Dangerous Lessons
Part 2: The Accident
By Elizabeth Allred

Scene 1

The days passed swiftly on since Mr. Arlatta visited Plumfield, a school for boys, and taught Nat violin techniques for the Boston competition, which didn't go too well. The month of April came when Mrs. Jo would take Nat, a devoted student, to play his heart's content in Boston, even in the busy streets, which he once lived on. Nat's love for the violin can be seen in his open expressions while he plays joyfully. Mrs. Jo knew Nat cherished every moment he played, in bad or good times, since he was playing on his father's violin. The sixteenth of April would be the day of the competition and they would have to leave swiftly to travel days on a dirt road to Boston and enjoy their time together. On the eighth of the warm, sunny month they would leave to spend days on the muddy road traveling to Boston in search of a bright, new future for Nat, playing the violin. The night before Jo tucked in her son and he unexpectedly asked her a question. "Mommy," questioned Rob. "Why can't I go with you and cheer Nat on. Why?" Mrs. Jo's reply was: "Because you'll have a fun time here with the others. I won't be gone long, only a week. And anyway some of the others might want to come also." "Ok! Mommy, but may you please tell us how it went," said Rob, admiringly at his mother. "It's a deal, once we get back," replied his sweet, loving mother.

Scene 2

The gloomy day finally arrived and Mrs. Jo and Nat were up early getting the rest of their heavy luggage ready in the wagon. Everyone was clattering about in the parlor and bedrooms saying their farewells when Nan unexpectedly kissed Nat. Mrs. Jo was startled and joyful at the same time, when Nat asked: "Nan, why'd you do that anyway," Nat replied, with a smile broadening across his face. "I don't know, I guess I don't what anythin' to happen to yaw while you're gone and I'm not there," Nan replied, blushing. "Well, thank you but nothin' should happen to me," Nat said, startled by the reply. "Well, it's time to leave, Nat," Mrs. Jo said reverently, motioning byes to the other children while they entered the wagon, when Nat had second thoughts about the trip. "Bye, Nat," yelled Nan, admiringly at Nat. "Hope you make it to nationals and take care," Nan replied while the wagon was leaving the grounds. That reassured Nat enough not to worry, but something tugged at his heart saying something wrong was gonna happen soon, but felt the need not to say.

"Why, it is a beautiful day, isn't it, Nat," Jo asked Nat, hoping to get a wonderful answer from the smart boy. "Yes, indeed, it is," said Nat, thoughtfully to his friend in the wagon. "And it's also a glorious day for playing the violin, which I love," Nat replied after a wonderful thought of performing crossed his delighted mind. The horizon fell into a stream of colors in a rainbow. Darkness came in swiftly from the south followed by a dense thunderstorm. Mrs. Jo and Nat stopped at a tavern in Lexington for the night and woke early to arrive in Boston in time.

Scene 3

The next morning, April 11, appeared to be damp from dense fog that settled the night before and still some lay scattered about. But they had traveled as far as Cambridge when the horses heard guns shooting off in the distance, that only they could hear. When Mrs. Jo lost control of the wagon and the horses darted toward a line of trees tipping the wagon onto Nat and letting Mrs. Jo escape unscathed.
She hurried toward Nat with concern that he wouldn't make it through this tragedy. While she rushed toward him she heard sweet, singing voices around the area. A stream of gleaming light fell on Nat while he was pinned under the wagon who was like an angel in danger. She reassured herself and thought he would make it through perfectly fine. Another thought that passed her mind was the reason why she wasn't smashed under the carriage. She started to run at her top speed to see if Nat was all right, but all she found was an unconscious, badly wounded boy.
"Oh, my God," mumbled Jo. "What am I to do?"
"I know, I'll go into Boston, find a doctor, and send a message to Plumfield," Jo continued, furiously. And Jo did, like a wounded soul finding hope in life.

