I am David by Anne Holm, , Mammoth edition, in English. I Am David by Anne Holm - book cover, description, publication history. Trove: Find and get Australian resources. Books, images, historic newspapers, maps, archives and more.
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I Am David. Anne Holm. This is the story of a young boy's escape and journey to find his family. While it is probably set in Bulgaria during the s when it was. I AM DAVID. By. ANNE HOLM. Chapter 1. David lay quite still in the darkness, listening to the men's low muttering. But this evening he was aware of their voices . I am David - Free ebook download as Word Doc .doc /.docx), PDF File .pdf), Anne Holm was married to a well-known numismatist, and has a son and two.
And it was very long. He knew every little irregularity in its surface. King senses David's fear and runs to the guards and gets shot while David runs past them. The sun continued to shine with a pleasant warmth day by day. But that was hardly likely to happen -.
Not cars. A little farther on the ground fell away so steeply from the road that there were no houses for some distance. This time it was he who had made the decision. The morning was still young and everywhere was quiet in the sunlight. Now that he was close to the road. He followed the stream a little way.
Just before he came to the road he stopped irresolutely: The road wound among the hills and you could not see much of it at one time because it kept bending sharply round the spurs. Ever since the night he had found the bundle lying under the tree as the man had told him it would be. Was it all to last only a single morning. Beautiful houses.
The going was steep. The thought gave David a good warm feeling. His feet had not wanted to take the risk of crossing the road. But where there were houses there were people. Not slowly. But that meant he would have to lie flat all day. It was round and rather soft. From now on he would think for himself and make his own decisions, and his feet and hands and body would be his servants to do his bidding.
Right down by the edge of the water he was sheltered from the road, and the nearest house was some way off. David did not think anyone would be able to see him from there, but he was not sure -- and it was necessary to be sure. If he could get over to that rock, he would be in a kind of cave with two walls and a bit of a roof. But it was too far for him to jump across. David put his bundle down and stretched his leg over the edge, feeling about with his foot for some support; but it was very steep and slippery.
Only a yard separated him from the best hiding-place he had ever seen! It must be possible, there must be some way Perhaps he could find a big stone and drop it into the cleft so that he could clamber across?
But struggle as he would, he could not budge the only boulder that looked big enough. If he had a rope Then something brown caught his eye a little farther down on his side of the cleft. A wooden packingcase -- or rather a bit of one: David suppressed his excitement. It was not big enough, he told himself. But he ought to try, just to make sure. When his heart was beating normally again, he set off after it. The plank was long enough!
He could lay it across like a bridge, and lift it away after he had crossed over it so that no one could follow him! But was it stout enough? He found two smaller stones and laid them one under each end of the plank: It creaked a little, but it would take his weight.
It was very bare on the other side. Bare but safe, and there was room enough to lie down; and owing to the formation of the projecting rock, he would be in shadow most of the time. He could see a short stretch of the road above from where he was without being seen himself and he could see the whole coastline towards the east.
David took his wet trousers off and spread them and his shirt out to dry in the sun, and then he unpacked his bundle and arranged his possessions neatly by his side -- his compass, his knife, his bottle, the bit of bread the man on board the ship had given him, and finally the round yellow thing.
He held it firmly but carefully while he scratched it with his finger-nail and bored his finger right through the skin. It was moist inside. He sniffed his finger and licked it -- it smelled good and had a bitter-sweet taste.
So he took the peel right off and pulled the inside apart. It was quite easy to separate into small pieces,. He was hungry, and he had a bit of bread as well. He wondered if that round thing were fit to eat.
Taking a bite, he chewed and swallowed and waited to see what would happen. But nothing happened, nothing except that it tasted good. It did not make him ill. David ate half the pieces and chewed a bit of bread. Then he tried the orange-coloured peel, but that tasted sharp and unpleasant.
He tried to push the thought away but it kept returning: How can I stay free when I don't know what everybody else knows? I don't even know what's good to eat and what's poisonous. The only food I know about is porridge and bread and soup. For a little while he lost courage.
Why had he not talked to the others in the camp, listened to their conversation and asked about the world outside? Not about food, of course, for there was a rule in the camp that no one might talk about food: When you had nothing but bread and porridge, and not enough of that, you did not want to talk about the kind of food you used to have when you were free. But there were other things he could have asked about. As long as Johannes had been with him, he had asked questions all the time, but he was only a little boy then and had asked about all sorts of things he had no use for now.
