Angry whinnying and thumping woke the members of the household! Brydy stamped her feet and whinnied angrily, waking the whole house! Clarence shook himself awake and looked round at Brydy.
“What’s the matter?” he asked. Brydy kicked the sofa.
“Some bugger nicked my blanket!” She yelled. Clarence looked round the room.
“I can’t see it here,” he said. Tembi and Portia buried their faces in their paws, hoping Clarence didn’t notice them. Brydy squealed:
“You lot, you paws are responsible for this!” Brydy’s reference to “paws,” was the name the horses gave to those animals with paws, claws and teeth. Salty looked at Portia, sensing the cub’s uneasiness.
“Do you know anything Portia?” He asked. Portia looked up at the snow leopard, and realised she couldn’t lie to him.
“I nicked the rug,” she said, “not just me though, Tembi helped me.”
“Oh thanks!” Tembi mewed, “goody goody four paws Portia! Thanks for dropping me in it!” Brydy shrieked with anger and kicked the sofa with all her strength.
“You cubs are horrid creatures!” She whinnied, “where did you take my rug!”
“We took it upstairs,” Tembi mewed pitifully, “snowy and Tigger wanted a rug. They’re now lying on a rug on top of the wardrobe, they all want to be in trees and such like, and the wardrobe is the next best thing.”
“snowy doesn’t deserve a rug!” Brydy yelled, “she already had one! Now you’re telling me Sam and the cubs upstairs have a rug now? Why do they have a rug and I don’t? I’m bloody angry!”
“The paws are stronger than us,” Domino said, “they can take what they want. Even the cubs can take our rugs.” Brydy snorted and averted her gaze.
“You cubs, and you adult paws too, you’re all horrid creatures!” She whinnied. Tembi hid her head, ashamed of her part in the whole episode.
“I’m sorry Brydy!” she mewed. Brydy suddenly attacked Tembi! Clarence immediately defended his cub, wrapping his paws around Brydy’s neck, threatening to throttle her.
“You attack my cub, I’ll murder you horse!” Clarence snarled. Brydy squealed with fear!
“A rug is just a rug,” Salty said, “but I’d like one myself.” Brydy snorted and stamped her feet in anger.
“You paws have fur so you can keep warm!” The Shetland pony yelled, “I don’t have so much fur as you!” Brydy stormed back to her corner.
“I’m disgusted!” She yelled.
Tigger crawled in then. Seeing him Brydy spat at the Bengal tiger.
“I believe you are benefiting from Tembi and Portia’s criminal activities!” Brydy yelled.
“A rug did appear today,” Tigger yawned, “it’s very soft on the paws.”
“You paws disgust me!” Brydy yelled. Tigger smiled at Brydy’s words.
“Paws?” he asked, “is that what you horses call us lot?” Domino nodded, surprised she could bring herself to converse with the Bengal tiger.
“paws,” Tigger mused, “yes, I suppose that’s a good description of us, for we all have paws, all except Latoya of course, but she’s one with us, though not of us.” Salty stretched full length on the carpet, stretching his paws one by one.
“You scare me when you do that!” Matilda said. Salty grinned up at the kangaroo.
“I don’t want to frighten you sport,” he said in a disastrous attempt at an Australian accent, which had everyone, including Matilda, laughing fit to bust.
“Okay, so I can’t do Australian,” Salty mewed. Matilda hopped over to Salty and patted him on his head like she would a cub.
“There there,” she said gently, “it’s not the end of the world.” The expression of astonishment and surprise on Salty’s face was so comical Matilda couldn’t keep a straight face.
“Go away rat!” Salty growled, furious with the kangaroo.”
“I think you’d better heed his warning Matilda,” Hop along said, “Salty’s as large as you are, and looks to me to be powerfully built. Not one to be messed with I don’t think.” Matilda smiled, hopping back to her place. Salty lay on the carpet and buried his face in his paws.
“I still want justice!” Brydy yelled.
“Your rug is safe beneath snowy half tail,” Tigger replied. Brydy spat at the tiger.
“Now now that’s not very lady like is it,” Tigger mewed. Brydy stamped her hoof in warning.
“Oh no!” Tigger whimpered, “I’m so scared!” Brydy snorted with disgust and turned away.
“Hadn’t we better return Brydy’s rug to her?” Portia mewed.
“It’s not the rug I’m angry about,” Brydy whinnied, “we Shetland ponies can do without our rugs, it’s the fact that cubs of the paws have stolen rugs from us horses! It’s not fair!”
“While I sympathise with your plight Brydy,” Hop along said, “I can do nothing to remedy the situation.”
“It’s all right for you Hop along, you’ve got a rug. Noone would dare steal it off you now would they, even though everyone knows you can’t chase anything! “Oh no,” the cubs say, “precious Hop along is too disabled for us to steal his rug, so we’ll go after a horse instead!” What a load of hogwash it is! The thing was, the cubs knew they’d be able to intimidate us horses!” Brydy suddenly ran at hop along, tearing the rug off his back and throwing it over the tiger’s head in an attempt to suffocate him. Hop along freaked out, trying to fend off the rug with one forepaw, while trying not to cause himself any more pain than necessary.
“Get off me!” Hop along pleaded, his voice muffled by the blanket. Tigger tore the rug away from hop along’s face and snapped at Brydy’s nose. The angry Shetland pony retired to her corner snorting and whinnying.
“Stupid bitch!” Hop along sobbed, “she knows I can’t defend myself against attack.”
“Next time, you cubs know whom to pick on,” Brydy said, “I picked on hop along, and see what happened.” Hop along mewed pitifully, for he knew he was at the mercy of the other animals.
Leo crawled over to Hop Along and helped Tigger to replace the rug on the huge male tiger’s back. Patting Hop Along’s paw reassuringly, Leo grinned at the tiger.
“We’ll all watch out for you Hop along,” Leo said. Hop along looked through red rimmed eyes at the huge lion.
“Thank you,” Hop along mewed. Tigger crawled out of the room and returned to his place upstairs.
Leo gently wiped hop along’s eyes with his paw, Leo’s considerate action almost moving the tiger to tears. Leo finished his job, Hop along nuzzling the lion’s paw. Leo grinned at Hop along.
“Time we all settled down I think,” Leo said
“You’re a Shetland pony Brydy,” Tinka said sleepily, “you don’t need a rug, especially not in this place.” Brydy spat at the tigress.
“That’s not very nice,” Tinka mewed.
“I don’t think you’re very nice!” Brydy squealed, “You are one of them, one of the paws! Domino and I hate members of the paws! You look at us, and you see dinner!” Tinka laughed harshly.
“I like my meat a little more lean than that!” She mewed.
“So you’re saying we’re fat now?” Domino snapped.
“I will eat you if you want Domino,” Tinka offered.
“No!” Domino squealed.
“I was only joking,” Tinka replied, “you know, I hate horse meat.” Brydy shook her hoof at Tinka!
“You stupid mare!” Domino yelled. Tinka sprang off the chair on which she was sitting and flew at Brydy, wrapping her paws round the horse’s neck! Brydy whinnied shrilly, her fear rising. Tinka roared into Brydy’s face! The Shetland pony began to scream with terror!
“Oh shut up!” Tinka yelled, smacking Brydy across her nose. Brydy whinnied pitifully. Tinka returned to her easy chair, curling up into it and patting the rug with a huge forepaw, inviting her cub to rejoin her.
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