Quickly! Back to the boat! said Rosanna.
But when they arrived at the boat, they saw the stranger.
Ah, there you are! he said. Come here.
Run! said Pedro, and they ran back into the forest.
Where do we go? asked Lucia.
I don’t know, Rosanna answered. But don’t stop running! The stranger’s getting closer.
Where are we? asked Pedro. It’s too dark. I can’t see.
They ran through the forest.
I want to go home, said Pedro. I’m afraid.
We all want to go home, Rosanna said. But we don’t know where we are. It’s too dark, and the forest is too big.
There’s a clearing! Lucia said.
And there’s another one, Rosanna said.
There are four clearings, Pedro said. But look! There are snakes too!
Are they dangerous? asked Rosanna.
Some snakes are dangerous, Pedro answered, But which ones?
Quickly! said Lucia. The clearing on the left. Come on!
Urgh! I hate snakes! Pedro said.
Forget the snakes, said Lucia. And don’t stop running. I can see the river. And some boats!
Where’s the stranger? Rosanna asked. I think I can hear him.
So can I, said Pedro. He isn’t very far away.
We need a boat, said Rosanna. Look! Here comes the stranger. He’s going to see us. Quickly!
But there are lots of boats here, Pedro said. Which one is our boat?
It doesn’t matter, said Lucia. We need to have the key, or we can’t start the boat.
Aren’t those the keys for a boat? Pedro asked.
Hmm. Yes, I think so,’ Rosanna said. But which boat?
Well, Think! Lucia said. Do you remember that man? He was asleep, remember? And we could see his shoes.
Yes! said Pedro, suddenly. And look at the ground!
It’s the blue boat, said Pedro. Oh no! Here’s the stranger. Quick, run!
Rosanna, Lucia and Pedro ran to the blue boat and got in.
Start the boat, Lucia said.
They started the boat and began to move down the river.
At last! said Pedro. We can go home now.
Can we? Rosanna said. We don’t know where we are, remember? And look! The stranger’s got a boat too. Faster, Pedro!
All right, all right, Pedro said. But where?
It doesn’t matter, Lucia said. Just go faster!
They went faster, but the stranger went faster too.
I think his boat is better, Lucia said.
Just then, the stranger stopped his boat. He looked at the three children in their boat, and he smiled.
Why is he smiling? Rosanna asked. And why isn’t he moving?
I don’t know, Lucia answered. But don’t stop the boat.
Hmm, Pedro thought. Perhaps he knows something …
Stop the boat! Stop the boat!’ said Lucia, suddenly.
Look! We can’t go through there!
I can’t stop the boat, said Pedro. The river’s moving too fast.
Be careful, Pedro! said Rosanna.
I don’t believe it! Rosanna said. We’re alive.
Yes, but where are we? asked Lucia. And where’s Vila Nova?
I don’t know, Pedro answered, but I can see a village. Perhaps we can ask there.
Lucia, Pedro and Rosanna left the boat and went to the village. They found some houses, but nobody was there.
Why did everybody leave? asked Pedro.
I don’t know, Lucia answered. Perhaps they left because of the stranger and the men in the forest.
Look at that! Rosanna said, suddenly. It’s a temple.
It’s thousands of years old, said Lucia. Shall we go inside?
Why? asked Pedro.
Because it’s exciting, Lucia answered. Come on.
I don’t like this, Pedro said. I want to go back to Vila Nova.
They went inside. Suddenly, the door closed behind them.
I told you! said Pedro. How are we going to get out now?
It’s very dark in here, said Lucia.
It’s cold, too, said Pedro. And what’s that strange noise?
Rosanna listened. Hmm. Snakes, I think.
Snakes? said Pedro. Quick! Let’s find another door.
They walked slowly through the old temple. It was difficult to see. There were spiders and insects, as well as snakes. Pedro was afraid.
I don’t understand why Lucia wanted to come in here, he thought.
There must be another door, said Lucia, and we’re going to find it.
When Lucia wants to do something, nothing can stop her, thought Pedro.
After a long time, they found the door.
At last! Now can we go back to Vila Nova? asked Pedro.
All right, Lucia said. We have to tell my father about those men in the forest.
They went back to the boat.
I know this place! Rosanna said, suddenly. My father’s friend lives in that house. We aren’t far from Vila Nova.
When they got back, they went to see Lucia’s father.
You must come with us, Lucia said. There are some men – they’re destroying the forest! We must stop them. And the stranger! He’s dangerous. He wanted to kill us! And …
Sit down, Lucia’s father said. And tell me everything – slowly!
Lucia told her father everything.
We must stop them, he said at last. I’m going to call the police. Then you can take us to this place in the forest.
When the police arrived, they all went to look for the men in the forest. But the men weren’t there.
They were here yesterday, Rosanna said. I know they were here.
Lucia looked at her father. Then she looked at the forest.
We’re too late, she said, this time. But next time, I’m going to stop them.