Little Al of Hidingland

Part 1/20

Prologue

Hidingland

Once upon a time there was a large and beautiful country known as Hidingland. The Echoing Mountain rose in its centre, and in the shade of the mountain laid the Valley of Happiness. A multitude of bright, little streams ran through the valley, and a salty wind from the sea blew through the Maze Isles and reached the towns and villages. All the residents of Hidingland were happy donkeys, hard-working dogs and kind cats. They lived in their small homes, flew colourful little flags and worked on fields, in kennels and in purring houses. Every Sunday they all gathered in the castle grounds with their Donkey Lord Edelstein and Donkey Lady Héderváry to sing and dance, and everyone had their own straw hat on their head. Until...

Yes.

Until a naughty mule wizard moved onto a faraway island, the Secret Isle: Gilbert Beilschmidt the Awesome. Gilbert had many cunning (albeit a little lazy) foxes to serve him, and together they used binoculars to spy on the people of Hidingland, only to see that everyone was happy. And since they were so mean, that was something unacceptable and they grew angry and jealous. They knitted themselves some smiling donkey masks so that no one would recognise them, and that night they rowed through the Maze Isles to Hidingland where the wizard Beilschmidt then poured beer into every stream in the country.

But it wasn't just any beer. It was made to make everyone fall fast asleep when they drew water from the rivers to drink.

They sneaked into the castle by making all the guards fall asleep with their beer, and they even made the donkey lord taste some of it...

And whoops.

Immediately Lord Edelstein fell asleep.

Then the mule wizard Beilschmidt and his foxes captured Lord Edelstein, tying him up securely – even tying his ears – and they then took him far away to the Secret Isle.

But the Donkey Lady Héderváry escaped and Beilschmidt couldn't find her anywhere.

Near the sea, on the Secret Isle, the Donkey Lord Edelstein was imprisoned alone without anyone knowing where he was. But there was something the servant foxes had accidently forgotten to take away from him: his straw hat. With a sharp piece of charcoal, he wrote under the hat's brim:

Help. The lord is on the Secret Isle.

Then he pressed his seal beside the text and threw the hat out of the tower window. A gust of wind caught the hat and it flew far over the sea until it disappeared from sight.

"Someone please find it..." wished the donkey lord, thinking about the donkey lady and his people. Leaning on the frame of the lonely, small window of the room, he waited and waited and became very sad.

The people of Hidingland were also sad as the mule Gilbert was a poor ruler who sat all day in his castle eating ice cream (and pancakes on some occasions) and his fox servants patrolled the country so that everyone would obey him. Beilschmidt wasn't satisfied with anything as he couldn't find Lady Héderváry anywhere. Not even after the foxes had turned every rock and hole in Hidingland upside down searching for her. At this, Gilbert became so furious that even his servants lost their tempers. The townsfolk had to play guitar to the wizard all the time to keep him satisfied. But since they were sad, the music was sad. Gilbert got angry again and told the foxes to play.

But that was a bad idea because they couldn't play. At all. It was a miracle the guitars didn't break. Gilbert's long ears got tangled and he lost his temper again.

"Shut it!"

And he became a little more furious.

And so, many years passed and everything in Hidingland went awry and no one had fun anymore.


But high in the shelter of the Echoing Mountain, Mother Donkey and Little Donkey Al and Puppy Matt lived in a little cottage in the middle of a field of poppies. They were so poor that Little Al and Puppy Matt didn't even have straw hats of their own. They drank clear spring water from the well and ate red tomatoes from their own little greenhouse and Matt searched for bones from the mountainside.

Every morning, Little Al and Matt played hide-and-seek among the poppies, and every evening Little Al wanted to hear stories about Hidingland and the mule wizard and the donkey lord. And every day he said:

"Let's go have an adventure."

But his mother said, "No."

Because adventuring was very dangerous.

Every night, Little Donkey Al dreamt about the other corners of Hidingland.

Then, one night, a huge storm struck upon the Echoing Mountain. Thunder rumbled and lightning lit up the sky, and a strong wind suddenly blew in through the window and–

Whoops!

A big straw hat landed on Little Al's pillow. Everyone woke up and looked at the hat, and in the flash of a lightning bolt they could see the seal of the Donkey Lord.

Mother Donkey was so surprised that she read aloud the message written on the hat.

"Hurray! We'll save him!" shouted Al, jumping out of bed and hitting his hooves on the floor.

But Mother Donkey answered, "No."

"But Mother–"

"No, Al."

"Mother! It's not heroic to ignore a request from someone in need!"

Matt sighed.

So did their mother. "Al, enough of that. The answer is NO. Is it the N or the O you can't fathom? It's a mission for adult donkeys," she explained, and tucked Al and Matt into bed. "Now we'll go back to sleep. Goodnight, my boys."

But Little Al's ears swayed for a long time after those words, and when he finally slept, he dreamt of a big straw hat that sailed to a faraway island.

The morning came.

And then another morning.

On the third morning, Mother Donkey couldn't find Little Al or Matt or the straw hat anywhere. She looked everywhere and was very worried. She prayed that they would just be playing hide-and-seek again, but she couldn't find anyone, not even after searching amongst the poppies. Finally, she found two sticks crossed on the footpath that went down the hill to the village and she knew then that they had both left to rescue the donkey lord from his prison.

"Oh, what should I do now?" she asked the poppies, but they didn't answer and only swayed silently in the morning breeze.

So she took her scarf to cover her head, grabbed her little bag and locked the door of the cottage...

And what happened then?

You'll find out next time...


A/N: The original story: Piilomaan Pikku-Aasi by Lea Pennanen. Rather unknown, some dozen years old fairytale about a brave little donkey who wants to be a hero (to but it frankly). I'll give the original author high regards for this story and won't ever claim I own it. I myself love this story, so I'm now sharing it with you: fusioned with Hetalia. =) I know the idea is a bit odd, but I dare say this isn't the weirdest thing one can encounter in fanficnet...

About the original story: I'll be writing something about the original story (in short OS) after each chapter. This is because I know no one has actually read it (or seen it since there is also an animated version). If someone has, please contact me, I promise to be surprised.

I wrote this based on the animated version which is slightly shorter than the book. There are two reasons for this: 1. I know the animated version better, and 2. There were some things in the book I didn't want to do, for example I can skip the part where America is singing to Prussia (something I so didn't want to write...)

Now:

Firstly, please understand that this is a tale meant for children, but can be enjoyed by anyone. There even might be some things frightening to the youngest, but I do doubt so young kids actually read this. I was worried about the story being too predictable, but my beta, Hazel, assured me it's not (I just hope she's right -.-,)

Secondly, I must tell you that the villain, here Prussia, is not going to be a typical fairytale-evil-witch. I won't let that happen 'cause I like Prussia too much (making him a villain makes my heart ache in the first place -.-,). The OS villain, Muuli Mukkelis, is way worse than Prussia is here, let's just say he's exactly the kind of person even a child knows immediately is a bad person and knows to hate him from the very beginning. Also OS maincharacter, Pikku-Aasi (literally Lil'-Donkey), here America, and his closest companion, the puppy Korppu (Rusk), here Canada, are both also slightly different but I tell you about that more specifically when that moment comes. o/

And thirdly: The story only started so I can't really tell you anything without revealing something crucial. Only: Almost every character is going to appear in the story, but not all have their names mentioned. Have fun time trying to find out who is who, I'll reveal every fusion in the A/N after the epilogue. Until then: Please read and go to an adventure with a little hero co. =)

My deepest thanks and apologies to my beta, Hazel, who promised to help me with this as well and has endured me all this time.