Mountain Boy is the first of four stories about Pablo Poncho. To read his other stories and find out more about his world in the Andes mountains please order a copy of his book. Details available here.
Pablo Poncho lives high in the mountains of Peru with his mama, his papa and his little sister Maria. He wears a brightly coloured poncho to keep him warm. In the daytime the sun is hot, but at night the air is icy cold. Before he goes to bed at night, Pablo likes to fill a bowl with water and leave it in the yard outside his house. When he gets up the next morning, he likes to turn the bowl upside down to check that the water has turned into ice. Pablo loves to break the ice with a stick and hold the pieces up to the sun so that they flash and sparkle like diamonds.
Pablo’s family keeps a herd of alpacas for their wool. Alpacas are gentle animals with a long neck, soft fleece and dark brown eyes. Pablo likes to explore the mountains with one of the alpacas, who is called Inti. Inti is made for climbing. His legs are strong and he can run up the slopes looking for sweet grass to eat. When Pablo tries to copy him, he gets out of breath, and shouts “Inti, wait for me!” Inti stops and eats some grass while Pablo clambers up the slope to reach him.
Sometimes they climb so high that they reach the snow. They love to play in the snow. Pablo always makes a snow ball and he tries to run back down the mountain with the snowball in his hand to show his mama, his papa, and his baby sister Maria. But by the time he arrives at home the snow has always melted and all he has to show his family is a wet hand!
Pablo wishes that he was born with four strong legs like Inti, so that he can bound and leap around the mountains, instead of stumbling slowly on his two spindly legs. If he had legs like Inti, then he would be able to race down the mountain to bring a snowball back for his baby sister.
One day, Pablo’s mama asked him to go and find some sticks to build a fire and she fastened a bag on Inti’s back so that he could carry the sticks. Pablo and Inti set off up the mountain together.
“Let’s go and find some snow. It’s boring looking for sticks” said Pablo. Inti shook his head. He knew that Pablo’s mama needed the sticks to make a fire to cook the supper for the family. “Come on Inti” said Pablo, and he started to run up the mountain slope as fast as he could. Inti knew that he had to look after Pablo, so he followed him.
The sun shone, and the sky was bright blue. Pablo and Inti climbed and climbed until they reached the snow. Pablo ran and jumped through the snow with Inti until they were both out of breath. “I’m going to make the biggest snowball ever”, shouted Pablo. He made a little ball of snow and then rolled it, and rolled it, until it was the size of a football. This time he would manage to take some snow home for his sister to see.
Pablo started to run down the slope with Inti beside him, faster and faster, until he realized he could not stop. Suddenly, he fell over a large rock hidden by a clump of grass. His leg hurt very badly and he started to cry. “Inti, I’ve hurt my leg and I can’t walk. Please go and get my papa.”
Inti looked at Pablo with his big soft eyes and licked Pablo’s tears away. “Inti” said Pablo, “Take this snowball to show my family” Inti knelt down on the snow so that Pablo could reach to put the snowball in the bag on Inti’s back.
Inti ran down the mountain faster than he had ever run before. He ran to Pablo’s house. Pablo’s papa, mama and baby sister were outside the house working in the vegetable patch. “Inti, where is Pablo?” cried his mama when they saw the little white alpaca. Inti made a snorting sound, and knelt down so that Pablo’s papa would see into the bag. “A snowball!” cried Pablo’s papa. “Oh, Pablo must be up on the mountain. Show me where he is, Inti!” Pablo’s mama took the snowball out of the bag and held it out for Maria to see. The sunlight made it sparkle and glister like the stars. Maria stared at it silently. She had never seen anything so beautiful.
Pablo’s papa kissed his mama and Maria, and set off up the mountain with Inti. Inti ran on ahead, and soon they found Pablo, lying on the rocks. Papa picked up Pablo in his arms and carried him carefully down the mountain slope. “Did you see the snowball, papa?” asked Pablo. “Yes my son. It was beautiful, and Maria loved it. Inti is a very good friend to you. He brought the snowball to the house and then helped me to find you.”
Pablo’s mama had to wash his leg and put a bandage on it. He had to ride in his papa’s truck to visit the doctor in the nearest town who said that his leg was very swollen, but that he had been a very lucky boy because it was not broken. If he rested for a few days, it would be as good as new. His mama said “Remember, Pablo. You are our precious boy. We love you just as you are, even if you can’t run down the mountain as fast as an alpaca!”
When they got home, Pablo Poncho hugged Inti and gave him a sack full of the sweetest grass his mama and papa could find.