A busy day.



Clarence couldn’t sleep.  The events of the previous day haunted him, and he couldn’t settle.  The news that Bruin had attacked Whitie upset Clarence so much that he’d been tense ever since.  Now his paws ached, he had a headache and the night was a hot one.  Shifting slightly, Clarence lay, awake with his mind thrumming.  Suddenly he heard something unusual, something, or someone was scratching at the door.  Clarence got off the sofa, and crawled to the front door.  Hooking the chain through the loop to stop the door from flying back and crushing him, Clarence leapt for the handle, dragging it down with one paw while throwing himself backwards.  The door opened as far as the chain would allow, and Clarence looked outside.  Two white foxes stood there, A vixen and her cub, or so Clarence thought.

     “Can I help?”  Clarence asked.

       “I don’t know,”  the large vixen replied, “we’re looking for a place to stay, my cub here was born in a bush about a month back, and we’re both exhausted from walking.  We will go as soon as we’ve rested, but could you tell me where we can lie up for the night?”  Clarence wondered if bringing the foxes into the house would be a good idea, they had thick fur, and it was warm inside the house.  Clarence then remembered something.  The boss sometimes pressed a button behind a round thing on a thick stick, and when he did this, cool air came from the round thing.  Maybe if he could operate the round thing, things might not be so bad for the foxes.  Clarence released the chain, and the two foxes followed him into the house, Clarence kicking the door shut.  The vixen looked concerned as the door closed.

      “I don’t know if I want to be shut in,”  she said, “what if we have to escape?”

     “You’re safe here,”  I promise,”  Clarence replied.  The foxes entered the living room, and Clarence crawled over to the round thing on the stick.  Clawing his way up the stick, which he now found to be metal, and more of a pole, Clarence hoped it would support his weight.  Paw over paw he worked his forepaws up the pole, until he was standing on his hind legs.  Clarence then took a good hold of the pole with one forepaw and reached behind the round thing at the top with the other.  Feeling the buttons, Clarence knew he’d have to be quick, for the paw supporting his entire weight was becoming damp with sweat, for the room was hot.  Clarence Pressed a button on the box behind the round thing, and to his great relief, air came out of the round thing.  Clarence slid down the pole, unable to muster the strength to spring round like he would usually do.  Sprawled on the carpet, Clarence looked up, straight into hop along’s face.  The large Bengal tiger regarded the sweat soaked and panting lion for a minute or so.

     “Why didn’t you ask me if you could get up on the chair on which my tail is,”  Hop along asked, “then you wouldn’t have had to claw your way up the pole like that.”  Clarence held a paw up to the cold air coming from the round thing.

     “I didn’t think about that,” he said, “


Meanwhile, the white foxes, which were Arctic foxes, lay on the floor, the vixen trying to revive her cub, who’d slumped to the floor, panting hard.  The vixen leapt to her paws, and ran into the bathroom.  Turning the cold tap on the bath with both forepaws, she waited for  Clarence, who  shuffled in with her cub in his paws.  Carrying the tiny creature into the bathroom, Clarence laid her under  the stream of water from the tap.  The water soaked the cub’s fur.  Clarence put his paw into the stream of water and flicked it over the cub’s head.  The cub, almost comatose, began to revive.

     “It’s too hot here,”  the vixen said, “my cub can’t cope!”

     “We’ll make sure she’s all right,”  Clarence promised.  Clarence leapt into the bath, jamming his paw against the outlet.

     “Now, get in,”  he said to the vixen, who watched in alarm as the water level rose around Clarence’s paws.  She leapt into the water, feeling the cold liquid against her paws.  It felt wonderful!

      “Now roll,”  Clarence said, jamming his paw even tighter into the outlet.  Looking desperately round him, Clarence saw something on a chain which looked useful.  Grabbing the thing, he removed his paw from the outlet, and stuffed it into the hole where his paw had been, and the water stopped flowing out of the bathtub.


The two arctic foxes splashed about in the water.  The vixen splashing the water over her cub’s head.  The cub waved her paws in the air, splashing Clarence.  Clarence splashed the fox cub, the cub laughing as she felt the water on her paws.

     “The water tickles!”  She laughed.  Clarence hugged her tightly.  The vixen watched the huge lion and her cub.  She knew she should be scared, but she wasn’t, this lion was really gentle with her cub.  The white vixen splashed her cub with as much vigour as she could.

     “Let’s splash your mum back,”  Clarence said, flicking water at the vixen.

     “What is your name?”  The vixen asked Clarence.

     “My name’s Clarence,”  the huge lion replied.

      “My name’s Brushtail,”  the vixen laughed.  Clarence smiled:

     “How about your cub?”  He asked.

      “Her name’s Tilly,”  Brushtail replied.  Clarence and Tilly splashed each other, Brushtail watching, hardly able to keep a straight face.

     “I don’t know who’s the bigger cub!”  She laughed.  Clarence smiled, taking hold of Brushtail’s paw.  Brushtail felt a warm paw take hold of hers and liked it.

      “I’m going to put you in snowy half tail’s care,”  Clarence said, “she’s a snow tigress, and very gentle.”

      “A Snow tigress?”  Brushtail barked, “Oh no!”

     “A snow tigress indeed,”  someone purred.  Brushtail turned and stared at the tigress facing her.

