by Dawn Knox
The wedding festivities continue but now, Nina is waiting for the Eternal Flame
to be lit by an archer with a flaming arrow…
The Eternal Flame
To Crispin’s embarrassment, Nina took every opportunity
to praise him for his organisation of the wedding, and even worse, Queenie and
Granny were now following suit after the recovery of the dentures. It seemed
every time he turned around, Granny was there with the Wooden Robin tucked
under her arm, grinning maniacally at him displaying her unnervingly mobile
teeth. Their alarming range of movements meant they appeared to be permanently
falling out and Crispin’s eyes were drawn to them, to see what sort of
manoeuvre they would perform next. He managed to give her the slip during the
hog roast, even though it meant he was trapped next to Lulu at the table. Lulu
had swapped her name card with that of Wendy so she could sit next to the Best
Elf, and Wendy didn’t complain because it meant she was sitting next to
Crispin checked his watch and thought longingly of the
rucksack he’d hidden in the wardrobe that morning. Had it merely been that
morning? It seemed like days ago. But at least so far, the wedding had gone
well. In fact, it had gone better than well. The meal had been delicious and
very soon, it would be time for Crispin to announce the speeches.
Nina signalled that it was indeed time and Crispin stood up
and tapped his wine glass with a spoon until the hubbub died. “I’d like to call
upon the bridegroom to—”
One of the Fairies stood up and started to sing a plaintive
little song and Crispin was about to tap the wine glass again when two others
stood up and started singing. Suddenly, two more rose, joined in with the song
and then began to jive. The tempo picked up and another group of Fairies stood
up and joined in.
With relief, Crispin realised the flash mob had started
performing and with even more relief, he saw that the Fairies were fully
dressed. A few seats along, Nina had her sausage-pack hands clasped together in
delight and from time to time she pointed out something to Doggett, Queenie or
Granny. Her eyes were shining and Crispin was genuinely pleased she was
enjoying her day. Everyone was now clapping in time to the music as the Fairies
performed their finale and then melted away back to their seats. The audience
cheered and whistled and Crispin mentally ticked ‘Flash Dance’ off his list. It
was too early to congratulate himself just yet but Crispin was very pleased
with how the day was going. Not only had he hit all his targets so far but he’d
also hit a few he hadn’t even aimed at. Ticking off the flash mob item reminded
him that Nina had requested an Eternal Flame and he wondered whether, at this late
hour, something could be arranged. Of course, no one would be able to shoot a
flaming arrow because no one in the Garden had an arrow to set fire to—much
less a bow to shoot it from. But he might be able to set up a bonfire. He’d
noticed Big Po had put some dead wood in the incinerator a few days ago and he
was sure that it would burn quite merrily for a while. It wouldn’t be eternal
but that was probably a good thing anyway. Who wanted smoke drifting over the
Garden from now to eternity?
Crispin found Sylvester and asked if he could put some paper
in the incinerator so that it would catch fire easily and then he had a word
with Doggett, who would definitely be able to provide a spark.
“Speech! Speech!” the guests chanted and Crispin obliged
with a short piece he’d agonised over for several evenings. Doggett set fire to
his speech and had to ad-lib but he managed to thank all the guests and to
flatter Nina, Queenie and Granny, so everyone was happy. After several toasts
and the cutting of Mrs Bartrum’s wonderfully colourful cake, it was time for
the Maypole dancing. With arms crossed over her chest to show she meant
business, Queenie hovered near the dancers, turning away any Fairies who asked
to join in. Granny looked equally determined that the innocent country dancing around
the Maypole was not going to be sullied by any flighty Fairy folk, despite not
being able to cross her arms because the Wooden Robin was tucked under one arm
and in her other hand, she held an enormous plastic bag full of pink stuff. Her
loose-fitting dentures now fit snugly inside her mouth, glued in place with
some of Wendy’s candyfloss, whose adhesive strength could be favourably
compared to that of super-strength glue. Luckily for Crispin, Lulu had eaten
quite a lot of the candyfloss before anyone had noticed its bonding qualities
and she’d been quiet for some time while she worried the pink goo in her mouth
with her tongue and tried to dislodge it. Crispin took the opportunity to slip
away from her and to rest his eardrums and his arm, which she kept grabbing.
And then before Crispin knew it, the first part of the
special day was over and everyone was heading home to put on their costumes for
the masked ball.
