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Eggs, Pegs and an Elephant Chapter 2

by Issy 

Posted: 22 February 2015
Word Count: 1237
Summary: Continuing the story of Edward, the elephant, and Pegs, his chicken companion on his journey to find his friend, Pieces of Eight.
Related Works: Eggs, Pegs and an Elephant Chapter 1 • 

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The pirate ship, the pier and the sea  was soon left behind. Edward and Pegs walked  between the hedgerows. Edward felt warm  sun on his skin. He heard  birds singing in the fields, and everywhere smelt of grass and sweet wild flowers.
He was going to find his first ever friend, Pieces of Eight.
 Every so often Pegs stopped to put her head in a hole in the hedge.
“Have you lost something?” asked Edward. He bent his head down, and felt around in a particularly large hole with his trunk.
“Not exactly,” said Pegs. “ I haven’t found it yet, so I can’t lose it.”
“Oh,” said Edward. He pulled his head out to think about this. “What is the it you can’t lose?”
“A very nice soft spot to lay an egg,” said Pegs. “Just in case I do feel like laying one.”
She brought her head out of the hole. “No good. Not enough soft warm leaves,” she said. ”Now, “ She looked around the empty road they had been walking down. “ I don’t remember this way at all.”
“Oh, this is the right way,” said Edward. “Elephants never forget.”
 “Clever little elephant,” said Pegs.
“An elephant’s memory is as long as his trunk,” explained Elephant.” As long as his trunk keeps growing his memory keeps growing.”
“And you are still growing, because you still have a long way to grow,” said Pegs. “Not like me. I don’t think I shall grow any more at all.”
Pegs found another hole and poked her head into it. She stood very still for a long time  with her head stuck there.
“Have you found the right place?” asked Edward, trying to peer into the hedge. It was filled with Pegs’ head though, and he couldn’t see anything interesting.
She shook her head inside the hedge. “There is something very really odd the other side in the field the other side of the hedge. It is very red and yellow and round and big and it’s floating about.”
Edward wanted to know what the something was. By standing up very straight and close to the hedge he could just see over the top. He made a trumpeting noise. He saw very red and yellow something floating about with a basket underneath. It was tethered in the middle of the field.
“What is is?” he asked.
Pegs crawled right through the hedge to have a better look. “Oh!” she clucked.  “It’s a hot air balloon! I’ve always wanted to fly. You can fly in a hot air ballooon.”
“Can I?” said Edward. “What’s it like, flying?”
“Oh, it must be wonderful, flying up high looking down at the ground, feeling the wind in your feathers. Oh, I do so want to fly.”
“I thought birds did fly,” said Edward. 
Pegs shook her head. “Chickens should fly. We have wings. But they don’t work for flying. We all want to,” she added. “Other birds fly, bats fly, flies fly, dandelion seeds fly, but chickens only flutter onto perches. Oh, to go up really high and look at things far, very below.”
Edward thought about this. Pegs should have everything she wanted. He made a decision. “Then we shall go up in the balloon. Then you would be flying.” He pushed his head really hard against the hedge until he had made a gap that was nearly Edward-sized. The broken branches scratched at him, but he squeezed himself through to the other side. Then off he gambolled, trumpeting, to the middle of the field where the very red and yellow hot air balloon was tethered.
Pegs came fluttering after him, flapping her wings, and clucking with delight.
They walked round the balloon.
They peered into the basket. There was a blanket in there and nothing else.
Then they looked  up at the balloon above. It was  much bigger than it had seemed to be from the hedge. The balloon waved about in the breeze making its shadow wobble from side to side. The balloon was tied to hooks in the ground round it.
“Let’s go!” said Edward.
He put his right front leg into the basket – but he couldn’t get any more of himself  over the edge.
He took his right leg out and  put his left leg in. He still couldn’t get any more of himself in.
So he turned round backwards and put one of back legs in, but no other part of him would go in with it.
“It won’t let me get in,” he said.
“Can you tip the basket to one side with your trunk?” asked Pegs. So Edward tried that, but the balloon pulled the basket back upright.
Pegs fluttered onto the edge of the basket. She sat there looking first inside the basket, then outside, and then up at the balloon. “Try again,” she said.
So Edward did, and he still couldn’t get more than one leg in at a time. He stood back.
 “You could go up in the balloon by yourself,” said Edward, not wanting to spoil Pegs’ treat.
“No,” said Pegs, jumping down. “Where you go, I go. I am not going to leave you. I am going to help you find your friend.”
 “But I want you  to fly,“ said Edward
“Well,” said Pegs, briskly. “I shan’t be able to. No point crying over cracked eggs.” Then she stared ahead of her. “What’s that,  over there.” Edward bent his head round. He saw a herd of black and white dappled cows ambling across the field towards them.
The cows came up to them.  One spoke.”You really  want to go up in that?”
“Yes,” said Edward, “because Pegs want to fly.”
“Don’t hold with flying things.”
“We don’t like flies.”
“Flies get in our faces and make us itchy.”
“We wouldn’t do any of that,” said Pegs. “We would go up up and away, very  far away.”
The cows looked at each other. They mooed at each other and the moos sounded much like laughing. Then the first cow said. “Right ladies!” And all together they pushed and shoved forwards and upwards at Edward’s behind until with a “Hey”” Ho” and “Hup!” all his legs swung right into the basket.
“That do you?” mooed the cows.
“Yes,  thank you very much,” said Edward politely.
“Very nicely done, thank you,” said Pegs.
“No trouble.”
“You’re welcome.”
“Any time.”
The  cows started to amble away.
The balloon stayed where it was, with Edward and Pegs in it.
“How  does it go up?” asked Edward.
The cows turned back. They mooed to each other and again Edward was sure that they were laughing at a joke of their own. All together they sent up a loud long moo. It sounded like “Humphrey!”
A large bull lumbered over. The cows mooed at him. He grunted, and then kicked the ropes tethering the balloon until they snapped. The balloon shuffled and slipped and soared up into the air. It hung over the field until it caught a breeze and was blown on its way.
 Edward and Pegs looked down as it rose higher and higher, tossing the basket about, as it floated across the fields and away over the hills.
Soon the herd of cows were no more than tiny dots below, but Edward could still hear their mooing laughs as clear as if he was back down on the ground.

