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Very Nearly The Beginning...  by Grey Wonderer

Because several of you have asked about Titch and what happened to him after Arwen ran the lads off and rescued Errol, KnittedMerry the Magnificent has kindly agreed to tell that portion of the story for us. I know you will all find this very entertaining. Errol and I certainly enjoyed it. With many thanks to KnittedMerry, here is the epilogue.
GW



Epilogue

by KnittedMerry the Magnificent

as told to Llinos



"Stop! Owww! You're hurting me!"

"Come on you dimwit!" Fred was finding it difficult to run and drag his unwilling brother at the same time. "Do you want them to get you?"

"I don't want them to get my bunny!" Titch, feeling the older boys' grip lessen, sat firmly down on the forest floor. "I want to go back and get him!"

"Well you… you can't!" Bob was red-faced and panting. "Didn't you see? There was a whole horde of them!"

"They'll roast you alive," Fred snorted, trying to grab his annoying brother's arm again. "Do you want to be roasted and all et up?"

"That girl wouldn't roast no one!" Titch sat firmly on his hands in an attempt not to be pulled to his feet. "'Twas you as was going to do the roasting – on my bunny!"

"Oh and she would!" Fred grabbed Titch by his earlobe, forcing him to his feet again or risk losing an ear. "She were a witch, that one!"

"But she was pretty!" Titch was young, but he had heard all about witches and knew what they were like. "Witches are old and ugly and fly on brooms. She didn't even have a broom."

"You ninny," Fred began pulling Titch along once more. "Witches is magick, see! They can magick themselves to look any way they want. Most likely she would make your bunny come alive and then he would have et you!"

"Wouldn't!"

"Would!"

"Wouldn't!"

"Would!"

"Wouldn't, double, double and no returns!" Titch tried to stamp his foot, but Bob and Fred were still marching him along in double quick time.

"Stupid baby!" Fred snapped. "I've a mind to leave you here and let the daft magick bunny eat you up."

All three knew this was an empty threat. Much as Fred teased and bullied his younger brother, his father's wrath would far exceed any roasting by a forest witch if he lost his sibling.

"Besides," Bob squeezed the pudgy pink hand in his. "It was all your fault really. You said we could shoot at your bunny."

"But I didn't like it!" Titch was beginning to cry. "It was horridible! And I didn't say you could set him on fire!"

"Don't be a cry baby!" Fred hated it when his brat of a brother turned on the waterworks. It usually spelled trouble for him. "And don't you tell no one what happened, about the witch and all."

They had reached the little clearing where their house stood and Fred was anxious that his parents did not blame him for his brother's tears. Of course, he was usually to blame and this occasion was no exception, but he had the broken bow to explain away and did not need any other misdemeanours to his debit.

"I won't say we saw a witch, 'cause we didn't!" Titch was adamant that the pretty girl, in spite of her stone throwing, was not of evil intent. She was merely doing what he should have done, standing up for his bunny.

"Did so too!" Fred was equally adamant. "And if you tells, you're a tell-tale tit!"

"Am not!"

"Are!"

"Not!"

Fred and Bob began to chant in the time-honoured tradition of irritating brothers and cousins everywhere.

"Tell-tale tit,

Your tongue shall split,

And all the little puppy dogs

Will have a little bit!"

Titch was equal to the taunt and chanted back.

"Same to you with knobs on!

Cabbages with clogs on

Oliphants with slippers on

And you with dirty knickers on!"

"Oh shut up you mardy baby!" Fred suddenly realised that he was really getting too big for this kind of sparring. "Just keep your trap shut and don't tell Da!"

"I won't," Titch was not about to prove them right by telling tales. "But I'm going back tomorrow and I'm going to find my bunny."

"Titch," Bob sighed in exasperation. "It's gone, forget it. You are too big for it in any case. Do you want the other lads to laugh at you?"

"They do anyway!" Titch pointed out.

Fred turned suddenly and grabbed a handful of his little brother's hair and pushed his face so close that Titch could feel his breath on his cheek. "If you dare to go back and get that bloody rabbit, I'll burn it as soon as I lay eyes on it! Geddit? Goddit? Good!"

Fred, confident now that he would be obeyed, let his brother go and turned to Bob. "Come on, let's go and see if we can nick some cider out of the press room. I'm parched."

Titch, trembling slightly from the ominous threat, felt the tears well up again as his brother and cousin took off to seek mischief he knew was barred to him. He wandered despondently into the kitchen, where his mother was busying around with the evening meal.

"What's wrong Tithemus?" His mother always used his full name. "Have you been crying?"

Titch scrubbed his sleeve across his eyes and sniffed. "No! Well a little tiny bit. Fred shot my rabbit and then some strange girl shouted at us and chased us away with stones and bunny got left behind – I think she wanted him."

"Oh your toy rabbit," She suppressed a smile. "Well you're a big lad for toys now. Your father says you can start minding the sheep on your own come Springtide. That's a very responsible job."

Titch's eyes lit up. "The sheep? On my own? Mam that's wonderful! I already know all their names and everything."

"I know love." She put her arm around his shoulder, "You're gentle with animals and that's a good thing. You'll make a fine shepherd."

"And… and perhaps…" A thought slowly coalesced as if from somewhere outside himself. "Perhaps it's a good thing that girl took bunny. She was very, very pretty and maybe she knew bunny would be safe from Fred and Bob with her."

His mother smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "I'm sure you're right my dear."

And he was – wasn't he!

The End





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