2017-09-10 / Family

WIdgin the Brownie Part 4

By VALERIE L. EGAR
Author

“Take us!” the two hobgoblins, Patch and Pitch, cried. 

Widgin shook his head. “I’m not sure you’d be welcome in a firehouse.” Widgin had second thoughts about moving the brothers from the barn to a firehouse. All of the barn animals wanted the mischievous hobgoblins gone. Too many pranks and too much noisy wrestling resulted in little rest for everyone. Widgin wanted to help the animals and had spent his evening trying to think of a place the hobgoblins would be welcome.

Widgin sensed they played pranks because they were bored. They needed little sleep, and after thinking, he decided a firehouse might be good. Firefighters were on duty 24 hours a day, there was a pole in the middle of the building to slide down, a friendly Dalmatian, and plenty of jobs to keep the brothers busy. They could shine brass, check equipment, tie and untie knots as required, sound the siren. There was only one problem. Widgin wasn’t sure Patch and Pitch could be quiet when the firefighters needed to sleep and that they would stop playing pranks. 

“Being a firefighter, putting out fires and rescuing people and animals is serious business,” he said. “When it’s time for firefighters to sleep, they can’t be bothered with noise.”

“We’ll be good,” they squealed.

Widgin raised his eyebrows. “That’s what you say every morning, but at night, it’s a different story.”

Patch and Pitch hung their heads. “I’ll shine the firefighter’s boots,” Pitch said.

“I’ll wake them up when there’s a fire,” said Patch.

“But can you be quiet and let them sleep?” They nodded. “All right,” said Widgin. “One week trial. I’ll see how you do.”

Widgin and the hobgoblins walked all day to reach the city.  A red brick firehouse stood in the middle of the block with a bright fire engine parked outside. A few firefighters polished equipment. A handsome Dalmatian sat on the truck’s front seat.

“Wow!” said Patch. They were invisible to the firefighters, but not to the dog. He bounded from the truck and sniffed them. “Hey, boy,” said Pitch. He patted him on the head.

“Dilly, what are you looking at?” called a firefighter. “Come over here.”

“See you later,” Dilly whispered.

The three walked into the firehouse. Widgin found a comfortable spot in the kitchen. Pitch and Patch stashed their belongings and crawled under a bunk bed in the sleeping quarters. Tired from their long day, they fell asleep. For once, they slept through the night.

The next day, they walked through the firehouse and Widgin pointed out things they could do to be helpful. Firefighters ate at the firehouse and took turns cooking meals.  “Ron’s not cooking tomorrow, is he?” griped one over breakfast. “He’s a terrible cook. He put pepper in the pudding and cinnamon in the stew!”

Widgin suggested the hobgoblins rearrange the spice rack and watch Ron carefully.

"Check the firefighter’s clothing and boots everyday, “ Widgin said.  “Look for bootlaces about to break, loose buttons. Make sure no one has lost a glove and that the socks are warm and dry.”

“Look,” squealed Pitch. “This lace is almost broken.” They found new ones in the supply closet and Pitch and Patch laced them into the boots.

“Good work,” said Widgin.

In a few days, the firefighters noticed that things were running smoother than ever. The brass on the fire engine was shiny without them shining it. Loose buttons were repaired. Best of all, Ron’s cooking improved.

“It’s like we have magical helpers,” said one of the firefighters.

“I hope they stay,” said another.

Pitch and Patch glowed with pride. They were doing a wonderful job, even if they had put sugar in the salt shaker just for fun.

They were settled, and it was time for Widgin to go. He knew the firehouse was in good hands. “Stay,” they begged, but all he could promise was to visit someday.

The animals in the barn had told Widgin he was welcome to come back, but that didn’t feel right either. Widgin wanted a place he felt welcome and could help, and he was determined to find it.

 

           

           

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

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