Scene 4

Mrs. Jo reluctantly followed her heart, praying to God to save Nat from this lifeless state he was in. She slowly and cautiously pulled the body away from the tipped-over wagon and carried him into the streets of Boston a few miles off in a southerly direction.
While she was walking into town she asked herself, "What on earth did the horses hear?" She paused thinking of what the doctor may say.
"He's cold; I must get to a doctor's office, soon. It can't wait," Mrs. Jo whispered, holding a limp body and staggering to her feet. "Why was Nat the victim, he is a responsible lad and, and..." She froze seeing all the villagers staring wide-eyed and then a familiar face. Oh, yes Mr. Arlatta the violin teacher!

Scene 5

Mr. Arlatta calmly strolled over toward Mrs. Bhear quickly motioning her to the Clinic a few paces ahead and asking quite thought out remarks, either on instruments or the accident, which occurred two hours before. It took over an hour to diagnose Nat and find out that he had lapsed into a coma and had broken his right leg and arm. Mrs. Jo finally decided to write to Plumfield and this is what she wrote:

Dear My Family and Friends at Plumfield,
I have urgent news to tell you. It's about Nat! Nat and I were not far from Boston when the horses heard odd noises and squirmed into a line of trees, collapsing over Nat and not I. Please come immediately and bring a special book Nat enjoys so we can read to him. He's in a coma and badly injured. Come immediately. Please travel safe and God Bless You All!
Your Mother,
Mrs. Jo March Bhear

Mrs. Bhear was mourning about what happened and politely asked Mr. Arlatta to send the telegram to Plumfield. He reluctantly decided to send the letter himself; paying the debt he owes the family.
"I'll be off soon, Mrs. Bhear, after I post up a sign mentioning that the competition won't be held until after Nat has recovered," Mr. Arlatta said, very gentlemanly.
"Thank you very much, you are very kind," responded Jo, soon after he mentioned that the competition was to be moved to a later date. "May you also get Nat's violin and the luggage from the wreckage when you leave?"

Scene 6

Later that afternoon, Mr. Arlatta left to travel toward Concord to give them the news. He journeyed on, night and day, until he made it to Plumfield (around eight o'clock in the morning) and gave the quickly written letter to Asia, the housemaid. She let the stranger in and gave the note to Dan, Nan, and the others. "Dear My Family and Friends at Plumfield," Nan read aloud. "I have urgent news to tell you...it's about Nat..."
Dan quickly grabbed the paper and read the rest of the letter, "Nat and I were not far from Boston when the horses heard odd noises and squirmed into a line of trees..." Dan froze, puzzled and his voice faltered to a whisper. "...Collapsing over Nat and not I. Please come immediately and bring a special book Nat enjoys so we can read to him." Dan broke the silent whispering by asking, "What book shall we bring," and quickly thought about A Red Badge of Courage, said "Let's get Stephen Crane's novel A Red Badge of Courage quickly," and continued reading the letter. "He's in a coma and badly injured. Come immediately. God Bless You All!"
The others had been speechless while Dan read the dreadful news, while Tommy and Jack got Franz and Nick.
Franz and Nick read the letter at the same time, alarmed by what it said. Nick then replied, "I 'uess I, ah-ah, should round up the horses and pitch the wagon so we can get a move on." Nick felt saddened, remembering the last occasion and hurriedly did the job.
Franz, on the other hand, retrieved A Red Badge of Courage to bring and helped the others pack their luggage, and did the same. They brought more sophisticated clothes and a small present to give Nat when he awoke. They were thoughtful gifts, some unconditional love and others, a bird's nest or a small, polished rock.
By the time everything was situated in the wagons and everyone out it was around two o'clock and the house suddenly became as silent as the morning dawn.

Scene 7

On the thirteenth of April, a northerly breeze swept across the Boston streets, while Mrs. Bhear was in the gloomy bedroom, gazing out at the streets searching for her family to come. It hadn't taken long before she lost hope they would make it and slowly strolled towards Nat's bedside. She placed her hands gently in his silently praying to God and crying. The doctor approached Mrs. Bhear with a hopeless face and said: "You need your rest, Mrs. Bhear, you're tiring yourself out." He paused. "I can make a room for you in my house and if I have any, any news I'll report it to you directly."
She agreed, and he showed her to the house while the roads were packed with dozens of people walking to and from shops and salons. But nothing could heal the wound that she would never see Nat again, or the others.
"When the students, Franz, Nick, and Asia arrive may they see Nat one by one, if there is no problem?" requested Mrs. Bhear to the doctor.
"Yes, we shall see to that, Jo, if that is what you want," answered the doctor in an agreeable tone. They presently arrived at the house not too far away from the Clinic and he showed her to an empty bedroom and told her to rest yet again.

