The Bat Who Went to Sea (part two)

The sail unfurled and Basil was flung into the air. He opened his eyes, gasped, and frantically began to fly. He looked down only to discover the ship had already moved on.  There was nothing below him but water. He looked out toward the horizon in every direction, but there was no land to be seen.

“You’ll just have to fly home then, Basil,” he said to himself, trying not to panic. He looked down to see which way the waves were moving, and decided to fly in the same direction, hoping they would guide him home.

He flew and flew until he began to feel he had been flying forever. He had no way of knowing how far he might have traveled, but there was still no land in sight. The trouble was, he hadn’t really gotten much sleep the day before and he was dreadfully tired.

Then he realized he was dropping closer and closer to the ocean and he cried out in fear.

“Help! Someone help me!”

But no one was in sight.

He fought as hard as he could to continue to fly, but was terrified he was about to fall into the sea. He looked down, expecting to see the waves just inches away. Instead he saw a huge eye. He wasn’t about to fall into the ocean. He was about to land on a great blue whale. His cry for help had been heard after all.

The instant Basil landed on the great whale, it surged forward. Keeping its back above the surface of the water, it moved every bit as fast as the sailing ship, but in the opposite direction. Basil was having a great time. His fear and exhaustion were forgotten. Traveling by whale was way better than traveling by ship. As he hung on for dear life, a huge grin covered his little bat face.

as soon as they came within sight of land, the whale flipped up his gigantic tail and prepared to return to the open sea. Basil called out a delighted and very grateful thank you and set off to fly home.

As soon as he entered the cave, his family began to wake up. They had no idea he had even been gone. Basil decided it was best to keep it that way. Otherwise he figured he would be grounded for sure.

photography of whale tail on water surface
Photo by Rudolf Kirchner on Pexels.com

The Bat Who Went to Sea

Basil the Bat peeked around the edge  of the cave. It was morning and the rest of his family was sound asleep. They’d all been busy the night before chasing down insects for the family meal. But Basil was too excited to sleep. Unlike the rest of his family, Basil wasn’t content with just being a bat. He wanted to join the Sea Elves and have daring adventures at sea.

So all morning he’d kept an eye on the harbor far below. Today it had been especially busy. Ever since sunrise, he’d watched ship after ship enter the harbor, while others sailed away. The tiny bat was fascinated by all this activity. He longed to be down there in the midst of the action. 

After a quick glance behind him to make sure everyone was fast asleep, Basil decided to venture out of the cave and fly down for a closer look. Just for a minute, he told himself,  he’d curl up inside one of the furled topsails. Just long enough to imagine what it would be like to go to sea.

So the adventurous little bat slipped out of the cave and flew all the way to the top of the mast on the nearest sailing ship. He crept into the rolled up topsail and settled himself inside, hanging upside down from the top as if he was still sleeping in the cave. He listened to the creaking of the ship as the waves brushed against it, feeling it roll gently even though it was tied securely to the dock. He was so excited he could barely breathe. For the first time in his life he was on a full-masted sailing ship.

Eventually the gentle rocking of the ship had its inevitable effect. He forgot he was supposed to quickly fly away. After all, he’d been up all night, and daytime is the natural time for a bat to rest. So even though he’d meant to just stay for a moment, he soon fell sound asleep.

While Basil slept, the members of the crew came aboard. In no time at all they had the ship ready to depart. When the captain called out “All hands on deck!”  the ship slid away from the dock. Soon it left the harbor behind and was out on the open sea. As the wind picked up, the captain ordered the crew to raise more sails so they would gain speed.

“Raise the topsail!” the captain cried out at last. And the highest sail on the ship began to open.

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Photo by Inge Wallumrød on Pexels.com

End of part one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Disaster, (Part Three)

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Startled, Poppy leaned closer to the ground and listened for the sound to repeat again. Sure enough. Another Burp! and another.

