This book was written for Flecki and Goldi Without them there would be no hamsters and no Hamsterton.
My special thanks go to Mamsi, who for many evenings listened to the stories and mastered her sleepiness.
Proofreading and checking on the historical background are most difficult. I like to thank a Celtic witch for her cooperation. Without her the last chapter would not exist.
Siesta time on some far off hacienda somewhere in Spain. The Spanish sun burnt down relentlessly on men and beast. The air war leaden. High up some birds were circling in the sky, now and then the stuttering motor of a tractor could be heard. Quite an idyllic picture but suddenly the peace was broken by a loud voice. It was a voice like a grater on rough metal.
"McClown, you good-for-nothing, where are you now?"
The only answer came from the stuttering tractor.
"MCCLOWN!" the old lord roared, his voice toppling over.
The far away motor died down. Some minutes later a small spot appeared at the horizon which - surrounded by a cloud of dust - approached with racing speed.
"Need you be that slow, McClown?" Lord McShredder croaked and looked at his butler reproachfully.
"Well, Sir, I, er"
The butler got a fit of coughing and held to the fence. After his race in the heat of noon he sweated and gasped for breath.
"You are by no means fit, McClown", milord said. "You should see yourself in a mirror! When we left Scotland you have been slim. And now? Fat and lazy, that's what you are, McClown!"
"Sir", the outraged butler replied, "when we left Scotland I had not eaten for three weeks."
"He?" McShredded shouted angrily. "You had beaten the wee freaks?"
McClown's face reddened.
"Sir", he roared, "after I kidnapped the hamsters from Hamsterton I had been half starved and close to being a skeleton."
"Half starved?" McShredder crowed. "There we are. You think about nothing but your dinner. My ailments are nothing to you, you ungrateful dog!"
Frido McClown had to stand a lot from His Lordship, but he was a butler through and through and the requirements of his master was all that mattered to him. His master was ailing? McClown looked at the old lord and asked in a shocked tone: "O my God, Sir, are you ill?"
"On the board is juice still? McClown, you are talking rubbish. The darned sun does you no good. Look at yourself, you've got a head like a tomato and are sweating all over."
"But Sir, I've been ploughing all the day!"
"You've been crowing hooray?!" milord asked, flabbergasted. "Man, you are beside yourself. Sunstroke or something."
Butler Frido McClown rolled his eyes and groaned. In Spain the deafness of His Lordship had grown worse. His rheumatism, however, had vanished which had been the reason for their leaving Scotland. The other reason had been that the old castle had become quite uninhabitable after a gas explosion.
McClown thought of his little friends, the hamsters. He sighed again and remembered all the adventures he had had with the rodents. He wondered if the charming little animals remembered him. Did they think of the landing at Strathy Point or the night in Smoo Cave? Once more McClown sighed and did not notice that the old lord watched him.
"My dear McClown", the well-known voice brought him back to reality, "I know what's ailing you. You are homesick!"
The butler did not know what to say and could only stammer something.
"And I'll tell you something, McClown", Lord McShredder said and wrenched himself from his new wheelchair.
"I'm homesick, too."
Lord and butler stood side by side and looked to the horizon. The butler thought of the hamsters, while milord sat down into his wheelchair again. By the way, he did not really need the wheelchair but he thought it more comfortable to be carted around with it. Around, that meant three times a day to the dining room and as many times to the loo. Leisurely McShredder lit his pipe, blew the smoke into the heat of the day and said:
"You know, my dear McClown, I've got my fill. Sun, sun, and sun again. I don't want it any longer. I want rain. I want days and days of rain, I want my wheelchair to be washed down from Craig Farr or any other mountain. Mountains! Where are the bens and glens, the creeks and lochs? Have we got anything of that kind here? No, nothing but sun and boredom."
McClown nodded. He rather liked the idea of His Lordship being washed down from some mountain. The only thing which bothered him was that he, Frido McClown, would have to push milord in his wheelchair uphill first. But then, yes, he would be happy to have the old crock washed down.
"Yes, Sir, that is an excellent idea!" he said.
"Isn't it? Well, McClown, see that you pack our things, organize a ship, prepare some sandwiches, and sell this house. We will leave in an hour!"
Shaking his head, Frido McClown set to work.
The Old Castle I
While Lord McShredder and his butler were suffering under the hot sun of Spain it was raining in Scotland. The majestic mountains were hidden in fog, men and beasts made themelves comfortable indoors. Only sheep and Highland Cattle were out on the rich green pastures and endured the rain composedly. Everything seemed to be silent and peaceful. Almost everything for in the proximity of Killichonan hell had broken loose. This was in the castle of Lord McShredder or, to be exact, what was left of it. As matter of fact it was not really a castle but a former church which McGregor had made over to milord when he had driven the Loch Ness Monster through the Caledonian Canal into the Atlantic Ocean. But what was happening in the ruin? Why was a rocket flying straight into the air, turned at the highest point and crashed back into the ruin exactly where it had been started? Why were there cries of pain and panic? Who was silly enough to shoot himself with a rocket? No man would do that, not to talk of animals. Stop! One sort of animal would really be able to do something like that: hamsters. But why hamsters?
To explain that we have to go back a little.
When Elfrieda1 and her friends had found the kidnapped hamsters in the castle everything seemed to be all right. The hamsters had been taken back to Hamsterton, milord and his butler went to Spain and everybody was well content. But in Hamsterton it was noticed after a while that some of them had not made the way back. To put it exactly: They had been forgotten. Well, this loss was not immediately noticed because the rodents had breeded during their unintentional trip to Scotland so that they rather numbered more than less. But a few things were decidedly noticed - you could say something was missing which nobody really had reason to miss.
The hamsters for a long time turned it over in their heads what they really did not miss but they came to no result. They founded planning groups and committees who were to handle the problem but the outcome always was the same: nothing.
When the year came to its end and Christmas was approaching, they suddenly noticed that nobody held boring speeches. Then the hamsters understood that their mayor had been forgotten in Scotland. When Christmas passed unusually peaceful and no catastrophes occurred it was obvious that Goldi, Flecki, chief engineer Botchy, repair hamster Tuffy and some others also were missing.
