Henry, Ho-Ho and the Stolen Silver
The next morning Henry woke up feeling very, very happy.
“I wonder why I am so happy today?” thought Henry. Then he remembered meeting the magical elephant.
Ho-Ho; “It must have been a dream.” Henry whispered sadly to himself, turning over to go back to sleep. Suddenly he heard a faint ‘plop’; he sat up with a start.
“It wasn’t a dream!” he gasped. He rushed over to the window to see if Ho-Ho was sitting under his tree, but before he could even part the curtains there was a gentle tapping on the window; it was Ho-Ho gently knocking on the window with his trunk.
“Good morning” said Ho-Ho smiling broadly “are you awake yet?” Henry could scarcely contain his delight.
“I thought I’d just dreamed about you and you weren’t real at all, Ho-Ho” he said.
“That’s what I thought when I woke up” replied Ho-Ho as the friends began to laugh.
“Well, what shall we do today?” asked Henry.
“You must decide;” said Ho-Ho. “You must make the decisions.”
“Right” said Henry, feeling very grown-up, “we shall go on a picnic and we shall talk and make plans.”
In no time at all, Henry had packed some sandwiches, apples, bananas, and some nice orange drinks and was sitting on Ho-Ho’s back going down the lane. They hadn’t gone far when they heard someone calling after them:
“Hey you – you on that elephant, stop at once.” It was Patrick the policeman. As he drew nearer on his bike, the policeman smiled. “Oh it’s you, Henry. I wondered who it could be riding round on an elephant.” Henry climbed down. Behind his smile Henry could tell that something was worrying Patrick.
“Is anything the matter?” asked Henry.
“It’s a hard job being a policeman” sighed Patrick, sitting on the grass and wiping his forehead, “sometimes things just don’t work out like they should.”
“Can I help?” Henry asked. Patrick smiled and shook his head. “No, Henry, thanks anyway … wait a minute though, maybe you can. Do you know old Miss Polly – Miss Polly Stairs who lives in the cottage at Freehay Farm?”
Henry nodded; he knew Miss Polly well and had often been to visit her and enjoyed her home-made lemonade.
“Well,” continued Patrick, “thieves broke into her cottage during the night and stole all her silver. She is very upset, and I’m sure if you called to see her, it would help to cheer her up.”
“Oh, yes” said Henry shaking his head with concern, “I’ll certainly do that… did you catch the thieves?”
“Well yes and no;” said Patrick folding his arms, “that’s the problem. I know it is the Macwilson boys – Toby and Oliver who did the robbery – we caught them later in Farmer Scraggins field, but there was no sign of the silver and without the silver we can’t prove that they did it and of course we can’t make Miss Polly happy by returning her little treasures.”
“Well, we’ll certainly go and visit her” said Henry, wishing Patrick ‘good luck!’
The two friends were soon at Freehay Farm. Miss Polly was sitting outside on a wooden bench, surrounded as usual by all of her cats. “How nice to see you” she said, standing up and nearly treading on one of the cats. “But what is this?” she asked pointing to Ho-Ho.
“This is my special friend, Ho-Ho the elephant” replied Henry.
“We are going on a picnic – would you like to come with us?”
“Oh no … I can’t do that” she said shaking her head and looking sad. “You see I’ve been robbed of all my old silver and the police are trying to get it back for me at this very minute … but how thoughtless of me; let me go and bring you some lemonade.” She went in to the house. Ho-Ho was looking glum.
“What’s the matter?” whispered Henry.
“I’ve a very good sense of smell,” said Ho-Ho “and the smell of all these cats is getting up my nose, or more exactly, up my trunk!”
“Here are your drinks” smiled Miss Polly, returning with the lemonade. Henry told her how sorry he was to hear about the burglary, and what awful boys they must be to rob an old lady.
Soon the two friends were off again to find somewhere nice to have their picnic.
“You didn’t drink your lemonade Ho-Ho” said Henry “don’t you like lemonade?”
“I love lemonade” replied Ho-Ho “but even the lemonade smelt of cats!”
Henry laughed “I’m glad my nose isn’t so sensitive” he thought.
The two friends found a super spot for a picnic in a corner of farmer Scraggins’ field, but Henry didn’t feel like eating at all; his mind was still with poor Miss Polly and the mystery of the burgled silver.
“Are elephants very clever Ho-Ho?” asked Henry.
“I don’t know for certain” replied Ho-Ho. “We do have very good memories, so if we are aren’t very clever the first time we know what to do if it happens again”.
Henry thought he would put Ho-Ho to the test.
“Where do you think those bad boys hid Miss Polly’s silver?” he asked.
“Elephants don’t steel silver” said Ho-Ho laughing “but boys do, and you are a boy so you should know.”
Henry felt confused. Perhaps he should know. Here they were in the very field where the thieves had been caught, but there was nowhere to hide anything – nowhere. Just then there was a movement in the distance; it was a rabbit running for cover.
“I’ve got it!” shouted Henry jumping up. “Rabbit holes, rabbit holes. The thieves must have stuffed the silver deep into the rabbit holes.”
“I thought you would know” said Ho-Ho laughing.
“So all we have to do” continued Henry “is to dig up all of the rabbit holes in the field and we’re bound to find Miss Polly’s silver!”
The two friends began to explore the field, but if there was one rabbit hole there must have been a thousand.
“It’s no good” said Henry. “It would take a lifetime to dig up all these rabbit holes.”
Henry was very sad. He seemed so near to the answer and yet so far away. Ho-Ho tried to comfort him, explaining that he didn’t think much of silver anyway; after all you can’t eat it or drink it or ride on it. Besides, Miss Polly’s silver was sure to smell horribly of cats. Henry thought for a moment, then his face lit up and he did a little summersault of glee.
“That’s it, you’ve got it! Listen Ho-Ho the silver is down the rabbit hole and it smells of cats. So all you have to do is to put your trunk down each hole and smell if it’s there!”
Even Ho-Ho was finding this fun by now – a little like hide and seek, which he could never really play well because he was so easy to find. Soon Ho-Ho was poking his trunk down the rabbit holes sniffing for the smell of cats. The first few holes just smelt of rabbits but on the next hole Ho-Ho pulled a face.
“Cats” he said happily. “There must be some silver down there”. He inched his trunk deeper and deeper into the hole. “I can feel something” he said beginning to pull on his trunk until finally ‘plop’ out cam a beautiful silver candlestick. The two friends did a little dance of celebration.
Soon they had checked all the rabbit holes and had recovered lots of silver. They put it all on Ho-Ho’s back and went to see Miss Polly. Patrick was with her drinking lemonade.
click to see picture
“You clever boys” cried Miss Polly. “You’ve found all my silver” Henry explained to Patrick and Miss Polly how Ho-Ho had pulled out the lost treasure. They were both utterly amazed and Miss Polly wanted to give them a reward. However by now it was getting quite late so the two friends bade their farewells and ambled off down the road.
“A very interesting case” declared Henry as they made their way home.
“Yes” said Ho-Ho “I’ll certainly remember that one” which isn’t surprising really as elephants remember everything.
“I feel so happy” thought Henry as he lay in bed that night. It wasn’t just that he had helped solve a difficult case or that he had helped make Miss Polly happy, or even that Patrick was so pleased with him. It was that he had a new and special friend and he was sure that he and Ho-Ho were going to share lots of fun and adventures together in the days to come.
© bernard shevlin 2006
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