June 25, 2012 by petrujviljoen
I want to post this little story I wrote back in 2006 in ‘episodes’. I ‘published’ it by making photocopies, binding each little book by hand and selling it at galleries and by word of mouth. I had grown ups giving it to each other for presents. Most people liked it very much. Kindly observe the copyright I have to the text and the illustrations.
The Mouse, the Owl and the Snake
by Petru J Viljoen – copyright 2006
Mouse, her name was Peggy-Sue, peeked outside her house carefully. Luckily, the grass around where she lived, next to the railway line, escaped the fire that was meant to clean up the garbage and creatures like her. She was most indignant. ”Clean us up, indeed!” Her house was built in a hollow that was formed by the roots of the big fir tree next to the railway line and she could burrow deep into the ground, and so was protected.
The problem was, there was now very little shelter for when she went out to forage for food. But she had to brave it. She hadn’t eaten properly for two days. It was night and she hoped she will be safe under the cover of darkness. The People were up and down the whole day and there were bound to be bits of food lying around that she could gather for her storeroom.
She missed Fred and Dan who ran away when the fire started. They called to her to follow when they bolted but she was frozen with fear and at the last moment dashed inside the tunnel to her home. She wasn’t even sure they made it to safety. Her little heart was very sore. Mournfully she scanned the area again closely, then made her way out the door, her little nose twitching and quivering, ready to run like the Wind at the smallest sign of danger.
Christopher, the Owl, was pasing through The City. He was on his way to deliver a report of the State of Affairs in the North (which, really, was not so good), to Earl the Elder who lived out West. Christopher was not looking forward to delivering the bad news. Earl the Elder would be very sad at the tidings of poverty and drought and to top it all, Elder’s nephew got into trouble with the neighbour’s daugter and the parents were crying for his blood.
Aaai! To be the harbinger of bad news was not pleasant. Christopher decided to stop for a bit and get something to eat. Food in the City was never as good as in the Country, but, nou ja, an Owl had to eat. With a sigh he perched in a big old fir tree next to a railway line. Athough this was a very bad area, what with the trains rushing by and taxis and buses, and lots and lots of People, Owl was clever enough to know this was where he will find both concealment and food.
He knew he must take care not to be noticed by the People, because they will regard him as a bad omen and will try and kill him if they saw him.
Sylvia, the Snake, had been having a very tough time. She had landed up in the City completely by accident and had no idea where she was, or how she was going to get home. She was in an extremely bad mood and had been cursing her bad luck. She had been after some eggs that the Farmer collected, which were packed in a holder. Normally she would not venture so close to People, but with the drought in the North and food being so scarce, she had no choice. Just as she was inside the box, the Farmer loaded the eggs amongst vegetables, onto a truck, not noticing Sylvia inside. Just as well, he would surely have killed her if he did!
In the City, after the farmer unloaded the truck, Sylvia managed to slip away unnoticed whilst an argument ensued about the price of the eggs, the vendor being all cross and the farmer perplexed, that three were missing and quite a few were broken.
And here she was, caught between a road with lots of cars and a railway line with lots of trains and she had never been so afraid in her life. She managed to find a hiding place amongst the roots of a big fir tree and was lying there, very sorry for herself, and very hungry.
The only eggs she had seen since her arrival were hard-boiled and closely watched by a Person and she wasn’t going near one of those, thank you very much! But now it was Night and there were far fewer People around.
She went scouting to see what she could find in this dreadful place. And hopefully she would find the farmer’s truck so she could get home again! Her family must be so worried …
The second (I think there will be three) edition in a day or two … enjoy