Now there was a lot of lamenting in Hamsterton. The hamsters immediately came together and discussed what to do. After one week they came to a decision:
1. We have no idea what to do
2. We have to go on
3. We will wait
4. Come what might
5. Not this way
6. We will have 3 weeks of mourning
Die Items 1., 3., and 6. were immediately decided unanimously and many hamsters started preparation to go on a holiday. Items 2., 4., and 5. were debated for quite some time and finally also accepted with a thin majority.
In the old ruin which rotted away beside a beautiful lake there was much excitement at the same time. Flecki's angry voice rang out: "I told you it makes no sense to fire a signal in the rain, you blockhead. You could have set the whole castle on fire!"
"Me, too, I did several times inform on this not unimportant fact while Goldi should have been aware of the consequences of his acts which by no means…"
The mayor's voice died down when he saw the angry looks of Flecki, Goldi, Botchy, Tuffy, and the others. It dawned to him that his speeches were less and less welcome by now and he stood in danger to be drowned in the next loch. He decided to hold no more long speeches. But what else should a mayor do? He was only able to hold speeches and leave the work to the other hamsters. He sat down on a stone near the fire place and pondered. Come on, Harry-George, he said to himself, you've got lots of talents, so make use of them and bring us all home. Then you can hold a speech and tell the whole story. Yes, that was it - the longest speech of his life! So the mayor dreamed about wonderful speeches, Goldi about rockets and munchies, Blotchy about repairing the castle. Flecki dreamt about kicking Goldi's bum.
For many days these hamsters had been busy cleaning up the castle and thinking of a way to get back to Hamsterton. In the cellar Goldi found a few aged Sylvester rockets and now nobody was safe any longer. He told everybody that shooting off signal rockets was the only possibility to get help from Hamsterton.
"But Hamsterton is too far away", Flecki and Dodo tried to explain.
"Our friends can't see your rockets there."
But Goldi did not listen to reason, that is, he did not want to listen. His main occupation was to fumble at the rocket drives and frighten the other hamsters. If it only banged and he had fun! Of course everybody was really pissed off by now and Flecki decided to make an end to all the banging. Infuriated, she took a pot of tea, went to Goldi's rocket collection and poured the tea over it.
"Oops, Goldi, silly me. I'm awfully sorry!"
With big eyes Goldi looked at his soaked rockets and tears came to his eyes. At this moment the mayor came along and saw the sad Goldi. Finally he could be of assistance and so he said:
"No problem, this will be dried quickly."
He took the whole bunch of wet rockets and carried it to the kitchen. When he came back into the great hall a few minutes later all the hamsters who had assembled here looked at him agog. The mayor enjoyed this moment of being the centre of attention. He cleared his throat and beamed around. Then be started to talk:
"Well, well, quick decisions ask for quick action, don't they, my dear friends? When I saw the wet bunch and when I saw the unlucky Goldi I immediately knew: Something has to be done. Immediately and with my well-known decisiveness I did the right thing. Yes, I did the right thing and helped this friend of ours. I realized that only by a quick decision this unlucky creature and his wet bunch…"
"Yes, yes, that's okay", Flecki interrupted him. "And where are the rockets now?"
"Ro-ro-rockets?!" the mayor groaned.
"Yes, the ro-ro-rockets. Where are they now?" the chorus of hamsters shouted.
"I-i-in the ba-ba-ba… ." Words failed the mayor.
"Bathing tub?" Flecki hopefully asked.
"N-n-no, in the ba-ba-bake, in the ba-ba-bake…", the mayor stammered.
"Baker Street?" Tuffy asked with some bewilderment.
"Oven", the sweating mayor groaned, "baking oven."
Deathly silence in the old castle. They could hear their own breathing. A smell of singed paper emerged from the kitchen. With big eyes and trembling whiskers the hamsters were standing in the great hall and did not move. Then a cry of "Cinap, pleh!" and the hamsters did what they could do best: running in circles and squeaking. After a few minutes of running and yelling still nothing had happened. No bang, no explosion. They wondered. Finally Dodo lamented loudly:
"Why doesn't anybody do anything? Someone has to switch off the oven!"
Now they all looked at the mayor. The mayor looked back anxiously. He quite realized that all the world now expected him to do something. Leadership and decision were now expected from him - and he by far would have preferred to flee, shrieking. With rather a silly grin he moved towards the kitchen.
"Ha ha, the baking oven! Well, I simply will switch if off!"
He just had reached the oven when the explosion came.
"McClown, are you ready? Can't you work faster? Do I have to do everything myself?"
Lord McShredder was so angry that he almost got up from his comfortable wheelchair to look for his butler. Impatiently he searched his trouser pocket for some tobacco. There were only some crumbs of tobacco and the rest of a handkerchief but he stuffed everything into his pipe.
"McClown! It is urgent!"
Panting and gasping the poor butler came running.
"Sir, the buyers for the house are waiting!"
"He? The tires of the grouse are trailing? McClown, that's gibberish. I hardly have any tobacco left and you are joking. Now go and get me some tobacco and don't stand about here lazily."
Frido McClown ran as fast as he could. But he was still rather close when he again heard the croaking voice of his master.
He turned on the heel and ran back to the spot where he just had been standing. With glittering eyes he listened what milord had to say to him.
"If you are taking a stroll to the town, do also bring some tea. A nice cup of tea serves for calming down. You should drink one, too. You are looking a little nervous. - Eh, McClown, do stop kicking the fence!"
The butler's patience was spent indeed. The suitcases were almost packed. Some items were missing, such as the collection of His Lordship's tobacco pipes which numbered about 600. All the newspapers and yellow press which McShredder had collected over the years would not go back home. Frido McClown had taken a plank out of the dining room floor and hidden pipes and newspapers there. Then he had nailed the plank again and was glad that he did not have to take along all this rubbish. By now he had reached the little town which was a few minutes’ walk from the hacienda. He bought what he had been ordered to, returned, set the kettle on the stove, made a deal with a former torero, who had retired, and sold the house to him. Then he took the tobacco to Lord McShredder, prepared the tea and made a phone call. While he was dialling, he heard a croaking "McClown, where is my tea?" but he just did not heed it.
