Written by Warren Scott Foster

Illustrated by Adrienne Potter  

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            Bo's mother was about to retire to bed. One last time before turning in she cast a sad, longing gaze out over the river in the distance. It had been over a year. Many times each day, and always before turning in, she looked out over the river to the same place where she had last seen her son. She had watched him paddle happily away in his canoe, in search of their supper. Father had been away on a hunting trip, and together they had decided that Bo was still too young to go. It was supposed to be safer here at the village. If only they had let him go, she sighed. If only.

          She wiped away a tear. Bo had been such a good boy. He never complained. True, he had a few foolish dreams. It was mostly the influence of that crazy Old Man Schmoe, she muttered, shaking her head, but then caught herself. He was a harmless old man. And besides, boys are made of dreams, she admitted. Bo was so happy with his few possessions. All he had in the world was his canoe, a rope, a knife, and a spear. How he had loved to use them. Every chance she gave him he paddled away in search of adventure. Every time he had soon paddled back and reported in, usually bringing a fine supper to go with his stories.

          Then one day he didn't come back. The other children said they had seen him go below the village on the river. But he had done it before and seemed to know what he was doing. A search was made, and messengers were sent to Father's hunting party to let him know. He had returned immediately and taken up the search for weeks for his son. He traveled back across the mountains to the upper river where he crossed and searched the other side. Then he traveled down river to the edge of the world where the great waterfall dropped into a vast nothingness below. He risked his own life scaling the cliff, going farther than any man had gone before and making it back. He, too, could now confirm some of Old Man Schmoe's wild and crazy stories. He also knew that if his son had gone over those falls, he would not be coming back.

          No trace of his son was ever found. No canoe, no spear, not one shred of clothing. Bo must have gone over the falls. His poor son had fallen off the edge of the world. Bo's father had finally returned to his wife, and together they mourned their beautiful son.

          It was foolish to keep hoping, Bo's mother knew. It had been over a year now, yet she couldn't accept the fact that he was dead. Father left on more and more hunting trips now to chase away his pain, leaving her to mourn alone. Each time she looked out over the river she fully expected to see Bo come paddling up, grinning from ear to ear with a great fish in tow. One more look of longing, one more sigh, then sadly she returned to the house, weakly crawled into her bed, and cried herself to sleep.

Click here to read Chapter 11

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