Scene 8

The weather changed in Boston from a bright sunny day into a cloudy, dull night when the wagons arrived with the heart-broken students and everyone else at Plumfield.
"What's the matter, Mrs. Jo?" Nan asked impatiently to know the cause of the accident.
Mrs. Jo mournfully said, "Well, Nan, I suppose the horses heard an awkward noise and ran into the forest knocking the wagon onto Nat."
Dan was startled and impatiently asked the doctor if he could see Nat first. Anyway, Nat and Dan are best of friends. Doc Richter replied, "Well, yes you may, just be very gentle and you could talk or read to him."
"Thank you, sir," answered Dan.

Scene 9

Dan quickly walked into the room with open shutters and the sunlight shining through the windows. Dan muttered countless remarks and began to read from A Red Badge of Courage. "The cold pasted reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. As the landscape changed from brown to green, the army awakened, and began to tremble with eagerness at the noise of rumors." He paused and with silent anger said, "Please wake up, we all need you, especially me! We've been buds since we lived here in Boston." And then began reading again until Nan politely asked to read to Nat.
Nan read devotedly to Nat from A Red Badge of Courage from Chapter 8 and began to read: "The trees began softly to sing a hymn of twilight. The sun sank until slanted bronze rays struck the forest." She stopped for a while wondering many things-of the book and of other important matters. Then started again. "There was a lull of noises of insects as if they had bowed their beaks and were making a devotional pause. There was silence save for the chanted chorus of the trees."
The others did the same, reading a chapter to Nat or supposedly to him or herself, hoping that the next day he would awake. But that was very unlikely; because Nat was and is an unlucky person and finds luck somewhere hidden at Plumfield. Then, after Nan left, Mrs. Bhear stayed with Nat and read a few chapters from A Red Badge of Courage, whispering a prayer.

Scene 10

Mrs. Jo slept at Nat's bedside all through the night. And on the fourteenth of the month, in the early morning air there was a magical light that stood over all of Boston and lighted its way through the open window and landed on Nat's bed, letting him take a breath.
Nat yelped with pain in his arm and leg, waking Jo up and surprising her. Once he could get his breath again he said, "What happened, Mrs. Jo, I thought we were going to Boston so I could perform?"
"Well, there's been a change in plans," replied Mrs. Bhear. "Mr. Arlatta changed his mind and decided once you got well there would be a competition." She paused then said, "Let me find the Doc so he can examine you again?"
"O-ok," whispered Nat in a hoarse voice and struggling to keep his mind off the pain.

Scene 11

Before the doctor came in to examine Nat again some of his friends wanted to see him, mainly Dan and Nan. Other friends came in also Tommy, Rob, Franz, and Nick.
Dan emerged from the doorway and entered the room with a joyful smile on his face and ran toward his friend being very cautious and lightly hugging him. "I can't believe your awake, Nat! We were hopin' you'd make it through and look at you," Dan replied excitedly and shockingly.
Nan then ran in followed closely by Nick in the lead, then Franz with Rob and Tommy. Nan sobbed saying, "I missed you Nat, please follow my advice next time!" She paused and then replied with tears in her eyes, "Oh, why was it you again. I bet it shows how strong you are, don't ya think."
"Well, I guess, but I am never the strong, brave one," Nat said with a downcast expression on his face.
Nick interrupted saying, "Yes, yaw one of the strongest fellers in the school, even though it's hidden from you. For example, yaw didn't get sick when you usually do when we had that epidemic and you made it through that coma you were in at Christmastime. But yaw also don't fight and that's one of the best things to do, stay away from trouble." He paused and then replied, "Do you understan', now, Nat?"
"Yes, I-I understand," Nat, coughed under his breath.

