellow. Her hair was matted and tangled.
Gabriel scooted back on his horse so that Hadara could recline a little, his strong arm holding her steady. Yanni grinned at his father, knowing that the best thing that could happen to that little girl just did. Gabriel would watch over this child like a mama bear watches over its cub. Hadara did not know it, but she had just been adopted by the most loving man that had ever been born. Gabriel steadied his horses gait, leaned over and kissed the top of Hadara’s head again, looked over at Yanni and for the first time since Sefa’s death smiled.
They rode for another two hours at a slow pace and Gabriel reined up. “Let’s rest the horses for a while.”
Yannie dismounted and walked over to his father’s horse. Gabriel loosened his grip on Hadara who woke up when the horse stopped. Yanni reached up for Hadara who leaned into his arms. “You are a tiny thing aren’t you?” Hadara just looked up at Yanni and shook her head. She was still nervous not knowing who these men were or where they were going. “Mother will take care of that.” Yanni said with a grin.
Gabriel dismounted, stretched his stiff body, walked over to his new companion, patted her lightly on the head and said: “I bet you’re half starved!” With that he reached into a leather bag and pulled out some venison jerky, and flat bread. “Let’s find us a place to rest”. He walked over to a fallen tree He sat down, then motioned for Hadara to sit next to him. Yanni brought the water and after taking a good drink, handed the water to Hadara. Gabriel took a piece of flat bread and tore it in three pieces giving the biggest piece to Hadara. He then took the venison and pulled it apart, again, giving Hadara the biggest piece.
Hadara bit into the flat bread, and her eyes widened, it tasted wonderful! Gabriel and Yanni watched this hungry little girl eat and grinned at each other as they watched her countenance change. She bit off a piece of venison, looked up at her new friends and actually smiled. “You like that venison Hadara?” Gabriel asked.
“Yes sir!” Hadara replied. “I have not eaten any meat since my mama and papa got killed.”
“Well there is plenty more meat where that came from, so you just eat as much as you want!” She did, she ate until she thought she would pop.
“That was good!” She said, again with a grin. “Thank you!”
After thirty minutes or so Gabriel stood up, and announced that it was time to ride again. After securing the leather bag to his horse, Gabriel mounted, Yanni helped Hadara get on the horse. He handed the water bag to Hadara and said: “Better get you another drink of water, you might get thirsty before we stop again.” She drank another good drink, and handed the water to Gabriel who got a good drink, as he was handing the bag back to Yanni he leaned over and belched a loud belch that comes from a full stomach! It was just one of those unintentional belches that comes out of nowhere. “O’ excuse me!” Gabriel exclaimed! Yanni and Hadara began to laugh at Gabriel’s reaction. He then joined in the laughter. Yannie reached up, put his hand on his father’s knee still laughing. He knew that his father would be alright. That was the first time in a month that Hadara had laughed. Gabriel had thought he would never laugh again.
Yanni mounted his horse, and they started down the trail. Hadara still did not know where they were going, but now she did not care. She felt safe. These men were nothing like Zeev. With the thought of Zeev she leaned back against Gabriel and closed her eyes again.
Yanni rode up beside his father. Gabriel looked over at his son staring deep into his eyes. That look told Yanni that his father had something to say. Gabriel often gave his son, ‘life lessons’ about manhood; responsibility and godly living.
Gabriel’s hands were rough, and his muscles were hard, but his heart was tender and his compassion was immeasurable. Gabriel was a man of integrity, and he was doing his best to instill those same qualities into his son.
“Yanni”, Gabriel began. “Human strength is not what really makes a man strong. A man’s integrity is his strength. His ability to live his convictions and not compromise when it would be easy to give in to temptation. That is what makes a man strong.”
Yanni responded with the nodding of his head and a, “Yes sir.” Letting his father know that he was paying attention. Gabriel continued:
“When a man works hard every day providing for his family. Sitting down at the table every evening, holding his families hands, bowing their heads together and giving thanks to God for his blessings. When a man can look his wife in her eyes and tell her how much he loves, and appreciates her. Knowing that at the end of that day you have done right by God and man. That you have been true to your family. That Yanni is a man’s strength. Character is your strength son.” Gabriel ended his speech with a smile and a playful jab to Yanni’s arm.
Yanni smiled back at his father, as he rubbed his arm, knowing that what he just heard was not just a speech, but something that his father practiced every day of his life. Yanni loved and admired his father greatly. To be the son of Gabriel Rasul was indeed an honor and something that Yanni did not take for granted,
Hadara had discovered that she could lean over, cross her arms and lay her head on the horse’s mane. Occasionally she would reach down, pet the horse’s neck, and whisper in her ear, “You’re a good girl.”
