Where had Samson gone the day Daniel arrived at the cave in The Bronze Bow?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Daniel arrives back at the cave a number of times during the course of the narrative.  The first time he leaves the cave after Samson's arrival, he has to be quite firm in insisting that the quiet giant remain behind.  As he goes down the hill, Samson stands "at the top of the trail looking down" after him, unmoving. When Daniel returns around midnight, and begins "the steep ascent that (leads) to the cave...a dark shape move(s) out from the boulders above...and then (comes) soundlessly down toward him".  It is clear that Samson has been waiting and watching for Daniel's return (Chapters 3 and 5).

After this first time, it is easier for Daniel to leave Samson behind.  The man seems to understand that he will return.  When Daniel's grandmother dies, Daniel must return to the village to care for his sister Leah.  He takes over the work at his friend Simon's forge, and is gone for quite awhile.  When he does finally return to the cave, Samson is not there.  Daniel is a little disappointed that the big man is not waiting for him, even though he knows that he must have had "something better to do than to sit watching for him after all these weeks".  Interestingly, Daniel notices that the forge at the cave had been heated, which might indicate that Samson had been there recently, but now, he is nowhere about.

After a short time, Samson returns.  He stands "at the head of the path...over his shoulder...(is) slung the carcass of a sheep".  Samson had indeed been watching for Daniel's return even as he had been working, and when he saw that he was coming, he went to steal a sheep so that they could celebrate his return (Chapter 14).

When Daniel returns to the cave for the last time, Samson is again nowhere to be seen.  As Daniel descends the path after his final confrontation with Rosh, he hears footsteps behind him and hopes that they are Samson's, but they are not.  Daniel "would have liked to say good-bye to the big man, to clasp the man's hand, to try to tell him not to watch anymore", but he does not get the chance.  Like a guardian angel, however, Samson is again watching, albeit undetected.  He follows Daniel on his desperate foray to rescue Joel from the Romans and springs forth to help when all seems lost, truly giving up his life for his friend (Chapters 18-19).

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