He rang up his old friend, the captain. It was the one who once had taken him along to Reykjavik as stowaway. Never the butler would forget how this sailor had saved the hamsters from certain death. There had been a storm and he had stumbled over a fender. O the dear, cute hamsters! Tears came to his eyes, he thought of the stormy balloon-landing in Strathy Point. Well, just now the captain had promised to take them back to Scotland. In two days he would meet them in the port of Vivero. While the butler wondered how they were to get to Vivero he went back to His Lordship.
"McClown, you are sleeping in the middle of the day! Now you've forgotten the tea. If I don't to everything myself…"
"He? Sir, I'm on the bottom of the sea? I didn't realize that…"
The butler aped the deafness of milord and ducked away when McShredder threw his pipe at him. Then he went to finish the packing. He did not heed the swearing of milord. With satisfaction he watched how McShredder struggled out of the wheelchair to pick up the hot pipe before the carpet was on fire. The packing was soon finished and the butler heard milord crowing again:
"McClown, where is the ship?"
"Sir", McClown shouted, "the ship is in the harbour, if you please."
"In Vivero, Sir."
"Where is that?"
"Behind Magazos, Sir."
"Aha, and where is Magazos?"
"Behind Fonterova, Sir."
"Aha, and Fonterova?'"
"A few kilometres to the west, Sir. In Spain, Sir. On the planet Earth, Sir."
"Aha, and where… McClown, I'm not stupid! Of course I know that we are in Spain. Then find a solution how to get me there. It is not very comfortable for me to be carted by you over the bumpy roads."
"Certainly, Sir, I will immediately look for a vehicle."
The few inhabitants of the hamlet Fonterova spent a comfortably boring life. Nothing ever happened in this backwater but this afternoon a change occurred. While village and people were dozing, a man approached their place from eastern direction. He dragged a donkey behind him. The donkey pulled an old wooden cart. On this cart a wheelchair was mounted. In the wheelchair a man was sitting smoking a pipe. He obviously was angry. The sleepy villagers heard the old man scolding the other one who dragged the donkey.
"McClown, you madman, why did you not order a taxi?"
"Sir, there are no taxis and we sold the tractor."
"McClown, I want some tea!"
"There is no tea, Sir, and please stop shouting, the donkey is going to be wild."
"No tea! You ungrateful dog!"
The Spanish villagers watched the infuriated man on the throne-like wheelchair throwing his pipe at the younger man. But the pipe hit the innocent donkey and the hot ash singed the donkey's mane. The donkey did what everybody would do when he is singed: he yelled in pain and ran. Delighted, the villagers watched what was happening on their dusty road. A donkey with smoking mane raced along the bumpy road, dragging behind him a cart. The old man in his wheelchair was still sitting in the cart, but he bounced up and down and hardly could hold to the cart. And then there was the man who up to now had dragged the donkey. Now he wildly waved his arms, shouted and ran after the cart.
The eyes of the villagers followed this funny group for a long time until only a little cloud of dust was to be seen in the setting sun. One of them, an old man with only few teeth left, shook his head and said to his neighbour:
The neighbour, who had just closed his eyes to doze on, opened them again and replied:
"Yes, always hectic. Don't know leisure, these gringos."
It did not take Lord McShredder and his butler long now to reach the port of Vivero. The poor donkey had only half his mane left. In pain and with a loud "Eeyore" he jumped into the water of the harbour. The butler desperately tried to hold the wheelchair with milord but with a splash they all fell into the water.
"Me lads, ye're there, tha's swell. We may be off on t' double."
The captain laughed. He was standing at the railing of this ship and hurled a rope towards McShredder. It took some time to heave the swearing lord on board. The donkey swam to the shore for the wooden cart and the wheelchair were quite shattered and floated in the water. McClown was the last one to get on board because he had to get all the suitcases out of the water. But finally everything was done and they could travel home to Scotland.
The ship left the harbour and soon they would see the old castle again..
The Old Castle II
The old castle in the heart of Scotland, close to Killichonan, was a dreadful sight. It had done so for many years, but now it looked worse than ever. Where once had been the repaired roof with its big bell now was no roof at all. Neither a bell. After all a roof hardly can exist without walls, and there were no walls any longer. The hamsters had done quite a job there. Groaning and yammering they were lying in all the debris on the floor of the former entrance hall.
"Mayor?" Flecki shouted, summing up the situation. "Come on, Goldi, move your bum, we have to rescue the mayor."
Goldi got up and groaned while chief engineer Botchy took up a teaspoon from the floor. By the way, it was His Lordship’s favourite teaspoon and more often than not he had used it to stuff tobacco into his pipe. Taking the spoon, Botchy and Goldi began to dig a path through debris and stones. Tuffy also tried to help but as usual she did more damage than good. Several times chief engineer Botchy had to rescue her from under a collapsed heap of debris. But finally they found the mayor. He had a big bump at his head and squinted helplessly.
Dodo, who had seen him first, shouted: "He's alive!" The hamsters promptly began to cheer and to run in circles. The mayor sat in the centre and grinned. "You okay, Mayor?" Flecki asked and cautiously approached the grinning mayor. It took some time until he turned his head towards Flecki. The bump at his head was very obvious but he tried to get up anyhow. When after a good while he got to his short legs he grinned happily and crashed into a heap of debris head first.
"Well", Goldi said, "you can't say he's fit."
The mayor was dragged out of the debris and laid down in a corner. Then the hamsters started to clear away the worst mess and to repair the damages. Busily everybody ran about but in the evening nothing had changed. To make things worse it started to rain and storm during the night so that the poor animals spent an uncomfortable night under Lord McShredder's wingchair. It meant something that the hamsters did not hold a party but looked for rugs or something the like. Finally Botchy succeeded to make some rugs from an old carpet. But even then there was no peace. The mayor wandered about in the ruins of the castle and told something about a voyage to the south. In between he fell in one of the many holes in the floor and had to be rescued. After a long, stressing night finally a new day dawned. When the first sunrays warmed the ruin the hamsters woke up and discussed what to do. They really had no mind to stay here for another uncomfortable night. The mayor had not changed in the meantime and rather wrecked the nerves of the other hamsters by prating something about summer, sun, and beach and asking everybody where the next travel office might be. The hamsters felt quite fed up.