She tilted her head, and walked slowly back and forth. When the sound repeated again, she was standing right above the loudest point. “What is below the ground right here?” she wondered. She looked around and spotted a small mound of dirt. Gopher diggings! It must be Rocky the gopher’s burrow! Oh dear!

Rocky must be the thief that stole her seeds. And now he had eaten them. But surely he couldn’t have eaten them all!  Surely she could save some.

But how would she get him out of the burrow?

As she was pondering her problem, a large bumblebee flew by.

“That’s it, “she said to herself. “I’ll ask the bees to invade the burrow. Surely a swarm of bees buzzing around him would get him out.” She called out to the bee and quickly explained the problem.

“Hmmm,” the bee replied. “Mmm yes. I’ll go ask the queen. I’m sure she will help. After all, hmmm, we depend on the nectar from those flowers to make our honey.”

While Poppy waited for the bees’ answer, she hurried home and grabbed her seed-gathering bag. Then she returned to the burrow to wait.

She was surprised when a dark swarm of countless bees suddenly appeared.  They were  headed rapidly towards her.

“That was fast,” she thought.

The bees formed a loud, buzzing cloud. Even Poppy stepped back a little. A huge crowd of bees was an alarming sight, even though she was their friend.

“Down this way,” she called to them, pointing to the entrance to the tunnel.

One after another, the bees dove into the tunnel. All of a sudden there was a loud yell.

“Help!” Then the sound of racing feet. The gopher erupted from the tunnel’s back door, followed by the swarm of bees.

“Thank you,” Poppy called out, but the bees were already too far away to hear. That gopher was really moving!

Poppy flew down into the tunnel and found a wide cavern that was the gopher’s bedroom. Sure enough, right in the middle stood a pile of wildflower seeds.

“I wonder how they got here?” Poppy said aloud. “Gophers don’t climb trees.” Then she noticed the squirrel tracks on the dirt floor. Of course! Rocky the gopher and Boulder the squirrel were great friends. They must be in this together.  The squirrel stole the seeds, and the gopher hid them in his burrow.

Shaking her head at the naughty behavior of the rodents, Poppy opened her bag and filled it with the seeds that were left.

“At least there will be some wildflowers in the meadow,” she said to the empty room.

Spring Disaster (Part Two)

For a moment Poppy just stood and stared, trying to take in the scene before her. Six empty bins sat on a long table. There was nothing else in the room.

She began to dart around like a hungry hummingbird. From one corner to another she flew. She circled all around the empty bins and then dove under the table. There wasn’t so much as a single seed anywhere.

She landed and stood looking all about her. She felt shaken and confused. What had happened to her seeds?

After a moment she noticed the floor was covered with marks. They weren’t footprints, she kept the shed too clean for any dust to collect. They were scuff marks and they were all over. She examined them carefully and decided they were made by something much bigger than she was. But she had no idea what kind of creature it might be.

There were endless possibilities. Everyone in the Fairy Realm knew Poppy scattered wildflower seeds in the meadow.

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She stepped outside and began to walk along the branch until she reached the tree trunk. Then she moved to the branch below, and then the one below that, as she searched and searched for clues. When at last she found herself on the ground, she started walking in circles around the tree. Just as she decided the next round would be her last, she heard a sound.

BURP!

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Disaster (Part One)

The sound of raindrops woke Poppy from a sound sleep. A quick glance at the window showed that the rain she had been waiting for was cascading down the glass. The first April shower had begun at last.

She leaped out of bed, and raced across the room for a better view. Grey clouds stretched across the sky as far as her eyes could see. The wind flung raindrops in all directions, while occasional sun beams pierced the grey to shine on the ground. This was going to be a perfect day to scatter seeds! Her head was already filled with images of the beautiful wildflowers that would fill the meadow in summer.

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But first she had to plant the seeds.  And she needed to hurry. For the snow had lasted longer than usual this year, and it was nearly May. It wasn’t going to be easy to get the planting finished in time for the flowers to bloom in June.