He looked out over the blue sea and down along the coast full of bright colour and sunshine, and clenched his teeth. He must think about Johannes and try to recall all they had talked about. He must think, too, what he had heard the other prisoners say before they had been too long in the camp to say anything more and merely let the days drag by. Sometimes he had discovered that they were trying to escape: Their attempts at escape were never successful, but that was not their fault: David decided to follow their example.
He would make a plan of action, weighing what he knew against what he did not, and carry it out without allowing himself to be depressed by doubts or misled by hope.
On his side was the fact that although he was very thin he had strong, tough muscles. He had sharp eyes and ears, and he was used to doing with very little food.
He stopped. Was there anything else to his credit? Yes, he was prepared for them: He was familiar with treachery, and he knew what death looked like.
But what advantage was his knowledge of death when he was now determined to live? David frowned. Then he thought of another point in his favour: Learning to do that had been a great help to him in the camp.
When he could no longer pass the time thinking of mealtimes and the changing of the guard, there were various languages he could learn. David reckoned up how many he knew. First of course what they spoke -- he could read that, too. Then he knew French And besides that, German and Italian and English.
He knew some Spanish and a bit of Hebrew. Being able to talk to the sailor who had found him on board the ship had been a great advantage David felt greatly encouraged -- perhaps he would recall other things he knew as he gradually grew accustomed to thinking again. However, there were plenty of things he knew nothing of. He knew there were maps, but he had never seen one and he was quite ignorant of where the various countries of Europe lay or where their boundaries ran.
He was not at all sure which of those countries were free: Then there was the business of food -- he would have to live on what he could find, and every time he would have to risk eating something poisonous in his ignorance or passing by what was edible and going hungry.
Worst of all, there were people. If he wanted to preserve his freedom, he would have to keep right away from them. But at the same time he realized he would have to get to know something about how people lived outside a prison-camp, since an unknown danger was more dangerous than one that could be reckoned with beforehand. And so David took another decision. When it was dark he must go into the town that lay farther along the coast down by the sea. In the darkness he could always slip into a gateway or round a street corner, as he had discovered in Salonica; but he would have to go while there were people about the streets so.
In any case, it would not be as dangerous now as it might be later, for no one could yet know where to look for him. Perhaps they would not look for him at all? Here again David ran into the blank wall of his own ignorance. He did not know who he was, did not even know what country he came from. He had always lived in the camp, and even Johannes, who knew so many things, had not been able to find out anything about him for the simple reason that no one knew anything.
David wondered what he looked like. In the man's hut there had been a mirror, but it was hung too high. David had thought at one time that perhaps he was Jewish As a rule, the people they imprisoned were those who wanted to decide for themselves what they should believe and be free to write books and articles about it.
But that could not apply to him. Jews, on the other hand, were sometimes imprisoned just because they did not like Jews They said they did, but it was not true. One could not always find out why they had arrested people, and if someone had happened to find him somewhere and taken him along to the camp when he was quite small, then it might be that he was not of sufficient consequence for them to make any particular effort to recapture him.
But he could not be sure of that David realized that he must have a story. He knew from his experiences in the camp that it might be a matter of life and death to "have a good story" and stick to it however much one might be questioned. In the evening, when he had seen the kind of life people lived, he might perhaps be able to hit upon a story he could make use of if anyone questioned him.
Not that he intended that anyone should speak to him if he could avoid it, but it was best to be prepared. No one took any notice of him. While he was on the road, a man had turned round to look at him, but David had told himself, "You mustn't look as if you're afraid! And down here in the town no one at all turned to look at him.
It was a small town, not like Salonica. The streets were small and narrow and very hilly. There was talk everywhere -- people walking along with.
In front of him a man and a woman were walking along. The first time David was aware of it he could hardly bring himself to move on He hurried on to the nearest light -. Tomorrow when it grew light.
It was not the ugly laughter he was used to when they laughed at the prisoners. And the few women David had seen looked quite different from those here.. David knew of course that it could not be true. No one took any notice of him.. David picked it up in the dark: And the people were beautiful! David had seen good-looking people before -. He dared not stand still too long outside a brightly-lit shop: David saw the same fruit again. If only the letters were not so difficult to read! Johannes had taught him the shapes of the letters they used in other countries.
He had better go back to his rock. David translated the word into German: But here they were beautiful.. If only he had a book so that he could practise reading those letters! Going down into the town had been a good move. He could find out what food looked like. David felt quite dizzy with looking at so many things.