"If he asks me again for the way to the next travel office, he'll get his second bump!" Flecki grumbled.
"Perhaps he would be better then", Goldi replied. "A tiny little explosion…"
He did not continue. Seeing all the infuriated looks, Goldi preferred to shut up.
"We can't stay here", Tuffy yammered. "I don't want to live between debris. That isn't cosy."
"Well", chief Botchy said, "we can't do anything without new building material."
They all felt downcast and drew back for a conference near the relicts of the fire place. But as so often they had no idea at all. Silently they stood together and looked at the floor. Only the mayor was in the best of tempers and sang a song about a "white beach at the blue sea". Something had to happen - but what? It was Goldi who said:
"Somehow the mayor is right!"
"Maybe", Grumpy agreed. "He's got such a lot of screws loose, he thinks everything swell."
"I don't mean that", Goldi objected. "We should look for some warmer place. Think of the Bettyhill beach!"
"Great!" Tuffy cheered. "The mayor certainly has an inspiration and we perhaps should follow him. I'm sure he is an enlightened man."
They all cheered, but Flecki did not trust the matter.
"That's the silliest idea since Goldi's pancake-machine. We'll go to hell with this enlightened man. Or to the moor. Or to both."
So they voted. After the votes had been counted several times, they had the result:
2 Cons and
9 votes had been eaten
So the matter was decided. It took half a day until the mayor understood that they were to go to the sea now. The hamsters decided to let him go ahead and relied on it that he would find the way. The mayor indeed marched ahead merrily. When they reached the road, he paused, looked left, looked right, looked at the big lake in front of them. Then he turned to the right, the hamsters followed him and the place where once the castle had been standing was left behind.
It would be a long walk, in this the hamster all agreed as an exception. They were, however, in good cheer and even Flecki admitted that the mayor had been right to go to the right. She had taken a look at an old map lying about in the castle and knew that this was the shortest way to the sea. But she heartily doubted whether the silly mayor really was enlightened.
The hamsters had already walked for some hours, when they saw a big red car ahead of them. It was standing in the middle of the road they wanted to take. Everybody looked at the mayor and waited for his decision. But the enlightened one only stood there with a stupid grin. Goldi nudged him and whispered:
"Hey, what about taking the car? I can't walk any longer."
"We take the car", the mayor repeated without in any way catching what Goldi was talking about.
The hamsters were impressed. What a leader! Yes, he must needs be an enlightened one. With loud cheers they scrambled through an open car door and made themselves comfortable. There was some gingerbread under the passenger seat. Now it was party time. When a few minutes later somebody got into the car and started the motor, they all held to something because now a wild drive started. With high speed they raced over the narrow road. The hamsters shrieked and toppled over and had a lot of fun. Only the driver frowned because he did not like the noises his car made.
"Next week I've got to take the car to the garage", he thought. "Something is wrong with the suspension. Something's squeaking there."
While the driver was worried and the hamsters were casting merry somersaults, they approached a lonely railway station. Here the wild drive came to an end. The driver left the car and for the hamsters this meant they had to walk again. By now it was dark and they had to cross some railway tracks. However, after a few metres the mayor simply laid down, yawned and dozed off.
"The enlightened one wants us to stay here overnight ", Tuffy shouted. "Shall we make camp?"
Chief Botchy looked about him and said in a satisfied tone:
"This place is ideal. We are exactly between two high steel walls - I think it's called rails. Here we're well screened against wind. We will be quite comfortable on these wooden planks which connect the rails. So our fur won't get wet."
Everything appeared peaceful. The weather was fine by now and the first stars glittered in the evening sky. The hamsters fetched their rugs, made themselves comfortable and rested their tired little feet.
Their nightly party was quite short because their journey had really exhausted them. But in the small hours their sleep was interrupted by some horrible noise. It sounded as if everything about them was going to collapse.
"A monster, it will destroy us!" the hamsters yelled and on the planks ran in circles. There was a loud puffing and hissing, then the screeching of metal. Anxiously the hamsters assembled round the still grinning mayor and cried:
"Help us, o enlightened one, a monster wants to eat us!"
The mayor seemed to notice that everybody looked at him. For a moment his silly grin vanished, then he looked at all the anxious hamsters and again grinned broadly. The thrill rose, they all waited for the words of their wise man. After five minutes' of mute smiling he said:
"We take the car…"
"What I said, completely nuts", Flecki cried. "Where should we get a car?"
Also the other hamsters became fidgety but suddenly Tuffy shouted:
"Look there, the monster has wheels."
Now the other hamsters noticed it, too. Indeed, many wheels were standing on the steel walls, one behind the other. Slowly the little rodents perceived that this perhaps was no monster after all. Goldi said that this might be a train. The little animals realized that this was not really a monster and they took heart again. Dodo and Botchy were the first ones to climb up the wheels. Then they waved and the others followed them. By and by they climbed up higher and reached a platform, then another platform and finally a big room with many benches. Between the benches was a passage.
“The enlightened on has led us! He knew!” Tuffy cried, enraptured. Then the train started moving.
At Sea I
The ship left the harbour. The captain patted McClown’s shoulder and told him to take the suitcases to the stern so that they could dry. The butler left the cabin and dragged one suitcase after the other to the rear of the ship.
“McClown, are you ready at last? Can’t you speed up? Do push me to the front, I can’t see anything here!”
Milord could indeed not see much. In his haste McClown had pushed the wheelchair to the cabin wall so that milord only could see this wall.
“A chill breeze, Sir, isn’t it?” the butler said when he took His Lordship to the bow. Then he secured the wheelchair so that it could not roll off. Both looked out to the sea thoughtfully.
“A filled freeze!” McShredder repeated. “That’s no bad idea.”
“Sir, what I said…” The butler got no further. The strong wind blew into his face so that he thought he was going to suffocate. McClown coughed and coughed and hardly could breath. Gasping, he fell down to the planks and fought for air.
