The Bell Tower

Part III

The Hawk

As a way of thanking the fireflies for their help, Wilder invited them to the upcoming butterfly migration and picnic. It appeared that they accepted the invitation.

Every year, for as far back as anyone could remember, the autumn butterfly migration arrived in Ballymore on 17 September. The butterflies landed on the island and rested there for one day. The migration was a good excuse for a community picnic, which was held at the pavilion and surrounding park. Somehow, the butterflies knew to stay away from that area. They certainly didn’t want to be stepped on by their hosts. The majority of the island was covered by a live, multicoloured carpet for one day.

Of course, Petunia Porcupine was at the picnic. During the afternoon she heard that Dr. Brigit had a cold and was not feeling well. She decided to leave the picnic early, go home, and bake a coconut custard pie for her. The pie was still warm when she left for Brigit’s cottage, two hours later. She could still see the butterflies and picnic over on the island. It was early evening, and the sky was cloudy, but no rain was forecast. The walk to Brigit’s home was only about five minutes.

Just before Brigit’s cottage, Petunia entered a small clearing. Suddenly, she heard the sound of wings. A large hawk landed about ten feet in front of her, blocking her path. She had never seen this bird before. He didn’t look respectable, and she was startled.

The hawk asked, “What’s in the basket?”

She was now trembling. “I’m taking a p-pie to my friend who is ill.”

The hawk hissed and took a step forward. “Between you and that pie, I’ll have a good dinner tonight.”

Petunia was petrified and couldn’t move or even speak.

“I believe I would change those plans if I were you,” said a voice to the right of the hawk. From behind some trees Wilde Weasel stepped into the clearing. He was on duty and wearing his fatigues. When he stood up and bared his fangs, the hawk realised that he was a formidable foe. Despite that, the hawk spit at him and said, “Who says so?”

Snarling, Wilde answered fiercely, “I do!”

“And I do, also!” snarled Wilder Weasel, who had just stepped from the trees to the left of the hawk. Also wearing fatigues, he looked equally imposing. The hawk turned to see his second foe.

“We suggest you leave immediately, while you can,” continued Wilder. Each weasel took a step towards the hawk. Saliva was dripping from their mouths. They were ready for a fight.

The hawk turned towards Petunia. He calculated that he could beat one weasel but not two. He hissed again, spat on the ground, and took flight quickly. In seconds he was gone.

Wilde and Wilder rushed to Petunia. She was still shaking.

“It’s all right now, Mrs. Porcupine. He’s gone. You’re safe,” said Wilde, and he put his arm around her. “Where are you going?”

“I’m taking a p-pie to Dr. Brigit.”

“Well, you’re almost there. Let us help you,” said Wilder kindly.

“Thank you, yes,” she responded.

The weasels each took her by a paw, and they walked slowly to Dr. Brigit’s cottage. Wilder carried the pie, which smelled very good to him.

Brigit saw them coming and opened the front door. It was obvious that something had happened.

“Petunia, please come in and sit down. Let me bring you some tea,” she said. “What, in the world, happened?”

“I was b-bringing a pie to you, and I was attacked by a hawk. Wilde and Wilder s-saved me.” She started to cry. Dr. Brigit put her arm around her for comfort.

The weasels stood, almost at attention, near the front door. They were looking self-confident and proud.

As Petunia regained her composure, she told what had happened.

Eventually, Dr. Brigit turned to the weasels and said, “You certainly did well tonight, boys. Thank you very much.”

Wilde said, “Thank you, Dr. Brigit.”

“How did you happen to be in the clearing at that time?” she asked.

“We’ve been tracking that hawk since we spotted him circling the pond in the early afternoon. We thought he could be trouble and he was,” answered Wilde.

“Well done! I bet those camouflage outfits helped.”

“They certainly did,” answered Wilder.

Petunia finished her tea and said, “I’m feeling much better now. Thank you everybody.” She stood up and went over to Wilde and Wilder and hugged each one.

The word spread quickly about the weasels’ valiant actions. Their reputation climbed a couple of more notches, and for a few weeks they were pleased to accept several dinner invitations. They would need the extra goodwill because next month was Halloween when they were at their most devilish.