|About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search|
Thank you to Dreamflower for allowing me to borrow her OC, Periwinkle!
“Pippin and Tulip’s Excellent Adventure”
“Well, my wee piggy lass! And just where is your young master, hmm? ‘Tis not like him to leave you lying about like this,” Eglantine chuckled as she swept Tulip up from the hearthside. “Ah, I believe he must have forgot you after he finished filling up the kindling box for me.” She fluffed the piglet up and brushed the dust off her before tucking the toy into her apron pocket.
Eglantine set about her chores, making a mental note to remind Pippin not to leave his playthings so close to the fire. She clucked to herself as she began stripping the beds of the linens, thinking how upset her son would be if his piggy had been accidentally brushed onto the fire. Tulip rested inside the big pocket and Eglantine paid her no more mind.
An hour later she carried another basket of wet clothes to hang on the line strung across the yard behind the farmhouse. Pearl joined her and they worked together in companionable silence. Finally, Eglantine straightened her back and glanced around. “Have you seen your brother lately? It seems to me he’s being awfully quiet.”
Pearl grinned. “And we know all too well that a quiet Pippin could be a dangerous thing!” She reached for another sheet, shaking her head. “But, I’m afraid I haven’t seen him since second breakfast, Mum.”
“Hmm.” Eglantine scanned the area with a critical eye. Finding one small lad who most likely wasn’t ready to be found just yet was a daunting task. “Ah well.” She bent to pick up one of the baskets of dry clothing. “I expect he’ll be along soon enough. Whenever his tummy starts reminding him it’s almost time for luncheon.” Pearl chuckled and followed with her own burden balanced on one hip. Neither of them noticed that Tulip had tumbled from Eglantine’s pocket into one of the baskets of dry items.
Inside the barn, Paladin was mixing a bucket of paint while Tomias Hornblower and the farmhand’s younger brother Hammie, observed. His elbow brushed against the handle of the pail and sent it running down his front. “Och! For the love of…will you look at that! That’s just perfect now, it is!” Paladin growled as he jumped back, but not nearly in time. Tomias and Hammie hid their grins.
Grumbling under his breath, Paladin headed for the pump outside the door, stripping his shirt off as he went. As he started to run water into the bucket, the items blowing in the light breeze caught his eye. Wondering if there was perhaps a shirt amongst the washing, Paladin trotted over to the clothesline and spied the basket of fresh clothes that waited his wife’s return. He scooped up the desired item and headed back to the barn.
After washing the paint off himself under the pump, he pulled it on, and then frowned as his arm met with a lump inside the sleeve. He drew out the offending object and stared at Tulip, befuddled for a moment. Rolling his eyes, he couldn’t help chuckling a bit at his son’s favourite toy. “Well, and what have we here? Are you out for a stroll without your young master?” He pulled his shirt all the way on and then plopped the piglet down on top of a stack of hay bales. Paladin resumed his work and soon thoughts of Tulip were far from his mind.
Awhile later, Tomias set about cleaning the stalls. He put his pitchfork aside and retrieved a small pink object from the fresh straw. “What is it, Tom?” asked his little brother. Hammish peered around the older lad’s side.
“Ah, ‘tis Pippin’s pet piggy, that’s all,” he laughed and showed it to him. The younger lad giggled and patted the tip of Tulip’s snout. “Well, we’ll just put her right up here until later. I’m sure Pip will be about looking for her any minute.” Tomias placed Tulip on top of the stall he was cleaning and turned away. It wasn’t long before Tulip tumbled once more. This time she landed on Orangeblossom’s back. The cow didn’t even startle at her soft visitor’s arrival, she simply kept chewing her cud.
Very little time passed before Pimpernel entered the barn looking for her father. She paused to pat her favourite cow and her eyes fell on the bundle of pale pink yarn decorating the back of the animal’s ear like a great earring. “Oh my, who have we here?” Pimpernel grinned at her discovery. Tulip perched behind Orangeblossom’s neck, appearing to whisper her secrets in the cow’s ear. She plucked the errant piggy up and clucked over her. “I know someone who is going to be very glad to see you, my little knitted friend.” Shaking her head in amusement, Nell tucked Tulip inside the bib of her apron and headed for the chicken coop.