“Don’t stammer, McClown! Where is the filled freeze?”
“Bre… Breeze…", was all McClown could say.
Now they had left the Bay of Biskaya and the sea became rough. The wind was so strong that they hardly could stand upright. The ship struggled through high waves and just when McClown was getting up again a breaker splashed over the rail and knocked him over again. The poor butler desperately held to a fender, slipped off and crashed against the mast. He bravely fought against wind and waves, trying to reach the bow. But a coil was in his path and McClown tumbled to the planks again, right beside milord’s wheelchair.
“Stop these silly games, McClown. A butler of your kind should not scramble about on the floor. If you have nothing else to do, you may…”
The old lord got no further. Enraged, the butler kicked the wheelchair and hit the safety lever. Lord McShredder screamed and darted along the deck to the cabin door. There was a loud crash and over the howling of the storm McClown heard the captain’s voice:
“Well, 'ighness, got a cold bottom?”
During this afternoon, lord and butler were not on speaking terms. The captain did not mind this for now he could concentrate on steering the ship through the rough sea. He lit his pipe and looked out to the sea. By the way, His Lordship had lost his pipe. When staying on deck he caught a cold and when he sneezed the pipe darted right through the cabin. As he did not wish to talk to his butler, he could not order him to pick the pipe up.
“D'ye know that the Bay o’ Biscaya is 5,000 metres deep in some places?” the captain tried to cheer up his passengers.
McClown shook his head and milord croaked: “Indeed? We should send McClown down to measure that. And when will we arrive?”
“Well”, the captain grumbled, “depends ‘ow we get ‘round the Scillys.”
“What newfangled nonsense is that?” McShredder shouted.
The captain sucked at his pipe, took it out of his mouth and explained.
“Scilly Islands south-west o’ Britain. Well, tha’s about 140 little islands and riffs. Only the five biggest are in’abited. ‘t’s ‘bout 45 km south o’ Land’s End. The meaning o’ Scilly is ‘sunny', so sunny islands, see. ‘cause o’ the gulf stream there’s lots o’ sun, quite tropical. Yer’ll even find palm trees there. Yer may munch coconuts if yer like ter, see.”
“And will that be dangerous?” McClown asked with big eyes.
“Munching coconuts?” the captain laughed. “Nay, but the Scillys always ‘ave been difficult waters. Many a ship sank there in spite o’ all light’ouses. In 1907 the Thomas W. Lawson, one o’ t’ world biggest schooners sank there. Only two sailors survived.”
“O my God!” McClown jumped up in panic and stepped up to the captain when suddenly something cracked loudly under his feet. His Lordship’s pipe!
Slowly the looks of lord and butler crossed, then the infuriated lord shouted:
“I will not stay in the same cabin with this rough cub of butler. Captain, this man goes over board instantly or I’ll leave this cabin!”
“Well, ‘ighness”, the captain grinned, “wishing yer a pleasant night on deck.”
A short while later the captain and McClown were comfortably sitting in the wheel house over tea and coffee. The butler explained that milord wasn’t really a bad chap, just quite deaf and stubborn. The sea had calmed down in the meantime but the captain still watched his instruments for now they were close to the Scilly Islands.
“Good luck ‘t’s not blowing, me lad. If that keeps stable, we’ll be right slipping past the islands.”
McClown nodded and watched the captain holding the wheel. Now and then he corrected the course and the ship then bent to port or starboard. At every course correction something rumbled on deck.
“Say, our Frido”, the captain said and took the pipe out of his mouth, “’ave yer moored yer lord on deck?”
McClown sprinted out.
“Sir”, the captain heard him shout, “may I help you?”
“Get off, McClown, I can well handle this.”
When Lord McShredder had said so, his wheelchair raced from port to starboard as the captain just had altered the course a little. With an anxious face the butler watched the proceedings of His Lordship who just crashed against the ship’s side and screamed. “Sir, I really would like to help you. Perhaps…”
“Back off, McClown, I’m no child and… Aaaaah!”
“Right pig’eaded, yer boss, ain’t ‘e?” the captain asked and McClown nodded.
Suddenly the butler’s face brightened and he grinned at the captain.
“Captain, may I take the wheel?”
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.
At Sea II
The ship with the captain and his passengers had passed the Isle of Man a few hours ago. A beautiful view - if only there would not have been the steady nagging of His Lordship. By now he had calmed down a little however, for the last night told on him. He cursed his stubbornness which had brought him a most uncomfortable night on deck. At least his butler had mended the tobacco pipe and Lord McShredder now enjoyed the view. In the distance land came in sight.
“Hey, is that land over there? Are we there after all?” he shouted and got up from his wheelchair to get a better view.
“Not yet”, the captain replied. “Tha’s Islay, the most southern island o’ the Inner ‘ebrides. It’s followed by Jura. Well, well, me lads, I’d like ter live there.”
“Why?” lord and butler asked uni sono.
The captain took the pipe out of this mouth. “Yer know, lads, it’s a swell place fer an ol’ skipper like me. Far away from all tourists! D’yer know that them two islands are within 5 ship minutes from each other and they’re completely different? Jura’s wild and untamed. ‘bout 200 people livin’ there, tha’s all. One road, nothin’ else, but a snow white beach. - D’yer know that George Orwell ‘as written ‘is masterpiece there - the “1984” novel?”
Lord and butler shook their heads and so the captain continued. “Islay on the other ‘and’s lovely. It’s been the most important Scottish island once. The McDonald chiefs ‘ad been sitting there, ruling the ‘ebrides an’ all the Western ‘ighlands. D’yer know that?” Again lord and butler shook their heads and so the captain continued. “Well, well, and then we’ll come ter Mull, tha’s the biggest o’ the Inner ‘ebrides, close ter the western coast o’ Scotland. We’ll pass Staffa, tha’s quite a sight! All basalt pillars and the mighty Fingal’s Cave - counts ter the geological wonders o’ the world, yer know. By the by, ‘nother masterpiece was borne there, the composer Mendelssohn-Bartholdy ‘ad the idea for his ‘ebrides-Overture. Yer know that, don’ yer?”
