Author’s note: Hello everyone! Sorry for the gap in the story – I write this a day at a time, so opening the advent boxes to tell the tale is a surprise for me as well. I also try to only open them on the day that they appear too – because I take pictures of things in the story, sometimes I also publish the pictures in other places as well – and I don’t want to accidently publish a picture and spoil anyone’s enjoyment. Anyway, I’ve caught up so hopefully we can be back on track for the rest of the week
Eh? What? Oh, oh… we’re back! So Stan and Jack are out collecting things for the Fairy Godmother so that they can turn the Emperor Penguin back into Lord Trencham’s brother; Lord Trencham is currently trying to woo Jack’s Aunt Boris; The Fairy Godmother and Old Mother Hubbard are currently in the police cell having had a fight outside Old Mother Hubbard’s Shoe Cottage and were arrested by PC Dibble – who is the Fairy Godmother’s son.
And before we head back into the story… I say, I say, I say, why does Mrs Claus always give Santa Claus an umbrella before he goes out to deliver presents? Because he gets in the sled and all he sees is rain, dear…
The peace of the police station was shattered with the thunderous sound of the Sarge.
“FAIRY GODMOTHER!!” he shouted “YOU TURN THAT BACK!! RIGHT NOW!!!”
PC Dibble nearly fell off his chair, but instead turned to his mother.
“Mum” he said carefully “What have you done now?”
“Well” said the Fairy Godmother, with an air of ‘well it made sense to me’, “Your Sergeant here parked his car in an area that he shouldn’t. The sign said what would have happen.”
“Don’t tell me that you…”
“YES, DIBBLE” shouted the Sergeant, “I STEPPED OUT TO MY CAR AND THERE WAS A SMALL AMPHIBIAN THERE INSTEAD!!! SHE HAD MY CAR TOAD!!!”
“But mum” said Dibble, a little frustrated with his mother’s actions (again!), “we confiscated your wand!”
“Oh, that thing” she replied. “Merely a stage prop. I put a little flint wheel in the top so it would shower sparks, it’s what people like to see… but the magic – and I mean REAL magic – comes from within.”
“Well, whatever, can you turn his car back – he can be a real grumpy goat if he doesn’t get his way.”
“A grumpy goat, you say?”
“NO!” exclaimed Dibble “I do not want to be on poop duty again! Just turn the car back and the Sarge will calm down to being his gentle teddy bear self.”
“Uh Oh.” Said the Fairy Godmother.
“No; no ‘uh oh’ – turn the car back.”
“Oh, no, not that… something else. But OK. You might want to step back a bit.”
“Because that’s a toad by your foot that’s about to become a squad car!”
“Then wait until I get it back outside!”
Dibble threw the toad through the door, and the Fairy Godmother waved her hand.
“MY FOOT!!!” yelled the Sarge. “DIBBLE!!!!!”
PC Dibble and his mother exchanged smiles. Then Dibble looked serious.
“Now – about the ‘uh oh’. What do I need to know?”
“Well, I just remembered. Stan wasn’t always a frog…”
“Then you had better explain.”
(Hi, it’s me Pant-o-mime. The next bit is a bit of a back story, so it happened in the past. Thought I’d tell you so you didn’t get confused)
Stan was never what you would consider to be a ‘good child’. He was what the police would call now “a person of interest” – in other words, if there was any trouble, then Stan would be the first one that they would call on. In most cases, it was the right choice. He got into trouble for taking cake ingredients without asking once and when questioned he admitted he wanted to make a stollen cake. But he looked cute and was often accused of stealing hearts as well. But the people of the village didn’t like the way he would get away with it – there was usually some reason why he could not be locked up; either a convincing alibi, or some cleverly constructed blackmail or just poor policing (such as eating the cake when it was put into the evidence locker). So the Chief Judge approached the Fairy Godmother and they decided that they needed to change Stan in a way that would mean that he could not continue his ways. So the Fairy Godmother turned Stan into a Frog.
