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Eggs, Pegs and an Elephant Chapter 4

by Issy 

Posted: 11 March 2015
Word Count: 1163
Summary: Continuing the story, any comments appreciated. Edward is with Pegs at the end of a football match, the balloon having come down.
Related Works: Eggs, Pegs and an Elephant Chapter 1 • Eggs, Pegs and an Elephant Chapter 2 • Eggs, Pegs and an Elephant Chapter 3 • 

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Chapter 4
The whistle blew and the game stopped. The players picked up their bags, shouted “’Bye!” and went running off.
Soon the recreation ground was empty, except for Edward, Pegs and one small boy. The small boy was packing his bag up.
Edward trumpeted. He wanted the children to come back, but they didn’t.
Pegs clucked and squawked. They still didn’t come back.
The small boy looked up and shook his head. “They’ve gone home for tea,” he said.
All of a sudden Edward realised that he didn’t have a home any more. The pirate ship was left far behind, and with it, the pirate with the wooden leg who had looked after him since the zoo was closed.
He sniffed, and it came out as a soft trumpet.
He hadn’t found his friend from the zoo, either Pieces of Eight. They were going in the wrong direction, he knew that. The balloon had followed the river, not the road. Pieces of Eight was a long way away now.
The balloon over the basket had gone flat. It flapped about in the breeze. It was not as exciting as it had been before.
“Hey!” clucked Pegs. “Don’t be unhappy.” She looked up at him with her head on one side, and flapped her wings round his leg. Edward lowered his trunk and nuzzled her feathers. He felt a little warmer and happier again.
 The small boy threw his bag over his shoulder. “My grandma’s doing tea for me too,” he said. “On her boat.” He started to walk off.
Then he stopped and looked round. “Come with me. It’ll be peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and doughnuts with the holes in them.” The boy gave a big grin. “You’ll like grandma. She’s got a gold earring too.”
Edward trumpeted. Tea on a boat would be fun. It was be like being on the pirate ship.  His tummy rumbled at the thought of peanut butter and banana sandwiches and doughnuts with the holes in them.
“Let’s go!” clucked Pegs and together they ran after the boy.
They came out of the recreation ground and onto a road. They went past the houses and down to the river. Edward breathed in the river smells. The surface of the river twitched and twinkled in the light of the evening sun. He heard twitterings and rustlings from the muddy bank and the reeds, and the wash of the water against the shore. Everything felt good and right again.
The boy chatted as they walked along the river bank. “Grandma wanted to be a pirate,” he said. “She makes out she’s on a pirate ship. She’s got a skull and crossbones flag too. You have to talk pirate when you got on board. Do you know how to speak pirate?”
“Aye, we do, laddie,” said Pegs out of the side of her mouth, but all the boy heard was cluck, cluck, cluck.
They came to a jetty. Moored there was a small boat, painted red, yellow and green. There was a house part with a roof and a flat part which was the deck. The pirate flag hung from a pole over the roof.
It wasn’t at all like the pirate ship that Edward knew so well. It was much much smaller.
He tried not to be disappointed.
It was so small that Edward knew he wouldn’t be able to fit through the door to the house part.
The boy shouted up the gangway. “Ahoy there, Cap’n. Come and meet me mateys!”
“Ahoy, bosun! Come aboard ye hearties!” Out of the house part came an old lady with arms covered in tattoos, a patch over one eye, and wearing a pirate hat and a gold earring.
Edward trumpeted. He felt much more at home.
The old lady gave a low whistle when she saw them. “Ye scurvy rascals!”
“We’ve come for the grub,” said the boy. “That means food,” he explained to Edward and Pegs. “Me mateys are coming up the river with us.” He ran up the gangway, and Pegs fluttered up after him.
“Up ye come, me bucko!” The old lady waved her hat to Edward.
Edward put his front feet on the gangway. It swayed and dipped. He took another step. It swayed and dipped even more.
That had never happened on the pirate ship. The gangway there was much wider.
“Come on,” cried the boy. “You can do it”
Edward got all of himself onto the gangway. He was sure he was going to topple off into the river.
“Avast!” called the old lady. “Move that booty, ye swab!”
“Aye, aye, cap’n,” said the boy, and together they shifted some barrels over to the far side of the deck.
The gangway steadied. Edward shuffled up and onto the deck. The boat swayed, but then became still as he sat down in the middle. At last, the boat just floated, rising and falling gently as the river water rocked it.
“We’ll have me grub on the deck, cap’n,” said the boy.
“Arr, that we will!” said the old lady, and she went into the house part of the boat.
Edward trumpeted and Pegs flapped her wings and clucked.
“Told you you’d like grandma!” said the boy. Edward trumpeted again and wriggled around, which made the boat rock. “Maybe you shouldn’t move about too much,” added the boy. “We don’t want to lose doughnuts over the side. These ducks on the river are always after food.”
 Edward tried to stay very still, which wasn’t easy. The boy brought him peanut butter and banana sandwiches and doughnuts with the hole in them, which he liked very much. Pegs pecked at them too.
“Anchors away!” cried the boy, after tea. Grandma pulled the anchor up and started the engine. It throbbed a gentle “brm, brm,”  and with the boy at the wheel, the boat moved slowly upstream.
Pegs snuggled up to Edward and together they watched the bank go by.  A heron fluttered out of the reeds by the bank. Moorhens scurried out of the water out of their way, and geese swooped above them shouting down. “An elephant on a boat! That’s  a silly thing...” And then they were gone.
Grandma moored the boat. The boy said “Goodnight!” and his grandma said, “Yo-ho-ho!” and they went down the gangway,  through a gate up to a cottage beside the river.
The boy turned and waved at the cottage door.
Edward watched the sun set across the fields. The stars peeped out of the twilight. Peggs clucked a little tune for him. She found a jumper and a blanket. She fussed about making a dent in the middle of them.
“I shall lay a thank you egg,” she said. “That is the exactly right thing to do.”
“Yes,” said Edward. He put his head down on the deck. He was feeling sleepy. He yawned. Soon the rocking of the boat had rocked him to sleep.

