He encountered Dvora on her way to the flowery meadow; she was to meet with kids for a special story time. While her mood was, on the surface, pleasant, Bron could tell she was somewhat agitated. No doubt she became a bit unglued last night when Daddy Threehorn threatened to expose her secrets. She almost breezed past Bron if he hadn't caught her eye.
"Oh, good morning, Bron," she said somewhat hurriedly, "I didn't know you were there. So much on my mind today, and I really must be on my way. See, I promised the kids I'd meet them in the meadow. Don't know why they want to meet there when we should go to the glade. So much shadier there–"
"He knows, Dvora. Littlefoot knows about you," said Bron in a voice mixed with mild annoyance and profound concern. "He figured it out days ago, that it more than a coincidence you seemed too much like his mother. He came to me yesterday full of questions, and my folks and I confirmed it all. Littlefoot is not bitter, so that should be a relief for you. But he is confused as to why you didn't tell him in the first place. You owe it to him. Dvora. After all, aside my folks and myself, you're the only family he's got."
Now Dvora had to come clean; she was aware of Daddy Threehorn's threats and wanted to reveal herself before the feisty triceratops outted her in public.
She then told Bron about last night's encounter with Daddy Threehorn, and his threats to tell Littlefoot everything. "He even lorded over that he knew about me and Pat. Oh, I was onto him from the start, yet I was quite upset that I planned to leave the Great Valley before dawn. But I didn't; I couldn't. Pat made me see that, and he suggested I finally tell Littlefoot. Uh...you do know about me and Pat..."
Bron smiled, replying, "Dvora, your love life is no secret to me. In fact, my mother figured it out yesterday. Your expression was that obvious. And no, what you and Pat have should not be hidden but celebrated." He added with a chuckle, "I often wondered when that old guy would settle down. You two make a good match, and I'll bet Littlefoot would be thrilled to gain not just his long lost auntie but a beloved uncle as well."
To this Dvora sighed in relief, and she expressed that relief to Bron. Then her thoughts turned to her present task – meeting the kids for story time. She asked, "Do you know your son and his friends have been playing matchmaker?" Bron's eyes lit up with amazing curiosity; he replied, "Littlefoot confessed to that, Dvora. They asked Pat to meet them in the meadow, but they aren't around." He glanced about, his eyes resting on the towering bluff overlooking the Valley.
He nodded in its direction, saying, "They're all up there, Dvora, watching and waiting for you and Pat to show up. See, they extended the invitation but planned not to show up. It'll be just you and Pat getting 'better acquainted', or so Littlefoot and Shorty said. I didn't tip off the kids, that you and Pat are aware of their little caper, so please, indulge them just this once."
Dvora smiled again, broader and freely this time. "And how and when do I tell everyone about myself? About my relationship with Pat? The Old One was right: folks have a right to know the truth. I'm through running from myself, Bron. I want to settle down, make a home here in the Great Valley, not wander about like a vagabond."
"And you shall, Dvora," said Bron before turning to leave. He could see Pat approaching; he laughingly said, "I shall leave you two lovebirds now. Give the kids a good show and don't let on that you've known all along. As for levelling with everyone else, let me suggest..."
He remained long enough to suggest a possible way to inform the entire Great Valley – of Dvora's return to the living, and the upcoming nuptials. Bron also came up with a plan to deal with Daddy Threehorn. "Leave that to me. I'll enlist Mr. Thicknose, and between the pair of us, we'll get Threehorn to back down. But, please, Dvora, you and Pat really have to break this news yourselves. If we don't move fast, old Threehorn will blab it all over. Let's hope he hasn't done so already."
From the hidden safety of the bluff, the kids could see all that went on in the Great Valley, especially the events unfolding in the meadow. Every little dinosaur child's eyes were fixed on the longneck couple. This has to be a sure thing, thought Cera. Unfortunately, for one of the bunch, the secret of Didi's love was no secret at all. Littlefoot already figured out Didi's true identity – his mother's sister Dvora – and that Pat was her long lost love. However, he said nothing to his friends – yet.
"Can you see them, Petrie?," asked Ali. What a relief when Bron left. No telling what could have happened if he stuck around once Pat got there.
