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    The Beginning

    A story by Helen Nyman
    Illustrations by Emma Pennisi

    Page 7 ...

    Illustration Emma PennisiThe array of costumes was spectacular and everyone was in a very good mood owing to the wonderful mouth watering fragrances that were floating in the air from the party food from every corner of the world that Tilly had prepared: Spaghetti with “much-room” sauce (which allowed you to eat as much as you wanted without ever feeling full) from Italy; Rat-atouille from France; Birds nest soup from China; Hot Dogs with kat-chup from America; fish fingers and toes from England; and chocolate coated ants from Southern Africa. And sitting in the place of honour on the grand food table was a huge silver platter piled high with Tilly’s famous iced-mice, which would be handed out at the end of the day when the party was over, and not a minute before.

    King Freddy and Queen Suzi were sitting on the royal thrones that had been placed on a small platform in the centre of the flower garden. This was the Queen’s favourite place for entertaining guests as it was a paradise of colours and scents. There were beds of roses of every size and shape, rows of orchids as big as cabbage heads, sunflowers as tall as houses, and blue bells that tinkled in the tropical breeze.

    Queen Suzi kept staring at King Freddy - she couldn’t understand why he had his crown tilted right over his left ear. She thought it made him look rather simple minded and told him so. King Freddy just gave one of his mischievous grins and said, “All will be revealed in time my dear, so calm down. It really does nothing for your looks when your fur is all ruffled”, and with that the matter was closed.

    Little Bertie, King Freddy’s nephew who had been chosen to present the bouquet of lavender to Queen Suzi, was standing behind one of the rose bushes with Lucky, Amber and Rusty’s black kitten. The two were doubled over with laughter. It was obvious that they were up to no good. Suddenly Amber's voice cried out, “I recognise that laugh and it usually means trouble!” and with lightening speed she pounced behind the rose bush and grabbed Lucky by the scruff of the neck and carried him off in her mouth leaving Bertie just standing there with his mouth wide open.

    It’s a pity that Amber had not arrived earlier – the two mischievous kittens had sprinkled a large amount of catnip into the centre of the bouquet of lavender that was going to be presented to Queen Suzi. Instead of filling her with a feeling of tranquillity it would have the opposite effect, because as everyone knows catnip brings out the clown in every cat. That was just what the two naughty kittens were counting on. You see no one had ever seen Queen Suzi lose her legendary self-control, which from the kitten’s point of view was pretty boring.

    A loud fanfare of trumpets was sounded and all the guests looked towards the platform where the King and Queen were seated. Climbing up the four steps leading to the platform, in a rather unsteady manner, was Boris, who had been given the honour of singing the national anthem. It was obvious that he had put more than a few drops of vodka in his saucer of coconut milk that morning as before arriving at the microphone he gave an enormous hiccup.

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    All rights reserved. ©Helen Nyman 2007

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