Let's all snuggle round the fire on this dark November evening and Oma will read you a story. Wait a minute, let me give the coals a poke and release some more heat. That's better. Now, are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.
This is the latest in my stories about Bertie, the wise rabbit. In this story Bertie goes shopping for bananas, but when he gets to the supermarket he finds he doesn't have his purse with him. ..
Bertie Saves the Day
The animals in Hardwick Grove have always been the first priority to Mr. and Mrs. James who live at no. 38. Recently things had changed. There was a new person to take care of: a small boy called Dylan, their grandson. He referred to them as Granddad and Oma and he went to stay with them every Friday. He was two years old at the time of this story.
Dylan loved bananas. He knew that if he was a good boy, he would get a banana but today there was only one banana in the dish on the table. Standing on tip-toe, he could just see into the fruit bowl. Gripping the side of the table and standing on his tip-toes, he could see the stalk of the banana pointing upwards at the figure of The Green Man, which was hanging on the wall. The Green Man smiled down at Dylan. He could foresee the future and often gave a hint of what was to come by changing his expression. Today he was looking benevolent.
When Granddad had finished his crossword puzzle and Dylan was finished playing with his circus train, Granddad stood up, stretched and asked Dylan the question he was waiting to hear.
‘Would you like a banana, Dylan?’
‘Eh!’ replied Dylan. He couldn’t quite manage ‘yes’.
‘O.k., let’s see if there are any in the fruit bowl.’
Dylan ran and Granddad walked to the table in the dining room where Oma’s large, wooden fruit bowl stood. Dylan jumped up and down in anticipation.
Picking up the banana Granddad unzipped it for his grandson. He was just about to give it to him when the main part of it snapped off and fell to the floor right in front of Pippa, the one-eyed dog, who snaffled it immediately and then looked incredibly guilty.
Dylan went quiet. Then when he realised what had happened, his eyes screwed up and tears began to spring forth alarmingly. He found his voice and started to howl, at which point Pippa slunk away and hid under the sideboard.
Sitting in his house in the garden, Bertie, the wise rabbit, heard the commotion and decided to investigate. He pushed up the top of his run with his nose and hopped up the garden path and in through the kitchen door. Mrs. James was standing at the kitchen sink, wearing her best floral apron and washing some tasty-looking cabbage for lunch.
Bertie, being a magical rabbit; a tribute given to him by a recent visit from the fairy queen, was able to stand tall and wear clothes like the people who lived in the house. He could also talk to the humans just as if he was one himself; although this was all temporary.
‘What’s all the commotion?’ asked Bertie of Mrs. James, who wiped her hands on her apron and turned to go into the living room.
Bertie soon understood what was wrong and kindly offered to go to Sainsbury’s and buy a new bunch of bananas.
‘That’s very kind of you Bertie!’ said Mr. and Mrs. James in unison.
Mr. James opened his wallet and found some money to give to Bertie.
‘Here, take my little purse,’ said Mrs. James, helpfully. She gave Bertie the little purse, which was sparkling with sequins all over it. It really was very pretty.
Dylan had stopped howling and stared in amazement at Bertie, the wise rabbit, who stood in front of him resplendent in a beautiful brown tweed waistcoat and a pair of corduroy trousers to match. Dylan had never seen such a big rabbit before even at the zoo where some of the animals were as big as a house and others had necks so long they could reach up to the clouds.
‘Off you go Bertie, don’t lose the purse. I’m very fond of it.’
‘No, of course not,’ said Bertie, puffing himself up with importance as he hopped away out of the front door and up the street.
A few curtains twitched as Bertie passed by, but nobody came out of their house to stare.
When Bertie got to Sainsbury’s he soon found the bananas. They were on a stand near the door all bright and shiny yellow. He chose a nice big bunch and put them in his basket. Then he got distracted. He could smell carrots and sure enough there they were, lots of them on another stand nearby, all red and appetising. Bertie’s tummy began to growl.
‘Perhaps I’ll just stop here and eat a few carrots to keep me going.’ He thought, but before he could indulge himself, a store detective came across and tapped him on the shoulder.
‘Don’t even think about it, sonny,’ said the man, looking fierce.
‘Is there a problem, sir?’ asked the girl at the till, looking bored.
‘No, no problem,’ said Bertie, but my purse is lost, that’s all.
‘No money, no bananas, sir’ said the girl.
‘Yes, yes, I know’ Bertie answered the girl impatiently.
Then he said, ‘one moment, please keep the bananas, I’ll be back in a minute.’
Two little old ladies were pushing their shopping carts over to the doorway. Neither of them looked as if they could lift anything more than a feather hat.
Quick as a flash, Bertie was by their side and offering to help them take the shopping to the car, better still lift it into the boot for them.
The old ladies looked at Bertie and then at each other.
‘Do you see what I see?’ said Olivia to Amy. ‘Is that a life-sized rabbit or are my eyes deceiving me?
‘Amy adjusted her glasses on her nose.’
‘It’s a rabbit,’ she replied, ‘and it’s talking.
Bertie followed the ladies out to their car and helped them to pack their purchases in the boot.
Afterwards one of the ladies gave Bertie a tip. He put it carefully in his pocket where the purse should have been.
Bertie was a wise rabbit and this had been a good idea. He pursued it until he had enough money to pay for the bananas and then he went back into the store and paid the check-out girl.
‘Found it then, did you?’ she smiled.
‘Not exactly, no,’ he answered, but I found a way around it.
With the bananas safely in a bag, Bertie left the shop and made his way home to Hardwick Grove. On his way up the hill he had to pass a number of pyracantha bushes with their berries all shiny and red to tempt the birds. Something else was hanging in the branches of one of them, something with sequins all over it, something that looked like Mrs. James’s purse.
‘It is Mrs. James’s purse,’ exclaimed Bertie, ‘but I can’t reach it. I need a stick.’
When he got back to the safety of the bush, the dog was back with his master. He dropped the banana at his master’s feet and was looking around for his lost stick.
Bertie was out of breath.
He poked the stick into the bush until he freed the purse and then put the purse back safely into his pocket.
‘Now to get these bananas back to Dylan.’
He bounded along, swinging the bananas round in circles inside their Sainsbury’s bag, until found the sign for Hardwick Grove came into view.
‘This is it.’ He smiled.
When he got in, he looked around. The people were all in the back room, watching television. Bertie emptied the contents of the purse into Dylan’s piggy bank and then took the bananas into the back room and gave them to Mrs. James.
Bertie says ‘Always keep your valuables in a safe place.’