“Tights?” said Sylvester, aghast, “I’m not wearing
“Fine,” said Crispin wearily. He’d been dreading this moment
since the costumes had arrived a few days ago. “Well, you’ll just have to go
“I’ll have trousers on… won’t I?”
“Breeches,” said Crispin “and they finish at your knees. So,
it’s up to you if you wear the tights or not.”
“Huh!” Sylvester grabbed the box containing the costume,
stomped to his bedroom and opened the door.
“Ugh!” he said, “I’d forgotten about the Doves.” He slammed
the door and made for the bathroom. The bathroom door slammed.
Crispin went into his bedroom. He wasn’t happy about wearing
the costume either but the thought that soon, he could wear exactly what he
liked soothed him. He checked the rucksack in the wardrobe and added a few more
pairs of socks and pants, Bella’s feather and a small framed photograph of
Despite his earlier misgivings about the costume, Crispin
was quite impressed with his reflection in the hall mirror. He looked every
inch the eighteenth-century Elf.
“Aargh!” shouted Sylvester from the bathroom. Something hit
the wall and there was the tinkle of glass, “Whoops.”
“What are you doing in there?” shouted Crispin.
“These tights are too small.”
“Well, they’re the same size as mine and they fit. Come out
so I can see.”
A scowling Sylvester emerged from the bathroom. He had the
lace-ruffled shirt and long coat on, as well as the breeches and from his
hands, dangled what looked like two long, deflated balloons.
“They definitely don’t fit.”
Crispin looked at his legs, “You realise the tights go on
first and then the breeches go on top, don’t you?”
“Huh!” Sylvester slammed the bathroom door again. A lot of
grunting and grumbling followed before he emerged fully dressed with his tights
under his breeches.
“I look ridiculous!”
“Put this on,” Crispin said, handing him an elaborate purple
and gold mask “and no one will know it’s you.”
Crispin helped tie the mask’s ribbons at the back of
Sylvester’s head and then fitted his own mask. As they put on their full-length
cloaks in the hall, Crispin noticed Sylvester turning this way and that,
admiring his reflection in the mirror and he had to admit that Sylvester looked
“Will everyone be wearing eighteenth-century clothes like
us?” Sylvester asked.
“I think so although I expect Jubbly will do something a bit
different because… well, because he’s Jubbly. Why d’you ask?”
“I was trying to imagine what everyone will look like.”
“Anyone in particular? Such as the Fairies?”
“Don’t be so stupid!” said Sylvester crossly.
“Then why are you blushing?”
“Well, because… because you’ve made me dress up in this
ridiculous costume, that’s why. Anyway, how d’you know I’m blushing? I’ve got a
“There’s steam coming out of your ears.” Crispin checked his
watch, “Right, I think it’s time to go. Nina won’t be happy if we’re late for
the group photographs.”
“We’re going to be photographed dressed like this?”
Sylvester asked, aghast.
“No one will know it’s you, behind that mask.”
“No, but they might think you’re me and that would be
It was taking much longer than normal to get to the
clearing where the Maypole had been erected.
“Sylvester, you’re going to put your fingers through those
tights if you don’t stop pulling them up. Leave them alone. They’re fine.”
“They don’t feel fine. They keep going wrinkly round my
ankles. Now I know how the Wooden Robin feels when his socks keep slipping
down.” Sylvester stopped again and pulled the tights up. “I wonder what the
Wooden Robin’s costume is like…” and at the thought of him wearing tights, both
Elves began to laugh. They were both still chuckling when they arrived at the
Spanners was busy trying to organise the guests ready to
take some group shots. The elaborate costumes were clearly giving him a
headache, with the large wigs, masks and headdresses adorned with feathers,
obstructing people at the rear. Jubbly in particular was proving quite a
problem. The skirt of his eighteenth-century dress was draped over a frame that
protruded on either side of him as if he had enormous hips. A gigantic plume
rose above his huge, pink wig, blocking everyone behind him.
Spanners suggested he sit on the ground so he was less of an
“Not in this dress!” Jubbly said emphatically, “Nor in these
shoes.” He poked a foot out below the voluminous folds of his skirt, showing a
shoe with such a platform sole; it was hard to imagine how he could walk in
them. Spanners nodded sympathetically. It was obvious that anyone wearing shoes
such as that and who was then stupid enough to sit on the ground, would need
some sort of lifting device to raise them again.
“I could get a few of the chaps to help you up. It’s just
that you’re blocking out so many people…”
“Blocking out people?” Sylvester whispered to Crispin, “He’s
eclipsing the sun.”
