“Let’s go to the hay bales!” said Anton.
“Those are on the other side of the stream, behind the hills,” replied Manfred. “And we can’t go over the brook just now. Let’s stay here and catch frogs.”
“But I want to go across,” Anton demanded. “We’re in rubber boots, so our clothes won’t get wet.” No sooner had he said this than he’d stepped into the swollen brook.
“No!” Manfred cried in alarm. But it was too late. Anton had stepped into the river, and immediately the water reached his thighs, though other times it had never even risen to his knees so close to shore. He lost his balance and fell into the water. Both of them were terrified.
“Anton!” Manfred shouted. “Get out!”
Anton stood up and tried to squirm his way to the bank. But he slipped on the muddy bottom and slid even deeper into the river. By now the water reached his neck, and he howled in despair. He turned toward the bank and began pulling himself out, except that his foot got stuck on something and he couldn’t get it loose.
“Help me, Manfred! Help me!”
From the water’s edge Manfred reached out with his hand.
“Grab my hand—I’ll pull you out!” Anton grabbed it and Manfred pulled, but the root that was holding Anton’s foot at the bottom of the brook wouldn’t let go.
“My foot is stuck!” Anton shouted and began to cry. A wave splashed over his head, spraying cold water into his face. This made him panic more, and now he spat and sneezed and cried even louder.