Chapter 9

McClown in Dirty Trouble



At the same time butler McClown faced some new problems: The pouring rain had completely soaked his paper dress and he was cold. The hamsters were wrapped in his former clothing and felt very hungry. Where in the world was he to get new clothing and something to eat? McClown continued his southward route and was worried. Now and then a car passed him. Every time he signed them to stop but when seeing the half naked McClown the drivers sped up and left him out in the rain. Considering his own slow speed, the butler realized that it would take him days to reach the castle if he had to walk all the distance. Provided that he would not freeze or starve before. He felt quite downcast when he passed a hay cart which was halting at the roadside.

Suddenly he had an idea. He turned and walked back to the hay cart. As customary with such vehicles it was loaded with hay. McClown threw the box with the hamsters into the hay and scrambled onto the cart. Then he brushed aside the hay so that he could hide in it with the box. The hay rather pricked but he did not mind for in here it was warm and dry. Butler and box were now hidden deep in the hay. It was dark and cosy so that McClown became sleepy. He did not notice that the hay cart set into motion while he was soundly asleep.

A hard bump woke the butler. He heard the frightened squeaking of the hamsters but could not see anything. Blackness all around him, his lids felt sticky. He wiped them thoroughly and was glad to be able to see something. It took him some time to understand what had happened and where he was. His face and body where covered with black mud. He was lying in some dirty, stinking broth.

A pigsty”, he swore. “They tilted me into a pigsty!”


 

Indeed the hay was meant as fodder for the cattle on a small farm. How should McClown have known that the cart would be moved while he was sleeping? He looked about him. This was a small barn. Some pigs were on the one side, from the other side a cow watched him with her big eyes. Swearing, he got out of the stinking mud and feverishly searched for the hamster-box.

He found it beside the pig feeder, grabbed it and looked for the exit of the cattle shed. Close by he saw a wooden door and ran towards it. This was a mistake for McClown slipped on a cow pad and fell down right at the legs of a cow. Dizzily he lay there and the cow began to lick his face with her long tongue. Disgusted, the butler stood up and fled to the door. But when he opened it and looked out he hastily closed it again. The next room was the kitchen and the farmer family was sitting there at supper.

Bugger! the butler thought. He could do nothing but wait until the family went to sleep. The cow had followed him and again began to lick him.

Now stop that, please, I’m no calve”, he hissed, but the cow did not seem to realize this. Now McClown fled to the other side of the stable where the pigs were living. He sat down in a corner, quite spent. But a short while later he was surrounded by curious pigs. They sniffed at him and they, too, started to lick the poor butler.

Now stop that, you pigs”, McClown hissed and while he looked for another place he realized why the animals were quite mad on him. Salt! Some animals are crazy about salt. He had come over the North Sea by balloon, so the smell and taste of salt water were on him. There was the rough tongue of the cow again and he fled to another corner. There the pigs were waiting for him and grunted merrily. He turned quickly and walked into the other direction but there the cow was standing, wagging her tail. Swearing, McClown went over to the door and listened. Darn it, the family did not go to bed but began to kill their time by playing cards.


He turned round: The cow was waiting for him – some steps away the pigs did the same, eyes full of hope. For some minutes McClown wandered from one corner of the stable to the other, but finally he surrendered. He did not fight them any longer but let cow and pigs have their fill of licking him.

Why always me?” he groaned. “Why not that old gaga dummy McShredder, who brought all this onto me?”

Neither cow nor pigs gave him an answer. Instead they merrily continued licking him.

Hours later, the farmer family went to bed. Now McClown dared to sneak through the door and leave the stable. When he entered the kitchen he noticed that the animals were following him. He hastily tried to shut the door behind him. He pressed to the door from one side, and the animals pushed from the other side. But finally he succeeded and the door was closed. One piglet however managed to squeeze through the gap in the door and unobstrusively followed McClown through the kitchen to the courtyard door. When he cautiously pressed down the handle, he felt a cold, sniffing snout at his leg and the blood almost froze in his veins.

The dog, he thought and almost panicked. Watchdogs are big, mean, and dangerous. He will bite and mangle me! McClown was sweating and his legs felt like jelly. Weeping, he fell to his knees and waited for the deathly bite of the beast. Nothing happened and his fright grew. He closed his eyes and waited on but still nothing happened. Doddering, the butler now decided to plead for his life. On his knees, eyes closed, he turned and whimpered: “Take pity on me, you are so much stronger than me. I surrender. Be gracious, you strong, mighty being. Feel pity with the innocent little hamsters!”



Still nothing happened. Cautiously McClown opened one eye to look at the beast bravely. In front of him a small, dinky piglet was sitting and looked at him. Never in his life McClown had felt more silly. Relieved he took the hamster-box and left the yard. To the south there was a forest which seemed to be an ideal hiding place. A few minutes later he and the hamsters were in safety. From twigs and leaves he built a shelter and tried to find sleep. He felt a little disturbed by the hamsters who were beginning a nightly party but even more it disturbed him that the piglet was sucking at his feet.

Next morning McClown woke up, shivering of cold. Gratefully he looked at the piglet which was lying on his feet and gave him a bit of warmth. The sun was shining and the butler decided to leave the shady forest to warm up in the sun. When he reached the road he discovered to his joy that the distance to his home castle was only a few kilometres. He realized that the hay cart had taken him a good way into the direction he needed. On his way he succeeded in stealing a small can of milk at a farm. A furious peasant woman almost caught him, but McClown was lucky. Against noon he reached a small crossroad. From there he walked into the direction of the castle. McClown sighed deeply and shouted: “My friends, a few hours only and we are home!”

He took the piglet’s forepaws and danced around with it.

To sleep in a coy bed again”, he sang, but the piglet only looked at him wonderingly.