“Shh!” said Crispin sternly.
Finally, Spanners managed some sort of arrangement and by
moving people around, he was fairly confident he’d managed to capture
everyone’s photo. He announced he’d finished and that the guests could make
their way to the Gazebo for the masked ball.
Doggett stepped forward and holding up his hands for
silence, he asked everyone to wait where they were because he had a little
surprise for Nina, who squealed with delight. There was a lot of whispering and
conjecture as he and Crispin left the group and disappeared into the woods,
towards the Shed of No Return.
Boggy couldn’t believe his eyes. This Garden was the
craziest place he’d ever visited. Ahead of him in a large clearing was a group
of people dressed in clothes, the likes of which he’d never seen before. If
only he could find the two eco-warriors he’d seen on the tandem, he’d have had
more courage, but he was fairly certain they’d been campaigning because he’d
stumbled across the Sunken Garden and it was obvious a meeting had taken place.
Why else would all the chairs have been set out like that? And he was fairly
certain the eco-warriors had been warning people about the threat of carbon
footprints because they’d obviously been giving out his leaflets. He’d
found them stuck to the ground in a long line. Proof positive that the
eco-warriors had wanted the message to remain there for all to see. It was
regrettable that many of the leaflets were face down but many more were the
right way up, displaying the carbon footprint warnings.
However, there was no sign of his comrades, so he’d have to
draw on his inner strength and carry on the campaign on his own. It wasn’t
often you found a ready-made audience, even if they were a bunch of weirdos,
and Boggy would kick himself if he missed this opportunity to spread the word.
A few seconds later, Boggy was kicking himself for stepping
out of the cover of the undergrowth into full view of the strangely-dressed
It had all started in such a promising fashion when the
large, masked female dressed in white had squealed with delight and declared
how wonderful it was to see him. Boggy had never had such a warm reception and
he cleared his throat, ready to address the crowd. The white female held up her
hands for silence and as everyone turned to him expectantly, someone shouted
“Hey, it’s the highway robber!”
With most faces hidden behind masks, Boggy couldn’t tell
who’d spoken, but judging by the number of heads that turned to the right, he
was fairly sure he’d pinpointed the speaker. It was a flamboyantly dressed
lady, with impossibly wide hips who spoke in a very deep, husky Mexican accent.
He also had the strangest feeling of déjà vu, as if he’d heard the voice
before. She minced determinedly towards him, and if he hadn’t known better,
Boggy would have thought she was brandishing her fan as if it were a weapon. He
was wondering whether he ought to take evasive action when the lady’s progress
was impeded by some obstacle on the ground and she swallow-dived into the
grass. There was a lot of confusion as people raced forwards to try to raise
her to her feet. Two burly Gnomes tried to get their hands under her shoulders
to hoist her up but the side extensions on her skirt were hampering their
attempts. The lady, whose voice had deepened considerably, was obviously quite
distressed and issued orders from her prostrate position. “Ow! Watch it, you’re
treading on my wig,” she yelled, pulling a pink ringlet from under one of her
would-be rescuer’s boots. “Stop interfering with my panniers,” she shouted, and
everyone jumped backwards with their hands in the air as if to prove their
“I never touched ‘im. If anyone groped ‘im, it wasn’t me,” said
one of the burly Gnomes. The other burly Gnome added “It’s hard to know where
any of his bits are under all that flouncy stuff,” poking the skirt’s side
“I told you not to touch the panniers, you’ll dent them,”
shrieked the lady gruffly.
“Oh!” said the first burly Gnome with obvious relief, ‘You
said “panniers’, I thought you said… Oh, never mind…” His cheeks reddened.
“What’s a pannier?” a shrill voice asked.
“This.” The burly Gnome pointed a large finger at the
skirt’s side extensions.
“I told you to leave the panniers alone,” screeched the
Finally, she was helped to her feet, by which time, Boggy
was totally confused and had been completely forgotten, except by the lady in
“So, where’s it going to be?” she asked Boggy.
“The Eternal Flame, of course.”
“Umm…” What on earth was she talking about? But she
looked so eager, Boggy didn’t feel he could let her down. “Umm…” he said again
and then he had it. It must be a clue, like in a crossword. The “Eternal Flame”
could only be one thing—the sun. Or could it? He crossed his fingers and hoped
it was. “Umm… Over there?” he suggested uncertainly, pointing at the reddening
sun which was beginning to sink behind the treetops.