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Comments by other Members

andinadia at 16:09 on 22 February 2015  Report this post
It works pretty well, Barbara. Having the hen searching in the hedge and spotting the balloon is good. The cows and the bull are nice touches. Having an elephant and a hen launched into the air in a hot air balloon is an engaging image.

If you were going to work some of the back story into the ongoing plot, rather than having it positioned at the start of Ch1 as it is at the moment, the start of Ch2 would be a good place to have a conversation between the elephant and the hen.

I think there should be some reference to 'who does the balloon belong to?' etc.

You could make something of the idea of being able to see better from up in the air, and maybe spotting Pieces of Eight. Otherwise there's no link to the central narrative, or to the events of the first chapter. The world that's painted in this chapter doesn't seem to have any pirates in it.

Are they going to work out how to steer the balloon?

For a little more depth, you might begin to explore the fact that the elephant says he is on a quest to find his best friend, whereas waht we can see is a very close friendship developing with the hen.

steveceaton at 17:56 on 22 February 2015  Report this post
I like the story, I think it's cute and well written for the most part. I didn't like this line: everywhere smelt of grass and sweet wild flowers.  I would have rephrased it to something like; the air was filled with the smell of grass and sweet wild flowers.

I haven't read chapter one, where I assume it mentions how Edwards and Pegs met?  Maybe not, but it all seems set up nicely for chapter 3 and their balloon trip.

I liked the characters of Edward and Pegs, and the cows.  I think with illustrations this could be a really nice childrens book :)

Issy at 19:54 on 22 February 2015  Report this post
Thank you Steve and Andy, really useful suggestions.

The pirates don't feature in this story - it's a sequel to another one where they do feature, which is how Pieces of Eight got left behind. Yes, Andy, absolutely right, there is a developing friendship between the two that is meant to be a strong theme of the story. I can bring in some of the background here as you suggest.

I like your phrasing better, thank you Steve.