Presently, she exited the coop short one well-travelled piglet. Behind her, Tulip’s green embroidered eyes seemed to stare accusingly at Pimpernel’s back from her new spot inside a chicken’s nest. The puzzled hen eyed her company cautiously.
A moment later the door to the coop opened again and Periwinkle, the cook’s assistant, entered. Humming a gay tune the lass collected the eggs quickly with her nimble fingers. She leaped back with a cry when she spied the pink intruder peeking out from behind the fat hen. “Oh! Mercy! Tulip, you gave me quite the fright, you did.” Chuckling, she scooped the toy out of the nest and brushed the clinging straw off her as best she could. “Well now, and I know a lad who is most likely looking for you, young piggy! Let’s be off then, aye? I’ll help you find your little master.” Periwinkle let Tulip ride atop the basket of eggs and left her in the pantry, seated amongst the smooth bounty while she went to look for Pippin.
“I’ll get the bread, Mum,” called Pearl as Eglantine went outside to retrieve more of the wash. Pearl picked up the loaves of bread and reached for one of the big bowls on the low shelf when she spotted Tulip in the basket of eggs. “Tulip, why whatever are you doing in here? Hmm…” Pearl lifted the knitted piglet from the egg basket and transferred her to the sideboard as she passed it on her way to the table. On her next trip from the pantry she spotted Lily, Pippin’s cat, sitting beside Tulip. “Shoo! Go on Lily! You know you’re not allowed up there, you silly cat.” Pearl brushed against Tulip as she passed and the piglet rolled away unnoticed.
Lily watched the toy with interest to see if it would move on its own, like the mice she chased in the barn. When that didn’t happen she decided to give the object a nudge with her paw. Tulip’s wool stuck to her claws and Lily raised her foot and shook it. Tulip continued to dangle until Lily shook her paw again, much harder this time, and sent Tulip careening down the hallway. Her interest renewed, Lily set off after her prey and entertained herself by batting the piglet about. This game entertained her for some time, until she batted Tulip under the bed in Pervinca’s room. Her interest turning elsewhere, Lily abandoned her playmate.
“Where did I put it?” Vinca stopped and placed both hands on her hips and looked around her room with a frown. Her best hair ribbon had gone missing this morning and she was determined to find it. She looked on her bedside stand for the second time, finally dropping to her knees and poking about under her bed. Her face brightened when she pulled out her brother’s favourite companion, and sat back on her heels. Turning the toy over in her hands she noted that Tulip was looking a little scruffy. She got a cloth from the cupboard next to the bathroom and wet it in the basin. Pervinca proceeded to give Tulip a much-needed sponge bath.
Vinca hummed as she sponged and talked to the toy. “Why, I think you need something nice after your busy morning, Tulip my lass,” she giggled. Pervinca pulled out some of her best doll clothes and dressed Tulip in a frilly pink frock. She stepped back to admire her handiwork. “There, don’t you look lovely now. Come, you’re invited to tea!” Pervinca gave Tulip the best spot at her dolls’ table and set out her toy dishes and teapot. The new friends enjoyed their tea and biscuits.
Hearing her mother calling, Vinca headed out of the room. Immediately, Dizzy entered. The hound, all feet and gangly legs, hurried over to lick up the crumbs from the toy dishes. Sniffing at Tulip he decided she smelled too good to resist and he grabbed her ear and took off running and sliding on the slick wooden floors. The front door opened and Dizzy ran out.
“Hullo Diz! Why, what have you here?” Hammie removed the toy from the pup’s mouth. He raised a brow at the rosy frock in which the piglet was now clad, and then tucked her beneath one of his braces just as he had seen Pippin do. He trotted off to look for him and return his toy.
The lad bent to retrieve a rock to throw as he ambled along. He heard the warning flap of wings just a little too late. Pansy was a rather large goose, and she liked to throw her weight around. She headed straight for her target at a fair clip and nipped young Hammie solidly in the bum with her snapping bill.