Lord and butler again shook their heads and Lord McShredder croaked in a low voice:
“You can’t think on an empty stomach and if you can’t think, you can’t know anything.”
“Sir, we’ve got baked beans, I will dress them tastily”, the butler proposed and hastened to the cabin.
“What?” milord mumbled. “There is a naked team and he will dress them hastily? What’s the matter here? I didn’t notice any other passengers, not to talk about a team!”
Well, team or no team, soon they all were sitting in the cabin eating the beans with great delight. Sea air makes hungry, but Frido McClown looked troubled. While he had been preparing the beans he had thought of his cute little friends. He remembered the day when the hamsters had eaten beans for the first time and how afterwards the air in the castle had been quite unbearable. While he indulged in such memories, he suddenly missed the cloth with which he had cleaned the dirty stove. The cloth had not turned up again and the butler feared the worst. Suddenly His Lordship coughed and looked at him:
“Delicious, McClown, really delicious. The hamburger was a good idea, but I think it’s a bit hot spiced!”
The captain could not refrain from grinning and when they were finished he said:
“Now we’ve right passed Mull, see thee?”
Lord and butler shook their heads and so the captain continued: “That little spot aft ‘ad been Staffa, so we’re there soon. If ye wanna get ashore, we’ll land at Ardnamurchan peninsula. Tha’s ‘bout the level o’ Killichonan, not far away from yer castle.”
“Then we have to walk?” McClown asked and was quite terrified when he thought of pushing along the nagging lord and somehow transporting the suitcases as well.
“Well, tha’s the best I can do fer yer. There’s too many ferries and I’ve no idea ‘bout their schedules. So we’ll anchor at the northern ‘eadland. Ye’ll like it, ‘owever. The landscapes are smashing all over. There the ‘Singing Sand’ o’ Gortenfern, ancient ruins like Castle Tioram and…” The captain paused and then continued. “There are volcanoes.”
Lord and butler looked at the captain open-mouthed. “Ay, gents, volcanoes. Ben Hiant fer instance. Mac Lean’s Nose, the cliff at Kilchoan… Well, it’s the core of an old volcano, the peak’s eroded o’er the time. But there’s minerals and gems in abundance. Gems, me lads! Well, well, ‘ardly any cars there, but lots o’ ferries. O’er summer there’s even a car ferry between Kilchoan and Tobermory.”
They kept a respectful silence until McClown saw something bright ahead. “Captain”, he shouted excitedly, “that looks like the beach of Bettyhill!”
The captain took the pipe out of his mouth and laughed. “Jus’ almost, our Frido. This one’s way bigger and better. Pals, we’ve made it. Welcome ter Sanna Bay!”
“We take the car?” Flecki was close to going postal. “Mayor, let me tell you that nowhere around is any road, not to talk about a car. It’s pitch dark and the people are sleeping! Well, Mayor?”
The mayor grinned and looked up to the stars. “We take the car…”
“Arrrgh, I’ll screw off his blockhead! He’s loopy, he is!” Flecki screamed and wanted to go for the mayor but chief engineer Botchy and repair hamster Tuffy could hold back the raging Flecki.
“Perhaps we do not understand him correctly”, Tuffy wondered. “He is certainly thinking on quite another level.”
“I’m sure”, Goldi laughed. “Dou you remember his Xmas speech when the Christmas tree hit his bonce?”
“Ha, ha”, Flecki snickered, “and when the goulash buried him…”
The mayor still watched the stars and grinned. “Would like to know what’s so wonderful up there”,
Topple wondered. “There certainly is no car.” “
The Charioteer in the best case”, Goldi said and laughed again. “We might shoot him there with a rocket.”
“Charioteer?” Tuffy cried excitedly. “A charioteer steers a car! That’s it! The enlightened one shows us the direction we’re to go.”
Now the hamsters held a short conference. They decided better to follow a silly plan than to have no plan at all. On their westward road the hamsters were glad to be on dry ground again. The route was quite pleasant and quite lonely. The main road turned to the south, and the stars they were following gleamed in the western sky.
“If the road does not soon bend to the right, we’ll never reach the sea”, Dodo lamented.
“That’s right”, Flecki said. “We certainly won’t follow that silly charioteer this way. Where are we, by the way?”
“I think the place-name sign said something like El Caracha”,1 Dodo said.
It was rather a cold night and to make matters worse it started to drizzle. The main road still showed no intention to bend to the west and so the hamsters took the next side road to the right and after a few hundred metres they could see a building at the road side. When they came closer they saw that it was a church. Four windows and a tiny tower, not much bigger than a chimney, that was all this little grey church had to offer. The hamsters did not mind. They soon found a small opening and were glad to be out of the rain. It was cold and spooky but outside it was colder and spookier.
The night was short and not very restful as the mayor several times stroke up songs about sun and beach.
“If we are not at some beach soon, I’ll go nuts.” But not only Flecki was cross with the mayor. Their eyes were red-rimmed and they would have liked to shoot the mayor to the sea with a canon.
“We urgently need something to eat”, Goldi remarked. “We haven’t eaten for an hour!”
“Because you sucked in everything there was”, Flecki grumbled. “Now we can see how we fare.”
The situation was serious. There was nothing but peat moss and grass - and heather which the hamsters did not like at all. Now they would have needed some good advice and after a short discussion the hamsters decided to go back to the main road. There was a small town after all and in a town should be something to eat. Only the mayor very much disliked the idea, he bleated about going to the sea. Finally Botchy and Dodo gripped his hind-paws and dragged him along. So it took some time until the reached the town.
“And now?” Flecki looked about her. “Over there are some shops, but we have no money.”
“We could make a break-in”, Goldi proposed. “That would only be theft of food and the penalty would not be so hard.”
“Great”, Flecki jeered. “And how will we get away quickly with our short paws?”
“We take the car…”
“Shut up, Mayor!” Flecki shouted and ran in circles. “If that chap says another word, I’ll go bonkers.”
“Well”, Topple said, “over there is a van, but I won’t join in a holdup.”
“How about working for a change?” repair hamster Tuffy asked.
