THE FILIGREE SHEEPDOG DOES A GOOD DEED
I thought it was about time to put a chapter here. Have not had much time recently for writing but did finally finish the Filigree sheepdog book. Being out of practice I hope I have done this submission correctly.
‘Morning Mrs Peasnip.’
It was a Monday morning and the poet and the filigree sheepdog were on their way home with the morning paper and a large bone fom the butcher to keep Filli occupied while the poet was busy working on his latest book.
‘I was hoping to see you,’ said Mrs Peasnip. ‘I wonder if sometime I could borrow your dog.’
‘Wuff,’ said Filli, putting the bone down, ‘say yes.’ She was always ready for any adventure. You never new what they might involve.’
‘What’s the problem, Mrs P?’
‘The thing is, as you know we have several elderly people living at Honey House. Well, there’s an old lady who loved all her life on a farm but she is too ill to live there now and the farm is several miles away. Her husband is still working the farm and of course the sheepdog has to live there too as he needs its help with the sheep. Poor Mrs Jones only gets to see it about once a month when Mr Jones comes to market in the town.’
‘I’ll come and see her whenever you like, ‘wuffed Filli. ‘Does she understand Dog?’
’Oh yes. She’s had a lifetime of Dogspeak, and it would make her really happy.’
’When can we go Boss?’
‘Well, I’d better take you tomorrow and introduce you. After that you can make your own arrangements. I know you get around the village without my help most of the time, not to mention your various adventures and strange friends.
‘Thank you, so much, both of you. I’ll tell Mrs Jones today and we’ll expect you in the morning.’
At six in the moring the poet felt a cold nose in his ear.
‘Too early, Filli, he said. ‘Mrs Jones won’t even be awake and certainly none of the people there will have had breakfast.’
‘Well, we could go to breakfast. I love bacon.’
‘Behave yourself, Filli. We haven’t been invited yet. Now let me have a bit more sleep and we’ll go after our breakfast.’ And he shut his eyes and turned over.
And so, at 9 o’clock they set off and presented themselves at the front door of Honey House. Mrs Peasnip let them in lead them along a corridor to a room where an elderly lady was sitting in a wheelchair. Filli rushed up to her and put her front paws in her lap.’
‘Oh, you little darling,’said Mrs Jones. You’r a real proper sheepdog, aren’t you. I do miss my Nelli terribly but she has to work with my husband.’
‘She does sheep, does she?,’ asked Filli politely.
‘Of course, said Mrs Jones.
‘I don’t,’ said Filli firmly. I’m a filigree sheep dog and we’re excused.’ Nobody had ever told her any such thing but it seemed like a good excuse.
Mrs Jones produced a small packet of cheese biscuits from her pocket. ‘Well, I expect they like biscuits, don’t they?’
‘This one does,’ said Filli and sat up on her bottom in the begging position that the poet considered undignified. Several biscuits later they were firm friends and Filli was looking at the photos on the dressing table, half of which were children and half border collies.
‘Which one is Nelli?’ asked Filli.
‘The black one.’
‘I’ve got a friend who’s nearly all black. She belongs to the Witch of the Mountain. Perhaps I could bring her to see you one day.’
‘I’d like that,’ said Mrs Jones, and Filli noticed that she didn’t seem to doubt her word. The poet had warned Filli that a lot of people got very suspicious if one talked of magic and witches etc. ‘Would the witch mind?’
‘No,’ she’s very kind and she thinks her dog should have its own life as well as helping her with witchery. The dog’s name is Majyk. The Witch of the mountain isn’t very good at spelling.’
Filli promised to come back soon and she and the poet, who meanwhile had been having a cup of tea with Mrs P., went home. The very next day, Filli let herself out and went up the mountain to see Majyk and the witch.
When she reached the Witch’s cottage the Witch was busy making medicine jam as it was now autumn and that is when all the different berries on the mountain bushes get ripe. The jam was not exactly tasty but drunk in hot water often cured people overnight. It would probably cure a poorly dog too but all dogs refuse to drink it. Anyway she left the pot boiling and made a pot of tea for herself and the dogs. She always found it strange that humans failed to offer visiting dogs a saucer of tea.
Filli explained about Mrs Jones and how much she missed her dog. Majyk said she’d be happy to visit on a day when the Witch didn’t need her.
‘You can go tomorrow if you like, Majyk,’ said the Witch. I shall be busy all day tomorrow and also I need to write the latest recipe in my book.’
So Filli and Majyk arranged to meet at the bottom of the mountain track. The Witch gave them a little jar of proper jam as a present for Mrs Jones. She wrapped it up in a copy of the Magic Times news with elastic bands all round it as glass is very tricky for dogs to carry.
So the next morning they trotted through the village and Majyk, who was carrying the jam, used it to knock on the door. Mrs Jones was delighted to see them as they hadn’t said exactly when they would come. She showed Majyk the photo of her dog and it was really very like her. They gave her the jam and Majyk explained that the Witch of the Mountain had adopted her. They both promised to come again and to tell her some more adventures. Mrs Jones was really very good at understanding Dogspeak.