It appeared he was right because the lady in white clasped
her rather large hands to her very large bosom and looked rapturously at him.
“Wonderful!” she said and then shouting for everyone’s
attention, she pointed out where they needed to look.
How lovely, thought Boggy for people to be so appreciative
of the sunset. As soon as the spectacle was over, Boggy would inform them all
about the dangers of carbon footprints and people such as these who were
obviously in tune with nature, would listen and join his cause. He felt a
special camaraderie with these people, even if their dress sense was rather
He suddenly became aware that his eyes were on the sunset
while everyone else’s eyes were on him.
“Well?” said the lady in white, tapping her foot, “Could you
do it now, please, we’ve got a ball to attend.”
“Come on, don’t be shy,” she said, “now, do you need a
“Yes, for the arrow.”
“Yes. Look, you may have all night but we’ve got to get
going and Doggett and Crispin are waiting.”
“Doggett and Crispin?”
“If you repeat anything else that I say, I may be forced to
take action. And trust me, it will hurt. Now, if you aren’t going to shoot a
flaming arrow, pass the bow over, so someone else can. Do I have any
volunteers?” she shouted to the crowd.
There suddenly seemed to be quite a lot more distance
between her and the others. Boggy wished that there was much more space between
him and the lady in white, but she had a firm grip on his shoulder.
As the sun disappeared behind the trees, the lady in white’s
patience ran out.
“Take an arrow out of that quiver, put it in the bow and
shoot. Got it? Good. Because if you don’t, I may be forced to snap that bow in
two and make you eat it.”
There was no mistaking the determination in her voice.
The bow was slung over his body, more to keep his jacket
done up, because the buttons had come off than anything else but he took it off
and with shaking hands withdrew an arrow from his quiver.
“Even I know an arrow goes in the other way round,” she said
scathingly, “and doesn’t it need to be alight? And don’t say ‘Umm’.”
“Err, I don’t think so.”
“Will it light up automatically when the arrow hits it?”
“Yes,” said Boggy. He had no idea what was going on but he
knew if he didn’t fire an arrow… well, he didn’t want to think about it and it
seemed sensible to agree with anything the lady said.
Aiming towards the sunset, he let an arrow fly. It twanged
into a tree trunk at the edge of the clearing.
“Just getting my sights,” he squeaked when he realised that
the lady in white wasn’t satisfied.
With trembling fingers, he removed the remaining arrow from
the quiver, placed it in the bow, drew back the string, aimed high and closed
“Oooh!” said the crowd and Boggy opened his eyes in time to
see the arrow soar over the treetops.
There was a pause and someone whispered “I think he’s
missed…” Then suddenly, there was a terrific whoosh from behind. Everyone swung
around and there, in the opposite direction, near the Shed of No Return, was a
The crowd cheered and several of those close enough patted
Boggy on the back and demanded to know how he’d done it.
At the first opportunity, Boggy crept away. He’d worry about
the danger of carbon footprints tomorrow. Right now, he longed to be anywhere
but this Garden. He packed his shopping trolley and set off. As far as he was
concerned, carbon feet could stamp their footprints over every one of the crazy
inhabitants of this crazy place and he wouldn’t be bothered.
“This is brilliant,” said Doggett gleefully, “We haven’t
got an archer with a flaming arrow but I know Nina’s going to love it.”
It had taken them longer to get to the incinerator near the
Shed of No Return than expected because their progress had been hampered by the
costumes. One of the buckles had fallen off Crispin’s boot and he’d had to
backtrack to find it, then Doggett announced his breeches were chafing his legs
and finished the rest of the journey walking with bandy legs.
The incinerator was piled high with wood and bits of screwed
up paper, as Sylvester had promised. There was also the smell of petrol, which
wasn’t too surprising as he’d told Crispin he’d put a drop of Big Po’s lawnmower
petrol on the fire because some of the wood was wet and he was afraid it
“A drop? You’re sure it was no more than a drop?” Crispin
“Oh, yes,” Sylvester had replied although it had worried
Crispin that he wouldn’t make eye contact.
Just in case Sylvester’s idea of a ‘drop’ differed
significantly from his, Crispin found a dry stick and holding it close to
Doggett, he managed to light it with a random spark, then tossed it into the
incinerator. This turned out to be a sensible precaution because as he’d
suspected, Sylvester’s idea of a ‘drop of petrol’ turned out to be appreciably
more than one would normally add to a bonfire. The fumes emanating from the
incinerator ignited while the stick was still mid-air and the explosion blew Doggett
and Crispin backwards into the bushes.
