Malcolm stood at the edge of the schoolroom looking unhappily down the path, despair and dejection written on every spine of his small body. What could he do? How could he ever make her notice him?
Behind him, he heard the rustle of feathers, and a kindly voice hooted,
“Now, young hedgehog, what’s to do?”
Malcolm turned and looked unhappily up into the round feathery face of the headmaster of the school.
“Sir, Owl, Sir,” he said miserably. The owl looked down at him, and said paternally, “A word of advice. Faint heart never won fair lady. Persist. And, young hedgehog, try to understand her. Find out what she likes. I am always here to advise.”
The little hedgehog nodded, feebly at first, and then, cheered by the owl’s encouragement, with more confidence. There was something he could do. He would follow Doris. He would find her and ask her what she liked. Forgetting, in the haste of his decision, to say goodbye to the owl, he rushed down the path that Doris had taken. Some discarded daisies and spring roses told him he was on the right track; and a glance further ahead saw her slowly climbing up the slope out of the wooded valley, heading towards the row of houses at the top of the ridge, where humans lived. Determined, he pursued her. What was she doing, going outside the safe green wood?