A kind boy learns about a baby dragon who needs help. He goes on an adventure to save the dragon from Wild Island!
Chapter 3 – I Find the Island
I hid in the hold for six days and nights. Twice, I was nearly caught when the ship stopped to pick up more cargo. But at last, I heard a sailor say that the next port would be Cranberry and that they’d be unloading the wheat there. I knew that the sailors would send me home if they caught me, so I looked in my backpack and took out a rubber band and the empty grain bag with the label saying “Cranberry.” At the last moment, I got inside the grain bag with my backpack. I folded the opening of the bag inside and put the rubber band around the top to close it. I didn’t look exactly like the other bags, but it was the best I could do.
Soon the sailors came to unload. They lowered a big net into the hold and began moving the bags of wheat.
Suddenly, one sailor yelled, “What in the world! This is the weirdest bag of wheat I’ve ever seen! It’s all lumpy, but the label says it’s supposed to go to Cranberry.”
The other sailors looked at the bag too, and I, who was in the bag, tried even harder to look like a bag of wheat.
Then, another sailor felt the bag and he just happened to grab my elbow. “I know what this is,” he said. “This is a bag of dried corn,” and he dumped me into the big net along with the bags of wheat.
This all happened in the late afternoon. It was so late that the merchant in Cranberry, who had ordered the wheat, didn’t count his bags until the next morning. (He was a very punctual man, and never late for dinner.) The sailors told the captain, and the captain wrote down a receipt. The receipt said that they had delivered one hundred and sixty bags of wheat and one bag of dried corn. They left the receipt for the merchant and sailed away that evening.
I later heard that the merchant spent the whole next day counting and recounting the bags and feeling each one to try to find the bag of dried corn. He never found it because as soon as it was dark, I climbed out of the bag, folded it up, and put it in my backpack. I walked along the shore to a nice sandy place and I lied down to sleep.
I was very hungry the next morning when I woke up. Just as I was checking to see if I had anything left to eat, something hit me on the head. It was a tangerine. I had been sleeping right under a tree full of big, fat tangerines. Then, I remembered that this was the Island of Tangerina. Tangerine trees grew wild everywhere. I picked as many as I could fit into my backpack, which was thirty-one. Then I set off to find Wild Island.
I walked and walked and walked along the shore, looking for the rocks that joined the two islands. I walked all day. Once, when I met a fisherman and I asked him about Wild Island, the fisherman began to shake and he couldn’t talk for a long time. It scared him that much, just thinking about it. Finally, he said, “Many people have tried to explore Wild Island, but not one person has come back alive. We think they were eaten by the wild animals.” This didn’t bother me. I just kept walking and slept on the beach again that night.
It was beautifully clear the next day, and way down in the distance, I could see a long line of rocks leading out into the ocean. And way, way out at the end, I could just barely see a tiny patch of green. I quickly ate seven tangerines and started walking down the beach.
It was almost dark when I got to the rocks, but out there, way out in the ocean, there was a patch of green. I sat down and rested a while, remembering that the cat had said, “If you can, go out to the island at night, because then the wild animals won’t see you coming along the rocks and you can hide when you get there.” So I picked seven more tangerines, put on my black rubber boots, and waited for dark.
It was a very black night and I could hardly see the rocks in front of me. Sometimes they were quite high and sometimes the waves almost covered them. They were also slippery and hard to walk on. Sometimes, the rocks were so far apart that I had to get a running start and leap from one to the next.
After a while, I began to hear a rumbling noise. It grew louder and louder as I got closer to the island. At last, it seemed as if I was right on top of the noise. And when I looked down, I realized, I was! I had jumped from a rock onto the back of a small whale who was fast asleep and cuddled up between two rocks. The whale was snoring and making more noise than a steam train. It didn’t even hear me when I said, “Oh, I didn’t realize someone was there!” And it never knew that I had jumped on its back by mistake.
For seven hours, I climbed and slipped and leapt from rock to rock, but while it was still dark, I finally reached the very last rock and stepped onto Wild Island.
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