“Nina’s going to love it!” said Doggett excitedly, not
having realised how much danger he’d been in when he’d wandered close to the
“Let’s go,” said Crispin who couldn’t imagine the trouble he’d
be in with Nina if he returned her new husband in anything less than pristine
condition. He brushed the leaves and twigs out of Doggett’s wig.
By the time the bridegroom and his Best Elf had returned to
the clearing, the fire in the incinerator was roaring furiously. Everyone was
cheering and Nina thanked them for arranging such a wonderful surprise.
“Oh, Crispin, you’re so clever! Where did you find that
funny, little archer? He fired an arrow that way,” she said pointing towards
the sunset “and he lit up the fire over there,” she pointed in the opposite
direction, at the inferno near the Shed of No Return, “It was so clever and he
made it look like he didn’t know what he was doing but—”
Before Nina could finish, there was another explosion from
the incinerator and a ball of fire shot into the sky. It hung there glowing for
a second or two before disintegrating in a blaze of colourful stars.
“Ooh! Aah!” gasped the crowd.
Crispin grabbed Sylvester by the lacy ruff. “Not so fast! I
thought you only put a drop of petrol in the incinerator.”
“Well, it nearly blew Doggett and me out of the Garden. And
what did you put in there that’s going up like fireworks?”
“No idea,” said Sylvester sheepishly, “nothing to do with
“Ooh! Aah!” roared the crowd as another fusillade of stars
lit up the darkening sky.
About the author
Dawn’s two previous books in the
‘Chronicles Chronicles’ series are ‘The Basilwade Chronicles’ and ‘The Macaroon
Chronicles’ both published by Chapeltown Publishing.
You can follow her here on https://dawnknox.com
on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SunriseCalls
Amazon Author: http://mybook.to/DawnKnox
The Crispin Chronicles
Links to the previous chapters:
Chapter 1 – Her Ladyship’s Garden - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/04/the-crispin-chronicles-1-her-ladyships.html
Chapter 2 – The Letter from OFSGAR - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/search/label/The%20Crispin%20Chronicles%20-%20The%20Letter%20from%20OFSGAR
Chapter 3 -The Sweet Smell of
Success - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-3-sweet-smell-of.html
Chapter 4 – A Visit from Peggy the
Pram - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-4-visit-from.html
Chapter 5 – Nightly Disturbances - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-5-nightly.html
Chapter 6 – Just Desserts - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-6-just-desserts.html
Chapter 7 – A Little Girl at Large -
Chapter 8 – The Halloween Party - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/06/the-crispin-chronicles-8-halloween-party.html
Chapter 9 – A Glimmer of an Idea - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/07/the-crispin-chronicles-9-glimmer-of-idea.html
Chapter 10 – Doggett Sees the Light
Chapter 11 – Doggett’s Blues – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/07/the-crispin-chronicles-11-doggetts-blues.html
Chapter 12 – A Genie out of the
Bottle - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/08/the-crispin-chronicles-12-genie-out-of.html
Chapter 13 – The Christmas Beast - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/08/the-crispin-chronicles-13-christmas.html
Chapter 14 – Bellarella - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/08/the-crispin-chronicles-14-bellarella.html
Chapter 15 – The Stag Omen - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/09/the-crispin-chronicles-15-stag-omen.html
Chapter 16 – The Wedding Carriage - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/09/the-crispin-chronicles-16-wedding.html
Chapter 17 – A Wild Stag Night - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/09/the-crispin-chronicles-17-wild-stag.html
Chapter 18 – Wedding Preparations - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/10/the-crispin-chronicles-18-wedding.html
Chapter 19 – Even More Wedding Preparations - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/10/the-crispin-chronicles-19-even-more.html
Chapter 20 – One More Sleep - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/11/the-crispin-chronicles-20-one-more-sleep.html
Chapter 21 – The Wedding Dawn - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/11/the-crispin-chronicles-21-wedding-dawn.html
Chapter 22 – The Wedding Ceremony – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/12/the-crispin-chronicles-22-wedding.html
Chapter 23 – Married at Last – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/12/the-crispin-chronicles-23-married-at.html
Chapter 24 – The Vengeful Butterfly - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/12/the-crispin-chronicles-24-vengeful.html