POPS, NONA, HARRIS & THE HEDGEHOG
A Small Act of Kindness
My name is Harris. A pedigree West Highland Terrier am I.
Running over open fields and green pasture, like a white bullet I fly.
A Prince among dogs from my tail to my nose.
I am devoted to my ‘Mum’, little Miss B, for whom my love grows.
I like to explore, poking my nose in at things where it doesn’t belong.
This is my story of kindness, even though it went a bit wrong.
You see, I live with little Miss B, and of course her parents too,
In a house with four bedrooms, a garden and even a downstairs loo.
But sometimes I have a holiday with her Grandparents, Nona and Pops.
They’re a funny old pair who like me to sit on their knee or drive
me to the shops.
We go on long walks in the country or they let me play on their lawn.
Nona is an early riser so quite often she lets me into the garden at dawn.
It’s there that I first met Hamish, hidden deep in the tall grass,
I caught the scent of him amongst the dew and couldn’t let it pass.
A ball of stiff prickles he was, with a long pointy snout,
I poked and prodded with my paws and my head until he uncurled and at last, he came out.
“Hello,” he said, though he looked so unhappy, sitting there upon the ground.
“Good morning,” said I. “Are you not so very pleased to be found?”
“I’m fed-up with these fleas, always having a party on my back!”
“They just never stop. I’m so very tired. It’s sleep that I lack.”
This Hedgehog, called Hamish, was grumpy for he could get no useful rest,
Although the fleas were his friends, they were proving to be such a pest.
“Sounds like you need a short holiday, too,” I said to bring him a little cheer.
“Oh, that would be bliss, to be Flea free for a little time, but it’ll never happen I fear”.
“Who would take them?” he asked. “Even if for only two days?”
“Let’s put our heads together,” said I, “for there must be some means and ways.”
“I could take them for a while if you like, as it is my holiday too,”
“It would liven things up around here and most certainly give me something to do!”
Hamish lit up like a bulb. A smile covered his face.
“How about it then fleas? Do you fancy a change of scene? A brand new party place?”
There were squeals of delight as the Fleas all jumped for joy.
All but Flea One-Hundred-And-Three, who was just more cautious
and a little coy.
A convoy of Fleas, one-hundred-and-twelve in all, crossed over and onto my back.
Exploring, they went from my ears to my tail, all the time talking going yakety-yak.
“Bring them home safely in two days’ time. I’ll be waiting right here, for you to find.”
“I hope everyone has fun, and thank-you. Thank-you for being ever so kind.”
I thought it was a jolly jape. I truly, honestly did.
Why would anyone mind? Certainly not so much that they would want quickly to get rid?
I was happy to help Hamish and merrily went on my way.
My new friends were settled in for a party and their temporary stay.
Into the house of Pops and Nona I trotted for a deserved breakfast treat.
Nona was cooking bacon and sausage so by the kitchen table I found a comfortable seat.
A nap on their bed suited me next, while Pops and Nona did all of their chores.
As I slept the Fleas went exploring, surprising Pops when he found them in his underwear drawers.
But it was the fleas in Nona’s knickers that proved to be the worst!
They gave her such an itch. Those Fleas! So loudly were they cursed.
Around the house screaming Nona did run, looking for remedies to rid her of the Fleas.
She threw off her clothes and tried soothing her itching with a bag of frozen peas.
I found myself being carried by Pops to the bath for a wash and shampoo,
I pleaded with my sad eyes for him not to carry it through.
But Pops was set on soaking me, as if I was to blame.
You see I had thought it just an act of kindness, merely a silly little game.
The Fleas all scattered to hide, as Nona began to fling powder everywhere.
Across the carpets, over curtains, in the bedding, she really didn’t care.
All day it took for Pops and Nona to treat the House, including two more unpleasant baths for me!
It was all a waste of time though, their work to be rid of the guests that were just too small to see.
