Perhaps someone he knew would spot him walking and offer him a lift. In an unusually gritty voice, he started to sing one of his favourite hymns as he trudged back up the hill.
“Who would true valour see
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather.”
The mist was closing in now and it swirled around in the wind.
Sometimes he could see a fair distance, before it rolled in towards him
Ahead of him, he heard a voice. He was certain that he heard a voice.
He stopped singing, but the voice of a young woman carried on.
“There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.”
Alan caught sight of her, now. His fellow chorister was wearing a red
head scarf a blue raincoat and gum boots and she was walking down the hill towards him. She waved to him, a joyful, friendly wave and turned abruptly into the hedge and disappeared from sight.
He could still hear her singing and he hurried up the hill, joining in.
“Who so beset him round
With dismal stories,”
Where was she? There was a small gap in the hedge and the singing
came from the other side.
“Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is.”
Alan walked through the thick hedge and came out onto a wide expanse
of grass leading into the mist from which he could still hear the singing,
exultant and floating further away, as the singer hurried on.
He raised his voice to carry with hers. He didn’t care what he sounded
like, he just wanted to join in,
“No lion can him fright;
He’ll with a giant fight.”
The words of the hymn rose through the mist, bravely,
“But he will have the right
To be a pilgrim. ”
Where The Fox Goes © J.R.Birch 2004