We’re finally here!” Tony jumped off the last step on the school bus. He and his classmates were on a field trip to the nature reserve, and he couldn’t wait to start walking through the forest. “Children, remember to always follow me. Do not wander off!” Teacher Emmy said, leading her class to the start of the footpath.
“Look at that!” His classmate Kitty pointed at an insect standing on a leaf, its big eyes glassily staring at them.
“Oh, a praying mantis!” Teacher Emmy said in delight. “Class, do you know how it got its name? Just look at how it’s standing—with its front legs raised like that, doesn’t it look like it’s praying?”
“Looks more like a karate chop to me,” Tony muttered to Kitty. “Hi-yah!” He playfully struck out at her and she giggled. He turned to look at the praying mantis again. He had never seen one before, and he admired its color. It was so green, it looked like it was part of a leaf.
Tony watched as the insect wobbled slowly to another leaf. For something that looked so graceful, it sure was clumsy! He brought his face close to it. Sensing his presence, the mantis turned its head, looked at him, and suddenly flew away. “Where did it go?” he whispered to himself, when he spotted the insect on a tree branch just a few steps away.
It became a game. Tony would get too close to the praying mantis and it would fly away. He didn’t realize that he was going deeper into the woods, leaving the path far behind. By the time he looked up, it was too late— he was lost!
Panicking, Tony tried to retrace his steps. “Teacher Emmy? Teacher Emmy!” he cried out. Suddenly, the forest felt cold and unwelcoming. Tony stumbled through the woods, heart pounding, his eyes darting around for a glimpse of his teacher and classmates.
He called out to them until his throat hurt. Losing hope and his voice, he whispered, “Teacher Emmy.”
“Tony! Tonyyyy!” Faint voices came from a distance.
That sounded like Teacher Emmy! And Kitty and his other classmates! Tony started following the direction of the voices. Hope surged in his chest as the voices grew louder. He stepped through a narrow gap between trees… and stumbled into Teacher Emmy, who gasped at the sight of him.
“Tony!” The teacher’s eyes were watery as he was given a stern talking to, and after wholeheartedly apologizing and promising to follow the rules from then on, Tony’s classmates gathered around him.
“Did you see a lion? How about a bear?” Kitty asked. “Did the praying mantis bite you?” Another classmate inquired. Tony shook his head.
“But how did you find us?” Someone asked. Tony looked at everyone and said, “I just followed your voices. They gave me hope.”
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