Scene 12

The doctor presently merged into the crowded room and told them they could see Nat later today after the exam was done on his leg and arm. Nat was so surprised to see his friends that he had forgotten about the pain, but when they left the pain became excruciating. Doc Richter doctored him up well with two casts; one on his right arm to his elbow and the other one his leg that was crushed.
Nat could have visitors if he wanted and asked for five people: Mrs. Jo, Dan, Nan, Franz, and Nick. Nat wanted to tell them he could hear while they read from the book. He vividly remembered the imagination that went through his mind of the landscape and battle scenes in A Red Badge of Courage and thanked his dear friends for coming. "Mrs. Jo, thank you, for everything you've done for me," Nat started off saying, then continued saying, "Dan, Nick, and Nan thanks very much

for being best friends," paused and glared at Franz with admiration, said: "and Franz thanks for teaching me valuable lessons."
Thanks came from all about the room and then the other students came in with an astounding look on their faces. They were proud of Nat and were sorry for every mean and selfish thing said or done to him. But with his jovial attitude everything went smoothly.

Epilogue

The first two weeks of recovery were horrible to Nat. He had frequent pains in his arm, but could easily forget about it because of his surrounding friends and writing poetry. "What are you doing?" questioned Jo. "Oh! I am just writing some poems that came to mind after my accident." "What are the poems about?" "God's guiding Light, temptation, and time." "Why? Those should be finely written poems then, dear! How do you feel?" Mrs. Bhear said with great enthusiasm. "Fine." Nat answered. "Do you want me to show you the poems, I mean, if you'd like?" questioned Nat to his foster-mother. "Please, do!"

Here are a few of the poems Nat wrote to comfort himself in time of pain and to write for the Concord Observer.

"Time"

Time is

minutes,

hours,

seconds,

to Some,

While Others Fulfill God's Will

in that Time

"Why, this is exquisite writing." Jo said in response to reading the poem. "Where's another poem?" she asked. "Here!" Nat replied. "I really liked this one, it's my favorite one that I've written." "I'm sure it is. Uh, "A Calling" that is a nice title!" Nat gave her another sheet of paper. "Thanks," was all that Nat murmured.

"A Calling"

A calling from God...
Is a future,
A prosperous life...
and a hope to be with you...God Almighty!

Let no harm come...
And,
Live Your Life, God's Way...
Forever and ever love Him!

Make plans...
That lead God's Way,
Into the Light...But AWAY from Darkness

Nat brought out another scrap of paper to show Mrs. Bhear. "Here are the other two poems I wrote. They are about the challenges which we go through...but none are as bad as what Jesus went through on the Cross of Calvary." "Why," she said. "that's very spiritual. How come you've become so spiritual all of a sudden? Was it the accident?" She said after reading the poem.

"Challenges"

We Go Through many Challenges in One Lifetime

Death,

Suffering,

Embarrassment,

Ridicule,

But none, None like Jesus!

Punishment,

Sickness,

Starvation,

A Load of Trouble,

But none, None like Christ!

Pain,

Torture,

A Heavy Burden!

But none, None like Jesus Christ!

How Do We Receive these Challenges, and more

Through Knowing, Believing in the LORD OUR GOD!

"Yeah, it was. I have found out that life is short and must be used wisely and to follow not just what you want, but what God wants you to do for a living." He continued, "I could have lost my life, but God had other plans for me." "God wanted me to be a foster-mother and a teacher to any homeless children, rich boys, and educate girls," Jo stated. Mrs. Bhear started skimming the poem, noticing that everything was working out fine. 'The accident has helped in many ways. Thank you God for sending Nat back.' She was thinking. 'I love all my children; they are all a blessing to me. They keep me in the present.' Jo said to herself.

"God's People"

God's People are specks

In the Large, Unknown World

Sent By God, HIMSELF

To Show Others

The True Meaning of Life (living God's Way)

But Are TEMPTED in ALL Ways POSSIBLE

And Can Change

Through Influential Followers of Christ

God's People are to share the love of Christ

like rain falling and sharing the nutrients to the trees and grass

How can We Contribute?

