by Dawn Knox
Previously: The wedding day has begun and Crispin has so far held his nerve. But will the Wooden Robin’s nerves hold? And will the zip wire?
The Wedding Ceremony
This is like herding ants, thought Crispin. Although he was pleased that everyone who should have been at the ceremony before the bride arrived, was there in the Sunken Garden. Bartrum had acquired a black gown which he thought lent him an air of gravitas and he strode about, like a black crow, checking all the details. Queenie and Granny, dressed in matching dusty pink suits and large, lacy hats marched back and forth, checking the details that Bartrum had already checked. They followed the ribbon into the begonias, making certain it was still attached to Gusty Bob’s leg and ensuring he was in tune and hadn’t nodded off. Granny’s gummy grin, as she straightened his straw boater and bow tie so unnerved him, he let out a blast of trumpet involuntary, which made her jump and guaranteed she didn’t venture into the begonias again.
The Wooden Robin had been hoisted into the oak tree, wearing his safety harness and a blindfold.
“You won’t be able to see what you’re doing with that over your eyes,” Crispin pointed out.
“Good,” squeaked the Wooden Robin.
Both socks had slipped straight off the end of his dangling feet as he was winched up.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep them for you,” Crispin shouted up at him, “Make sure you take that blindfold off when you’re up there or you won’t see the signal to come down with the rings…”
A faint, strangled sound drifted down from somewhere amongst the oak branches.
“You do have the rings, don’t you?” Crispin yelled.
An even fainter and more strangled sound floated down.
Crispin hoped it was a “Yes”.
The rings were in fact curtain rings which would be used during the ceremony. Doggett would buy new golden rings at the first opportunity after the wedding, as it looked very unlikely the stolen ones would be found, despite the offer of a reward.
Sylvester was giving out lollipop buttonholes to guests as they arrived and showed them to their seats.
So far, so good, thought Crispin, hardly daring to believe what he was seeing. He checked his watch. Sylvester had shown all the guests to their seats. Those with buttonholes in their jackets had been given one of Wendy’s lollipop creations to slip into it and several guests were surreptitiously licking theirs. Black-gowned Bartrum was waiting at the lectern, looking sternly at anyone who spoke in tones above a whisper. Queenie and Granny were waiting at the entrance for Nina, ready to lead her down the aisle and give her away. Doggett was pacing about on the rose petals and Crispin suggested that perhaps he could keep still and concentrate on not sparking because the carefully strewn rose petals were beginning to look like the accidental spillage of a bag of pink potato crisps. The Wooden Robin was still on his perch in the tall oak with the blindfold on. Crispin had suggested, pleaded and then insisted he remove it, to no avail.
“Can’t I come down and look after the wind chimes?” he called.“Please!”
“You can look after them when you’ve delivered the rings,” Crispin shouted back, “now please take that blindfold off. You won’t be able to see where you’re going.”
Crispin checked his watch again. Where was the bride? He wondered with dread if the highway robber had appeared again.
Despite Bartrum glaring sternly at the guests, the volume of the chatter in the Sunken Garden was slowly rising and Crispin began to panic. Bartrum banged his gavel and for a second, everyone stopped speaking. In the silence, Crispin thought he could hear the merest hint of jingling bells. Or was he imagining it? No, there was definitely a tinkling sound and the rumble of wheels.
“She’s here!” someone at the back shouted excitedly.
“Music! Music! Cue the Toad!” Queenie yelled as she elbowed everyone out of the way in her haste to meet the carriage. Granny followed in Queenie’s wake, like a dinghy attached to a ship.
Somebody pulled the ribbon which was tied to Gusty Bob’s leg and music reverberated through the Sunken Garden, just as Nina appeared, flanked by Queenie and Granny. They moved slowly down the aisle followed by the bridesmaids, Wendy and Lulu, with their lollipop posies. Wendy was also carrying a small basket, in which Trilby sat, decorated with pink ribbons. Doggett was so excited, he was almost incandescent by the time the bridal party reached the lectern and Crispin was beginning to wonder if he ought to cool him down with a bucket of water but wasn’t sure what Nina might do if he drenched the groom.
To Crispin’s relief, the ceremony progressed without Doggett going up in flames although he now began to worry that the Wooden Robin would miss his cue and not deliver the rings.
Doggett had finished making his vows and Nina was halfway through hers but the Wooden Robin still had his blindfold on and even worse, he seemed to be facing the wrong direction. With a series of hand gestures, Crispin signalled to Sylvester to pull the rope which had been used to hoist the Wooden Robin into the oak tree.
“Who has the rings?” asked Bartrum.
Sylvester sidled over to the rope and gave it a vigorous tug.
“Aaargh!” screamed the Wooden Robin as he lost balance and fell off the perch. He slid backwards down the zip wire, gathering speed as he plunged through the treetops towards the lectern. Approaching the Sunken Garden, where the gradient of the zip wire started to decrease, he began to decelerate and if he’d been facing forwards, he might have opened his wings to slow himself down. Instead, his wings were pinned to his side and he slammed into the lectern with a dull thud. He began choking. Crispin rushed forward, picked him up and slapped him on the back. When the Wooden Robin had finished coughing, he took the blindfold off, blinked in the sunlight and a large tear trickled down his beak.
“I’ve swallowed the rings,” he said, clutching his throat.
There was a sharp intake of breath and all eyes swivelled expectantly to Crispin. In the ensuing silence, while the Best Elf considered his options and found that in fact, he didn’t have any, Arnold the Snail slithered, unheard and unseen, up the aisle on a glutinous layer of slime.
“Ahem,” he said politely. "Ahem, I believe you may be needing these.”
Arnold’s eyes were situated on the top of eyestalks which he waggled from side to side like antennae as he looked from Crispin to the bridal couple. Around each eyestalk was a golden wedding ring, like a fairground game of hoopla.
Arnold lowered his eyestalks as if closely observing the ground and the rings slipped off, spun gently and then settled, one slightly overlapping the other in a pool of snail slime.
“Who do I have to see regarding the reward?” he asked, exuding a large glop of mucous which oozed out from beneath his body and enveloped the rings. Crispin grabbed them with finger and thumb, holding them at arm’s length. He shook them gently to try to remove the glutinous goo with the help of gravity and then heaved as the silvery rope of viscous slime clung tenaciously. There was nothing for it, he’d have to sacrifice his neatly starched handkerchief.
“That’s so romantic,” said Nina, as Crispin handed Bartrum the two clean rings, “I’d never have thought of having the rings delivered by snail. It’s so much more elegant than an owl. Crispin, you’re an absolute marvel.”
Queenie gave Crispin the thumbs-up sign to show her approval and Granny grinned gummily.
“Ahem,” said Arnold politely, “there’s still the small matter of the reward…”
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.
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 - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/06/the-crispin-chronicles-7-little-girl-at.html
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 - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/07/the-crispin-chronicles-10-doggett-sees.html
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