He yelped and whirled, sending Tulip flying off his shoulder. Pansy’s attention turned to the airborne piglet and she snatched her up before Tulip hit the ground. The goose spun and scurried in the opposite direction.
“Hoi! Wait, you dumb goose – you can’t have her!” Hammie pursued her but after just one cross look from the fowl, the stinging in his rear caused him to rethink his plan. Pansy was one deadly goose when riled, after all. Let Pippin get his toy back himself!
Pansy deposited the knitted piglet back inside the chicken coop, where Pimpernel found her a short time later. “Why, I wondered what happened to you,” she exclaimed, bending to retrieve Tulip. “But…just where did you pick up this pink frock in your travels?” Pimpernel tilted her head in wonder. “Ah well, I imagine it’s likely my little sister found you then, aye?” She laughed. “My, and what a trip around the farmyard you’ve been having, eh my wee lass?” Chuckling, Nell deposited her back inside her apron. “Now let’s just see if you can make it all the way into the house this time, hmm?”
Pimpernel settled Tulip on the stone that surrounded the kitchen hearth. “There, this is a nice cool place for you to wait for Pippin, now that the fire’s gone out.” With a last pat to her pink head, Nell turned to her other tasks.
A little while later, Pippin entered the kitchen in search of his companion and found Tulip curled up asleep on the hearth. He lifted her up gently and stared wide-eyed at the frilly frock in which his piglet lass was clad. Darting a suspicious look around the room, he turned back to her and whispered, “Tulip, what happened to you? You’re wearing a frock? I’m certain you weren’t when I last saw you!”
Tulip’s mouth twitched in her amusement. She informed him she had a great deal to tell him later, but for now, it was simply good to see him. Eglantine bustled into the kitchen, her eyes falling on her son immediately. “Oh! Pippin, lad, remember now, I’ve told you never to leave your toys so close to the fire. Why, something could easily have happened to Tulip and you would be a most unhappy young hobbit if it had.” She looked around, puzzled. “But, I’m certain I picked her up and had her in my pocket with me all afternoon. How did she get back on the hearth?”
Tulip grunted and crawled inside Pippin’s shirt. “Well, she said she had a story to tell me so perhaps I can sort out what happened. What do you think, Mum?”
“I can tell you a little at least, Pippin. Hmm,” Eglantine sank into a chair and considered her actions. “I do recall carrying out the clothes to hang on the line and I know she was in my pocket at that time. Pearl was with me. Maybe she knows something. Why don’t you go find her and ask?”
“Thanks Mum!” Pippin trotted outside in search of his eldest sister. He found his father near the barn, instructing young Hamish Hornblower in his efforts to paint the fence that comprised the pony enclosure. He paused to watch them and Tulip chuckled inside his shirt, and then gave him a riddle to think on. Pippin looked at her with a puzzled frown. “What are you talking about? What do you mean, ‘what happens when a knitted piglet gets dropped in a clothes basket and can’t get out’?” Tulip rolled her eyes in Paladin’s direction and Pippin followed her stare.
Shaking his head, Pippin went to where his father was overseeing the painting and tugged on his sleeve. “What is it, lad?” Paladin glanced down and then quickly turned his attention back to Hammie. “You’ve got to make certain you cover every bit, Ham. That wood’s dry and it’s going to soak up a great deal of the paint as you--” Pippin tugged again, harder this time. Paladin led him away and sat down on the bench outside the barn door. He pulled him close. “What, Pippin? What’s the matter, boy?”
“I’m trying to solve a mystery, Da.”
“And what mystery would that be?”
“Tulip went off on an adventure of some kind without me today, and then ended up exactly where I left her, except she was wearing a pink frock!” Pippin held her up to show him, his sharp little nose wrinkled in disgust.