This proposal was agreed to with loud cheers, though none of the hamsters had the faintest idea how to earn money or nourishment by work. But now they had to decide in which shop they were to offer their willingness to labour. Chief Botchy proposed the small shop for spare parts. Flecki and Tuffy voted for the flower shop, Goldi for the bakery, and the mayor for sun, sea and beach. The majority favoured Goldi’s proposal and as he had made it, he also was to go to the interview for the job.
“If it doesn’t work, we’ll take plan B”, Goldi firmly said.
“Plan B?” Flecki asked.
“Plan B”, repeated Goldi and nodded. “We’ll nick a slice of cake and run away.”
So they entered the bakery, dragging behind them the protesting mayor. It was not easy to open the heavy door, but with united forces they succeeded. A bell rang and an elderly lady stepped behind the counter. First she looked at the door with some surprise because it seemed to have opened by a ghost’s hand, but then she looked to the floor. Startled, she gave her glasses a touch und peered at the hamsters. “O my, you darlings! What do you want here?” Flecki shoved Goldi towards the counter. So Goldi was standing in front of the saleslady and tried to remember the words which a long time ago Elfrida2 had taught him. His brain worked. What if the nice lady asked him what kind of work the hamsters could do? None, he would have to admit. So Plan B? No, is was impossible to jump onto the counter and steel the cake. Then Goldi had the solution. With saucer eyes he looked at the saleslady and pointed at his belly. He gave a low, wailing squeak and again pointed at his hungry stomach. This had the required effect.
“Oh, you poor little darling animal! You are hungry! O come to me, I will give you something.”
Tears were in the woman’s eyes. She took some slices of cake and distributed them lavishly to the hamsters. Goldi of course got the largest piece. Then she ruffled the munching Goldi’s fur and held the shop door open so that the hamsters with their cakes could leave.
“Well done! Regarding food you are unbeatable”, Flecki said to Goldi when they were back on the main road. The hamsters had hardly solved this problem in such a glorious style when the next one turned up. The sky had darkened within the last hours and now the first, thick raindrops began to fall.
“Shall we take the car now?” Tuffy asked.
This time they did not discuss but one after the other climbed onto the roofed loading space. The rain pattered on the canvas of the van, while the hamsters were sitting dry and noshed their cakes. In here it was most comfortable and when the last crumb was scoffed one hamster after the other fell asleep. The rain had ended for long when the hamsters were started up.
“Pleh, an earthquake, cinap!” the hamsters shrieked.
“Keep cool!” chief Botchy said. “You know what to do if there’s any danger!”
The hamsters immediately started to shriek and to run in circles. The running was quite difficult because the ground under their little paws moved and rumbled. Again and again the small animals toppled over until at last they struck on the idea to find out what was happening. “The van simply moved off!” Tuffy cried in panic.
“He he”, the mayor grinned. “We take the car… Summer, sun, and beach, where I found a peach…”
“Where might we be going?” Tuffy asked and squinted through a crack in the canvass.
“Hey, there’s a sign. I think it says Kilchoan.”
Now there was no stopping for the hamsters. Each of them looked for a crack in the canvass to peer out. The landscape was wonderful. In the far distance a high mountain could be seen which looked like a volcano. The sea was visible in the other direction. Rumbling, the van passed a sign which showed the word Sanna, then the vehicle suddenly stopped.
Cautiously the hamsters peered out. They were on a small parking place. The driver got out and walked into the direction they had come. A phone box was standing there. The hamsters could see a narrow river which seemed to run into the sea. They could see dunes and seaweed. Quickly they scrambled down from the van and ran into the dunes. The last one to follow was the mayor who again bawled his song about the beach. When they finally reached the beach they exhaustedly fell to the warm, clean sand and looked out to the sea. In the distance a ship was approaching.
McClown goes Bonkers
Lord McShredder was beside himself with rage while McClown tried to calm him down.
“Sir, may I bring it to your notice that it was not my fault when your pipe fell into the water?”
McClown cried and had some difficulty to avoid the fender which His Lordship had thrown at him. The captain was standing behind the wheel and shook his head. A few minutes ago milord had been standing at the bow and excitedly given orders how to steer the ship. The captain had simply ignored the orders of such a landlubber. When McClown had asked milord not to disturb the captain just now, McShredder began to accost him. Then the pipe had fallen out of his mouth.
“It’s all your fault, McClown, so get my pipe out of the water!”
“But Sir, perhaps there are monsters!” the butler yammered.
“Bollocks!” the captain laughed. “Nothin’ but wales, dolphins and orcas. An’ now ‘old yer on, gents, we’re mooring.”
The hamsters were taking notice of the things happening on the approaching ship. They stood on their hind-paws and craned their necks. Their whiskers quivered with excitement. They saw two men, a younger and an older one, standing in the water to their hips. The older one tried to thrash the younger one but failed as the younger one fled towards the beach. The ship anchored about 30 metres off-shore and the captain set out a dinghy. He threw the suitcases in. Butler Frido McClown panted when he reached the beach of Sanna Bay, threw himself on the sand exhaustedly and closed his eyes. He was really happy to be back in Scotland. Far, far away he heard the nagging voice of his master and had the idea that milord was quarrelling with the captain about the fare.
“Yer get yer trunks arff the Scillys if yer bilk!” the butler heard the voice of the captain and could not refrain from grinning. The captain certainly was able to cope with His Lordship and…
McClown opened his eyes and very, very slowly turned his head. It took him some moments to understand. Hamsters? But how and wherefrom, why were hamsters at the beach? Very special hamsters, moreover, who should not be here at all. The butler suddenly felt quite giddy. Everything was swimming about him, the sea, the beach, the dunes and some Lordship who was standing beside a dinghy and called his name. Overjoyed, he took up the very first hamster and danced with him along the beach, feeling all cheers. Then he set down the hamster.
“I’ll be back in a minute”, he said and ran to Lord McShredder to help him dragging the dinghy with the suitcases ashore.
“And I will be sick”, Flecki lamented. “I’m feeling right dizzy from all this silly roundabouting!”