“So you like Kamar?” Gabriel asked.
“Yes sir! My father had a horse like her”
“I am so sorry about your parents. I know you must miss them something terrible.”
Hadara sat up, as tears began to roll down her cheeks. “I miss my mama and papa.” Gabriel tightened his grip around her, and began to comfort her with words.
“You know you will see your Mama and Papa in heaven some day. Look up in the sky baby girl.” Hadara turned her face upward. “Did you know that way up there beyond those clouds is a place called heaven. Your Mother and father are already there and one day you will go to heaven to be with them! Just like one day I will go to heaven to be with my Sefa.”
“Who is Sefa?” Hadara asked, trying to turn her head to see Gabriel’s face. Gabriel straightened himself and cleared his throat. He let out a long sigh and began to explain about Sefa’s death and how she was in Heaven.
Hadara began to weep and Gabriel could not hold his tears. His shoulders began to shake, as a flood-gate of emotions began to burst forth. Yanni grabbed the reins of his father’s horse and brought the horses to a stop. He leaned over to his father and they all three fell into each others arms and wept. They released there teirs unashamedly, holding each other tight.
After they had their cry, Gabriel took a deep breath and looked deep into the eyes of Hadara and said, “Look what the Lord has done for us! He led my son and I to you, and you will become like our Sefa“.
Little Hadara looked up at Gabriel and nodded her head up and down slightly. Yanni reached over and softly patted her on the back. They started back up the trail, no one spoke for a long while, then Yanni broke the silence.
“Wait till we get home!” You’re going to love it! Yanni began to explain. “You will have a room all to yourself. You will have your own bed and you can take a bath as often as you want!” Hadara looked up and grinned. Yanni went on telling Hadara about what the house was like. He explained that his father had built a big house out of stone, They had chickens, cows, a couple of oxen, some sheep and goats. When Yanni mentioned goats, Hadara reached up and felt her cheek, wondering if there is still a bruise. Yanni continued, “We have a vegetable garden in the spring. Lots of room to run and play and a big tree to climb with a rope to swing on! By this time Hadara had taken a great interest in what Yanni was saying. She was setting up, listening earnestly. “We have eight horses and two donkeys!”
“I love horses” Hadara exclaimed!” Papa and I used to ride horses together after all the chores were finished.”
Gabriel chimed in, “Well, we have a horse that is just perfect for you! We call her ‘Sagirah’ which means ‘Little one’. She is a beautiful horse that will love you just as much as she loved,”…he paused but never finished the sentence.
“Wait until you meet mother!” Yanni declared. “Won’t she be surprised with what we are bringing home! We go to sell a couple of cows and bring home a beautiful little girl!”
“I hope she likes me.” Hadara said sheepishly.
“Like you? She will love you! Mama is the sweetest lady this side of the Euphrates!” Yanni said with much enthusiasm.
“Oh, yes my angel Melika!” Gabriel chimed in. “She will love you Hadara! Melika loves everybody and just about everything, except snakes and rats!”
“I don’t like snakes either, or rats, or spiders!” Hadara exclaimed!
“What about frogs?” Yanni asked with a grin. “No I do not like frogs either, they are cold and nasty!” Hadara said with a little shiver.
Both Gabriel and Yanni chuckled at their new found friend. They rode for several more miles when Gabriel broke the silence.
“It is getting late.” Gabriel announced. “We need to decide if we are going to push ourselves home or if we want to find a place to camp?” Yanni did not reply. He simply looked over at Hadara and back at his father. Gabriel looked down at his riding companion and could tell she was exhausted. It was early when they found Hadara that morning and now the sun was dipping deep into the west.
“I say we stop for the night and give Hadara a chance to stretch out. I could use a little stretching myself.” Yanni said as he gave out a huge yawn. “It has been a long eventful day for sure.”
“Okay, let’s look for a place to camp before it gets dark.” Gabriel instructed. They rode off the trail and began looking for a secure place to spend the night. It was not long until they came to a clearing that had several huge stones that they could use as a wind break. Yanni dismounted and helped Hadara off Gabriel’s horse. Gabriel dismounted with a groan and stretched. “Oh man I am glad to be off that horse! No offence. Kamar,“ rubbing his horses neck. “You have been a great friend Kamar!”
