Chapter 14: Stuck
The Christmas season is the last thing you think about in the middle of summer unless you are making things that will be sold at Christmas. The holiday season was when Becca sold most of her dolls so she needed to get them sent off to the distribution house in New York. Since her doll had placed "First" at the show she had more orders than ever to fill. Becca had spent the morning putting the final touches onto a group of dolls and was busy packing ten of them for shipment to New York City. There was packing materials everywhere. (Becca packed her dolls well.)
Belle had stopped by to borrow some thread when she noticed that one of the doll's little Mary Jane shoes had fallen off. She flew down to give Becca a hand. The doll was toward the bottom of the box so Belle was reaching deep down into it. At just that moment Becca pushed the last of the packing material into the box and closed it tight with Belle inside.
Zip went the tape.
Slap went the label.
Quick as that Belle was on her way to New York City.
Gismo the fat calico cat who lived in the studio yowled and headed for help as quickly as she could waddle.
Belle was headed to the truck quite shook up and up side down at that. She was tucked in so tightly she couldn't pull her arms back. And her wings were very twisted. "This is a fine mess Belle," she said to herself.
Becca put the box into the back of the truck and returned to the house to clean up and make lunch before going to town.
Meanwhile, Snow and Lil Mike were following Grandpa James as he walked along checking the back fence. When he found a place that needed repairs Lil Mike would hand him the things he needed from the bags hanging off of Snow's saddle. Buddy and Wink were exploring nearby. Pal was up ahead sitting on a fence post watching the funny animals on the farm next door.
Mr. Harrison had a very unusual collection. There were llamas and a beefalo, a long horned steer and even a camel. Over the years Belle and the other animals on Cherry Hill had come to know many different characters. Today Pal was watching a new addition to the Harrison Farm.
"That is the ugliest bird I have ever seen," Pal remarked.
Buddy came over and stood up on the fence to look. "What is it?" he asked.
"Snake on top, stork on the bottom, and chicken in the middle," Wink stated as he joined the others. "He's ugly alright."
"Grandpa, look." Lil Mike pointed to the ostrich (for that is what it was). The ostrich had noticed he was being looked at and criticized and began strutting about with his tail feathers fluffed.
"What will old Harrison think of next?" Grandpa James scratched his head. "Ugly thing; big too."
What would you do if you had just been called ugly three times in two minutes? The ostrich had had quite enough. He ran right over and hissed in Pal's face.
Pal hissed right back and popped him on the nose.
The ostrich kicked (as they will do) and suddenly his foot was caught in the fence. He fell with a thud and became frightened. He was all alone. He was in a new place. His foot was stuck. And everyone thought he was ugly. He was not having a good day.
"Buddy, Pal you two get back." Grandpa James called. "That thing may be dangerous."
Lil Mike and Snow came closer. "I think he looks sad," she said. "Grandpa he needs help."
"I know Mouse but he doesn't know us so you stay back." Grandpa James got the wire cutters and walked slowly to the fence where the ostrich was caught. He talked quiet and low. "We didn't mean to upset you big fella let's get you out of this fence."
Grandpa James cut the wire as close to the big bird as he could. The ostrich realized his foot was free and got up and ran off. It would be a very long time before he talked to any animal on Cherry Hill. (Buddy, Wink and Pal did feel bad for hurting his feelings. It's always important to watch what you say.)
Just then a crow named Soot flew over. "Belle needs help!" he called down. "She's trapped in a box."
"I'll go," Buddy called. He was off as fast as he could run. It wasn't fast enough in Belle's opinion.
"Belle are you in there?" Buddy sniffed the box when he arrived.
"Yes I'm in here. Just where do you think? She snapped, her voice all muffled.
Buddy couldn't help laughing. It really was rather funny. The all-powerful Belle was stuck in a box. "Could you use some help?" he asked.
"What do you think?" She had had quite enough.
"Glad to be of service." Buddy answered as he pulled on the tape. And let Belle out.
"BUDDY what on earth are you doing?" Becca yelled from the porch.
Belle still holding the shoe gave it to Buddy as she slipped away.
Buddy dropped the shoe in front of Becca.
"I don't believe it." She walked to the half open box and looked in. "Just how did you know one of the dolls was missing its shoe?" Becca fixed the doll, retaped the box and 10 dolls were heading to New York without Belle (thank you very much).
Belle, back at her tree, would have very sore wings for several days but they would mend. She was very glad she had missed the flight to New York.
Grandpa James mended the hole in the fence.
It took far longer to mend the hurt feelings of the farm's new neighbor. But eventually Ossy became a friend to Belle and Cherry Hill.
Airabella Quick of Cherry Hill Farm is © copyright 2008 by Kimberlyn Kammerer. All rights reserved.
May not be reprinted elsewhere without permission from the author/illustrator.