When they finished. His heart beating faster.. He was hungry. The man frowned and looked at him a little puzzled. There were some good people -. Perhaps the young fellow isn't hungry! He stopped outside a shop where they baked round flat loaves with what he had learnt were called tomatoes on top. Then he shrugged his shoulders right up to his ears and let them fall again.
His head felt very heavy as if he had been running all night long: But he did not tell him that a church could be beautiful -. He looked up and discovered he was standing in a large square.
Perhaps in the morning he would find another orange. David automatically put out his hand -. He turned to go. At first he was frightened. A trap. He would take the bread and then the man would fetch them. David looked at the church for a long time. Slowly he turned his back upon the square and went down into the narrow.
Johannes had told him so -. A church! Not very hungry at the moment. The man was standing in the open doorway offering him one of the loaves. David hesitated. He looked up into the man's face and saw it was just like the sailor's -.
He felt it had some meaning for him. The man laughed in a hearty friendly way. Perhaps it was because he had washed his shirt and trousers with it as well. And there was his piece of paper: That must not happen again! He made himself count to a hundred before he picked up his paper in order to remind himself how important it was never to do anything without thinking. Then he ran down-hill again. There was something about motor-cars.
He decided to make do with washing his hands and feet and face that day and to go sparingly with his precious soap. He had plenty of other things to occupy him: He had run up to the little stream for a wash before anyone was about. On the whole it proved disappointing: Still free. The evening before he had read several notices in the town. But there were not many countries like that. From what he had heard in the camp.
He had seen so much in the town that he knew deep within himself that he would have to go down there again. Then he began reading to himself what was on the paper. And in between times. David had gathered that the countries that had kings were free and their people had no need to be frightened of them. David murmured the names of the letters to himself. The scrap of paper was difficult to read. When he woke it was day.
As long as it was still daylight he would think no more about paying another visit to the town. But at that point the paper was torn across. He was pulled both ways: Never in the whole of David's life had a day passed so quickly as did the next one. The blue sea stretching farther. When evening came David went down to the town again.
During his second evening he had read something on a wall about a circus.. That evening the man was talking of someone called Guglio and the good catch he had had. He was gradually getting to know it inside out -the narrow crooked streets.
He had not summoned up enough courage to enter the church although he would have dearly loved to see what it looked like inside.. In that way he learnt what many things were used for.. He went down to the town again during the evening. It was easy enough for they always talked very loudly with frequent bursts of laughter.
David would sometimes stand in the shadows outside a shop and listen to the conversation within. He understood it was a kind of theatre that travelled about: He had not yet heard anyone talk about them: He had hit upon a good story. And so it was almost out of habit that David now hid in the dark outside and listened.
And again the next evening. He always went there last of all so that on the way back to the rock he would have fresh in mind the beautiful wall with its patterns of many-coloured stone. At first he would stand for a long time hidden in the shadows outside the shop listening to the baker's conversation with his customers -. For a moment David's heart stood still with fear. Then he realized they were talking.. He always walked on if anyone looked at him. But he had had no occasion to try his story out.
He's got very strange-looking eyes. As he lay there. He increased his speed. I've seen the boy. Do you know? With no more sound than a puff of wind he was down the street and inside the first open door -.
They might be sending for them already. Perhaps we should get hold of him and ask him where he comes from. I don't know about that. When he reached the safety of the rocks. He looks a bit foreign. Signor Missiani takes on a number of casual workers about this time. Then he suddenly heard the man say. If you smile at him. The last two evenings he had left his bundle there. He doesn't look like the others and he always moves off when you look at him Never before had he found it so difficult to walk along calmly as if he felt no fear.
I assumed he'd come over for the harvest. Does he look as if he's up to mischief? He stood there a little longer.. David waited a long.
It must be the same one. But first he had to make sure no one was following. And his eyes. Another man was speaking now. He sat up and looked once more at the lights of the town. A boy could not very well disguise himself. Before he had come to the town he had known about nothing but death: And if they no longer dared to pretend that they had not seen him about.
He had been right in supposing that they were everywhere. David sighed a little. They looked beautiful in the dark. David cried -. But he must never stay in one place more than one evening.
He must continue to avoid people as much as possible. David wished he knew what was so strange about his eyes.
And he could go on thinking. The thought filled him with despair. He had also learnt to think again without being afraid of doing it. He had begun to feel that it was his town. He knew every little irregularity in its surface. Grown men could grow beards or shave them off. But he had also found it true that some people were good and kind. But he had been right when he sensed there was danger there: The little stream higher up across the road had been his alone.
