>> Friday, July 31, 2009
Picture by Kobb
"Ah, my little friend, I am grown old. So are my comrades; their sons and daughters are fathers and mothers. But that is life. The seasons still look new to young eyes, the food tastes fresher in the mouths of young ones then it does in my own. as I sit here in the warmth and peace it all lives again in my memory, a strange tale of love and war, friend and foe, great happenings and mighty deeds. Gaze into the fire, young one. Listen to me and I will tell you a story."
"Come on, let's get a-goin' while the goin's good."
"Any of you lot fancy having a go at him? No, I thought not."
"It's not pinching or stealing if it comes out of Kotir, mateys. it's called liberating."
"A hero, eh. Funny you should say that. I thought saw just such a one earlier tonight. Ah, but he's probably dead or in the dungeons by now."
Martin could not conceal his disappointment. "Goodness me, a stick. How helpful. We could take this place single-pawed with a stick. What a useful thing to send us."
"Just thank your lucky stars you've got an honest thief like me to look after you, matey."
"Nothing ever goes as planned with Gonff."
"If they gave you an arrow, we'll pay 'em back with a shower of javelins."
"Don't eat him too quick, now; you'll make yourself sick."
"But peace is not found like a pawful of nuts or an apple."
"There's no room for an honest thief these days."
"Good, eh? That's an ancient chant that has been sung through the ages. I composed it a moment ago for today."
Now they would learn the meaning of the word fear.
"Phew this is much harder work than thieving."
Dinny nodded wisely. "O arr, us'ns do smell lots o' things wi' us claws." Gonff winked at the warrior mouse. "That's the nice thing about moles, they always have a sensible explanation which we can all understand."
"But when I make this sword anew, you must always remember that it is not the weapon but the creature who wields it. A sword is a force for good only in the paws of an honest warrior."
"Harebell and company fluttered their eyelids madly.
"Oh, Mr. Gonff, you are so clever."
"And so handsome, too."
"You have a lovely voice." Gonff waved a modest paw.
"Save it for Trubbs and company, ladies. I'm promised to my Columbine."
"Is she pretty?"
"Prettier than us?"
"Well, she's certainly prettier than Gonff," Martin, Dinny and Log-a-log chimed in impudently.
"My blade is singing your deathsong."
"How about some covered pits with sharpened stakes at the bottom?"
"Excellent, Brogg. At last you're talking my language."
The first Kotir soldiers were hauled dripping to shore by the woodlanders. Dispirited, disarmed and soaking wet, they were made to sit at the water's edge by Skipper and the six hares, who fished them out with fearsome-looking pikes.
"Sit down there, you great wet weasel."
"Steady on, Trubbs old chap, that's a stoat."
"Oh, i say, sorry. Sit there, you soaking stoat."
"Saturated stoat, don't you mean, old bean?"
"Hmm, what about the weasels?"
"Oh, actually they get wringing wet, both beginning with W, you see."
"Righto. Sit over there, you wringing wet weasel."
"Oh golly, I've got a rat now. How d'you address these blighters?"
"Easy, old thing-rats are rancid."
"Rancid? That doesn't mean wet."
"No, but the wretched cove does look pretty rancid."
"So he does. Splendid. Sit there, you rancid rat!"
The fires burned low, though the festivities continued on the lakeshore as the sounds of happiness drifted up into the soft summer night, traveling into the places beyond the stars, where legends live.