The Adventures of Princess Pearl, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! - Chapter Eight
by Tonja Taylor

Chapter Eight — Dreaming to Help Others 

When Pearl and Robin got to the creek, the group headed for the barn, and sure enough, a baby cottontail rabbit zipped in front of them.

“Eeeeek!” said Pearl’s mother. She froze.

The horses stopped, their eyes wide but not frightened.

They were alert but at ease, so that the boys were in no danger of being hurtled over their heads.

Watchman barked and dashed after it. He lunged at the bush where the baby had darted for cover.

“Watchman!” said Burt. “Enough! Come!”

The dog whined but came to Burt obediently. Burt scratched his head.

“It’s just a baby rabbit,” said Risa, and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Oh, I’d like to have one,” said Pearl. “They are cute.”

“Yeah, maybe I can catch you one some time,” said Lucas.

“Good, Aurora. Good, Splash!” said Burt soothingly to the horses, as he turned around to pat them both. “See, ladies? Your kiddos are in good hands. My girls are well trained--even with snakes, which they loathe.”

“That makes all of us!” said Pearl. “You don’t see snakes here much, do you?”

“No, I keep the grass short so they can’t hide. Occasionally I’ve seen a water moccasin. Those things are nasty. Anyway, just beware.”

“I’m glad the creek is clear,” said Pearl’s mother.

“Yes, this lovely Arkansas mountain water is clear and cold,” he said. “It gets bearable to swim in about July or so for us humans, although Watchman likes to swim in it year round. In April, you’ll be able to see the bullfrog tadpoles. They are huge! Sometimes you may see a snake, but they are usually more scared of us than we are of them.”

Usually? Pearl thought.  Yuck! Queen Mother says we girls hating snakes goes back to the Garden, when the devil disguised himself as a snake and tricked Eve. Pearl shivered. Daddy God, I hope I never see another one! If I do, help me kill it! A P.O.W.E.R. Princess gets rid bad things! 

Pearl remembered her daddy blasting a few snakes away with his gun. Even dead, the things were revolting.

They all started walking aging and Pearl’s mother said, “Burt, why do people—especially men and boys— sometimes keep and breed snakes and tarantulas and scorpions and other yucky creatures? I don’t get it!” 

“I’m not sure,” he said, “except to make money to sell them. I kill all those things when I see ‘em, because they are pests--not pets, but pests that can harm people. I found a few guys through the years that had a lot of those critters around. Usually, such people had other strange things around too. Anyway," he said, and shook his head, "the main thing is that those creatures are all harmful, and they should be kept away from people.”

“Was your uncle a cop?” Robin whispered. 

“Yes,” said Pearl quietly. “He was a state trooper. And the best one, I’m sure! I’m glad he never got shot or anything! I remember we’ve prayed for him a lot.”

“Yeah, your prayers helped keep him safe!” Robin said.

“Hey! Can we swim, Mama?” asked Robert.

"Not now, Rob, it’s too cold. It’s the girls’ turn to ride,” Burt said. “You guys come with me to the barn and I’ll teach you more things you need to know.”

“Awww, can’t we go again?” said Lucas.

“Maybe another time,” said Risa.

At the barn, the boys got off and the girls mounted. Pearl was almost tall enough to get on Aurora by herself, but she had to have a little help. “I’ll grow!” she told Burt. “Wow, things look better from way up here!”

“That’s right!” he said, and laughed. “You’re getting an eagle’s eye view, almost.”

“Can Robin and I please ride by ourselves? Please?"

“No, Pearl,” said her mother. “We led the boys, and we’re going to lead you. You probably don’t know as much as you think about riding, Sweetie.”

“But I’ve been reading books, and Robin used to have a Shetland pony, and—“ 

“A mini paint pony,” said Robin. “There’s a difference.”

“Not this time,” said her mother firmly. 

Pearl bit her lip.

“No worries,” Robin whispered, and gave her a lopsided smile.

“Be thankful you get to ride,” Pearl’s mother said. 

Robin’s almost 14 and I’m almost 12. What’s the deal? Pearl thought, feeling grumbly inside. 

“Remember, you decide to have a good attitude.” said her mother. “It is a choice. Obedience is good. But obedience with the right attitude is excellent. So be excellent,” said her mother.

"Yes ma'am," said Pearl. All right, she thought, I can do this. A P.O.W.E.R. Princess is excellent. Jesus, please help me be excellent!

The guys and Watchman went to the barn. Pearl didn’t say anything while the women led the girls on the horses down to the creek. She pretended she was riding Aurora by herself, going on a very important mission to bring back lost treasure or something.

Hmmm, Pearl thought. How about a trail ride through the mountains to the Buffalo River, to find and recover stolen stuff and return it to its owners? Yeah! Robin and I can work with the sheriff. After all, horses can go places cars can’t, and they are faster than people walking.

Pearl nodded her head, getting excited as she thought. Or maybe a trail ride to raise money for a kid who needed help with hospital bills, like the little kid with cancer that we took toys and treats to a couple years ago at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital…… 

“Thank You, Daddy God, for good health!” said Pearl out loud.

“That’s a great attitude!” said her mother, looking back at her. “Does riding horses make you think about that? Maybe getting out in the sunshine and fresh air?” 

They got to the creek, and saw the light sparkling on the water as the breeze blew softly over it. No one spoke for a few minutes, but rested in the quiet. 

Queen mother seemed more peaceful now. Good, thought Pearl. 

“The light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun,” her mother said softly. “I think that’s in Ecclesiastes.”

“I was just thinking we could have a trail ride to raise money to help sick kids,” said Pearl.

“Excellente!” said Risa, turning Splash. “What a great idea! There are lots of people around here who have horses, and we could get the local ranches involved too, and the churches—“

“Yeah! And we could get businesses to donate food to sponsor the riders and to feed all of those after the trail ride—“ Robin said.

“Wow, this is getting big!” said Pearl. “I bet we’ll make lots of new friends, too! And help lots of kids!”

“Looks like we have an event, and my how quickly it blossomed!” said Pearl’s mother. “Great minds think alike.” 

“We know a little boy who could definitely use some help,” said Risa. "Andre is such a sweetie. And Pearl,” she said, as she looked over at her, “you truly are a jewel, with such a beautiful heart!”

“Oh thank you, Ms. Risa!” said Pearl. “I’m so glad you guys are our friends now! And I want Robin to come back soon, okay?”

“We certainly will,” said Risa. “We hope you will come to church tomorrow, too. Remember, we’re making plans for the Hallelujah Harvest and Hayride at the end of this month.”

“Queen Mother, we’re going, right?” 

“Yes, Pearl, as long as we can have a nap tomorrow afternoon,” her mother said, and laughed. She turned Aurora back toward the barn. “We just arrived yesterday and already we’re very busy!" She smiled, then said, "Living with Burt is like living in a hotel, so that makes it much easier, sort of,” she said. “I need to go through the all the stuff in storage, and I suppose we should do it this week while everything is out of order anyway.“

“And maybe we can have a yard sale and meet new people too!” Pearl said.

“Possibly," said her mother. "We shall see."

“Can we have it Friday?” 

“Pearl, let’s just be quiet and enjoy the evening, okay?” said her mother, sounding tired. 

“Yes ma’am,” Pearl said meekly. Wow, God, so many exciting things—thank You! And please give Queen Mother strength. I know You are her Husband now!

Tonja K. Taylor is the author of many works, including THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCESS PEARL, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! series. She and her husband Clayton minister the Word through teaching, preaching, and the arts, through River Rain Creative Arts (You Tube, God Tube), their church, and beyond.

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