“And I’m afraid we’ve got a problem”, Goldi said. “They’re coming back from a holiday or something. They don’t know that their castle is nothing but a deep-level garage.”
“The old lord will skin us, when he discovers that”, Topple whimpered.
“Best thing will be to act the stupid”, Goldi proposed.
“Better still the mayor speaks for us”, Flecki said. “That’s what he’s mayor for.”
On this proposal they happily agreed. Of course Lord McShredder himself would not ask the hamsters, he was much too deaf for that. Moreover he spoke no Hamstish, so that his butler would translate for both sides. In the worst case the butler would be thrashed - and he was quite used to that. Now the hamsters were relieved. It did take milord not long to reach the beach and discover them.
“McClown, there are rats on this beach!” “Sir, with your permission - these are hamsters!”
“For my sake. Well, McClown, see that you get the suitcases and my wheelchair ashore and than I would like to have a cup of tea”,
His Lordship croaked and sat down right between the hamsters. Then he took out his pipe, threw it to the ground and began to search for a lighter.
“That calls for revenge”, Dodo grumbled. Goldi nodded, ran into the dunes and tore off some grass. Then he circled His Lordship who was still searching for his lighter and stuffed the wet grass into the pipe. Finally he sat down on the bowl of the pipe and added a bit of hamster-dropping. In the meantime the butler had placed all suitcases onto the wheelchair and carted them ashore. Now he lay down on the sand exhaustedly. His Lordship by now had found his lighter and just wanted to take his pipe when he felt the first drops of rain on his face.
“Sir, we should find some dry place”, his butler proposed and pointed to the sky. “That looks like a thunderstorm.”
“Certainly, McClown. So let me get into my wheelchair and see that we are off.” “Sir, what about the suitcases…”, the butler began, but milord cut him short.
“Fiddlesticks, McClown, you are always lamenting. I’ll help you with the suitcases, of course. One I’ll take on my lap and you take the rest. That can’t be that difficult.”
Angrily the butler stuck 4 suitcases under his arms - two at each side - and carted His Lordship through the deep sand as well as possible.
“Can’t you speed up, McClown? Am I to get wet?”
“Well, Sir”, McClown groaned, almost collapsing under the weight of the luggage and the stress of moving the loaded wheelchair over the sand, “if you could get up for a moment, Sir, I would proceed better.”
“Get up? Me? McClown, you are a lazy dog. You don’t take any pains!”
The hamsters who had listened to this, paused. The butler also paused. His face was red of rage and strain, his eyes grew bigger.
“I think he’s ripe now”, Flecki said. “Let’s look for a cosy spot and watch.”
Then everything went as quick as a flash. Milord’s wheelchair seemed to fly over the deep sand. With all his strength the furious butler wheeled Lord McShredder and his vehicle up the next dune. On top of it he stopped abruptly, and milord sailed through the air with a shrill shriek. Then Frido McClown took a suitcase and hurled it at is master. The first one missed McShredder’s head, but the next hit his shoulder. Screaming and without a trace of noble behaviour Lord McShredder ran for his life.
“I do take pains, Sir”, Frido McClown yelled. “Don’t you see how I take pains to hit your silly bonce?!” And he ran after His Lordship. The hamsters at the same time took big pains to follow. They were quite in raptures as they saw how easily the butler threw the heave luggage at his master.
“Hurry up to the dune, we’ll have a better view there”, Flecki shouted, while McShredder in his misery hid in the phone box on the parking lot.
“Come out and be a man!” the butler bawled and continued to hurtle the suitcases at the phone box. It swayed dangerously, while McShedder braced himself against it with an anxious face and kept the door shut. “Come out, you coward”, McClown roared, but milord had no mind to do so..
The hamsters enjoyed seeing all this from the dune. They watched the butler sitting down on a trunk and gasping for breath.
“Can’t we help that kind man?” Tuffy asked.
“Good idea”, Goldi said. “This butler after all has given us something to eat often enough. But how may we help?”
“We take the car…” The hamsters looked at their grinning mayor and feared that now he had gone completely mad.
“The car - of course”, Tuffy cried. “The enlightened one is right. Look, the car is standing there!”
Now also the other hamsters understood: the wheelchair! With a loud “Yarooh!” t3 hey all climbed onto the wheelchair and swung to and fro. Slowy the chair tilted. Just now Lord McShredder used the truce to light his pipe with trembling hands. He thought a little sedation would do him well. Hastily he sucked at his pipe, watching his butler Frido McClown collecting the trunks to start a new attack against him and the phone box. Then he saw something else. Something which alarmed him even more. As if steered by an invisible hand his wheelchair came darting down the dune - right towards his phone box! The butler watched it with a broad grin, knowing what was to follow. The merry squeaking of the hamsters by now had changed to panic when they approached the phone box plus McShredder.
“Jump off, jump off!” chief Botchy yelled and the hamsters one after the other hopped down from the racing wheelchair and landed in the soft sand. Only the mayor remained sitting on the upholstered seat and bawled a song about beach and sea. In the meantime Lord McShredder had a really first rate problem: his stomach went mad and his head was spinning. Thousands of trunks seemed to fly around his head and his knees felt like jelly.
Had his tobacco gone bad? He spit out the pipe, supported himself with both hands at the glass pane of the phone box and watched the approach of the racing wheelchair. Then two things happened at the same time. First His Lordship vomited so that green puke was running down the glass door. Then the wheelchair crashed into the phone box, the mayor banged against the outside of the door. Slowly he slid down at the glass panel while inside the box McShredder vomited again and again. Finally the whole phone box collapsed. Under the cheers of the hamsters Frido McClown continued his bombardment with the suitcases. The mayor had fled to the safety of the wheelchair. After his crash against the door his silly grin had vanished and he whimpered softly. When the butler to the hamsters’ delight had launched a very precise hit on the vomiting lord’s neck, McShredder shouted with his last breath:
“Have mercy, McClown, have mercy!” He was sick again. “You can put all the luggage into the wheelchair, I will walk!”
“I am glad, Sir, that this is clarified”, the butler replied calmly and walked over to the destroyed phone box.
He lifted the door handle with the remains of the door and said: “After you, Sir.”