“But that doesn’t explain the ‘uh oh’ said PC Dibble.
“I’m getting to that. So Stan was turned into a Frog until such time as either he had served ten years as a frog, or undertook something that made him realise his previously bad ways and wanted to make him be good. The ten years comes up in two years’ time. But what I had forgotten was Mr Snugglesson.”
“Mr Snugglesson? The Mousedeer?”
(And we’re back in the Flashback)
Growing up, the village school was different in that it would teach all manner of gifted children – and that included animals that had a high level of intelligence. Being a Mousedeer, Snugglesson was always going to be different and Stan – before he became a frog – would pick on Snugglesson.
‘Can you get the TV on those antlers?’
‘Why don’t you have a shiny nose?’
‘Why is your fur that colour?’
Now, what Stan didn’t realise, in fact what none of us realised, was that Snugglesson would have a growth spurt. And it wouldn’t be a little growth spurt either; it was a big growth spurt. But with the teasing that Stan had given him, Snugglesson did what all the Mousedeer did – he ran to the hills. And when he ran, he took a silver chain that I had given to him as a present. Snugglesson has now lived with his family in the hills ever since – and we’ve never had Mousedeer in the class again.
“All very sad.” said Old Mother Hubbard, sat on the bench, enthralled by the story. “I hope there’s a happy part to this tale.”
“I do too” said the Fairy Godmother. “I’ve just sent Jack and Stan to get the silver chain.”
Everybody sat in silence, thinking about the tale. Then, there was a loud bark and the police station doors swung open and in came a duck, towing a string of sausages! Behind that came a barking dog, trying to catch one of the sausages that had been tied to the duck!
“Colin! What are you doing with Jeremy Barkson?!” asked Old Mother Hubbard.
Colin’s head peered round the corner. “It’s not just me; it’s all of us. We’ve come to see if you were alright and if you wanted anything.” With that, some of the children came into the police station, dragging their sled behind them. They had obviously been using it to slide down the hills, as two trails of snow followed behind.
“Well, that’s very sweet of you all” said Old Mother Hubbard, “But I think PC Dibble will be letting the Fairy Godmother and me go home soon. Isn’t that right, PC Dibble?”
“Yes, I guess you’ve all calmed down now. I’ll get my keys.”
“No need” said the Fairy Godmother and waved her wand. The door opened.
“How did you get your wand? How did you open the door… you could have done that at any time?”
“Quite right” said the “Fairy Godmother. In fact, we could have just magicked away ages ago – but I haven’t had a nice cup of tea and chat with Old Mother Hubbard for quite a while; and it’s nice to see my son every now and again.”
“But why did you tie the sausages to the duck?” asked Old Mother Hubbard.
“Ah, you see when I said ‘all of us’ Jeremy Barkson didn’t want to come, so we had to encourage him. We made use of his exceptional sense of smell.”
PC Dibble looked quizzically at Old Mother Hubbard.
“We got Jeremy Barkson at Christmas” explained Old Mother Hubbard. “I wanted to make sure that all the children put their sweets away so I told them that Santa had given him an exceptional sense of smell – an “Elf Factory” sense as it were.”
“Well that was very clever of you children” said the Fairy Godmother. She waved her wand “Let’s put those sausages back in the fridge at home – and yes, they’re clean too – and give Jeremy Barkson a bone and each of you a candy cane.”
“Thanks Fairy Godmother!” chimed the children.
In the wood, Jack and Stan were looking for the silver chain.
“There’s something familiar about this” said Stan. “Although I’m not sure what it is.”
“Perhaps we can get a better view if we climb up on those rocks over there.”
They walked over and started to climb.
“This rock seems very squishy, and this almost seems furry.”
They climbed further, until…
“Did you see that? I’m sure that the rock blinked at us.”
“Stan?” said Jack. “What’s wrong?”
The rock rumbled.