She dressed in a flash. In no time at all she had pulled on a sky-blue shirt and her favorite green overalls. She washed her face, combed her hair, ate a blueberry muffin, grabbed her raincoat, and put on her gardening boots. This fairy was ready for action.

The first day of Spring planting was Poppy’s favorite day of the year.  All winter she tended her seeds, keeping them warm and dry, ready to plant as soon as the first shower arrived. That first shower was finally here.

She hurried out the front door of her tree house cottage and flew to the storage shed in the branches high above.  Carefully she unlocked the door and stepped inside. She reached over and gently woke the glow worm who provided light for the inside of the shed. As his glow lit the room, Poppy gasped. The bins were empty! There wasn’t a seed in sight!

 

 

The Tea Party Part Four

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Arthur held his breath as the picnic basket blew back and forth in the wind. When the wind finally died, he still didn’t move. He longed to reach out and grab the basket, but he was afraid that if he did, it would fall. He didn’t think he could force his way through the tree branches in time to save it.

Just then the squeaky little voice spoke again.

“Perhaps I could help,” it said.

Arthur looked all around. Where was that strange voice coming from?

“I’m down here.”

Arthur looked at the ground. A tiny vole was sitting at the bottom of the tree.

Arthur gave a start of surprise. “Hello,” he said. “Do I know you?”

“Yes, you do,” the vole replied. “We met on your last visit to this tree. You were just a little hatchling at the time. Your mother was teaching you to fly. You fell off a branch and landed on the ground beside me. You were very friendly. We had a nice chat. But I wasn’t sure about your mother, so when I saw her coming to get you, I ducked back into my burrow.”

“She wouldn’t have hurt you,” Arthur told him. “She was a vegetarian. Anyway, how do you think you could help me?”

“Well, first you need to very carefully back yourself out of this tree. Then I will climb up and gnaw through the branch the basket is caught on. When the branch breaks, and the basket falls, you swoop down and catch it. How does that sound?”

“It sounds grand, that is, if I can get out of here.”

“You can do it. Just be careful.”

Arthur began to slowly inch his was backward. It seemed like it took forever to the waiting vole, but at last the dragon was free.

The vole raced up the tree trunk and ran all the way out to the end of the branch. That was when he discovered the branch extended far beyond the edge of the cliff. There was nothing under him but air and a rocky beach far below. The little vole gulped. Then he began to gnaw. He gnawed and gnawed until at last the branch gave way and the basket fell. It headed straight for the jagged rocks.

But Arthur was ready. There was nothing slow or clumsy about him now. In the blink of an eye he swooped after the basket and caught it in his talons. He zoomed upward, made a slow turn, and returned to land below the tree.

“Thank you, my friend,” he said to the vole, who waited on the ground. “You certainly saved the day. I don’t even want to think about how unhappy Hyacinth would have been if her grandmother’s teapot had been smashed on the rocks.”

Just then they heard fairy voices and looked up to see Hyacinth and her friends landing in the branches above them.

“Good afternoon, my dear fairies,” Arthur said as he stood up and greeted them with a sweeping bow. “As you see, your scrumptious party awaits. I’ll just breathe a little fire and heat up the tea.”

The Tea Party Part Three

20150716_141034Hyacinth had just gone back inside when she heard a cheerful clatter of voices at her front door.

“Hello-o-o-o, Hyacinth,” she heard her friends call out. “We’re here. It’s a beautiful day for a tea party.”

Hyacinth stuck her head out the front window. “I’m so glad to see you,” she said to the four fairies gathered on her doorstep. “Arthur just left with our picnic. We’re to meet him at the Lone Cypress. I’ll be right out.”

She popped on her new strawberry blossom hat and joined her friends at the front door. “Come with me,” she said. “It won’t be long now – I hope.”

“You hope? Is something wrong?” Poppy asked.