They had missed a trick with those rascally Fleas, for they had all hidden high above even Pops head,
On the light shades and the chandeliers they clung, avoiding Nona’s powder shower and the prospect of being dead.
Exhausted Pops and Nona finally collapsed in a heap on their settee and had a cup to Tea.
They talked of the why’s and wherefores of the origins of the Fleas, but in the end agreed they had arrived with ME.
I was so very sorry, to have caused them all so much distress: The Fleas of course, but Pops and Nona too.
I had to find a way to fix things. I had to work out what to do.
Curled up in a corner I waited patiently for the darkness of the night.
With Pops and Nona at last in their bed I called up to the Fleas, “Please come down from on high. I promise you’ll be alright.”
It took some time for all the Fleas to descend from lampshade, to curtain and finally to the floor.
“If this is life without Hamish,” cried out Flea ‘One-Hundred-And Three’, “then we don’t want it anymore…”
“Please, Oh Please, don’t despair. I will get you back to Hamish safely, but you’ll have to wait at least one more day.”
With me you can hide, play and party whenever you wish, but there can be no more exploring. With me you must stay.
The Fleas all agreed, and climbed back into my fur, camping out between my ears and the rough of my neck.
They partied like it was New Years Eve all through the night, complete with a band, disco lights and full music deck.
In the band they had a Trombone, an Accordion, a Harmonica and even a Fiddle.
These Fleas had their boogie boots on. They danced to any tune, including Hey Diddle Diddle.
“Why Harris, what do we call a party that is really just for us?” Asked One Hundred And Three.
“No idea,” I laughed, so he replied, “Why of course, it’s a Grand Jubi-Flea!”
All through that night and into the next their party went on,
I began to feel for poor Hamish and his wish that they were gone.
Their merriment, music and laughter drifted upon the quiet night air,
Their endless jokes and their chatter were so tiring, it really wasn’t fair.
Even Pops and Nona were disturbed from their slumber, their synchronised snoring and deep dreaming rest.
They scratched at their nightmares, with elastic bands around the ankles and wrists of their PJ’s in which they were dressed.
Relief came with morning, as I cautioned the Fleas not to wear poor Hamish out.
“Your parties are fun but exhausting so maybe you could spread them about?”
That way you’ll always be happy and safe with Hamish and his back full of prickles.
The Fleas gave it some thought before they said Yes. To me they didn’t feel itchy, more like a hundred and three tickles.
They all had a question, about how they would get back to Hamish and Home.
“You’re itch-hiking back to Hamish today,” said I, “where in the garden he does roam.
As I headed for the kitchen door I surprised to feel Nona’s toe up my bum,
I think she was still upset about the Fleas, so even with the smell of bacon I was pleased Nona’s not my mum.
Out in the garden I found Hamish amongst the leaves, walking very quietly and slow.
He was really thrilled as we pressed together snout and nose and he called over to the Fleas, “One, Two, Flea… Go.”
“Oh, how I’ve missed you. Each and everyone. Even though I did enjoy a little peace and some calm.”
The Fleas paraded home, already talking of another party that day, straightaway,
But with a polite cough and a stern stare from me they paused, thinking of what earlier I did say.
“They had a wee fright,” I told to Hamish honestly, “But they had fun and stayed safe in the end.”
“I am so grateful to you and your kindness, I don’t know what else to do or to say. You're such a good friend.”
“You’re most welcome, and I think they might also have learned a lesson too.”
A tiny voice then piped up from Flea One-Hundred-And-Three, “Please Mr H, can I not stay with you?”
I was pleased to keep the Flea, if alright with Hamish, as he’d proved to be such good company.
Hamish couldn’t have been happier at how it had worked out. now he would always have a friend in me.
That’s my tail told, my act of kindness done, even though it went a little wrong.
I’ve made up now with Pops and Nona, avoiding more of those awful baths as, being a dog, I prefer a bit of pong.
Being kind is not always easy but it is always a very good thing to do.
That’s the message from Flea One-Hundred-And-Three and me, and now we’ll leave that message with you.
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