Poppyseed and Sunflower
Author: Inventunus

Chapter 1
Safeland Receives Visitors

    Poppyseed and Sunflower were the best of friends. In fact they were also twin sisters aged ten. They lived in the most wonderful land you've ever dreamed of - a small taste of heaven on earth. The most beautiful flowers coloured this small paradise with their exquisite scents and superbly crafted blossoms.

     Butterflies of every size, shape and colour fluttered amongst the trees; some butterflies were dotted, some striped, some had fluorescent greens and blue tips on their wings. The two girls loved the outdoors: catching dandelions, making daisy chains, collecting rose blossoms for pot-pourris, finding frogs and shrimps and the hairiest, cuddliest caterpillars you've ever seen!

   Their home was surrounded by forest. The kind of forest that adventures are made of, yet absolutely safe for children. No wild animals, only friendly ones. No snakes, no spiders. Nothing to be frightened of. So Poppyseed and Sunflower spent many hours exploring the forest making up new games every day.

   It was the holiday summer season so the days were long and warm, and their parents didn't mind them playing outdoors from dawn till dusk.

   There were unusually fewer children in this lovely land than you might expect. In fact Poppyseed and Sunflower only knew of two other children also twins, as it happens. Peterson and Paulson both aged nine. The girls reckoned the boys had funny names and far too long so they shortened their names to Peter and Paul. The boys reckoned the girls had funny names and far too long so shortened their names to Poppy (and sometimes Pop) and Sunny.  They were all great mates.

    Their Mums and Dads were farmers and gardeners, raising animals and growing vegetables. Everything they needed they either grew or made from the forest. They were very clever and the children loved and respected their parents very much. Once a week on a Saturday night both families got together for dinner, games and a song of thanks to the King for such a wonderful life. Happiness reigned.


    It happened one day as Poppyseed and Sunflower were out in the forest that they heard a most unusual sound. A sort of chitter-chatter-chuckling noise. It was neither the sound of butterflies buffooning nor frogs frolicking; neither shrimps stammering nor caterpillars cuddling. It wasn't a fearful noise but a funny noise.

    The girls stopped still and listened, trying to work out what it was and where it was -- but whatever it was, was doing a very good job of hiding! The girls searched high and low but every time they thought they got near the source of it, suddenly it disappeared.  This exciting hide-and-seek game lasted for several hours and brought the girls through parts of the forest they had never explored before. They loved exploring new places.

     Eventually they noticed the ground start to rise.  Now I forgot to say that the land in which they lived was completely flat and covered with rich dense forest inside the ring of mountains that protected them. It wasn’t often that they ever came this far. The chuckling creature seemed to be leading them to the base of the mountains but where exactly? And why? And what was this creature? So many questions and no answers!

     Just ahead there was a little hollow in the side of the hill and now the noise seemed to be coming from inside a little cave covered with beautiful bluebells. Without fear, the girls entered. Being dark they had to wait a minute before their eyes became used to the blackness. Then they saw it. Well, a baby one of it. A baby monkey, its eyes full of smiles, chitter-chatter-chuckling!

    "How cute," said Poppyseed when she saw it was as cuddly as a caterpillar! She picked it up and gave it the warmest hug ever. It giggled all the more which made Poppyseed giggle and the more she giggled, the more the baby monkey giggled. Sunflower couldn't see what was so funny, until the monkey jumped into her arms, and she couldn't stop giggling either. What a sight they were, rolling round the floor of the cave laughing.

    It might have gone on much longer but they were stopped by a bigger monkey clapping her hands and saying, "Enough! Enough, young ones!"  And there was a bigger version of the little monkey, just as cuddly, but obviously the baby's Mum.

    "Where have you children come from?" she asked kindly. The mother monkey had a pleasant face and smiled as she spoke.

    Sunflower replied, "From the middle of the forest where we live. We heard a most     unusual sound in the trees. It sounded very much like your baby's giggle but much deeper! Was that you?"

    The mother monkey laughed and said, "Oh no, my dear, not me but my husband. Here he is now."

    And with that, in hopped an even bigger monkey but again just as cute and cuddly, with an old brown hat upon his head! "Charlie Chan the Chimp is charmed to meet such charming girls," he remarked politely. The girls looked at each other with raised eyebrows as he continued. "This is my wife Gina and our daughter Georgina or Georgie for short. We've moved from the Westlands and are looking for new friends and a new place to live. I spotted you playing and wanted you to meet us without frightening you."

   "Frightening us?" replied Poppyseed curiously. "There’s nothing frightening in our land. You will find this forest the best place in the world. By the way," she continued "my name is Poppyseed and this is my dear sister Sunflower. Would you like to come to our home tonight for dinner?"

    "Oh yes!" Gina replied quickly. "We'd love that, wouldn't we Charlie? It's been such a long time since we've eaten with friends. Do you think your parents will mind?"

    "Mind? Of course not!" said Poppyseed. And with that, off they trooped back into the forest, the girls leading the way.

    It was a long way home but the twins had an excellent sense of direction and very good memories. Once they had been on a path, they never forgot it. They could tell the north, south, east and west directions from the shadows amongst the trees and at night from the stars (glimpsed through some clearer patches of bush). Their father was a very good teacher. If there were no stars out and no shadows, he  encouraged  them to simply ask the King. They would know the answer by a nod of their head in the right direction! So it was that they returned home safely in the late afternoon.

    Racing inside, both tried to speak at once but all their mother heard was "motherchanbabycave..." which didn't make any sense to her. "One at a time girls!" she said.

     Sunflower kindly let Poppyseed tell the story, filling in the bits she forgot. Their mother listened quietly with "ooohs" and "ahhs" and giggles, especially the part about the hugs in the cave. "But where are they?" she said at the end.

     "Waiting patiently outside the door, Mother," Sunflower replied excitedly. With that, she opened the door and 3 monkeys (who had had their ears pressed flat against it) tumbled into the hallway!

     "Oh my!" said Charlie picking himself and his family up off the floor, "what cheeky, chuckling chums we are! Charmed to meet you, madam."

     Poppyseed and Sunflower just smiled at each other. They were so happy to have some new friends to play with and particularly a baby monkey.  Wait till Peter and Paul got to hear about this!

     After a delicious meal the monkeys were getting pretty tired so the girls' parents let them all sleep in the spare bunkroom where Peter and Paul sometimes spent the night. A special treat for their new monkey friends. As the twins lay in bed that evening they chatted late into the night about the monkeys. Where had they come from? Why had they left the Westlands? Where were the Westlands?! Did they have friends or family? The girls fell asleep dreaming about the lands outside their forest.


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