Guest post – another lovely story from @PrincessofVP 🙂
The Princess was sitting in the window seat of the tallest tower in her palace. This was her favourite seat as she could see the Dryad’s forest and, if she craned her neck, catch sight of the sea with the white sea-horses cresting the waves as they galloped to shore to hear the Mermaid sing.
It was all quiet in the palace. The Snow Bear and the Lemur had gone to see Mrs Bizzle for a cookery lesson and the Princess was enjoying the peace and a chance to read.
Jeremy the Beagle humphed and sighed. He didn’t like reading. It was too quiet and still and meant he didn’t get to play. He humphed again, inching closer to the door. Cocking one eye at the Princess, he saw she hadn’t noticed so he humphed again then, quick as a flash, squeezed through the door and ran down and down the spiral staircase, scampering through the kitchen, and then leapt through the open window.
“Woof!” he announced to the world. Then, nose to the ground and tail wagging, he set off to find adventure.
Lexie Doodle was curled up in her basket. She had been banished to her bed while Dr Bear did important work in her surgery. She thought about scratching at the door and whining but last time she did that she’d been told she was a Bad Dog. Lexie shivered; she didn’t like being a Bad Dog.
Her ears pricked up. That was her friend Jeremy’s bark. Rushing to the window, she put her paws on the worktop and looked out. Jeremy was in the garden, wagging his tail. “Woof?”
Lexie thought. She knew she was supposed to stay in bed. But she also knew if she batted her paw against the door handle and pushed quickly it would open. And Dr Bear said she wasn’t to be disturbed so if she went outside she definitely wouldn’t disturb anyone.
With a quick swipe of her paw, she opened the door and bounded outside.
“Woof!” said Jeremy approvingly
Through an exchange of barks and licks the dogs established adventure was needed and they set off, tails wagging, to explore the great wide world.
At Mrs Bizzle’s cooking lesson, the Lemur had sticky paws and a slightly bruised tail as Mr Bizzle had trodden on it. This wasn’t really Mr Bizzle’s fault as he was a little absent-minded and so very tall it was such a long way from his head to the ground he sometimes didn’t see small furry creatures until it was too late. He’d been very kind about it though and given both the Lemur and the Snow Bear a lollipop. Mrs Bizzle had also wrapped a bandage around it so know it was more bandage than tail!
He looked out of the window as he washed his paws then did a small peep of excitement. In the distance he could see Lexie Doodle and Jeremy the Beagle’s tail as they tracked through the fields. Sidling over, he nudged the Snow Bear, “Psst, Snow Bear, look!”
The Snow Bear was practising her icing and the nudge made her do a big squiggle. “What?” She looked up to where he was pointing. “Ooh, where do you think they’re going?”
The dogs didn’t know where they were going but by following their noises and all manner of interesting scents they found themselves on the cliffs by the sea.
Jeremy liked the sea. Sniffing around, he started barking excitedly as there, set into the rock, was a rickety old staircase. “Woof, woof, woof.”
Lexie hung back for a moment. She’d never be so far from home without Dr Bear. But the lure of the unknown, plus the chance to paddle her paws in the sea, was irresistible and she quickly followed Jeremy.
The stairs were old and, at the bottom, wet and damaged from sea-water. But they led to the most beautiful cove, seemingly untouched by visitors ever. Jeremy bounded over the rocks and splashed into the sea. Lexie padded across the sand, exploring, then stopped. What was this? A piece of paper? Well littering on beaches was wrong, The Mermaid had taught her that. Picking it up between her teeth she turned to go and bury it at the top of the beach but then a piteous whine from Jeremy made her drop onto her belly.
“What have we here then? A spy?”
Peeking up, Lexie could see the scariest man she’d ever seen. Dressed all in black, with long straggly hair, gold teeth, and a cutlass stuck through his belt. Lexie had only heard about pirates in stories but she knew enough to recognise one. Worse, he was holding Jeremy by the scruff of the neck.
“Well, we all know what we do with spies. It’s back to the ship with you, my lad.”
“Awww, leave him be, Cap’n. Tis well known that it’s bad luck to have a dog on board.”
Lexie sneaked another a look. The Jaffne had also climbed over the rocks and was facing the captain, hands on hips.
“Be it now? That’s a rumour I never did hear. Ah well, ” The Captain set Jeremy down and knotted a scarf round his neck., “if we can’t find out who he’s with we can always eat him. Plenty of meat on a beagle.”
Jeremy whined again and pawed the sand. He didn’t want to go on a pirate ship but to be eaten on one would be even worse. The Captain shook him roughly. “Quiet, you mangy cur! And tell us what your owner has done with the treasure map. OUR treasure map.”
Map? Lexie dropped the piece of paper she had picked up and looked at it. There were wavy lines, and a ship, and… Was it? Yes, it was. A tiny X if you looked carefully. And everyone knows that X marks the spot.
Taking the map back up between her teeth she bounded forward, her fur bristling. She stopped out of arm’s reach of the Captain and dropped the map, deliberately putting one paw on it. “WOOF.”
“What be this now? Another one of ye curs, is it?” The Captain reached out but Lexie flattened her ears and growled. She knew biting people was wrong but surely the Captain was a Bad Man.
The Jaffne burst out laughing. “Outdone by the dogs, Cap’n.”
“Shut it you and take this one.” The Captain thrust Jeremy the Beagle out of the way and stepped closer to Lexie. “Now give me that map, you.”
Lexie bared her teeth and growled louder.
The Jaffne caught Jeremy’s by the makeshift collar and gave him a broad wink. “Cap’n, I be thinking that if we let this fella go, his friend might back away from yon map. Isn’t that right?”
Lexie pawed the sand and yipped. Treasure was fun but not nearly as important as friends.
“Bah!” The Captain threw his hands up in despair and backed away. “Dogs, stupid dogs. Give me a cat every day. Let the beast go then but if I don’t get my map…” He leered horribly as he drew his finger across his throat.
The Jaffne knelt by Jeremy and whispered in his ear. “Ye run to your friend then up them steps as fast as you can. All will be well, promise ye.”
Jeremy gave one quick yip in response and then bounded away. Lexie saw him go and, in one final act of defience, pawed sand at the Captain before bounding away up the rickety steps.
The sound of the Captain’s curses and the Jaffne’s hoots of laughter followed them up to the to top of cliff. Collapsing at the top, trembling in fear and relieft, they looked out to sea. There, on the horzon, was the pirate ship that in their excitement they hadn’t seen before. The wind blew stronger and rippled out the flag.
By mutual agreement, they both turned and ran.
Skittering back into the village, they quickly rubbed noses.Lexie then skidded in through the open door and settled down into her bed.
Jeremy raced on and on, back through the open window, across the kitchen, then up and up the spiral staircase to flop by the Princess on the window seat.
The Princess woke with a start and a yawn. “Oh Jeremy, I fell asleep. You good dog for staying there and looking after me.”
Jeremy thumped his tail sleepily.
“And look, I can see Snow Bear and the Lemur coming home. Let’s see what cake we have for tea.”
Jeremy thumped his tail again. “Woof!” After adventures, there was nothing better than cake.