Since spotting a chap crafting his own arrows at a fair, Finje has been nothing less than obsessed with the idea of owning her own bow and arrow.
As my current obsession is the avoidance of raising a spoiled child and despite being sorely tempted by the mini-bows for kids, Finje was made to work for this particular want. If she wanted it badly enough she would be willing to put the effort in. And that she did. Chore after chore and good deed after good deed, she eventually "earned" her way into a trip to the archery centre to see if she was physically able to twang (technical term) the thing.
My daughter is, in some ways a
mixed up sensitive soul. Known to go into meltdown should one of us inadvertently tread on an unsuspecting slug or innocent insect, she'll happily swot a fly or congratulate Ripley the Merciless (cat) on her torture and execution of rodents.
With this in mind, I was uncertain as to her response on discovering that, in order to fulfill her wish to give archery a "shot" she would be aiming her arrows at wild animals, albeit rubber ones.
After 15 minutes of instruction, we stomped determinedly off, forest bound, in a kind of Robin-and-his-Merry men-in-shorts-and-T-shirts-carrying-a-family-bag-of-Haribo way.
The first target eased us gently into the task at hand. A huge black rubber spider splayed across a huge rubber rock, staring at us with its eight huge rubber eyes. My husband, who, clearly channelling his inner Robin, turned out to be quite the expert, landed all four arrows between its arachnid eyes. Finje, cheered his success and fired her own arrows with equal gusto but less accuracy.Moving on throughout he forest, the targets became more realistic. Wild boar, bears, deer and even raccoons fixed in pose, awaiting their destiny. To my surprise and relief, Finje dealt with this in her own unique way. Eying her prey and demonstrating a level of concentration seldom seen, she fired her arrows and whooped with joy at a hit.
Afterwards, removing each arrow from her victim, she stroked its head and had a quiet word.
"I'm so sorry we had to hurt you, but we are only doing it for your meat and we love you very much."
She repeated this mantra after each of the 20 targets, even if we failed to hit them.That's my girl!