All the beauty of the place had been his: What did they mean when they said they were quiet? Perhaps one day he would come across a mirror and find out what he looked like. But when you were a boy with neither beard nor money. There must be lots of boys in the world. David packed everything except his compass into his bundle and stood up. Then he found he had been right. Travelling by night was too exhausting in a terrain where at every step you might run into something or trip over it -.
Then he set off quietly up the mountain slope towards the north. For a moment he thought he had lost his way in the dark and had wandered round in a circle till he was back again in the neighbourhood of the town.
But what now? He must go northwards: Perhaps it had broken? But the needle moved as it should. David rose quickly to his feet and made his way down towards the shore until he could see along the coast. It was still daylight. He was no longer used to travelling at night-time and decided that as soon as he had got far enough away he would travel during the day instead. David could think about the man calmly and dispassionately.
He had noticed. He waited till it was light enough to see whether there were houses nearby and then found a good clump of bushes to sleep in. For the first time since he had arrived in Italy. When he had crossed over the plank he drew it after him and carried it right up to the roadway so that no one would see where he had been living. David was glad when it began to grow light. When he woke he had a shock.
He looked anxiously at his compass. The many things he must have failed to notice in the town continued to fret him. Then another thought occurred to him: He could read anything now. He had told him to go. There might have been boys there.
He stood still for a moment and looked down at the lights of the town. The point where land and sea and sky faded into one another. He had not realized that they grew on trees. He was lost now. Now he had nothing. Then he found a comfortable place to sit on a flat rock and settled down to his breakfast. He stood up and as he stumbled over a loose stone his compass went flying over the edge of the rock where he had been sitting.
And they would find him. But why should he do what the man told him?
Was not he David. Now he would go round in circles and keep coming back to the same place. All he could do was to follow it with his eyes until it disappeared into the sea so far below that he could not even hear the plop. But he had better be on his way. He had had so little. The sea was very deep under the rocks. In the camp. He did find one -. A little bit of bread.
He had seen only too often what happened if you failed to obey even an ordinary guard. David crossed it. He was the commandant. Before he could put his hand out to catch it it was too late. And there had been a ship sailing for Italy. He had not yet discovered any trap the man had set for him -. David picked two oranges so as to have one in reserve.
But now there was no longer any reason to obey him. He sat for a long time staring at the place where it had disappeared. Or was there? The bundle had lain under the tree. It was all very puzzling and David could find no answer. There was not much traffic up on the road. Freedom was precious.
But as for himself. And if you know where Johannes is now. But which God should he choose? It was important to find the right one. Not that David had anything against women. I am David.
It was what the men sometimes said in the camp when they were most in despair. But the David Johannes used to talk about knew that even if he couldn't see you. And no compass either. If only he had listened more carefully to what the men had talked about in the camp!
He had been interested only in learning new words. Something in rather difficult words -. Then perhaps I can gradually find out about you so that I can do something in return. David dug into his memory: Was not there something about a god. Then David decided that he must have a god: That other David had said of his God. The God of the Catholics seemed to leave things to a woman called Mary. I am David and I choose you as my God! But you must please understand that I can't do anything for you.
I pray you will help me so that they won't catch me again. Suddenly it came back to him. Clutching his orange tightly. Johannes should have taught him something about God.
What gods did he know of? The one the Jews had made so many demands to in return for his help? And what had David to give? And if you were not a Jew. If he had asked more questions. He leadeth me beside the still waters. Every evening. Meanwhile dusk was falling rapidly. The man made a sudden movement and David heard him mutter.
He was glad he had thought of it: And he had not met them anywhere. During the course of the evening he had almost reached the point where the coastline bore to the left. As he watched him groping about in the half-light along the edge of the road. Everywhere had been beautiful. David rose to his feet.! It had been a good day. The figure. When people wore spectacles. David raised his head -. During the course of that day he had discovered that unless a town were very small its name appeared on a notice some distance ahead.
David sat down by the roadside. Perhaps it was a mistake to say "amen" because that was what Catholics did.. He felt a sense of relief and added strength just as he had the morning he had determined to go on living.
Perhaps there was one in every town. He lay thinking about various things. People often did that. There was so much to eat in Italy that people would leave food lying about without realizing it -. There had not been any cars of the sort they rode in either.
Bread was his chief problem.. David ducked. A man got out of the car and began rummaging in the boot. He thought. After a while he took the precaution of lying flat on his stomach and facing the road. He had quite a different look about him: David could not imagine him striking or shooting anyone. Instead they told him they came from England.