Paladin’s face broke into a grin. “Ah, piggy wound up with new clothes, did she? Well, all I can tell you is that I found her in your mother’s clothesbasket next to the line when I was getting a clean shirt. Perhaps she crawled down one of the sleeves as your mother was taking down the dry clothes.” He winked, gesturing at the barn. “I left her on a hay bale just inside the door. I don’t know what happened after that.”
“Thanks Da!” Pippin headed for the barn while Tulip crawled up into his collar again and rode along happily as he searched the area around the stacks of baled hay, looking for clues. He stepped back and peered at the spot where Da had said he’d left her. “Hmm…” A grunt from the stall drew his attention and he circled around to see Orangeblossom. Tulip peeked out and flashed a little grin at the cow. She doubted Orangeblossom would be able to tell her lad much of anything!
“No clues here, it seems. Come on Tulip! Let’s go!” As Pippin started to go outside Tomias shouted for him. Pippin whirled, surprised. He hadn’t noticed the young farmhand, and now he ran towards him pulling Tulip from his shirt as he went. “Tom! Did you see what happened to Tulip after Da put her on the hay bales?”
Tomias chuckled at the little one, eyeing the knitted piglet in Pippin’s hands. “Hmm, that’s a very nice frock she’s wearing! Perhaps she stopped off to do a bit of shopping while she was out strolling?”
Pippin slanted a thoughtful look at the frill-clad piglet and frowned. Tomias bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. “Nooo, I don’t think so. It looks like one of Vinca’s doll frocks. But, of course with Tulip you never know what she might do when she’s on her own. Isn’t that right, m’lass?” The farmhand covered his laugh with a polite cough.
“What do you mean I never take you shopping? Why, I took you along just last week when Da and I…oh. You’re right.” He frowned up at Tom. “That’s the day I went into Whitwell with Da and forgot Tulip!” He leaned close and whispered, “She’s never let me forget it. She keeps bringing it up.” This time Tom abandoned his efforts not to laugh. “As a matter of fact, she keeps asking when we’re going to go again. She wants me to get her a scarf just like mine before winter gets here.”
Tomias shook his head fondly at Pippin and patted his shoulder. “Well, as to your question, I did come across her earlier whilst I was feeding the cows. She was hiding in amongst the straw in Orangeblossom’s stall. Looked like she was whispering in the cow’s ear, it did!”
Pippin held the piglet out in front of himself. “How did you get there? Did you fall? Well, that wasn’t my fault, you know. It was Da’s for putting you up there in the first place.” The piglet snorted, but offered no further comment. “You likely were whispering to Orangeblossom. Were you telling her all our secrets?” His only answer was a grin. After all, Tulip knew how to keep a confidence.
“What was my fault?” Paladin joined them.
Pippin held Tulip up. “She fell off the hay bales and ended up in with Orangeblossom.”
“Well now, she wouldn’t have been on the bales if you’d have kept better track of her, aye?” Paladin reached out to scratch the piglet behind the ears. Pippin grinned when Tulip grunted happily at the attention.
“Aye,” Pippin rolled his eyes. “She’s agreeing with you, Da.”
“I imagine she is. She always was a very smart piglet, quite intelligent.”
“And clever enough to keep one step, or should I say one hoof, ahead of you all morning, Pip,” Tom chortled.
Pippin grinned sheepishly and nodded.
“Hmm, but after I found her I put her back up on the bales. I don’t know where she went after that,” Tomias said.
Pippin tilted his head thoughtfully. “Tulip, what happened? Did you run off to play with Dizzy or Lily?” Tulip grunted indignantly and informed him they were hardly likely to be her first choice of playmates. “Yes, I suppose that’s true,” Pippin laughed. “Well? Where did you go next? He listened for a moment and a small frown graced his impish features. “That’s for you to know, and me to find out, huh? All right, I will! Just you wait and see.”
“Well, off with you then lad, and solve the mystery of her great adventure, eh?” Paladin winked at the farmhand.
“I will, Da. I’ll have it solved before supper. You’ll see!”
“I don’t doubt it, son.”