Hyacinth hesitated. “To tell you the truth, I’m a little concerned. It’s abut my great grandmother’s tea pot. Arthur was a tiny bit…ummm… clumsy  this morning. I just want to be sure he…and the teapot…arrived safely.”

The fairies looked at each other with expressions that weren’t quite as comfortable as Hyacinth would have liked. They all knew their dear dragon could be a little…awkward.

“Oh dear,” Lily said. “I do hope your teapot is still in one piece.”

Camellia broke in before Hyacinth could respond.

“There, there,”  Camellia said in her calm way. “I’m sure everything is quite all right.”

If Camellia could have seen the young dragon at that moment, she wouldn’t have been so sure.

Arthur had arrived at the Lone Cypress. He flapped his wings as he struggled to land, bumping first into one branch and then into another. Crash after crash he stumbled on.  At last he found a limb he thought would be large enough to perch on. But as soon as he settled down, it bent close to the ground and creaked as if it would break.

“Oh dear, oh dear,” he muttered. “I must have grown a bit since the last time I was here.”

“I’d say you’ve grown more than a bit,” a squeaky little voice observed. “The last time I saw you here you were just a hatchling. I hope there’s nothing breakable in that basket you’re carrying.”

Arthur twisted around, looking for the source of the voice. As he turned, he brushed against a nearby branch, and the picnic basket was swept from his arms. It flew high up in the air. Just as it began to drop, the long handle caught on the very tip of one of the tree’s long branches.

Arthur barely had time to give a sigh of relief, when a gust of wind caught the basket.

“Oh no!” he cried.

to be continued…

 

 

The Tea Party Part Two

Hyacinth had just about finished packing the picnic basket for the tea party, when a deep voice rumbled “Good afternoon.”

She jumped and whirled around to see a face protruding through her kitchen window. It had immense dark eyes, a considerable snout, and row upon row of jagged razor-sharp teeth.

“Oh!” she gasped. “It’s you, Arthur. You startled me.” She still looked a little shaken as she smiled at her visitor. “I think you’d best come around to the door before you break something. You’re a little large for the window.”

In fact Arthur was more than a little large. He was an enormous. He obediently withdrew his head and bowed politely. Unfortunately when he bent forward, his massive tail popped up behind and knocked every single one of the Hyacinth’s beautiful ripe apples off a nearby tree. As she listened to his thunderous footsteps walk away she stared with deep regret at her whole crop that now lay scattered on the ground.IMG_20150717_145735

Hyacinth sighed and returned to packing the basket for her tea party. It was time to place the final and most important item in the basket – her great grandmother’s teapot. She wrapped it in her softest tea towel and placed it with great care on the very top. Then she gathered up the basket and a strong rope, walked across the room and opened the door.

“You’ll have to kneel down, Arthur, so I can reach your back. I have a harness for you to put on, then I’m going to wrap this rope all around the basket and fasten it to the harness.”

“A harness?  I don’t think so.”

“But Arthur, it’s very soft. My friend Camellia knitted it just for you.”

“My dear fairy, I’m not a horse. I’m a dragon. And dragons do not wear harnesses.”

“But Arthur, how else can I fasten the basket to your back? It has all our food, you know, including the wild watermelons, and more than that, it has my great grandmother’s tea pot.”

“I beg your pardon, but you never mentioned harnesses when you asked me to carry the basket to the picnic.”

“But Arthur…”

“It is really quite a small basket and I am a very large dragon. I’m quite certain I can carry it safely. I promise you I will hold it most tenderly in my arms.”

“But what if you drop it, Arthur? It would truly be a disaster if my great grandmother’s teapot was broken.”

“Never fear, dear fairy, your teapot will be safe with me.”20160502_162015

The dragon reached out and took the basket from Hyacinth.

“I will meet you at the Lone Cypress tree,” he said and with that he flapped his mighty wings and rose up into the air. In the blink of an eye he had vanished from sight.

“Oh dear,” said Hyacinth.

(To be continued)