Boris went to Wallsend Library on Saturday as part of the Wallsend Festival so that some children could hear some of his story, along with stories from his friends in the Swagbag Stories Writers and Artists Group. It’s a good job he behaved himself!
Last Friday in a daring attempt to falsely claim the prize for the first mammoth of spring, a farmer attempted to pass off a one year old mammoth calf as a newborn. Considerable cruelty was involved as the calf, an unusually small female, had had her tusks shortened as well as her coat cut. however this couldn’t fool count Geffrin’s expert assessors who examined the poor mammoth’s teeth and from these ascertained that she was a yearling. Her owner, Guy Riche a wealthy farmer from the Northern Mountain village of Fatfield was arrested for fraud and the calf, christened Daffodil by the assessors removed along with her mother to a place of safety. A spokesman for Count Geffrin described the incident as totally contrary to the spirit of the competition.
The race is on to find the first mammoth of spring after Count Geffrin generously offered a prize of one hundred shillings to the community in which it is born. Despite communications with some of the higher villages still being difficult following last week’s unseasonably heavy snowfall, it is hoped that there will soon be a winner. The birth of any mammoth must be verified by the local Justice of the Peace who will make all further arrangements.
In other news three children had a lucky escape after they became lost in heavy mist near Paysal, in the Northern Mountains. They were returned to their homes by a mysterious woman on horseback whom the children described as a ‘kind lady in a thick red shawl’. Not only were they kept warm and safe overnight, but the lady gave them each a handful of silver. Their parents were reported to be overjoyed at their children’s safe return.
Should Railway to Gosk be reopened?
We can reveal that a number of wool merchants have approached Prince Hugo and the queen’s council requesting that the railway to Gosk be reopened. They stated that the railway would lower their transport costs and bring prosperity to the whole country. In and off-the-record briefing a palace official described the proposal as ludicrously dangerous. ‘What is wrong with airships?’ he said. ‘We can’t have foreigners crossing the border, who knows where that might lead!’ When asked about the potential increase in living standards for the wool merchants and mammoth farming community he said that poverty is an attitude of mind and ‘if living in a one room hovel was good enough for their ancestors, it’s good enough for them. Riches are over-rated. Sometimes I can’t sleep all night for worrying about thieves stealing my gold cutlery.’
Inhabitants of Leadhill, in the Northern Mountains, were left terrified last Thursday after a coach was attacked shortly after leaving the Grasshopper Inn. Lord and Lady Lucre were robbed of a considerable amount of jewellery as well as gold, silver and a valuable pocket watch. Their attackers were described as female and each wearing a distinctive red shawl. It was unfortunate that Lord and Lady Lucre were robbed on Thursday as they were carrying an unusually large amount of money, having just collected the rent from their estate.
Lord Lucre asked any member of the public with information as the whereabouts of the Red Shawl Gang to come forward.
It was so good to hear from you. Geffrin sounds a terrible place. Fancy having bandits coming right into the centre of town and right under the noses of the Royal Guard? I don’t think the Flaxfield Militia would let the Red Shawl Gang come here. Please be careful and stay out of trouble. I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to you.
It’s all very quiet now that you and Kitty have gone away. Kitty came home last Saturday, but she didn’t finish work until nine and then she had to walk all the way home. She doesn’t know if she’ll do it again because it was so horrible walking in the dark. One of her brothers went to fetch her, or she couldn’t have done it at all. It was midnight before she got home and she had to walk back by six in the evening on Sunday, which meant she hardly got any time at home at all. I went down to see her and she looked so tired. She said she was all right but her eyes hurt from all the fine embroidery she’s been doing on a dress for Lady Twizzle. It sounds a lot more fun bashing iron that sewing your eyes out all day. I’m glad you’re getting plenty to eat. Kitty was looking so thin that my mum gave her a whole cheese to take back with her.
Have you got to Geffrin Tusk’s training ground yet? Boris is doing very well with the football you gave him – too well at times. Yesterday he kicked it so hard it went up into the air and landed in the mixing bowl which would have been all right if it hadn’t been full of flour. The flour went everywhere: all over the floor, all over me and all over Boris. Boris shook his coat and flour flew everywhere. He thought this was hilarious and started blowing more of it about with his trunk. It was like being caught in a wild indoor snowstorm. In the end I had to bribe him with a bowl of raspberries to keep still long enough for me to clear the mess up. I only just managed before mum came back from helping dad fix that bit of wall round the bottom field that came down in the flood.
Will Mr and Mrs Nicks let you come home for the harvest? Kitty said she’s going to be sent home for two weeks to help her family.
Your affectionate friend,
I really miss you all. Geffrin is OK if you like a small town full of people who think you’re a thief just because all your clothes are a bit dusty. I can’t help my clothes getting dusty because I have to sleep near the forge, which is good because it’s warm but everything gets covered in ash from the fire. At least I get loads to eat. Mrs Nicks says I have to keep my strength up or I’ll never be a blacksmith. I spend most of my time working the bellows, but Mr Nicks has started to teach me how to bash the iron. My muscles are already getting so big I’ll have to get a new shirt or I’ll burst my sleeves!
I get Sunday afternoon off and I was hoping to go to the Geffrin Tusk’s training ground and ask for some tips on how training Boris, but nobody can get to see anyone since the kidnapping. Did you hear about the kidnapping? or rather mammothnapping? The Royal Guard were crawling all over the place for two weeks! One of them kept coming over to the forge and giving me suspicious looks. He said people from the Southern Mountains like me were practically Gosks. It’s a good job I wasn’t practising with the hammer because I might have socked him one and then where would I be?
Please write soon and tell me how everyone is and especially how Boris is getting on.
Thunder, the kidnapped mammoth was found safe and well yesterday in Rumble Bridge. He had been tied to the Steam Ferry ticket office on the quayside overnight with a note attached to his coat claiming to be from the Red Shawl Gang itself . The note stated that the Red Shawl Gang had nothing to do with Thunder’s kidnapping and that they would never harm a mammoth. They had tracked down the true perpetrators of this crime, something the Royal Guard had been unable to do, and dealt with them themselves. Surprisingly nobody in Rumble Bridge saw Thunder’s arrival or noticed a gang of red shawl wearing females ride through the village last night. Meanwhile three local men have been reported missing and three fresh mounds of soil have been spotted next to a nearby crossroads.
Sources within the Royal Guard have disclosed that a ransom note was received yesterday. It had been nailed to the barrack door and read, ‘leave twenty gold crowns in a bag by the old standing stone on Tuesday or the mammoth gets it.’ It was signed the Red Shawl Gang, although it is unusual for the Red Shawl Gang to deliver messages in this way. Our source told us it was too early to say whether the note really came from the Red Shawl Gang or was written by an imposter. If it was, the consequences for that person may be too terrible to contemplate.