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Chapter 6


The train with the hamsters passed marvellous landscapes. High mountains and green valleys alternated. Now and then the train puffed along a small river. They passed a high bridge and reached a moor and the hamsters were sitting at the windows and marvelled.

“We take the car…” the Mayor smiled. Flecki took his paw, sighed and replied: “It’s all right, Mayor, we are in the car. Do look out of the window for a while, it’s very beautiful outside.”

While the mayor offered his silly grin to the landscape the first hamsters began to feel bored. From the next compartment Goldi had nicked a box of gingerbread while chief engineer Botchy and repair hamster Tuffy rolled a large bottle over the floor. “We found this!” he shouted proudly. “Seems to be some apple juice or the like. There’s a picture of an apple on it.”

Now they had a party. There were the above mentioned biscuits and the very, very tasty drink. Rather a pity that the hamsters did not know the word “Cider”, which was not really apple juice. In Scotland everybody knows Cider, of course, and everybody knows that it is an alcoholic drink. The little hamsters did not know - not yet. Hamster parties are all alike: munching, hanging out, dancing, and munching again. By now the train had passed Fort William a while ago and to the left Loch Eil came into sight. It was a wonderful view but unfortunately the hamsters did not notice it. Topple and Tuffy tried to dance on the empty Cider-bottle and rolled down several hamsters who had laid down for a nap. Flecki nibbled at some gingerbread and watched

Goldi who clambered along the emergency brake, calling again and again: “Watch out! Super-hamster is coming!” Then with a loud yell he slumped down. But this time he did not land on the soft bolster of the bench. Instead there was a loud crash.

“Where’s super-'amster now?” chief Botchy slurred and had some difficulties to keep himself upright.

“Oh - he”, Flecki drawled. “Super-hamster landed in the ashtray and is stuck.”

While the train rattled on through a beautiful landscape some hamsters managed to turn up the heating so that the temperatures in the compartment became quite tropical. The mayor was sitting on the heating and sang songs about hot beaches and the blue sea. Some hamsters now got a sudden fancy for the sea and diverted the flush of the toilet to the compartment. After a few minutes the delighted mayor had the sea he was singing about in front of his paws. “We are there!” he cheered and wanted to dip a paw into the water.

Super-hamster who now freed himself, scrambled out of the ashtray and jumped. As the mayor was just bending down he could not see Goldi and they both plunged into the loo-water. Now there was no stopping for the drunken hamsters. One after the other they climbed up to the emergency brake and jumped into the loo-water. While Flecki taught little Taty and repair hamster Tuffy how to snip a loo-roll, the party came to a very sudden end. Quite a lot of hamsters had climbed up to the emergency brake and merrily swung to and fro. By their weight the brake was released, the train slowed down, the wheels screamed. As the train had been in a long bend and not very fast, it soon came to a standstill. Those hamsters who did not hold to something were hurled into the water or to the benches. Then all was quiet. Anxiously the hamsters scrambled onto the windowsills. Far off they could see a large stone bridge. But then they heard something which shocked them: loud voices, shouts and the trampling of feet. After the little rodents had run in circles and squeaked in panic for a while they had the idea to flee. It would be terrible after all if the conductor caught them here.

“Quick, we’ve got to get out of the train before they get at us!” Flecki shouted.
“But how?” Tuffy wailed. “Where is the mayor?”

The mayor just had slept a little and the jerk of the stopping train had thrown him from the bench. Now he dizzily floated in the water and towards the toilet. When he reached it he decided to look out of the window to see if they were at the sea by now. Doing so, he lost his balance and plunged into the loo. Wonderingly the other hamsters assembled round the toilet and did not really know what kind of message the enlightened one had given them by this action.

“That’s brilliant!” Goldi suddenly shouted. Everybody looked at him. “It’s clear as daylight”, Goldi continued. “Train toilets always have a large opening outward. I think it’s a kind of emergency exit. If you press down that big lever there, the exit opens.” With loud cheers the hamsters now jumped into the loo - following their mayor. When all his friends were in, Goldi hopped onto the big lever, then he followed his friends. It was a very, very long jump. The hamsters thought it never would end. But finally they landed in a small river, which meandered from the north through Glen Finnan.

Half-dead of horror they plunged into the ice cold water which promptly made them wide awake. They were not much of swimmers but they were lucky. It had been raining a lot during the last days and so branches were floating in the river to which they could hold. They drifted in western direction, passed Loch Shiel and reached Shiel Bridge in the middle of the night. Half starved and completely knocked out they scrambled ashore and looked at a long, long bridge.

“Super-duper, that was fun, o enlightened one!” Flecki nagged.

“And what now?” “We take the car…”, the mayor said and smiled.