"Oh sure," said Petrie, hovering aloft, "Me see Didi now. Littlefoot daddy just left. And me see Pat coming."
"Good!," said Cera gleefully, her big broad grin spreading even wider, "Now let's see if they like each other."
Ducky joined in the enthusiasm. "Yep, yep, yep! There is Didi in the middle of the meadow. And Pat is there now. Look, they see each other! They are talking! I think they are smiling!"
"They're laughing, too. I think they're getting along okay. Looks like we did our good deed," said Shorty. "They like each other after all. Littlefoot, you got it all wrong."
Cera's cheerful expression changed; the darkening eyes and gritting teeth signaled the beginning of the little threehorn's explosive temper.
"What," she said disbelievingly, "he got it all wrong." She looked at Littlefoot, a menacing scowl on her face. "What did you expect to happen? Did you think they'd not get along? And you said you thought our playing matchmaker was a good idea! Why the change of heart?"
Littlefoot said nothing at first, but he concluded that at least he owned his friends an explanation. Perhaps Didi will tell him in time, but it was up to him to inform his friends. He didn't want to wait for Didi, so he blurted it all out, and he didn't know why.
"Okay!," he said with exasperating tone, something totally out of character for him. "If you want to know the truth...Didi is not her real name! She's my mother's sister, Dvora. Grandpa and Grandpa told me so last night, and so did my dad! They said Aunt Dvora got separated from Mom and Dad; they thought she was dead. And she didn't want to go with my folks in the first place because she was in love with Pat. She didn't want to leave him!"
He waited for the others' reactions, and sure enough, everyone was quite shocked.
"Is this true?," asked Ducky wistfully.
"Yeah," said Littlefoot, "it's true. See, Aunt Dvora has been in love with Pat a long time, way back when my mom and dad got married. When the earthshake and landslide cut her off from the family, she just wandered around. Dad says she's been afraid to let everyone know who she was 'cause of Pat. She was scared he wouldn't love her back."
Now Cera felt bad. She didn't mean to yell at her friend like that, and now that the truth was out, there was still one more unanswered question. Make that two questions.
"Okay, Littlefoot," she said apologetically, "I didn't know. But...When will she tell you she's your auntie? And..." It hit her all the sudden. "She and Pat have been in love all this time, and they just went along with our matchmaking."
"Methink," said Petrie dejectedly, "we did all for nothing."
"No, Petrie," said Ali, "We did it because we didn't know...But look at them. They are so happy. I think it's wonderful."
Shorty thought of something he overheard earlier this morning. He didn't mean to eavesdrop, but what Bron and Littlefoot's grandparents said...He had to tell Cera...
"...And that's what your dad's got cooked up. He threatened Didi he'd tell everyone about her really being Dvora. And he said he'd blab it all over that she's in love with Pat. He thinks everyone will hate her forever and make Pat's life miserable for even thinking of loving someone as young as Dvora."
Everyone gasped. They all knew how Cera's dad liked to lord it all over, that he's so smart and better than anyone. He's got his opinions on longnecks and others not of his kind, but this latest thing, threatening to expose Dvora and her relationship with Pat, was too low even for him.
Cera said, "I didn't know my dad wanted to hurt Didi – I mean Dvora." She scanned the entire Great Valley, trying to spot her father. Maybe he got wise to Dvora and Pat meeting in the meadow, and he's on his way to needle the happy couple. But no, Daddy Threehorn was far away, on the other side of the valley, merrily munching on tree stars. Cera shook her head, saying to Littlefoot, "I'm sure my dad won't do anything to embarrass Dvora, but..."
Suddenly, the heard a loud bellow coming from the edge of the meadow. Petrie flew out from the bluff, just short of the meadow, taking care not to be seen by the adults. His eyes grew big with astonishment; he flew back to his friends, saying with panting breath, "Me see your mon, Ducky. She making loud noise with her hollow horn. But why?"
Ducky spotted her mom bellowing noisily, as if to summon everyone in the Valley. She said, "Why is my mama making that noise? She never does that unless..."
"...Unless," finished Littlefoot, "if there are sharpteeth in the Valley. But they can't get in – the passage is blocked." Ducky nodded, "Yes, yes, yes. We have not seen sharpteeth ever since the grown-ups blocked the way in."
