Annushka took her basket and stepped into the crisp pre-dawn air. She walked through the garden, cultivated to blend with the forest. She gathered some leaves and bark for tea. Carrot and turnip to go with lunch today, she decided. Reaching, she slipped on moss-covered stones and tangled her hair in a spider’s web. Quickly regaining her balance, she brushed away the filmy threads. A startled brown rabbit jumped across her path as birds continued fighting and flitting from tree to tree.
Suddenly, she froze. What was that noise? A metallic creaking. Had she been seen? A feeling of dread crept up her neck as Babushka’s admonition echoed, “The world is a dangerous place — especially for you. Do not forget and take care to remain invisible.”
She crouched amid the dense growth and held still as an owl. A deep voice startled her and she almost jumped. Her racing heartbeat slowed at his gentle tone. She spotted him through the branches and watched as he walked away. He didn’t turn back and she started to relax.
Several minutes passed. She cautiously approached the rock and looked at the package. Slowly, she unwrapped it. What a delicacy! Hurriedly re-wrapping and placing it in her basket, she rushed back home.
Once inside, she began preparing tea. Only then did she stop to wonder at this most unusual event. Her unease was soon forgotten as the tea brewed and the sweet aroma of the waffle and milk filled her kitchen.