We can demonstrate our TALENTS...

IMPACT Others to Follow

Our Example

Your IMPACT can be as strong as white, tough salt

Spread like Light
ALL AROUND

The World

Be bold,
Meek, and
Don't give Up!

"This is great. Should we have these poems published in our town's newspaper, the Concord Observer?" Asked Mrs. Bhear enthusiastically.

"Sure, thank you," replied Nat happy for his job-well-done. "You are the kindest person I have ever known," He murmured. "How can I repay you for saving my life?" "Play your heart's content on the violin, that's all!" enthusiastic Jo replied. "Then that's what I'll do, anywhere, especially at home," dreamed Nat. "I am glad I stayed at Plumfield now!" "Great!"

Two weeks passed...

"Are you feeling up to playing your violin today?" Nan asked. "Because you are the best violinist Concord has!" Nan continued dreamily. "I am!" Nat joked. "I hope to become a professional someday, maybe travel the world bringing light to dark places." Nat replied, continuing as dreamily as Nan had.
__________________________

"The competition has begun," announced Mr. Arlatta. "And now I am honored to present the contestants for Boston's Fifth Annual Violin Competition. First up is Caleb Andrews playing an accomplished piece by Beethoven. Then, Arthur Graham playing a piece of Mozart...and also an exceptially violinist, Nathaniel Blake, playing a wonderful violin piece by Frederic Chopin" Many people applauded at the great performance. They would have to wait another two hours before the best competitor would arrive on stage. Time passed very slowly for the Plumfield crew while the other competitors were playing. "Be patient children," demanded Mrs. Jo. "Nat's turn will arrive at any moment." She said to comfort the children's eagerness. "Ok!" The chorus of kids pronounced. "And now I would like to present Nathaniel Blake. He was originally from Boston but was adopted by Mrs. Jo Bhear in Concord." Mr. Arlatta announced. "May you please stand up, Mrs. Bhear and all the others from Plumfield." The crew stood up and was astounded by the applause given to Jo. 'It's amazing to see this many people applauding for my hard work and ability to teach children the basics of life.' Jo thought surprised. "Look Mrs. Jo, Nat is coming out on stage. He looks so handsome," replied Nan. "I am sure, he is an artist!" Responded Mrs. Jo to Nan. The judges pronounced the winners in descending order. "The third place trophy goes to Arthur Graham. The second place trophy goes to Caleb Andrews. And the first place trophy goes to--." Nat didn't want to know. It could be anyone but... "Nathaniel Blake! Congratulations all of you, we'll see you in Nationals." Nat was surprised. "Do you have something to say?" asked one of the judges. "Yes." replied Nat. "I thank all my friends, especially Dan and Nan, and my adoptive mother, Mrs. Bhear," Nat sounded in a thanking and gratifying tone. "You won, Nat, you won!" Everyone said at once. "Great job," Dan awarded Nat. "How does it feel to be a winner?" He asked. "Awesome, though I owe it all to you guys. You guys have helped me time and time again, through the rough-and-tumble times to the grand-old times. I love you all so much!" Nat said enthusiastically to everyone around him. "You've done great, reward yourself more, not us." Mrs. Jo answered. "Ok, but I am so overjoyed!" Nat exclaimed. "You should be, Nat." Nick stated. "Well, how should we celebrate?" Jo's excited energy got the best of her. "We could have music. Nat may you do the honors?" "Sure!" Nat started with the tune he played when he first arrived at the Plumfield gate ill, hungry, and worn-out from the long journey from Boston. And the night ended happily with everyone in his or her highest spirits. They had a long journey home to Plumfield and Nat enjoyed himself the most. The Plumfielders would return home with the best presents ever; love, joy, comfort, and hope for a better future.

The End

I give special acknowledgement to Mrs. Harris, a teacher who reviewed my work, , the help many of my friends gave me, and to other fan fiction authors who love Little Men just as much as I do. Thank you all so much!