Poppyseed and Sunflower
Author: Inventunus

Chapter 7
The Hootoos

     In the morning the twins bounced out of bed ready for new adventures.  It was time to say goodbye to their dear rabbit friend and after heaps of hugs and thankyous, the three of them packed their bags and were shown out of the ambassador’s house.  Just before they left, the twins recited the words on the wall, by heart. Eze was very pleased and replied, “Well done, Poppyseed and Sunflower.  Now I know you’ll be fine.  May the King bless you in all your adventures.”  And down his hole he disappeared.

  “Well, what an interesting journey this is becoming,”  Sunflower said, as they walked back to the track.  “I wonder how Dad and Mum are, and the boys, and Gina and Georgina?”

  (Well as it happened, at that very moment, the twins’ Dad had also been wondering about the girls and had gone to the cave to see if there were any more pictures on the wall.  Indeed, there was a new one:  a white rabbit and a feast .... the girls looked happy and well - Charlie was smiling in the background.  Their Dad knew all was well and he raced back home to tell everyone the good news.)

  It was a beautiful sunny day in Southland and our three friends skipped happily along the path leading south to Table Mountain.  Further along beside the path there was a small semi-circular concrete sign:  20 Km to Table Mountain.  Then just past this was a path to the right.  “I wonder where that path goes?” said Poppyseed.  “Let’s wander down a little way and see.”  Charlie didn’t think they should since they’d told Eze they were going south but he agreed to let them go 100 metres.  That was actually far enough for them to discover another semi-circular sign which looked like it had just been laid there.  It read:  5 kms to Forest Gate.

    “Forest Gate!”  Charlie said excitedly.  “I bet that’s a gate through the Great Wall to my forest! I wonder if that’s where I heard the hammering that first evening I discovered the wall?”  Now he was very tempted to explore further, but remembering that he was in charge of the girls, he thought again and quickly they returned to the main path.  A few kilometres south they crossed a small bridge over the river they had earlier discovered, and the path then ran parallel to the river for some time before disappearing into a grove of Californian redwoods.

      “What huge magnificent red-barked trees those are,” exclaimed Charlie.  “Not much good for swinging between, but majestic all the same.”  He’d no sooner finished this remark when they heard excited voices ahead.   They stopped in their tracks and listened.  Charlie was looking about him in case they had to make a quick escape.  Just to be sure, he got the twins to hide behind a couple of redwoods off the path and to wait until he gave the word.

    Around the corner came about a dozen small creatures, chattering and laughing. Certainly nothing to be afraid of here, thought Charlie. They almost passed him by before one of the group suddenly looked up and said, “Hoot. Hoo hoo!” and all of them flashed their eyes in his direction. Not a threatening look. More a quizzical look from each one. He wouldn’t have guessed in a thousand years what was going to happen next - the creatures ran back and forth in zigzags. Then forming a line, they began jumping on each other’s shoulders forming a perfect creature-pyramid, four creatures high (4, 3, 2, 1). Ten of then in total. The acrobatic dexterity of these little fellows so surprised Charlie that his mouth hung open in astonishment. Charlie couldn’t help but clap, cheer and whistle his delight. The ten creatures all smiled beautiful smiles and did little bows which caused the pyramid to cascade down to his feet as they rolled and tumbled in joyful play.

   Charlie extended his hand to shake hands and each one in turn jumped onto his arm, did another little bow and saluted Charlie. “I think we’re friends,” thought Charlie to himself. He called out to the twins, “OK, Sunflower and Poppyseed! You can come out.”

   Cautiously the two girls emerged from the wood. Ten heads slowly turned, stared, then jumped for joy once more, running rings round the girls and somersaulting over their heads.

    “Wow!” was all Poppyseed could say. Sunflower asked Charlie, “Who are they Charlie?”

     To which he replied, “I haven’t a clue. But they’re certainly fun-loving and very fit. I can’t work out how being so short and podgy they manage to leap so high!”

    “Perhaps we should introduce ourselves,” suggested Sunflower who, without waiting for an answer, went up to the tallest of the short creatures and said, “Hello, I’m Sunflower.”

    “Hoot. Hoo Sunflower woo woo Wootoo,” he replied pointing to himself.

    “Pleased to meet you Wootoo,” said Sunflower, to Charlie and Poppyseed’s astonishment.  She then had the other nine stand in a row and introduce themselves, after which she introduced Poppyseed and Charlie. The latter thought she was doing excellent work at making conversation.

    These were the names of all ten: Wootoo, Bobo, Deedee, Frozzy, Hoohoo, Chips, Korky, Yoyo, Rusty and Mitts. Trying to remember their names (and which was which) was indeed a puzzle but at least they had plenty of time to do this because their ten new friends decided to change direction and walk with them.

                                                              

     After a couple of hours walking, Poppyseed and Sunflower reckoned they knew all about somersaulting, pyramid making and a host of other acrobatic manoeuvres. They’d also given these creatures a name - the Hootoos - because almost every time they began to talk they’d start with “Hoot,” unless there was trouble.

     They’d just made their 35th pyramid when they all came to another road intersection: the Old Gate Road it was called. Wootoo, who did most of the communicating, said “Hoot. Root bigloo wooloo. Loot  toobloo mootoo.”

      Sunflower had picked up their language pretty quickly so she understood this and translated it to the others. “I think Wootoo said it’s right here to the big wall and left to Table Mountain.”

     “Then left it is,” Charlie replied, anxious to keep going and reach the Prince Inn by nightfall. Sunflower translated this back to Wootoo. “Hoot. Loot, Wootoo.”

       Now the Hootoos love to wander here and there, and they had to be rounded up to make sure everyone turned left. Bobo and Yoyo were the worst, usually wandering farther than the rest, but at least they always stayed together.  Round the corner they all turned and then began singing a Hootoo song in rhythm with their walks and jumps. It went like this:-

                                         

    Toobloo mootoo, toobloo mootoo,

     Doosoo swoo ho cloos, roo ho toobloo toop;

     Toobloo mootoo, toobloo mootoo,

     Hiddo coovoo, frootoo troots, moot os whoot woo stoop. (Hoot hoot.)

 

     (Table mountain, table mountain,

      Dancing swing the clouds, round the table top;

      Table mountain, table mountain,

      Hidden caves, fruity treats, meet us when we stop.)

                                            

 

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