The Crafty Dog Cymru Hallowe’en Story for 2018
Rubbish the Rabbit Hound and The Giant Bat
Bob the father rabbit shook his head. “It’s too bad. These Witches are becoming such a nuisance.”
Bluebell, his wife, agreed, “I know. They are frightening all the kits. They won’t even listen to Finn!”
She was talking about the local coven of witches who, as the weeks drew closer towards Hallowe’en were getting more and more rowdy – screeching and cackling, swooping low over the trees and scaring the baby rabbits, birds and other animals. Finn the deerhound had gone to pay these hags a visit, and he had politely asked them not to be quite so loud but they had just sent him off with a flea in his ear. It was a real flea too and he was not amused.
“I’m not amused,” he growled at Rubbish the rabbit hound. The young hound couldn’t help smiling even though it was not funny. Jeffrey the old marmalade cat grinned gummily as he stared over the top of his round spectacles at the two of them, “Frightful nuisance,” he harrumphed in agreement.
Finn was, after all, the Lord of the Glen and Warden of the Great Forest and so senior animal of the area. From the kitchen the Maid watched the three friends discussing the problem in the woods. She leaned towards the open window and called out, “Bacon roll anyone?”
Three animal heads swivelled as one, and nodded in unison. “That would be marvellous,” Finn replied.
Three chopped up bacon rolls arrived in three bowls. They had continued talking amongst themselves, and still did so even as they munched on their mid-morning snacks. The brindle greyhound could not understand why the witches would not listen to Finn. He shook his head and dropped a small piece of bacon onto the patio, from which it was quickly snapped up by a hungry blackbird that appeared to have just been passing by.
“Bless my soul! That was a bit of bad luck, young sir,” Jeffrey consoled the stunned Rubbish.
“I was just going to finish that,” the pup said.
Finn laughed out loud, “At last! Something that is faster than our speeding greyhound’s ravenous appetite!”
The blackbird had landed on the roof of the outhouse, scoffing his ill-gotten gains and appeared to be listening to the three animals talking.
As the bacon rolls were finally mopped up, there came a sound from the bottom of the garden as a little rabbit pushed through the gap in the garden door and scurried up the red brick path towards them. It was Scutter. He skidded to a halt, scattering chippings as he stopped. He was puffing heavily. “Mr Finn! It was terrible and frightening!” The rabbit’s eyes were wide with excitement as he spoke.
“Really? Take a breath young rabbit,” he patted the rabbit on the shoulder.
“And start at the beginning,” added the ancient cat.
Scutter took a deep breath and began his story. “It was late last night. The witches were dancing and singing in the clearing where they have their parties. You know what they’re like,” the rabbit made a drinking sign with his paw. “They had their brooms and everything, and then….” he paused for dramatic effect, “as the full moon shone over the trees, a huge black bat appeared and flew over them.”
The dogs looked at each other and Jeffrey pushed his glasses back up his nose.
Scutter continued, “They were terrified! They all packed up and went home sharpish. Most of them walked – they were too scared to fly.”
Jeffrey laughed out loud and rolled back onto his rather large bottom. Rubbish smiled too. Finn however, though he was amused by the thought of something disrupting the coven’s antics, was also concerned about what this flying thing could be. “Young Scutter – did anyone else see this?” he asked.
The rabbit nodded, Yes, the squirrel family saw it all. It was a giant bat that made a terrible screeching noise as it flew.”
Jeffrey gave the deerhound a nudge, “Let’s go and see then.”
Finn stretched. “Come on – I sense an adventure.”
Off the three friends went, following Scutter through the woods to the clearing where the squirrels lived, in a tree next to the witches’ party venue.
Finn and Rubbish looked around the clearing; in the centre were the remains of a huge bonfire, still smouldering slightly. There were a couple of abandoned broomsticks, broken glasses that had held witches potions (or more likely gin and tonic). There was even one witch’s shoe (like some sort of evil Cinderella!).
“Something definitely spooked them,” Rubbish said.
Finn had to agree, “And they left in rather a hurry.”
Jeffrey was questioning the two squirrels. He had his notebook and pencil (the ones he kept in a mysterious pocket somewhere in his fur, which so puzzled Rubbish) and was writing down what the squirrels said.
There were no obvious signs of any flying monsters. No signs of anything in the trees; all in all, very strange.
Back at the house over a bowl of kibble and smoked salmon, (Jeffrey just had the smoked salmon) they ran through what they had found.
“What is big enough to scare off a coven of hardened witches?” mused the deerhound.
“Can’t have been an owl or a nightjar as they see them all the time,” Rubbish answered.
Jeffrey stopped chewing to add, “And witches are a bit of an expert on bats.”
“True,” Finn confirmed. “It must have been one heck of a bat!”
Jeffrey suddenly sat up bolt upright and even dropped his bowl into his lap. “Aha! Hang on…” then he shot off, disappearing through the hole in the wall into his garden next door.
The dogs looked at each other. “Eh?”
Back in puffed the old moggie, carrying a huge book, “I know what it is!” The cat put the book on the garden table and opened it, flipping through the pages. It was “The Wonder Book of Dinosaurs.”
He pointed to a colour photo, “Look here! It’s a pterosaur – a flying lizard!”
Rubbish and Finn gazed at the illustration; an enormous bat-like flying lizard with a huge pointy beak.
“Blimey,” Finn said.
“Don’t know about the witches but it would scare the pants off me,” Rubbish gulped.
“Quite so,” Finn concurred.
Jeffrey was feeling quite pleased with himself and you could see his fur puffing up with pride.
“The only problem, my ginger pal, is that they have not been seen on this earth for over 100 million years.”
The cat frowned.
“That’s a really long time,” Rubbish had to admit.
The old cat frowned even more and his puffiness deflated a little. “But the description fits” he answered.
Finn and Rubbish had to agree with the cat; it sounded like this flying dinosaur, but where had it been hiding for the last 100 million years?
“Maybe it’s come through time through some sort of worm-hole in the space-time continuum?” Jeffrey suggested.
“Hmmmm,” said Finn. “Or it might be something less ancient and a bit more likely.”
“We have to see it for ourselves,” Rubbish told them.
“That, my young friend, is a good idea,” the deerhound smiled.
“Capital!” beamed Jeffrey. “I’ll start packing my night gear.”
It was agreed that the three of them would meet again at 5 o’clock – after tea, naturally – and they would go and wait near the Witches’ clearing to see what would transpire.
The moon was rising as the three friends slipped through the undergrowth at the edge of the trees to wait for the witches. There was a pronounced pong from the canvas backpack that the old cat was carrying.
“Cor – what a niff!” commented the greyhound.
Jeffrey hissed, “its garlic.”
“You don’t say?” chided Finn.
“In case it’s a giant vampire bat,” the cat explained. “I also have some stakes.”
Rubbish looked puzzled. “In case you get hungry?”
The cat tutted, “No – not that sort of steak! A wooden pointy one.”
Jeffrey rummaged in the bag and came out with a large head-torch on a wide elastic headband. It was bright orange and matched his (albeit moth-eaten and ancient) fur. He slipped it on and adjusted the straps.
Now it was Finn’s turn to tut, and to shake his head.
A blast of very bright light in Rubbish’s face made him jump. “Oh, sorry. It’s a bit bright,” Jeffrey blushed under his ginger fur as he fumbled and turned the torch off. “I have boosted the light output a bit. Should help us see whatever it is.”
Finn put his head in his paws, sighed and muttered something under his breath. It was going to be a very long night!
Part 2 Will follow tomorrow evening!