"Me remember that," said Petrie now landing on a nearby rock, "when Chomper go back with his mommy and daddy."
"So why," asked Shorty, "is she making that noise?"
The little brachiosaur's question would be answered sooner than he anticipated, for as soon as Ducky's mom sounded the alarm, every adult rushed to the scene, to the meadow were Pat and Dvora still stood. The kids could see Dvora standing in the midst of colorful flowers, the brightly hued purple and pink blossoms barely reaching her ankles. She glanced about as the adults gathered, then she raised her voice as if she wanted the entire Great Valley to hear. She was so loud that the little ones thought her voice would carry into the Mysterious Beyond, even to the Big Water.
"Whoa!," exclaimed Shorty, "What is she doing?"
Cera nodded towards Littlefoot, saying, "I think she's telling everyone her big secret."
And that is what Dvora did. Loudly she proclaimed, "Thanks, Mrs. Beakmouth. Now, for those of you who kept wondering who I really am...MY REAL NAME IS DVORA, SISTER TO THORA WHO IS LITTLEFOOT'S MOTHER!" She went to Pat's side, looked at him lovingly, then continued just as loudly, "DO YOU SEE THIS HANDSOME GENTLEMAN LONGNECK? I AM IN LOVE WITH HIM, AND WE'RE GOING TO BE MARRIED! IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT, DO IT NOW. IT WON'T TO ANY GOOD BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN SAY OR DO TO STOP US FROM BEING HAPPY. GOT THAT?"
Well, the youngsters were just as flabbergasted as the adults. At once, the kids left their hideaway to join their families gathered in the meadow. They got there just in time to hear Dvora relate her plight: the forced separation by earthshake, the wanderings, the journey to the crater during the Great Longneck Migration, finding Bron and the Old One's herds, and reuniting with her lost love.
Now everyone finally learned about the mysterious Didi, although they will have to get used to address her by the given name: Dvora. At once they gathered around Dvora, welcoming her as part of the Great Valley family. They also expressed best wishes to both Pat and Dvora for a long, happy union. What astonishing news for what started as an ordinary morning. Never in their wildest dreams did they think that the elderly bachelor longneck would ever take a mate, not his late age, ultimately choosing the beautiful, vivacious Dvora.
Even more amazing that Daddy Threehorn wished the happy couple well; he wouldn't – couldn't – carry out his threat now. What he had anticipated to be derisive comments and mocking gossip once word got out Pat and Dvora were an item, not to mention that Dvora deceived everyone by not revealing her true identity, never came off like that. That took the starch out of him; Mr. Thicknose and Bron made him see that browbeating Dvora was all for naught. Well, she did become unglued last night, and this morning, once she and Pat contrived ways to tell everyone, albeit gently, she was alive and well, she thought the way she did it now was her last resort. She didn't mean to make it so public, so loud and raucous, but now her secrets were out and she could at last find peace.
The kids approached the gathering of adults in the meadow. Littlefoot smiled at his auntie, allowing her to caress him with her massive snout. She said to him, "Dear sweet Littlefoot. How I longed for this day, when I can at last see the boy my sister loved so."
"I know, Aunt Dvora," said Littlefoot, "I still miss my mother, and she'd be so proud of you."
"Even after I deceived everyone so?," asked Dvora.
"I think she'd forgive you, just as I am. I understand now. Dad and Grandpa and Grandma told me all about what happened to you, how you got separated from Mom and Dad. I kind of suspected you were related to Mom because you look, walk, talk, and even act so much like her. I just wanted to get some answers..."
"To," said Dvora gently, "confirm your suspicions. Littlefoot, I am sorry I never got the chance to tell you in private. It was just that...Well, I had to do it that way, shout to the world that I'm alive and in love."
To this Grandma Longneck said, "Dvora, we pretty much figured it out yesterday." She looked admiringly at Pat, adding, "The way you two looked at each other said it all. I'd know that expression anywhere; there is no mistaking that you are in love."
Littlefoot looked adoringly at his family and said, "And now we'll all be together. Forever and forever. And I get a new uncle!"
Go to The Conclusion
Copyright © 2005, 2006 by PRP.