Unexpected Visitors

Part II

The Next Trip

Shortly after his brother and nephew left, Bartholomew reached in his shoulder bag and took out the latest faded, yellow envelope. He removed its note and read it again.

Two miles west of the west end of the pond, an abandoned well, at the bottom: a box.

Cyrus Owl,

Midsummer’s Eve, 1801

He was familiar with the well but had not been to that area for a couple of years. The well was deep in the woods and, indeed, abandoned. Apparently, it had not been used even earlier than 1801. He wondered when it last had any water in it, and who built it. How deep was it?

Cyrus had certainly chosen some clever and unique hiding places for the puzzle pieces. He and his fellow 1801 residents put a lot of effort into this gift for the current Ballymore residents. Bartholomew appreciated that and also saw the worth in their efforts.

This trip should take only two days as the well was fairly close to Ballymore. There was one minor problem; it was located deep in the woods. If they wanted a tent, the swans would have to land somewhere in order to deliver it. Another survey flight was needed.

The only special skill required for the retrieval of the box was the ability to climb down into the well and return. He thought for while as to whom was best suited. As he pondered, he realised the task could be made much more simple. They would take a rope and small bucket with them. Then, an animal could be easily lowered into the well.

After some additional thought, Finn Frog was his choice. Finn was adventurous and didn’t weigh much. Perfect! He would also include the weasels and Branna Bluebird. Five team members were enough for this short trip. The group had experience, and everyone worked well together. The weasels would be the leaders again. He sent out invitations for a meeting Wednesday evening, in two days.

Early the next morning, he visited the swans. He told them about the next puzzle trip and about the tent location issue. Stoddard said he had flown over the area many times and thought he knew of a clearing not too far from the well. Since it was only a ten minute flight, they decided to go there immediately. Stoddard led and flew to the well, briefly circling it. He then flew to a small clearing about five hundred feet to the Ballymore side of the well. They landed there and determined that it would make a fine camping location. Bartholomew was pleased that this matter had been so easily resolved. There was one less thing to worry about.

He was always impressed by the swans’ knowledge of the surrounding lands. Another idea for a project popped into his head. He and the swans could create a large, detailed map of the area. He chuckled to himself and knew it was an idea to be filed with the many others for which he had no time. Hmmm, there’s another reason to have an apprentice, he thought. The swans flew back to the island, and Bartholomew returned to his treehouse, just in time to make dinner.

Wednesday evening, the invitees arrived and were eager to hear about the upcoming trip. Bartholomew told them what he had planned so far and then turned the meeting over to the weasels. Wilde and Wilder were pleased, but not surprised, that they would lead a mission again. They were obviously gaining self confidence. Finn and Branna were also very comfortable with the weasels as leaders.

Wilde spoke, “You're all very qualified, and my brother and I look forward to accomplishing this mission with you. It'll be a short trip but with some unique challenges due to the well. The weather is colder, and it could rain, so dress appropriately. Don’t forget a good pair of shoes. We'll take extra food. Let’s plan to leave Saturday morning at 7 bongs. If all goes well, we’ll return Sunday afternoon.”

No one had any problems or questions, and the brief meeting ended.