Sir Tingly & The Quest for The Dargon

I
of Winds and Quests and Woolly Vests


(Download Sound File here)

Once upon a very windy night, when the moon sailed high above the racing clouds and the stars clung like shattered diamonds to the deep, dark blue of the night sky, the west wind blew as hard as it knew how. It rattled and banged at the sails of the old windmill until they fell to pieces on the ground. It lifted the roofs of small houses and set them down again, not quite straight. It whistled in and out of the windows of a tall, dark, castle where it chattered with the logs in the fireplaces, exciting the glowing embers with tales from far-off lands. It flapped the brightly coloured banners and flags on the walls with strange smells of the earth and trees and the faint scent of a far-off sea. Then, just as the sun came up, it blew itself away.


On the next morning, a bright, silvery knight in the shiniest armour you ever saw rode over the castle drawbridge. Sir Tingly had come out to see what the wind had turned up. The day after a strong wind, things always looked different. Like they had been spring-cleaned. It had been a long time since he had been on a Quest, and this seemed like a good day for one.


He was smiling as he rode, high in the saddle of Whinny, his gleaming white horse. Although it was now a sunny day and being inside armour can be quite hot, Sir Tingly was happy and cool. He had opened all the vents in his shining suit and as they trotted along the breeze blew cool and fresh, around and around inside. It ruffled the cloth of the woolly vest he had on and tickled the hairs under his arms. It felt like mice scurrying.


Sir Tingly remembered the family of mice he had found inside the bodice that very morning when he had gone to fetch his armour from its long winter rest. He had taken them out and placed them carefully inside an old, empty flour sack. So carefully, that only two of them had woken up. When his vest flapped inside his armour, like it was doing now, it felt as though they were still there in the suit.


As he rode along the bottom of a long twisting valley, with the river running fast and deep beside his horse's footsteps, he tried hard not to alarm the big grey pigeon that had landed on his helmet. It was sitting on the bright red plume that sprouted from the top of the lid. Sir Tingly could see its reflection in his shield. The pigeon lifted its wings and ruffled its feathers to let the breeze blow through them. It smiled down at Sir Tingly.
 " Good Morning, Madame." said Sir Tingly.
 " Cor. " said the pigeon.
Sir Tingly pulled gently on the reins, because Whinny the horse was a very good friend and he had no wish to hurt her, and brought them all to a stop.
 " I say, Madame, " said Sir Tingly, " Don't pigeons usually say 'Coo'?"
 " Cor. " said the pigeon.
 " Then I must already be a long way from home, " said Sir Tingly, " for in my Castle, all the pigeons say 'Coo.' "
 " Cor!" said the pigeon, and with a flap of its wings, it flew off down the valley. Sir Tingly watched as it flew away, following the twists and turns of the river until it disappeared into a cloud of woodsmoke that he thought might be coming from a village ahead. He asked Whinny rather politely if she would mind if they went off in that direction. She nodded her head up and down as if to mean yes, then quite plainly said,
 " Nayyy!"


Sir Tingly could never tell whether that meant she would or she wouldn't, but as they had already begun to canter towards the smoke further down the valley, he gave up, as he usually did, and settled back to enjoy the breeze.....

 

...To read this story in full, contact me at childrens@billallerton.co.uk

Sir Tingly & the Quest for the Dargon is also available on cd.  Please contact me for details.

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