An Early Childhood Chapter 22 Part 7


Continued from Part 6.
           Our raft - which had a considerable amount of rigging - picked up the wind in its sails as we carried on downstream.
            Arheddis Vaarkenjaab told his story. He was – in fact – a British soldier, it turned out, but he had fled the Army as he saw corollaries between the British rule in Ireland and that of his subcontinental homeland.
            He and Aywelbe Fayed had been members of Colonel Sir Edward Tiptoft’s regiment, but a terrible calamity which Tiptoft had visited upon the people of Carrick-on-Shandy had caused the pair to be so disgusted that they had deemed it morally imperative that they desert the regiment.
            Carrick-on-Shandy lay below the Ailbe Dam a few miles from the first town south of my own hometown. Arheddis explained that Tiptoft’s regiment had arrived in the town some days previous and, when the people of the town refused to receive them with hospitality, Tiptoft burst the dam with explosives and flooded the town and its inhabitants with the Shandy’s water. So they had fled the regiment.
            “People in grass houses shouldn’t get stoned,” Old Man Phelps added, nodding along.
            “What do you mean by that?” Arheddis asked.
            “Well, if they get stoned, soon enough they’ll have no house to live in and nothing else to smoke,” Old Man Phelps explained, and everyone was quiet for a minute and a tumbleweed rolled across the clearing as a bell tolled in the distance…
            “We had fled the army and we were hiding out on the plains of Ourmawwww. Then we were accosted by a leprechaun, who said he could help us and provide shelter. It wasn’t long before we realised he was organising a dinner party for the coven of witches, and we were to be the main meal. And we shared a cell for a few months with Ai Bang Mi Fa Ki Ni. But during our capture the witches took Aywelbe Fayed as “tax” for Floudh Rak, the evil weatherlock. I don’t know where he is now.”
            “We’re on our way to challenge Floudh Rak now,” I said, “And to rid the land of himself and the rest.”
            “And there is no anti-Islamic bias in your viewpoint?”
            “One of my best friends, Tancred Mooorphy M’Nally, is a Muslim in my band of Merry Men.”
            “You mean, like Nasir, in the Robin of Sherwood series?”
            “Or like Morgan Freeman as Azeem in Robin Hood?”
            “Yes,” I said.
            “Or like Djaq in the latest Robin Hood series?”
            “Oohhhh. Why did you have to ruin it?”
            “Anyway, we have to remember that it’s still the early 1920s!”
            Everyone looked at the reader and winked.
            Listen,” says I, This is all irrelevant. On the banks of a nearby tributary, the Irish rebels have a haul of armaments hidden. With our two new recruits here, Old Man, I think we ought to get to it and kit them out with the latest rifles and pistols and what not, from what came off the Asgard in Howth some ten odd years ago now!
            “Are you talking about the stash of arms that was stowed away on the banks of the River Madlin?” Old Man Phelps asked.
            “That's the one! The Madlin Stow!

To be continued in Chapter 23.