       “but, but, I know you!”  Brushtail barked, “you’re snowy half tail!  I met you a year ago!  You were going to take me and my sister into your care when our mother returned to find us after three days away.  You left, but you didn’t want to leave us.”  Snowy smiled, taking Brushtail’s paw in hers.

      “Brushtail cub,”  she said gently, making the vixen’s eyes fill with tears.

        “I remember you calling me that, you were so, so gentle to me and my sister.  Dear snowy, Snowy half tail.”  Snowy hugged Brushtail tightly.


Tilly watched her mother’s reaction to the snow tigress’s presence.

       “You told me snowy white tigress’s were our enemies,”  Tilly said.

     “This snow tigress isn’t an enemy Tilly,”  Brushtail replied.

      “Do you want me to look after you for a while?”  Snowy asked.  Brushtail smiled at her.

     “I remember you looking after me when I was a cub,”  Brushtail replied, “I would love you to look after us for a while.  Tilly took her mother’s lead, and went with Snowy.  Snowy led the two arctic foxes upstairs to where she lived.  On the floor, snowy had a new rug on which she lay.  The rug was warm to the paws, and very soon, snowy, plus her canine friends were contentedly snuggled up together on the rug.


  Meanwhile, the other animals were puzzling over another rug.  This rug had many paw prints on it.  There were several sizes of print on the rug, and it looked as if any one of the animals in the living room could have dirtied the rug.  surveying the damaged rug,  Isaac wondered who could have caused the damage.


Isaac looked at the rug, and then turned to the room in general.

     “I think this is the work of cubs!”  he said, “what have you cubs been doing!  I think we should eliminate suspects by measuring paws!  The rug is dirty now, and the evidence is here, so I think we should have you cubs and all the adults with the right kind of paws measure their paws against the prints to find out who did this!”


All the adult animals and cubs with medium size to small paws with four toes on each paw, lined up to measure their paws against the various paw prints on the rug.  the bears and otters were exempt from this, as their paws were either too big or their pads didn’t conform to the right pattern.  The otter’s paws and those of the bears were checked, the pads thoroughly examined, and the number of toes on each paw counted before they were ruled out of the investigation into who had desecrated the rug.  Isaac presided over the id parade, each animal placing every one of his or her paws, both fore and hind,  over the various paw prints.  If one fitted, they were told to stand to one side of the room by the cabinet. If the animal’s paws didn’t fit, the animal was asked to go home.


The paws were measured quickly, and not all the culprits were cubs.  Elsa’s paws fitted, and so did Sparky’s!  cubs who’s paws fitted included those of Tembi and Tembo.


  Once the id parade was over, Isaac turned to the assembled animals who’s paws had fitted the prints on the rug.

      “What on earth were you doing!”  Isaac yelled at the group, “some of you are adults too!  You have no excuse!  The cubs shouldn’t have done what they did, but you certainly shouldn’t!  Where did you find the ink, what possessed you Elsa, Sparky?”

     “We found the ink in the cabinet,”  Elsa replied, “We wanted to have some fun, and it was fun!”  Isaac looked at the soiled rug.

      “This is Ruined!”  he yelled, “The boss is gonna go mad!  You adults need to remember you are  role models to the cubs, don’t follow their lead!”  Tembi was ashamed of her part in the whole sorry episode.

     “I’m sorry Isaac,”  she mewed.  Isaac banged his paw down hard on the carpet!

      “You are a bad cub Tembi!”  he yelled, walloping her.  Tembi whimpered with pain and fear.

      “It doesn’t matter if the rug is dirty,”  Elsa said, “the boss puts dirty things into a machine which cleans things.  He puts powder in the machine and it cleans what the humans call clothes.  We can put the rug in there and wash it, then the boss will never know.”  Tembi looked miserably at the rug.

      “I shouldn’t have gone along with this,”  she said, “my paws were black for ages afterwards!”  Tembo snarled at his sister, venting his anger at her for no reason at all.

     “Shut it Tembi!”  he snapped, “you’ll get us all in trouble with your big mouth!”

       “couldn’t the boss have left us a rug on purpose?”  Clarence asked, “thinking that we might want one?”  This hadn’t entered the minds of anyone else in the room, and the possibility was there.

     “Well,”  Elsa said, “if that’s the case, then everything’s fine, for the boss would want us to make the rug our own, and we have certainly done that.”  Clarence smiled, picking up a corner of the rug in his paws and rubbing them together.

     “The rug was warm to the touch, Clarence putting the rug to his cheek and feeling the heat radiate from it.

     “this rug’s wonderful!”  He said.

      “Now there’s gonna be a war over who owns the rug!”  Tembo said enthusiastically.

     “No,”  Matilda said, “there will be no rug war.  I think Clarence should have the rug, as none of us need it.  He’s got big paws, and needs to keep them warm.  That way, any cubs who want to, can snuggle down beside him in warmth and security.  All the cubs were in agreement, for each knew how good Clarence’s hugs were.  If a cub was upset, they went to Clarence every time, the huge lion hearing much, but repeating nothing.  Clarence and Foster arranged the rug on the sofa, and Clarence lay down on it.  It was deliciously warm to Clarence’s paws, and the lion took a fold of the blanket and folded it over his forepaws.

     “Clarence looks like the cat who got the cream,”  Elsa remarked.

    “Oh ha ha!  Very funny,”  Tembi replied.




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