He now felt in his pocket. Was he one of them after all? Could he escape? How far could he get? It was only a second before the stranger turned round and said. If you can't. Fortunately they did not seem very interested. David did not really want to.
But the man smiled and said. David was just about to say that he had not been offended. It's not much good looking for glasses when you haven't got them on. They asked him what he was called and who he was. He asked her if she had ever before come across a little Italian tramp who spoke English with an Oxford accent and was offended when he was offered money.
So David said good evening to her. A coin lay in his hand. The man had stepped over to the car and was talking to someone inside as David stood by with the glasses in his hand. A woman sat inside: David replied that his name was David and he was on his way to join a circus farther north.
Then the woman suggested they. David cast his eyes down. Then the man spoke to her in French. Since they already thought it strange that he spoke English. These turned out to be food -. He might be English. I can. She was a good queen. He ate the last mouthful. I would like to see you smile. Can I go now? The man told him that at the moment there was a queen because the last king had had no sons.
We can't get mixed up in it. David looked at him in surprise.. But he had nothing to give. You can see he's not an ordinary little tramp. He's about the same age as our own boys.
I'm sorry: I don't know how to do it. What did it matter what she had? All that really mattered was that the people of England were free. Those eyes. They asked David if he would like one. David answered quickly.
And he would have to learn to smile: It was growing quite dark now. I didn't take your food before you said I could. It would be helpful to find a mirror -. There isn't. There was a man in the. Only he must take more care and remember not to look at people long enough for them to notice his eyes. If you could smile back every time people smiled at you.. English people from a free country. She was only there on holiday. He ran back along the road..
If he had taken the money. David began to clamber slowly down the slope towards the sea to find himself a place to sleep in for the night.
The Englishman had wanted to give him money! He had refused it. David could not understand it. He would not be able to avoid people. She seemed to think she ought to keep him there. But in future he might be able to find things to do that he could get money for: Then to David. It had felt almost like possessing something. He was thinking about the strangers -.
The thought was comforting: But if she were ignorant of the situation. Then off he ran before they could stop him again. It stayed there a long time before it drove off. David was just on the point of falling asleep when what seemed a very important idea struck him.
Only two days later. A corner broke off. It did not look ugly. Without being fully aware of it. David waited till she was out of sight and then picked it up: At first his hand shook so much he could not see properly. Johannes had had blue eyes. Clutching it in his hand. And manage he did during the following weeks.
Not that he wanted to do as the man had told him. A woman walking along the street dropped it. Was there something wrong with dark grey eyes? Perhaps there was a touch of green in them if you looked carefully. And as he opened his eyes in the morning to the warmth of the sun. The colour of his hair perhaps was not quite right: Here in Italy they all had dark brown or black eyes.. He continued as far as he could to go northwards.
But you could have other colours.. David had some idea at the back of his mind that he might perhaps go to England. Many times a day during the days that followed he took out his mirror and practised smiling. During his first days of freedom he had had but one thought from morning to night: He still could not understand in what way they were strange.
It was thin. He held the mirror close to his face to take a good look at his eyes. He would just have to turn away when anyone looked at him for any length of time. There was a seat. David strove to recall what the eyes of the men in the camp had looked like. He realized afterwards that he did not know what he would have done if anyone had attempted to take the bags. Not that he really expected that he would be able to preserve his freedom long enough for that: He promised himself that if he were not caught and came to a country where he could live in security.
There were olives with their gnarled trunks and pale grey-green leaves whispering and quivering in the lightest breeze as if they were alive. His piece of soap had grown quite small now. The Italians did not ask so many questions. Every time he came to a town.
The sun continued to shine with a pleasant warmth day by day. Best of all were those places where a river flowed through the valley.
The idea of earning some money had bee a good one. Every time he came to a bend in the road he was afraid the beauty would disappear. All his life David had seen nothing but the same ugly. David's chief difficulty was that people asked so many questions.
It was now a long time since he had seen the sea. He dared not wash in the towns when he filled his water-bottle at the pump. David was quite determined. He had earned no money in Naples. Deadline Chris Crutcher. The Silver Sword Ian Serraillier. Heritage Availability: I Am David Author s: Turtleback Books Availability: Harcourt Children's Books Availability: Perfection Learning Availability: Heinemann Availability: I am David Windrush Author s: I am David M-Books Author s: Nelson Thornes Ltd Availability: I am David Author s: Irwin Publishing Availability: Methuen young books Availability: Egmont Availability: Demco Media Availability: Egmont Books Ltd Availability: