Harold Lane was a Hermit who lived in a cave on the outskirts of the township of Sillock. He was totally self-sufficient, with a fire and animal skin rug in his cave for Winter & he fed himself by killing small wild animals with a crossbow that he made by himself using only a sharp heavy knife.
He would wander into Sillock and go to the laundry & public showers to spruce up, despite his long grey bear & hair & tatty trenchcoat.
One day the new school Principal, Paul Harrington, saw an arrow made by Harold. Nobody was afraid of Harold. Quite the opposite. Paul was progressive & wanted the students to do more outdoors type activities. When he hears that Harold also made crossbows he just had to meet him. He met Harold at the library & offered Harold a position at the school. Harold accepted.
After tutoring his students they completed a 100% handmade crossbow….a crossbow bigger than Harold used. He and Paul had a student test their crossbow at 20 yards and the arrow went straight through it. They then tried 30 yards and the arrow only had a few centimetres appearing from the target. They tried 40 yards and still a half of the arrow was protruding. It was time to try 50 yards.
Harold chose a student called John Gilmour. John loaded the bow and hit a bullseye. The other children cheered. Harold watched John. People thought he was cool but Harold picked his shyness.
As the students continued to go around John hit a bullseye every time. Harold noticed that after John had taken his shot he would go & stand at thee back of the group while other students gave him high 5s. John reluctantly returned the compliments.
At the end of the class, Harold went to Pauls office. “Did you see that John kid? He hit 12 bullseyes without missing a single one.” Paul said, “I know,” said Paul. Harold asked, “So what’s his story?” Paul said, “He’s a good student. Good grades but there’s trouble at home.” Harold said, “How so?” Paul replied, “His father is a violent alcoholic who beats his Mum.” Harold said, “When would be a good time to visit?” Paul said, “”Probably 6pm-9pm. That’s when his Dad’s at the pub. Why?” Harold said, “That boy needs to be in the archery club. I can get him in. I just need one piece of paper signed by a parent.”
The following week, Harold was starting with a new group of students. In the meantime he had been to the library & photocopied a registration form. One day Harold saw John in the corridor & ran the archery club idea past him. “I can get your Mum to sign it,” he said with a wink. Johns face lit up. “Cool,” he said. “Thanks for your trouble.” Harold replied, “No trouble, son.”
The following Saturday Harold made his way into Sillock & approached Mrs. Gilmour. She was happy to sign it. “So you’re an archer, boy?” she proudly said whilst rubbing his hair.
The following Saturday Harold took John & the paperwork to the archery club meeting. John picked up a bow and got a feel for the bow. He was surprised at how light it was. He did practise sighting. Harold whispered in his ear, “Aim with the bow, son. Aim with the bow.” It came Johns turn to shoot. He calmly picked up an arrow & loaded it and took the shot. Bullseye! The crowd remained silent as John made his way to the back of the crowd,, closely followed by Harold who said, “”Well done boy. Keep it up.”
John repeated his score a further 4 times. At the end of the meeting a portly man came to John & Harold & introduced himself as Malcolm. “”Well done young chap. I’ve been president here for 20 years && I’ve never seen a perfect score. Who’s your coach. John shyly pointed at Harold & said, “He is. Harold.” Malcolm shook Harolds hand & said, “If the young fellah here can even go close this score I’d like to invite him to the county play-offs…..& from there you may even make it to the nationals.
2 weeks latter John & Harold turned up at the archery meeting. There was a much larger crowd. They were there to see John who was his normal reserved & calm self. After 4 bullseyes the crowd was buzzing. Harold approached John and whispered, “Wait until they’ve shut up, son.” John had practise sightings to pass the time. He still looked unphased.
The crowd eventually settled down. John took aim & fired. Within seconds the crowd were roaring & John was mobbed….led by Malcolm who whispered, “You’re off to to the counties, my boy! Well done!” John made his way out of the crowd & found Harold. They walked home together, John carrying his medal with him.
John repeated his performance at the counties. Again he was mobbed & made the newspapers. He became less shy but not in a cocky way. He could be described as ‘cool.’ The nationals were 6 weeks away. Paul was worried that Paul wasn’t practising. Harold said,”That boy doesn’t need to practise. He’s a natural. He’s just ‘got it’ as they say.”
The Sillock archery club took a bus to Wembley Stadium, where the nationals would be held. While all of the other bowmen were limbering up & checking their sights, John casually wandered around behind them doing nothing in particular..
When John hit his first bullseye the crowd erupted. The other bowmen looked nervous. They hadn’t heard of John. He was an unknown quantity that they hadn’t banked on. After his 3rd bullseye, John was unbeatable. Just for good measure his last 2 shots were bullseyes. The place erupted.
Once John had made his way out of the crowd he was invited onto a stage to receive a medal & make a speech. All he could manage to say was, “I’d like to thank Harold…..erm….& I’d like to thank my Principal. They both made this possible.”
Harold the walked onto the stage without being stopped. He said, “This boy had no help from me or his Principal. John is a natural bowman. He’s just proved it…..yet again.”
Harold is still teaching. John is now competing on the international circuit.