Thank you both for reading and commenting, very much appreciated.

a.m.edge at 09:49 on 23 February 2015  Report this post
It reads really well, Issy; I like it very much. The pace is right and the amount of tension with the elephant not being able to get into the basket. I wonder whether this would work equally well as a stand-alone. All you need is Edward explaining that he is on a quest to find his best (or only) friend and the chicken (who knows how to make friends) offers to help. You've already done this is chapter one. Maybe you could make more of Edward thinking that he is no good at making friends - that's why he's so desperate to find the one friend he's got. Then, over the course of the story, he realises he's made another. What's tricky is knowing how explicit to make this theme; do you have to hammer these things home for children or not. That's where the skill lies, I suppose.
I do think there needs to be a sign on the balloon allowing them to take it, or at least an acknowledgement from one of them that they are only borrowing it (to improve the search from the air) and will return it asap.
I like the way the character of Pegs is developing but could Edward have a few idiosyncrasies to mark him out? Something he always does with his trunk? Being clumsy (not being able to get into the basket) - something like that? Maybe he goes on a bit about what a good friend Pieces of Eight was all the time?
Really starting to enjoy this, Issy.

Issy at 10:17 on 23 February 2015  Report this post
Thanks Annie, good useful ideas, that's great. I like the idea that Edward doesn't believe he can have friends, and can be a bit clumsy, and am thinking of developing  that. I don't know how to make it a stand-alone, the history is so intricately woven into the earlier story, and it has come about as a request from people on Facebook to do a sequel with Edward. It is pretty much stand alone, but using the characters before.

I also like that you picked up that he had made another friend, when he didn't know he had one. The theme is friendship, specifically "Whither thou goest I will go,wheresoever thou lodgest I will lodge,they people will be my people...." for both Edward (with Pieces of Eight) and Pegs (with Edward)... and they are welcomed at the end of the journey by Pieces of Eight and also by Evie and her parents who make little houses for them all in the garden, Evie's dad being a builder

Thanks again, brilliant.

Freebird at 11:22 on 23 February 2015  Report this post
Hi Issy, it's such a treat to read your work on here again!
I've just read Chapter 1 (sorry I didn't get to comment on that one quickly enough!) and now I'll have a read through of this...

As ever, it's a delightful read.  I enjoyed the leisurely pace of it, the scents and the feel of warm sun. It gave me a very summer holiday kind of feeling, and the characters are so engaging.  Ordinarily I would say that perhaps you could shorten the dialogue and tighten it up, but I actually like it the way it is - is all adds to the dreamy sense of it.

kel35 at 13:01 on 05 March 2015  Report this post
Hi Issy,

Sorry I'm a bit late with reading this but it I thought I'd add my thoughts.

I haven't read chapter 1, but I really like chapter 2.  I want to read chapter 1 now!  you create a lovely imagery for children and adults, as someone else said above it's got a dreamy, leisurely quality about it which is great.

I think my only concern is the balloon not being their's to take.  Perhaps a little guilt or worry from Pegs or Edward about taking something that's not rightfully theirs would slip in somewhere?  It could be backed up by either saying they were only borrowing it? 

I love the sweetness of Edward, wanting to please pegs and let her fly but perhaps he could also be thinking secretly that the balloon would bring him closer to piece of eight?  Not a flaw exactly, but something I learned from my recent literary crit was that my characters were too 'nice' and needed some flaws, or quirks, perhaps a bit of selfish quality or whatever.

Looking forward to reading more though,

Kel x

Issy at 12:13 on 09 March 2015  Report this post
Hi Freebird,

Thanks, that was the effect I was going for - the dreamy sense, the warm day, a disparate pair off on a journey.

Thanks Kel. I wasn't wanting to explain things, as my understanding of small children is that things just turn up without any knowledge of cause and effect but I will go with your suggestion that it needs to be OK for them to take the balloon. I will put in that the cows help because the farmer has been moaning about the balloon stuck in his field and doesn't want it there.

Thank you both. Am hoping to put up the next chapter soon.

Skippoo at 11:28 on 02 April 2015  Report this post
Hi Issy,

Really enjoyed this as much as chap 1. Love the slow build-up of Pegs being unable to lay an egg, her delusion about it, plus Edward's empathy and not commenting. Strong characters. My only comment to add is that I didn't really get the phrase 'Don't hold with flying things'?

Cath x

Issy at 11:23 on 05 April 2015  Report this post
Thanks Cath, will think of an alternative. Thanks for catching up with this.

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