The Legend of Archibal

The Next day, Walter wanted to tell Alden about the brownie but wondered if he would believe him since Alden had once told him that brownies could never be spoken to, but Alden had more interesting news to tell Walter. Usually after school was let out, Walter and Alden went looking for the biggest tree, clambered up it to search for the compass. They sat and talked until it was time to go home. None of them were ever eager to do that. Every day they went to their usual spot on the tree, the one that stood closer to the Black Forest where Alden’s compass was thrown. Alden hoped they could spot it while the sun shone and be able to retrieve it.

Once they were on the tree Alden told Walter the story he heard at the Swan Inn. “Last night when I went to fetch my father at the Swan Inn. I overheard a man talking about some wolf stalking his sheep!” Alden said excitedly. It was known around town that Alden had to always fetch his father at the tavern. Walter was never allowed in the tavern, but his Uncle knew Alden and his father very well. “He could not get a good look at it, but he said it was big. Bigger than any animal he has ever seen. Wolves are only seen within the Black Forest. Strange to see one wandering about.”

“Did it get any of his sheep?” Walter said curiously.

“No,” Alden said. “It kept prowling up and down the fence but it stayed away. The man never fired a shot. He has never seen a wolf like that. No one has ever seen a wolf that big.”

Walter wanted to hear the stories they told at the tavern but his mother and Aunt forbade him to set foot in there. He tried spying once or twice on the conversation the men had but his mother or Aunt would catch him. His Uncle did not mind much but his Aunt would reprimand his Uncle for letting Walter in the tap room, it was not a place for boys. The stories the men told were just too great and fantastical to avoid, making his imagination stir with excitement. His Uncle would tell him tales he heard from other travelers and legends the town folk talked about, shrouded with mystery and adventure.

“What happened next,” Walter said.