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Adventures in Akadia

Chapter 21

The Fyx, the Fernhorn, and the Fribble


     The kids marched cheerfully along the trail beside Aurelia, their voices busy with chatter about anything and everything. The challenges were close enough now to always be in the back of their mind, but still far enough that it wasn’t the only thing they talked about.

     As the sun rose on the next day, they resumed their adventure and made good progress on their journey. In the early morning light, the trees parted to reveal a short stretch of shore beside a river. While the river was wide and too deep to walk across safely, the water flowed calmly.

     As their eyes scanned the riverbank, Lukas spotted a small rowboat nestled along the edge.

     "Look, over there!" he exclaimed, pointing excitedly.

     The others turned to see, quickly spotting the boat.

     "Let's go!" Jamari exclaimed, already breaking into a jog ahead of the group.

     Getting closer, they realized it wasn't just a boat resting on the shore.

     Approaching cautiously, they could see a Quotidian standing next to the boat, alongside two peculiar creatures. One looked somewhat menacing, resembling a blend of wolf and badger. The other creature was small and innocent-looking. It looked like a mix between a goat and a bunny. Drawing even closer, the kids noticed the Quotidian was holding a large purple vegetable in his hand.

     It quickly became apparent that the Quotidian was struggling to keep it all together. He was holding the large purple vegetable in one hand high above his head. The smaller creature appeared determined to reach the vegetable, all the while being pursued by the larger creature. The Quotidian was spinning around, simultaneously using one hand to keep the vegetable out of reach while using the other hand to keep the animals in line. 

     “Hiya, Quix!” Aurelia called out to the Quotidian, “It looks like you have your hands full.” 

     The kids were only somewhat surprised to find out that Aurelia already knew this Quotidian.

     The Quotidian hadn’t noticed them approaching until he heard Aurelia’s voice. A look of relief came over his face as he said, “Oh, Relly! Thanky goodness you here!”. 

     Aurelia led the kids closer to the Quotidian and made an introduction, “Kids, this is Quix,” she paused for a moment to further survey the scene, “and from what I can see he is trying to keep the fyx (the larger creature) from catching the fernhorn (the smaller creature) while also trying to keep the fernhorn from eating his fribble (the large purple vegtable).”

     Quix nodded as the kids let out a little giggle at how funny Aurelia’s sentence had sounded.

     Aurelia then asked, “Well Quix, is there anything we can do to help?” 

     Quix nodded, “Yes. I need idea. I need to get all of these over the river. But only room in boat for me and one thing. If I take da’ fribble, da’ fyx will get da’ ferny. If I take da’ fyx, da’ ferny will get my fribble.”

     The kids giggled again at what they were hearing and what they were seeing.

     “I see,” replied Aurelia as she giggled along with the kids, “so you need our help figuring out how to get everything across?” 

     Quix nodded again, looking grateful.

     Aurelia followed up, “Do you think if we help you get everything across the river you could help us cross as well?”

     “Okeekay!” Quix replied happily.

     Aurelia turned to the kids, “Well, what do you think? How can Quix get everything across? He only has enough room to take one thing at a time.”


(Parents: If you want, you can let your child attempt to figure out the problem and see if they come to the same solution the kids do. Like they will in the story, you may want to find some way to draw this out or have a physical representation as a way to help them figure out the solution.)


     The kids wasted no time and began brainstorming ideas. It wasn't long before they settled on the first step.

     Lukas suggested,"Quix can take the fernhorn across the river first. The fyx will leave the fribble alone on this side of the river.” 

     Aurelia nodded in agreement. "That sounds like a good start. What should he do next?"

     Jamari jumped in with a suggestion, "Quix could come back and take the fribble to the other side. That way the fyx won’t get the fernhorn!"

     Aurelia pondered for a moment, gently swaying her head, "Hmm, that is true but then he would have to leave the fribble alone with the fernhorn."

     In that moment, the kids realized finding a solution might be tricker than expected..

     Gabriela suddenly broke off from the group, scampering to collect rocks from the river bank.

     "What are you doing?" Elizabeth asked.

     Picking up one final rock, Gabriela replied, "This is too jumbled in my head. I need to see it."

     Confused but intrigued, the others huddled around as Gabriela arranged the rocks on the sand.

     Pointing to the first stone, she began, "Let's pretend this rock is the fyx. We can't let the fyx be alone with the fernhorn."

     She held up the next rock and said, "This is the fernhorn. We can’t leave it with the fribble.”

Finally, she lifted the final stone representing the purple vegetable, "And this one is the fribble. It's safe with the fyx but not with the fernhorn." 

     Gabriel set the rocks down in a row and drew two lines in the sand to depict the river.

     The others were nodding, now understanding that Gabriela had given them a way to figure out the riddle. Quix was trying his best to see what they were doing, but had to focus on maintaining order between the fyx, the fernhorn, and the fribble.

     Lukas spoke up, “So we know the fernhorn needs to move first.”

     Gabriela nodded as she moved one of the stones to the other side of the lines she had traced in the sand.

     "And this is where we get stuck," Elizabeth observed.

     "Yep," Lukas agreed, looking at the rocks.

     Jamari tried moving the rocks around, and after a moment proclaimed, “No matter what we do, it doesn’t work!”

     Aurelia watched the kids struggle for a few more moments before suggesting, "Have you thought about bringing things back across the river?"

     Lukas stayed focused on the rocks when he heard this question while the others glanced at Aurelia, a bit puzzled.

     "What do you mean?" Jamari wondered. "Why would we bring things back when we're trying to get them over there?"

     Jamari was just finishing his question when Lukas had a realization.

     "I've got it!" he exclaimed, rearranging the rocks excitedly. "First, Quix takes the fernhorn over. Then he comes back for the fribble."

     "But we tried that already, Lukas. The fernhorn will eat it!" Elizabeth pointed out.

     "Right," Lukas agreed, "but instead of leaving the fernhorn, Quix will bring it back to this side of the river.”

     The children observed closely as Lukas moved the rock representing the fernhorn back to its starting point.

     "Then he takes the fyx over to join the fribble," Lukas continued, picking up the rock representing the fyx.

     Suddenly, the solution clicked for the rest of the kids.

     "And then he can come back for the fernhorn!" Gabriela exclaimed.

     Lukas nodded, sliding the final rock across the river.

     They all glanced up at Aurelia, waiting to see what she thought.

     "I think you've got it!" she declared with a smile. "Why don't you tell Quix your plan?"

     The kids hurried over to Quix, eager to share their idea for getting everything across the river.

     "Oooh, that might work!" Quix responded excitedly.

     Quix loaded the fernhorn onto the boat and paddled across the river. He then returned for the fribble and took it to the other side. He returned again with the fernhorn on board and had it swap places with the fyx. Dropping off the fyx, he was able to finally come back to once again take the fernhorn to the other side.

     The kids erupted into cheers as they reached the opposite bank.

     "Now come bring us across!" Jamari exclaimed eagerly.

     But as the others gazed across the river, their joy turned to shock.

     "Uh oh, he can't," Gabriela gasped.

     Jamari gave a bewildered look to Gabriela and then to Quix, who now shared the same stunned expression.

     "What's wrong?" Jamari asked.

     Gabriela explained, "If Quix comes back, he would have to leave everything alone on that side of the river.”

     Jamari's face now mirrored the concern of the others as he understood the dilemma.

     Lukas, having thought up a solution, suggested, "Maybe Quix could bring the fernhorn back and then take us back one by one?"

     Aurelia chuckled softly, "We could try that. But I have an idea that might get us there faster." She put her fingers to her lips and let out a piercing whistle, just as she had the first day they met her.

     The children eagerly looked into the forest, hoping to hear Barky's familiar gallop. But there was only silence. Minutes passed, and their hope began to fade.

     Elizabeth, her voice filled with concern, asked, "Do you think Barky is lost?"

     When they looked back at Aurelia, they noticed she was facing a different direction. While they had been focused on the forest, she had been looking up the river.

     As Aurelia continued to gaze up the river, she reassured them, "I'm sure he’ll be along."

     Sure enough, they soon heard the sound of loud splashes in the distance. A large, furry animal appeared around the bend, paddling wildly downstream.

     "Barky!" they all exclaimed.

     Upon hearing their voices, Barky paddled even faster and soon reached the shore where they stood. Without warning, Barky shook himself vigorously, showering them all with water. Caught off guard, the kids squealed as they got totally drenched.

     Undeterred by the soaking, they ran up to Barky, eager to give him a hug. Barky was thrilled to see them and showered them further with slobbery licks. 

     Aurelia approached Barky and gave him a gentle pat on the head and scratch behind his ear. "Barky, could you help us cross the river?"

     Barky wagged his tail happily and immediately crouched down, inviting the kids to climb aboard. On Barky’s back, they could all ride together at the same time.

     Jamari grinned and said, "This is quicker. But I think we would've been more dry in the boat!"

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