Without hesitation Hadara stretched up and began rubbing the hind quarter of Kamar. “You are a great horse Kamar and you are strong and beautiful!”
Kamar was a huge muscular black horse with an almost perfect circle on his forehead. Gabriel had raised him from a colt and other than Hadara no one else but Gabriel had ever set upon his back. Kamar followed Gabriel like a dog follows its master. When Gabriel and Yanni had to camp at night they never had to worry about anything sneaking up on them because Kamar would alert Gabriel of any intruders.
Yanni was busy gathering wood for a fire, and Gabriel was collecting rocks making a circle to build the fire. Hadara was busy petting the horses.
Yanni retrieved the water and the sack that contained the venison and flat bread. Setting it close to where the fire would be built, He went back to the horses and untied the blankets. Hadara watched as Yanni began to kick leaves up into a long pile, reaching down to discard any sticks. He unfolded a blanket and laid it upon the leaves. It suddenly dawned on Hadara that she had forgotten her blankets at the water fall, tears welled up in her eyes and began to slowly flow down her cheeks. Gabriel glanced up as he was putting more wood in the pile and noticed her tears.
“What’s the matter, little one?” He asked as he walked toward her.
“I left my blankets at the water fall!” She said with a sniffle, her little voice shaking. Her blankets, other than the tattered robe she wore were the only thing that Hadara owned.
Gabriel knelt down on one knee, put his strong arms around Hadara and hugged her gently. Reaching up he brushed her tangled hair from her face. “Hadara, look at Gabriel.” Hadara lifted her face. Her tears had washed a little dirt off and you could see two lines on her face. Gabriel again reached up and gently wiped a remaining tear off of her cheek. “You do not need those old blankets. You do not need anything. Gabriel and Yanni and Melika are going to take care of you now. You will never go hungry again. You will never want for clothes, or food, or a warm place to sleep.”
Hadara looked into the face of this man who was so different from Zeev. She nodded her head and fell into his arms. This time it was her that hugged, and she squeezed as hard as she could. She released her grip a little and kissed him on the cheek. When Gabriel felt the kiss of this precious little girl, his heart was flooded with memories of Sefa. He pulled Hadara in and held her in his strong arms. At that moment, their hearts melted together as one. Hadara had just adopted a new father and Gabriel had adopted the closest thing to Sefa that he would ever have on this earth.
Yanni had been watching and knew that something special was taking place. Yanni being so much like his father welled up with tears. What a miracle had taken place in his family. In a little over a month since Sefa’s passing God had led them to Hadara. God never ceased to amaze Him. Yanni could not hold back any longer. He threw both hands up in the air and began to worship the Lord God Almighty! Gabriel picked up Hadara and walked over to where Yanni was standing put, his arm around his son’s shoulder and began to rejoice with him. This was a new experience for Hadara. She had never witnessed an open display of worship, but her young heart felt something she had never felt before and she liked it. After about ten minutes of worshipping, Yanni reached over and took Hadara from his father’s arms, lifted her up high above his head, smiled at her with a huge smile and proclaimed, “You Hadara are my miracle sister!”
Hadara broke out in a great big smile, as Yanni began to dance around the forest with her still in his arms. Gabriel wiped a tear and smiled, joy had returned. Gabriel knew he still had a lot of healing to do as the death of his daughter was still fresh. However, he could never deny the miracle of what had taken place.
It was getting dark, so Gabriel started the fire. In just a few moments the fire was crackling. Gabriel announced to his playful children, “Lets eat!” Yanni and Hadara sat down, Gabriel divided the portions and they ate, smiling and laughing. It was a joyous moment in the lives of these three who had suffered the sting of death.
After they had eaten Gabriel and Yanni took the blankets and lay them over the piles of leaves that Yanni had prepared earlier. Gabriel announced to Hadara that she was to sleep in the middle. She ran to the middle pile and playfully threw herself on top of her blanket. Gabriel and Yanni got a kick out of her sudden burst of energy. They laid down and within two minutes they could hear Hadara lightly snoring. The light from the fire lit up her little face. Yanni whispered, “Look at her father. It is like looking into the face of a little angel.”
“She is so tiny and frail. Poor little dirty faced angel!” Gabriel said smiling.
They both laid back and as their custom was softly gave thanks to God for His blessings until they drifted to sleep. Tonight both gave thanks for a miracle.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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I so love this story. I do pray that it gets into print. An elderly lady I know loves to read Christian novels and she also would love this. Your writing is such a blessing and encouragement of the God that we serve. Thanks so much. Rick K.