No hamster should reveal to a human the secret life they carry on in the night but somethings are worth risking everything for.
By Jules de Jongh
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Nanny Bea: Why I’m Nanny Bea! And you arrived in the nick of time. I was just cutting the cake for my monster truck. 5 years of faithful service! Happy Birthday MJ 1 359.
(I will be eating his slice of course. The last time I put cake in his fuel tank it did not end well.)
In honour of his special day I have snuck a double whammy of a wonderword into today’s story. ‘Cue jingle.’ [wonderword jingle] That’s more like it. Today’s wonderword is [drumroll] topsy turvy. Topsy turvy is when everything is upside down. Just like the time MJ and I were playing hockey on the side of a hill. We went for a goal and rolled topsy turvy into a nearby hedge. To this day I’m still plucking brambles from his undercarriage. [knock knock knock].
Nanny Bea: Oh, who could that be?
Jules: Hi Nanny Bea, It’s Jules.
Nanny Bea: The one with the story?
Jules: Definitely the one with the story.
Nanny Bea: Well in that case come, come right in. I was just sharing with our listening friends some of my adventures with MJ.
Jules: I’ll have to get over to nannybea.com and hear what I missed. But first…I’ve brought a tale from my library and some Camomile tea from my cupboard.
Nanny Bea: Camel bile did you say?
Jules: Some might say it tastes like that but no, no it’s camomile, it’s supposed to be very soothing.
Nanny Bea: Well I’m always game to try something new, it makes life so much more exciting! I’ll go pop the kettle on, while you just tell our listening friends about your story.
Jules: Today you’ll hear the tale of a hamster who weaves dreams. He loves his job but is willing to risk it all for one he loves even more. Are you ready for a story…
Nanny Bea: Yes please!!!
Jules: Okay then, Dream Weaver adapted for radio
Have you ever wondered what hamsters do at night? Their days and nights are upside down, topsy turvy, vice versa. Have you ever thought that maybe while we are tucked up in bed, they are busy living a life beyond your wildest dreams? If you ask Poppy Mc Farland, a little human with a big imagination, she could tell you and it all started while she was dreaming late one September night.
The Mc Farland household has just moved again. The third time in three years. Packing and unpacking, friending and unfriending. You’d think it’d get easier with all that practice but actually it keeps getting harder. Well for everyone except for Twinkle Mc Farland, the hamster of the household. You see Hamster society values efficiency. Their taxis are on time, their builders know what they’re doing and their spaghetti comes in tidy little nests you can pick up with a spoon. They think of everything and everything runs smoothly. Two weeks into the new home and the hamster neighbours have already welcomed Twinkle with casseroles. ‘Welcome twinkle what a lovely cage you have.’ ‘ So good to meet you. ‘ ‘You must come play some racquet ball at my club we could use a hamster like you.’ ‘ That’s just what hamsters do.
The workload has been redistributed so Twinkle has a collection of 10 new clients, just enough to pull his weight, not so much he’d be overwhelmed. Hamsters value efficiency. That’s just what hamsters do. Twinkle weaves tapestries of dreams for the other hamsters in his region. He comes from a long line of dream weavers . In every generation of their family tree as far back as they’ve been able to trace. He even had a dna test that revealed his pure dream weaver heritage. That is almost unheard of, well maybe that is why his talent was so different from other hamster weavers.
Take Finneas Figglebert for example, you could not find a more different weaver. His family tree was full of traffic wardens and accountants. He wove dreams in 5 shades of beige as that was the most economical thread ‘mmm what an efficient selection of colours ‘ he’d boast. As for His story lines he’d take the top 3 events of each hamster’s day and stitch them in consecutive order. ‘Why use 4 when 3 will do?’ Finneas would boast. And then there was his distribution method, he’d drop the weave out of the taxi without even stopping. Yes some would land cockeyed, topsy turvey and not be fully absorbed by their intended dreamer but as Finneas would say, ‘The more i do the more i can do.’ How true was that, before you knew it, he was managing the entire state and reporting directly to Governor Jackson.
Now Twinkle Mc Farland did things differently. And he had several warnings from Finneas Figglebert to prove it. He was written up for spending too much on thread. Twinkle used every colour in both the hamster and human rainbows. Twinkle said, ‘There are no limits in your dreams.’ Finneas complained that twinkle included too many stories. Twinkle replied, ‘Imaginations grow when you stretch them.’ Then there was the amount of time twinkle spent with each of his 10 dreamers, carefully tucking the woven tapestry of dreams onto each hamster’s chest and staying until they were fully absorbed into their hearts. Finneas was fed up, give him just one more reason and Twinkle would never weave again.
But you know sometimes there are some things worth risking everything for. And the thing that started that thing, happened one night when Twinkle got home a little earlier than usual.
As he tucked himself into his bed, he heard a kind of whimper coming from his human. He tried to ignore it but Poppy was the kindest human ever so loyal and always happy to see him. Twinkle really did try to ignore it but he couldn’t, it sounded like she was crying. When someone needs help how can you turn away, especially when this someone is the Poppy you love and adore. Nope, he had to take action. He opened his cage, shimmied down the dresser, across the floor, up the bed all the way to Poppy’s pillow, where he stroked her head gently not leaving her side until her crying stopped.