Pippin trotted off with a careless wave of his hand after plunking the piglet on his shoulder and carefully tucking her under one of his braces. It wasn’t very long before he found his sister picking flowers to fill a brightly coloured vase. “Nell!” Pippin waved excitedly and sprinted towards her. Pimpernel straightened from her task when she heard her brother’s voice and held both arms out to him. Pippin happily ran into them and accepted her hug with delight. He pulled back when Tulip squeaked in alarm and warned him not to squash her.
“My, you seem awfully excited today Pip. What are you up to?” She ruffled his curly locks. “Ah, I see you’ve found Tulip at last.”
“She was with you?”
“That’s right. For a short while, at least. I came upon her lounging about like a hobbit lass of leisure on Orangeblossom’s neck. Not a care in the world, it seemed. Anyway, I took her with me but I misplaced her somewhere in between the barn and the house. When I went back to the coop I found her inside.”
“She’s acting like ‘twas my fault she went about on her own and got lost,” Pippin muttered.
“Ah, well where did you leave her this morning?”
Pippin shrugged. “I don’t remember.” He winced at the sharp round of scolding from Tulip. Plucking her from his shoulder, he spoke to her patiently. “I said I was sorry for forgetting to bring you along after I filled the wood box with kindling wood for Mum…” Pippin’s eyes widened. “Oh! That’s where I left you!”
Pimpernel laughed at her brother’s behaviour. He was such a inventive lad. She was certain Pip really believed his piglet was holding a conversation with him. “And that’s exactly where I left her to wait for you. After cleaning off the chicken feathers she’d collected! Mystery solved, it seems.”
Pippin shook his head. “But when did she get dressed in a frock?” Pippin shook his head and pointed at Tulip. “She isn’t talking; she wants me to find out what she was up to for myself. It’s a game she’s playing. You know how she is.”
“Ah, all right m’lad. Why don’t you continue on your quest then, while I take these flowers inside and arrange them? They’ll look very nice on the table at supper tonight, don’t you think so?”
Pippin nodded absently, his mind already awhirl with his next move. Tulip laughed gaily and challenged him to guess what happened next. Pippin wrinkled his brow, deep in thought, as he walked towards the farmhouse with Tulip tucked gently under his arm.
Periwinkle opened the door just as he arrived and stopped. “You found her! Well, I thought I’d left her in an easy enough place for you to spy her, eh lad?” The little cook chuckled, walking past him on her way to the vegetable garden.
“Huh?” Pippin spun and watched her go. “Where, Peri?”
“In the pantry, of course,” Periwinkle told him as she waved a hand over her shoulder without turning back.
“But…” Pippin eyed Tulip, confused. A piece of the puzzle was missing. He trotted after Periwinkle. “What was she doing in the pantry?”
“She was perching atop the basket of eggs I’d collected.” Periwinkle squatted to gather some carrots and onions and started placing them in her basket.
Pippin scratched his head. “Eggs?”
Periwinkle glanced up at him. “Aye, eggs. I found her in the chicken coop as I was gathering them. Perched on one of the hens’ nests, she was, sitting there just as pretty as you please. Why’d you leave her in with the chickens, lad? Why, I think she scared old Rosie just about half to death! I know she gave me a frightful start, she did!” Periwinkle laughed hard. “I never expected to find a wee knitted piglet amongst the eggs, after all.”
“Umm, thanks Peri,” Pippin said.
“Here now lad, as long as you’re out here you might as well make yourself useful.” She handed him one of the filled baskets and Pippin accepted it readily. “Take that in to your mum for me, there’s a good lad.”
Pippin tucked Tulip back in his shirt and headed back, the basket of carrots swinging easily back and forth as he pondered. “So, you were in amongst the chickens?” he chortled, “I’d like to have seen that.” Tulip bristled and indignantly informed him that she had most certainly not appreciated the experience and it hadn’t better happen again – or else!
Pippin snorted. “Or else what?” He rolled his eyes. That sounded so like something his mother would say. “Honestly Tulip, you’re getting more like Mum every day. And no, there’s nothing wrong with that…I suppose,” he added softly. Thunder, but Tulip could chatter when she was upset! He set the basket on the floor inside the door and went into the pantry. Pearl was retrieving bread, butter, and jam for the family’s luncheon.
