For those who read the first half of Jill Ford’s PETAL AND THE EASTER BUNNY STORY, that appeared in The Ten Penners book ‘Fan-tas-tic-al Tales’, here is the second half.
‘I’m trying to,’ snapped Petal. ‘But you are making it very difficult Hannah Elizabeth. Now, where was I?’
‘You had just eaten all the eggs.’
‘So I had. Well, I had to do something and fast, before Mrs Bunny found out. I was a very sorry little dragon let me tell you, and I had a nasty tummy ache.’
‘It was all those Easter eggs,’ said Hannah.
‘I suppose. What I did then, was a bit naughty, but I was very young and I was terrified of Mrs Bunny. She gets so hopping mad over the littlest things. I collected up all the egg wrappers and flattened them out, nice and smooth again. Then I went down to the river. There are always a lot of nice round stones along the riverbank. We have stone skipping competitions there. It’s lots of fun. If you are very nice to me, Hannah Elizabeth, I might take you one day.’
‘Get on with the story, Petal. I want to know what happened!’
‘When I got to the river, Prince Velvet was skipping stones. Only back then, he was just a grubby little boy who hadn’t learnt to blow his nose properly. He hadn’t been taught how to be a Prince. He only wore a toy wooden sword around his waist. We were best friends until we were put into the book.’
‘I suppose it was hard to stay friends, once you had to start fighting,’ said Hannah sympathetically.
‘We are still friends, but it isn’t easy. And it isn’t fair that I get to be killed at the end of the story all the time. I don’t see why we can’t take turns.’
Hannah giggled and leant over and patted Petal’s knee. ‘You die so beautifully Petal,’ she said, ‘I’m sure Prince Velvet could never die as well.’
‘It takes talent,’ Petal boasted. ‘Anyway, I told Snotty, that’s what I call Prince Velvet, what I had done and he agreed to help me. He’d been spanked by Mrs Bunny a few times himself and he was frightened of her too.’
‘Snotty. Oh gross.’ Hannah wrinkled up her nose in disgust.
‘I told you, Prince Velvet didn’t know how to wipe his nose properly and you promised to be quiet, remember? Mrs Bunny had made herself responsible for bringing up all us kids in Storybook Land properly.’
‘She didn’t do a very good job with you, did she?’ Hannah said. Petal threw an egg at her. He snorted and flames shot out of his nostrils. Hannah’s teddy bear burst into flames. Hannah smothered the flames with her pillow. She knew there was not any real danger because Petal’s flames did not burn. ‘I think I’ll be a firefighter when I grow up. I’m getting a lot of practice putting out fires,’ she said.
Petal ignored her. ‘Snotty and I collected a lot of pebbles and wrapped them up and put them back in the basket.’
‘That was very naughty.’
‘I know, but you would understand if you knew Mrs Bunny. Snotty and I made such a good job of wrapping the pebbles, that no one noticed the difference. The next morning Carrots and I started out to deliver the Easter Eggs. We left earlier than usual because poor old Carrots was on crutches. Mrs Bunny waved us goodbye. She had packed us a huge picnic basket full of yummy things to eat. We put the hamper in Carrots’ hand-wagon, with the basket of eggs. By then, I was feeling really bad about what I’d done, but I didn’t know what to do about it.’
‘Petal, what you did was really mean,’ said Hannah.
‘I know, I know. I knew dear old Carrots would get the blame and he would probably lose his job as the Easter Bunny. I wanted to confess, but if I did Mrs Bunny would have spanked me. I got a headache in my tummy.’
‘That was your conscience getting to you,’ said Hannah wisely.
‘Don’t I know it? It’s always there waiting to spoil a dragon’s fun. Carrots noticed something was wrong. Then, like the big baby, I really was, I broke down and confessed. I cried all over him.’
‘Goodness Petal, you could have drowned him,’ Hannah joked.
Petal ignored that.
‘Carrots never said a word, he just looked at me sadly. I would have felt better if he smacked me hard. “Are you truly sorry Petal?” he asked me.
‘Oh yes,’ I cried. ‘I never meant to be so naughty.’
“That’s all right then,” he said smiling at me. “Do you see that Green Easter Egg, sitting on the top of the pile? That’s yours. Why don’t you eat it now Petal?”
‘Oh no! He wanted you to swallow a stone,’ Hannah gasped.
‘That’s what I thought. “Open your egg Petal,” he insisted. So I did, and do you know something, Hannah? It was chocolate. Thick creamy milk chocolate.’
Hannah clapped her hands and cheered.
‘Carrots knew what I had done almost right away.’
“I’m glad you confessed Petal,” he said to me. “If you hadn’t, Easter magic wouldn’t have been able to work and there would have been a lot of disappointed girls and boys, unwrapping river pebbles.”
‘It pays to own up when you do something naughty,’ said Hannah.
‘Anyway, we delivered all the eggs. It was amazing. Every time we got down to the last egg in the basket, abracadabra, the basket would fill itself up again, and that’s how I saved Easter.’
‘But Petal, if you hadn’t been a piggy, Easter wouldn’t have had to be saved.’
Petal glared at her. ‘That’s the very last time I’ll tell you a story, Hannah Elizabeth.’
‘I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. Do you want this last egg?’
‘Let’s have half each,’ said Petal licking his lips.