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Comments by other Members

TassieDevil at 00:20 on 12 March 2015  Report this post
Hi Issy,
Noticed you misspelt Pegs 5th last line.
Everything was fine with this chapter - a grandma who thinks she's a pirate is great. As usual lots of sensual (as in senses) images - breathing in river smells, brm-brm,plus movement verbs like topple, flapped, swayed and dipped.
Nothing I can add to improve this. Enjoyed this next mini adventure and felt you gave just the right amount of characterisation to everyone..

Issy at 10:53 on 12 March 2015  Report this post
Thank you for reading and commenting TassieDevil, and for your positive thoughts, that's great.

a.m.edge at 12:22 on 12 March 2015  Report this post
Love the way you capture them being on the unsteady boat with an elephant on board. I wonder why the grandma has to get off and go into a cottage. It's a houseboat isn't it? Can't they moor the boat and all sleep on board?

Issy at 12:36 on 12 March 2015  Report this post
Thanks Annie, am having problems about that... going into the cottage.  I don't want the people around for the adventure or they would take over. Perhaps I could just say something about they are starying at home tonight and going on a long trip in the morning - by which time Edward and Pegs would have left.

Thanks for reading and commenting, very much appreciated.


PS Just spotted where this ends, apologies. The high jinks happen in the morning, in the next chapter. So I should set this one up with the reason the people have gone away.

andinadia at 18:22 on 12 March 2015  Report this post

Hi Barbara

It's moving along nicely. The scenes follow from each other very naturally, with the feel of a good 'road movie'! And the mum and boy wannabe pirates are great.

My main comment is now that there are humans in the story, there is a challenge in terms of how they all communicate with each other. Obviously the animals all understand each other with no problem, and even when you introduce the conversation with the boy, he says 'Do you know how to speak pirate?' as if he's been chatting them with no problem either. But the chapter goes on to show that the humans do not understand the animals whereas the animals do understand the humans. Is this how it was in the previous book? Did it work all the time? (I can see that the mother and boy do need to be humans - it makes it so much funnier that they are playing these pirate roles.)

I'd keep to regular syntax at all times, eg 'They came to a jetty where they saw a small boat that was painted red, yellow and green' instead of ''Moored there was a small boat, painted red, yellow and green.'

Detailed comments:

They were going in the wrong direction, he knew that. 

That's a bit sudden. How did he suddenly realise that? Come to think of it (meaning 'why didn't I comment on this in the previous chapter?!), why did they think that following the road would be the best route to find Pieces of Eight?

It was not as exciting as it had been before.

It sounds like 'it' here is referring again the balloon, which was the subject of 'it' in the previous sentence.

She’s got a gold earring too

This makes it seem as if someone in this group has a gold earring!

Might “Let’s go!” be better as 'We'd love to!'

Finally, it would be good to make it clearer that the elephant and hen have been invited to spend the night on the barge.

Skippoo at 11:32 on 02 April 2015  Report this post
Hi Issy,

I've read chapter 3, but didn't comment as I didn't really have anything to say other than I'm still enjoying this very much!

I wasn't sure about the term 'recreation ground' here. Sounds a bit formal. How about park or football field?

The nan and the pirate talk are fab, especially 'Move that booty, ye swab!' I want to find a reason to use this phrase in my life!

Cath x

Issy at 11:24 on 05 April 2015  Report this post
Thanks Cath. Yes, will go with your alternatives, thank you.

Issy at 19:30 on 07 July 2015  Report this post
Thank you Andinadia - my apologies for not say that earlier. Your detailed comments are so much appreciated - I am just revisiting this chapter and find them even more helpful than I thought at the time. Thank you.

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