“Pippin! Where have you been all morning? I was looking for you earlier.” Pearl continued with her work while she talked.
Pippin took Tulip out of his shirt and perched her on his shoulder. “I think I’ve been just about everywhere. And I’m still trying to solve the mystery of Tulip’s journey.”
Pearl did stop then, and turned. Her little brother was regarding her with arms folded across his chest, his little jaw set firmly, green eyes beaming. She smiled at his determined pose. He reminded her of a very small replica of their father! “What else do you need to know?”
“How Tulip got the rest of the way back to the hearth where I left her.”
“I found her on the egg basket, Pip. And I put her on the sideboard.”
“Oh! But, where did she go after that?”
Pearl shook her head. “I’m afraid I don’t know. Perhaps Vinca does, seeing how Tulip is wearing one of her doll’s frocks?”
“Hmph, I’m going to go find her. Thanks Pearl!” Pippin trotted off again.
“I just saw her outside on the swing a few minutes ago,” Pearl called after him.
Pippin rushed into the grassy area where he and Tulip spent a great deal of their time playing on the swing and climbing the oak tree. Instead of Vinca he spied Hamish Hornblower on the swing. The little lad jumped off the swing, looking guilty.
“It’s all right if you play on my swing, Hammie,” called Pippin.
“Thanks! Vinca said I could, too.”
“Where is she? I’ve been trying to find her.” Pippin spun in a circle.
Hammie shrugged. Spying the piglet under Pippin’s arm he grinned. “Ah, I see you found Tulip. I was trying to bring her to you when Pansy chased me and bit me on the bum! I dropped her and Pansy snatched her up. I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened to her after that.”
“Pansy had hold of Tulip?” Pippin squeaked in dismay, darting a look of panic at her. Tulip raised her brow and watched him knowingly. Pippin figured she was trying to make him feel guilty for all her suffering. Pansy? Oh dear! “Ohhhh, poor wee Tulip! I’m so sorry, m’lass.” He hugged her close. Tulip sniffed and reassured him she was fine, no thanks to his carelessness, though.
“I took Tulip away from Dizzy before that. He was running around with her and I thought he might chew her up.”
Pippin felt a shudder run through his entire body at the same time an identical one shivered through Tulip. He eyed her in sympathy. Oh dear! This story was getting worse by the minute now. “I’m going to find Vinca.” Pippin left Hammie with his mouth hanging open.
He found his sister at last. She squealed when she saw him with Tulip. “Oh! There’s my dolly’s frock! I wondered why Tulip ran off with it.” Pervinca was just coming out of her room as her brother appeared in the doorway.
Pippin scowled at her. “You dressed Tulip in a frilly frock! How come? And why was she playing with you?”
Pervinca tossed her hair. “I found her under my bed. She was covered in cat hair so I gave her a bath and then invited her to tea. You should thank me, not yell at me, Peregrin.” Vinca folded her arms and gave him a haughty stare.
“So, Lily had hold of her too? What in thunder is going on today?”
“Pippin! You shouldn’t use that kind of language, you’re too young.”
Pippin rolled his eyes, disgusted. He turned his back on his sister and dashed towards the kitchen. He and Tulip both needed some reassurance from his mother, and perhaps a hot cup of tea and a few ginger biscuits might help settle their nerves!
Eglantine smiled at her lad and his wee piglet. Gently, she brushed the hair from his forehead and planted a soft kiss there, before making sure the covers were tucked in around the slumbering pair of friends. It was truly amazing the way her small son had been taken by such a simple little gift as his knitted piglet. She kissed the tip of her finger and placed it tenderly on Tulip’s head. “Keep both eyes on him lass, always,” she whispered. “He needs watching over.” Eglantine sighed in content as she pulled the door shut, leaving it cracked open slightly. She was thankful their adventure had ended happily for both, unable to imagine Pippin without his little friend who had taken hold of his heart so firmly.
|<< Back||Next >>|
|Home Search Chapter List|