"Mustard and Pea" (Suzy Engelman Block )
On Polka Frost Mountain, when the sun rose, Mother Moss gently woke Pea up and asked him to come to Moss Chamber. He ran downstairs without brushing his teeth.
"Pea," announced Father Moss to his majestic roundtable of Moss guards, "you will need to learn to spread your wings and fly and breathe fire to pronounce yourself worthy of full dragonship."
Thinking seriously about this latest command, Pea took his sack and slipped through the door for another day of adventure. As he skipped lightly over the velvet green hills and valleys, he huffed and puffed, trying to breathe fire. He could not. Grinyon, his unusual, hairy, four-legged hedgehog followed behind him.
Near the hills of Nasquashi, Mustard, a tiny yellow duck, laid his bucket down with many special colored stones. He dug into the shallow waters looking for colored pebbles. From a distance, Pea came down the hills, humming a song out of tune. He plopped himself down, dipping his tired feet in the rushing spring waters.
"What are you doing?" he asked, looking at Mustard.
"Stone searching," Mustard replied. "I do this quite often. I get pennies for stones or pebbles at the marketplace."
"I'm pooped," Pea sighed. "I've been all over the hills trying to teach myself to begin to breathe fire. But I cannot." Pea sat down and babbled on, "My father told me that I should learn to fly and breathe fire to reach full dragonship, in order to do honors, charities and pleasantries. That would please him so much."
"It seems like a lot of responsibility. Is that what you want?" Mustard questioned him.
"It's what I need to do in order to grow into adulthood. It is the way of nature and I do not want to be left behind," he said.
Then suddenly, the clouds turned gray with dark hints of crimson red. In seconds the clouds were darker and darker and the winds moved forcefully through them. Mustard, Pea and Grinyon ran down the hill seeking cover. But Grinyon fell behind and the wild winds swept him away.
"No!" they all shouted.
Heavy rain poured and terrible thunder peeled. The rivers swelled into flood waters. And through all this, Mustard and Pea did not dare let little Grinyon out of their sights. Safe on a boulder high above the river, they watched Grinyon clinging to the sturdy branch of a Penelope tree while the water rose higher and higher, threatening to engulf him. Grinyon was only moments from being swept away by the flood.
Scared and wet, Pea didn't know what to do except to open his wings and flap them. Mustard blinked at him and hurriedly climbed aboard. To the utter amazement of them both, the wind rushed under Pea's wings and he was flying. He landed on the embankment just below Grinyon. Grinyon jumped from the tree limb onto Mustard's back. Away they all flew through the rain and the hail to the nearby Ravenscrag Caves.
They were safe there, but they were drenched with the rain and very cold.
"What are we going to do?" whined Mustard. "We'll catch our death!"
Pea found some dry twigs and branches and gathered them into a pile. He took a deep breath and breathed flames onto them. In a short while, they were all warming their paws (and webbed feet) in front of a roaring fire, toasty and warm and safe from the storm.
Later, after the storm, as Pea waved goodbye to Mustard, he walked home with Grinyon as if it were just another day of adventure. He knew that his father would be happy tomorrow.
Special thanks to Suzy Engelman Block for her illustration. To see more of her work, visit http://SuzyEngelmanBlock.com
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