A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

And the forest affairs come to a sort of ending...


When we got there, your majesty,” began Prickly, out of breath after a lengthy scurry from the village where the late and unlamented Jules Junkface had lived and crowed about his brilliance, “when we got there and presented the people with the flaccid corpse of their scumbag member, they didn’t want him.

“’You can keep him,’ one of them said,

“’We have no use for him,’ said another.

“And what the third said was most telling. ‘He wanted to chop the forest down’, he said, ‘and we weren’t going to put up with it! How did he die, as a matter of interest?’

“And I embellished the truth a bit, out of kindness for the departed. I just said he died laughing.”

“’Well, good riddance to him,” said a fourth. “I’ll tell what: we’ll have an auction to see who has the pleasure of slicing him up to feed their dogs!’ And when I said it sounded a bit unfair for the dogs one of them laughed teasingly, called me a good egg and said that he’d end up in the crematorium next time they’ve got it lit. And that was that.“

“I’ve learned a lesson from him though,” said Queen Gertitia, “I’ve learned that it’s alright being yourself and that pretending to be what you’re not never does you any good.”

“He was rotten anyway, I reckon,” muttered Prickly, “he wasn’t pretending to be someone he wasn’t, he was that someone and as greedy as a magpie in a jeweller’s shop!”

“You’d better not say that to Myrtle,” smiled Gertitia, “anyway, as I was saying I’m going to stop all the lah-di-dah nonsense and become my true self. I’ll be Queen of the Forest, of course, but a handmaid queen just like I was, all modest and shy and humble.”

“And I’d best get back to my place,” said Prickly hurriedly, “I’m preparing a sumptuous roast dinner for the love of my life, and I want everything to be just about perfect because I’ve got an important question to ask sweet Maisy Wickles!”

“I can see you are willing to sing it to the creatures of the tree-tops!” grinned Gertitia, “go then, and ask your important question and have a good life!”

“It’s already been quite special,” mused Prickly, “I was wed to the wonderful Tickly until she passed away, and I thought the good times were over and my own remaining time would be but a brief moment before I fade away and join the worms of the forest floor. Then I met Maisy Wickles and my heart soared, and nothing would please me more than...”

“Then go to her, spiny one,” smiled the Handmaiden Queen, “and tell her what you want! Your words are sweet to me, but wasted!”

“Yes, your Maj!” beamed Prickly, and without saying another word he shuffled off.

“Silly boy,” grinned Gertitia, and she sauntered back to her pen, which had to double as a palace.


Two weeks in the forest can seem a long time, especially to the elderly who count their days in singletons and breathe sighs of huge relief when they wake up next day. But two weeks to the day after the revolting human had been returned to the folks who didn’t want him, there was bunting strewn between the trees of the Forest. And there was music in the air, the sweetest of musics created by master musicians from the avian world of the birds.

Fluffybunce was decked in robes, gathered by the Fettling Family of creatures that to all intents and purposes were frogs. They knew where to find riches, gathering them from the wicked waste of men down at the council tip, and re-purposed to become both ceremonially ornamental and, it being almost winter, warming. Fluffybunce may have been the Forest Arbiter, but he was also many other things when it came to officiating. In this instance he was the Chief Registrar of the Forest, and it was a role he enjoyed playing with great sincerity and a little gusto.

In front of Fluffybunce stood Prickly, the groom and besides him stood Maisy Wickles, his intended.

“So you’re here before me,” the Arbiter/Chief Registrar barked, and Prickly nodded his head and muttered something along the lines of ‘yes’, but using a great deal more than the one word. When he was nervous he always sought refuge in verbosity. He knew that it was a weakness, but it worked for him.

Fluffybunce understood, and smiled knowingly.

“So you want to get hitched again, my friend?” he asked, “you must know that marriage is a wonderful and deadly serious estate and that once hitched you must stay faithful to your bride until the ending of your days?”

Prickly nodded. Of course he knew that! He’d been through it before. He’d felt the heartache of losing a loved one, but he also knew how empty his life had been since her passing.

“I know all that,” he told the Arbiter.

“Then let’s not be long-winded about it,” declared Fluffybunce, let’s be straight forward and make the whole affair special in a simple way. Do you, Maisy Wickles, standing here before me, declare your intention of becoming Maisy Prickly? To have and to hold, and all that stuff, until the ending of your days?

And Maisy ended her time as Maisy Wickles, and smiled nervously at one and all, and announced, quite simply “I do!”

And Prickly put one paw on her paw and said, softly, “I won’t hug you on account of our combined razor-sharp spines being all awkward,” and then he whispered, “let’s get home, Maisy Prickly, I think it must be bed time!”


© Peter Rogerson 04.11.18

© 2018 Peter Rogerson

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Added on November 4, 2018
Last Updated on November 4, 2018


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..