“Stan…” said the rocks. “Stan…”
Suddenly, Jack and Stan felt themselves falling from the rocks, but a soft rock caught them and then gently placed them on the ground. The rocks then stood up.
“What is that!?!?!” exclaimed Jack.
“That…” said Stan, shaking quite visibly “Is a Mousedeer. A Mousedeer that I knew a while ago. This Mousedeer is Mr Snuggleson.”
“Pleased to meet you. I’m Jack. This is Stan.”
Mr Snuggleson looked at Jack and then at the frog.
“I knew a Stan. He bullied me. I ran away.”
Jack looked at Stan. Stan looked down. Jack spoke slowly and carefully at Stan.
“I don’t like bullies. I need the silver chain to give to the Fairy Godmother. Mr Snuggleson here is quite within his rights not to give me the chain because of what you did.”
Stan thought for a moment. He asked Jack to hold him up so that Mr Snuggleson could see him.
“Mr Snuggleson” said Stan, “I have been a very bad and very wicked child – to the point that the Fairy Godmother turned me into a frog. That gave me plenty of time to think about all the wrong that I have done – and whilst it won’t change the past, I know that just saying sorry won’t help. But perhaps I can start to make amends. I know that since you ran away from the village – because of me – that no Mousedeer have ever come down to the village and the school. What I would like to do, as a way of demonstrating how sorry I am for everything I did, is to come up to the hills and teach all of the Mousedeer how to read and write. And use computers and anything else that Mousedeer want to learn about.”
Mr Snuggleson looked hard at Stan. He then looked at Jack. Jack cleared his throat.
“I haven’t spent so very long with Stan, but it does sound genuine. I don’t think he can be changed back until we deliver everything to the Fairy Godmother – but I will ask that in changing Stan back that she casts another spell so that if he doesn’t hold his promise he will be turned back into something that Mousedeer can make fun of.”
Mr Snuggleson smiled.
“Jack- there’s no need for that; but he can become a frog again if he doesn’t do what he promised. It took me quite a while to be confident enough to get close to the village, but my grandparents remember a time when they would be hurt a lot more than just name calling which is why us Mousedeer are so rarely seen. But I learned a lot while I was at school and it would be nice to have the opportunity to teach the Mousedeer children. You say you wanted a chain – well, here it is; I think that when you show that to the Fairy Godmother she will know that Stan and I have at least met and talked.”
With tears starting to well in Jack’s eyes, he rushed forward and hugged Mr Snuggleson. “Thank you.” He said.
A happy tear fell from Mr Snuggleson’s eye too. It splashed down, almost washing Stan away. His massive furry paws wrapped round Jack and scooped up Stan. They hugged for ages, before Jack had to come up for air.
“Thank you, Mr Snuggleson. I will come back again” said Stan.
“Yes, yes you will Stan. I will tell my Mousedeer friends. Jack – will you come too?”
“I think I will” said Jack.
So, with several days’ worth of advent presents, it was no surprise that this would be a long story.
The first was the radio controlled duck. For a small build, it works really well and I like the use of the red studs as wheels. I am surprised that LEGO still make the walky talky though in this shape – surely modern technology has moved on?
The next present was the robber. Another minifigure to the collection – and for me an opportunity to give Stan a back story. The jewel in the stick thing is interesting as I’m not sure what they are supposed to be – candles, perhaps?
I think the sled will be a first part of a two-part (at least, looking at the box description), but it’s neat enough. And yes, I nearly forgot it in the story!
The last of the weekend was the Dog – err… well, it’s a dog.
Author’s last note (for the moment): One of the things I have/am enjoying with this story is taking the pictures. Sometimes, I need to quickly draw a backdrop to help set the scene, othertimes I just have to go with the location. The challenge is getting the scale right – making sure that characters look correct when talking to each other. just to show the challenge I had with this story – here’s a picture of Jack, Stan and Mr Snuggleson (yup, that’s his real name!):