Tea for a Princess and a Piglet!
It was an ordinary summer’s evening and Belle and Adam sat by the fire. As usual Belle had her head buried deep in a book, which Adam was reading over her shoulder. They often read together like this because it was so much more companionable than reading alone. The book they were reading tonight was called The Red Hound of the Moors and it was all about two mice, one named Basil and the other named Dawson, who had to solve a mystery for their friend, Madame Olivia and her father Hiram Flaversham, along with the help of their faithful dog Toby and their equally faithful and reliable housekeeper Mrs Judson.
Presently the door opened. Expecting it to be Mrs Potts with a tray of tea, the prince and princess looked up and were startled instead to see Cogsworth and Lumiere flapping at one another, evidently arguing about something.
“I will tell them!”
“No, I will tell them!”
“No, I will tell them!”
“Tell us what, Lumiere?” asked Adam, causing the two friends to break apart and stand sheepishly grinning at their employers. Belle couldn’t help wondering if they had broken something.
“Master, there are some, er, people at the door,” began Lumiere.
“People?” spluttered Cogsworth. “They’re animals! And if I were you, Master, I would tell them to leave the grounds right now because we don’t need the riffraff skulking around here..!”
“Animals?” Belle, alert now, sat up. “What kind of animals?”
“Well,” Cogsworth scratched his head, “a bear in a red jumper, a tiger, a gloomy-looking donkey, a very bossy rabbit, a couple of kangaroos, an owl and a baby pig.”
Belle sprang to her feet in delight. “Then let them in, Cogsworth! They’re my friends!” She turned to Adam, beaming. “Oh, you’ll just love them, Adam, I know you will!”
“If you say so,” Adam replied with a grin.
A few seconds later, the said animals found themselves in the vast living room of the castle, announced in by Lumiere and Cogsworth. On seeing Belle, they all let out shouts of delight and bounded up to her; in fact, the tiger, to Adam’s alarm, quite literally leapt up and bounced her over. Adam sprang to his feet. “Belle! Are you alright?”
Belle laughed. “I’m alright, Adam. It’s just Tigger’s way!”
“Yeah!” whooped the tiger. “I’m a bouncer!”
“We haven’t seen you in ages, dear,” said the larger of the two kangaroos. “And we’ve all missed you.”
“We did have some honey for you,” said the rabbit, in a proud tone, “but someone ate it.” He glanced at the yellow bear in the red jumper, who gave a giggle of embarrassment. “So we got you these instead.”
Belle looked down to see that the little pig was holding a vast bouquet of flowers even larger than he was. “Oh, how lovely!” she exclaimed, taking them before he could fall over with them.
The little pig smiled and blushed. “I thought so too.”
Belle turned to her husband and held out a hand to bring him to her side. “Adam, these are my friends from the Hundred Acre Wood.” She indicated each of them in turn. “Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, Roo, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and that’s Winnie-the-Pooh. Guys, this is my husband, Adam.”
“Jolly spiffing to make your acquaintance!” said Owl, puffing himself upright in a very grand fashion.
“The pleasure’s all mine,” Adam replied. “I’ll call for some tea.”
“Oh, um, you wouldn’t happen to have a little smackeral or two, would you?” asked Winnie-the-Pooh, indicating his empty jar.
Belle smiled; she had missed them all so much. “I’m sure we have some honey in the kitchen, Pooh.”
Mrs Potts was only too happy to bring some as well as some cakes and biscuits to have with their tea; and then the animals, Belle and Adam sat on the floor to have it. “Such a lovely castle,” said Owl, presently. “Reminds me of the time my great uncle Herman was invited to a small castle in Caerphilly and along the way...”
Judging from the looks on everyone’s faces as Owl launched into speech, Adam realised that he would be at it for some time and hastily said “So, how long have you all known Belle?”
“Oh, it must be getting on for about six or seven years now,” said Kanga. “Yes, it wasn’t long after Roo and I first came to the Hundred Acre Wood and that was seven years ago.”
“Yes, if I recall correctly, it was right before we had that campout in the summer,” Rabbit added, thoughtfully. “When Tigger told us that ghost story that had us all running around like crazed fools!”
Tigger chuckled. “I do love a good ghost story!”
Belle smiled. “You’re always the best at telling them, Tigger.”
“Hm, yes,” Rabbit agreed, snidely.
“I like st-st-st-stories with ha-hah-happy endings in them,” Piglet said, munching his biscuit.
“So do I,” Winnie-the-Pooh smiled, with a chuckle. They were a very merry bunch, Adam decided, and he could see why his wife had become friends with them.
“Yeah!” Tigger crowed, bouncing. “Like that time Belle and Piglet opened a great detective agency!”
Belle blushed as her husband looked at her with an amused smile. “What’s this?”
“It was just something that we came up with one summer,” Belle admitted. “After reading a detective story. It was quite a fun time.”
“But sc-sc-scary sometimes,” Piglet added, clambering up to sit in her lap.
“Ah!” Owl perked up. “I think we’d all like to hear that one.”
“Yeah, tell it, Belle!” Roo added, bouncing up and down. “It’s a great story!”
“Better than any story I could ever tell,” Eeyore agreed, gloomily.
“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” Tigger exclaimed, imitating Roo.
Belle glanced at Adam, who gave her an encouraging nod, and she smiled. “Well, it was a couple of years ago. It all started the day after we all heard a story called The Mystery of the Cornflower Creepers...”
It was a breezy autumn day when Piglet went to call on Pooh. The wind was so, well, windy, that he had to grab onto passing blades of grass to keep himself from blowing away. When he finally made it to Pooh’s house, however, Pooh was busy counting honey pots, and although Piglet offered to help, his offer was politely declined in Pooh’s usual kindly way. Nevertheless, Piglet left with his hears hanging in disappointment. It was the same wherever he went it seemed; Tigger, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Owl were all busy and didn’t want to be disturbed. In the end, Piglet went along to Belle’s house, hoping that she, at least, would not be busy.
“Hello, Piglet!” Belle greeted him, cheerfully.
“Hello, Belle,” Piglet replied, looking around, nervously. The room looked quite bare compared to its normal state and she had moved a large table into the centre of the room, along with a chair. “Um, what are you doing?” asked Piglet, seeing Belle writing on a sheet of paper.
“I’ve decided to open a detective agency,” Belle replied, chewing the tip of her quill.
“A detective agency? Oh, d-d-dear!”
“Yes, Piglet. I was inspired by that story we heard last night.” Belle looked thoughtful for a moment. “Only I can’t think up a good name.”
“I can help!” Piglet volunteered. “I can, um, help you do some, um, detecting work.”
Belle smiled at him, fondly, and she was about to decline his offer of help, when she remembered a story she had heard as a child; about a lion who was helped by a mouse. The story had ended with the line “Little friends can become great ones.”
“That’s it!” Belle snapped her fingers. “Piglet, you’ve given me a great idea! Of course you can help me, but are you sure you won’t get scared?”
“I d-d-don’t know,” Piglet confessed, nervously. “After all, I am such a very small animal and very big things can sometimes scare me.”
“Well, that shouldn’t matter. You’ll be with me, so we can be scared together. Here!” Belle handed him the sheet of paper. “You can help me by putting this in the window.”
Proudly, Piglet went to do so, and anyone passing by the house that day could see the sign clearly read “Belle and Piglet; Little Friends Detective Agency; Apply Within.”
"You've given me a great idea!"