by Bailey Houghton
Flights of Fancy note: My great-grandfather and great-grandmother immigrated to the United States from Wales years ago, bringing the culture with them. Until recently, through finding a book of hymns, I did not know the extent to which I am tied to the small and beautiful land. This story – and hopefully more to come – is inspired by my longing to go there as well.
The day was fine. The sun had come out, and the grass on the mountains was green. Ann whistled sharply, and her dog, a strong and swift border collie, herded the sheep expertly. A quick whistle would tell the dog to go around the sheep from the right, and two would tell the dog to come around the left. One longer whistle told the collie that it had done enough and it could stop now. Ann smiled. They had done well, and she knew that someday they could win the national herding trials. Suddenly, she heard her name. It was faint at first, but grew louder in time.
Ann jerked awake with a start. Her teacher was looking at her expectantly, and she could hear giggles throughout the classroom.
“Ann, please, I am not going to ask you again. Could you tell me what the answer is to the problem on the board?”
Oops. Ann blushed, quickly answering the question and trying to ignore the snickering classmates. She knew she should not have let herself start daydreaming again. Ann could not explain why she always thought of that place. It was odd – ever since she had found the journal she felt as if the mountains were calling her, trying to pull her in.
It was almost a year ago that her father had gotten a promotion. Her father was a professor and had been assigned a job in Cardiff University. They had relatives in Wales, and so Ann’s parents had been able to find a house in a stretch of hills north of the city. They had been packing for the trip when Ann found the journal. It was her great-grandfather’s, written when he was a child living in the Welsh countryside. She called him her Taid, Welsh for “grandfather,” and though he had died when she was a baby, she felt close to him at heart.
The bell rung and all of the students streamed out of the classroom, eager to go home. Ann wondered, as she waited for her mom, what would come of these new changes. Ever since she had picked up that journal, she had felt a strange anticipation of things to come. There would be adventure, no doubt, and it would be like nothing she had known before.