The next day after school Poppy was so eager to play that Twinkle woke from his deep sleep. He tried to find clues from Poppy as he couldn’t just download event’s of her day like he did for the hamsters. Twinkle started to piece together the mystery of her crying dream. First clue – she wasn’t just excited to come home each day, she seemed relieved as if school wasn’t much fun for her. Then there was clue number 2- Twinkle had so many new friends since they moved he could hardly remember all their names but Poppy hadn’t had one visitor, not a playdate or a party. ‘Being human can be so hard. Making friends seems like a game with no instructions.’ As twinkle thought that thought another thought plonked into his head, ‘I can weave instructions for making friends!’
Now this is the thing that risked everything. It clearly states in the hamster’s how to handle a human handbook, that the night time world of the hamster must never interfere with the daytime world of the humans. That means no hamster should reveal to a human the secret life they carry on in the night, no hamster discos, no hamster parades…and I quote, ‘under no circumstances may a hamster weave a dream for a human.’ It said those words exactly so there was no confusion. Twinkle knew that he was crossing a line no hamster should ever cross. This would break all the rules, rules that hadn’t even been written yet and if Finneas Figglebert found out, Twinkle would be banned from weaving, forever.
But this is Poppy. So with not another thought how this would affect him, Twinkle started on his mission to help Poppy find a friend. As you know the hamster society is very efficient, even when it comes to making friends. To weave a dream about that would be easy peasy but how humans make friends would take some serious study. So that’s just what he did. When the family was fast asleep, Twinkle opened up his cage, shimmied down the dresser and across the floor not stopping until he reached the study, with the desk, with the laptop, with the web. Twinkle loved playing Dance, Dance Revolution on the keyboard. But not tonight, tonight he’s on a mission. So he yoohooed and he oogled, he yeehawed and he spoogled; How people make friends [typing sound under]. The results baffled him. ‘No, that can’t be true,’ he said of the first results so he searched again. [typing sound under] ‘This is crazy, humans show all their teeth as a sign of friendship, they call it a smile, hamsters call that an act of war!’ Not wanting to risk weaving bad information for Poppy he searched over and over again [typing sound under], only to find that if humans want to make friends, a smile is a good place to start. It’s waving the flag of friendship. With this information in hand, back to his dream weaving loom he ran. ‘Somehow,’ thought Twinkle, ‘I have to weave a smile into Poppy’s heart, they say you’re never fully dressed without one.’ So he grabbed the most spectacular thread and got to weaving. Oh he warped and he wefted through the heddles, peddling his treadle as fast as he could. ‘I wonder if she’ll appreciate the topsy turvy tap dancing sequence?’ said Twinkle hoping with all his heart she would. Of course he had his usual 10 clients as well, all of them in need of dream tapestries. Then he had to deliver them but was running out of time. He got to Poppy in her very last dream cycle, ’11 dreams woven and delivered.’
Twinkle was zonked out when Poppy went off to school, he had no idea if the dream would work. And we wasn’t going to risk it so the very next night, he started another smiling tapestry. ‘I think I’ll include a rap, something like.. You gotta smile all the while you gotta use your teeth the ones underneath…your lips. Yeah maybe I should stick to my strengths. I’m more a musical theatre kinda guy.’ Back to his loom he warped and he wefted, through the heddles, peddling his treadle until all 11 tapestries were complete. But with that extra special one for Poppy drop off’s became sloppy. What if word got back to Finneas Figglebert and then huh, ‘I just can’t think about that,’ he told himself.
The next day Poppy returned from school but this time she wasn’t alone. A little girl with a smile was with her, Willow Witherspoon. Twinkle was thrilled, ‘The smile thing works, showing all your teeth does bring you human friends.’ ‘We better have just one more smile dream to make sure it sticks.’ Little did Twinkle know that it was that one more dream that convinced Finneas Figglebert to take Twinkles weaving loom away. And it wasn’t that any hamster clients complained. Even with the topsy turvey deliveries, Twinkles dreams were inspiring. He was a master craftsman. No, Finneas Figglebert did not receive any complaints about Twinkle. What he did receive was a bill for enough thread to weave 11 dreams. Twinkle carried on completely oblivious to the fate ahead of him. Back to his loom he warped and he wefted, through the heddles, peddling his treadle until all 11 tapestries were complete but before he could deliver them Finneas Figglebert arrived in his cage with a heavy hamster by each side. ‘I have reason to believe that you Twinkle McFarland have been weaving more than your 10 dreams, let me see your weave log immediately.’ Now the weave log is created automatically, and includes every dream a weaver weaves. Finneas read the log and when he got to the final entry he spouted, ‘What is this!’ There was no hiding it, right there as plain as day the log’s last entry, smile dream for Poppy McFarland. ‘You’ve gone too far this time Twinkle, no amount of creative talent can justify your actions. It clearly states in the hamster’s how to handle a human handbook, that and I quote, “under no circumstances may a hamster weave a dream for a human”.’ ‘You, Twinkle McFarland are officially banned from all manner of weaving, dream or otherwise effective immediately in perpetuity etcetera and so forth!’ With that the two heavy hamsters grabbed Twinkles loom and marched it out of his cage. Normally this would devastate Twinkle but even though it was one of the most painful things he’d ever experienced, it wasn’t as bad as hearing Poppy cry so he just sat there and said nothing. Finneas Figglebert spouted, ‘Did you hear me, I said you are banned from weaving!’ Twinkle replied,’ Yes sir, I understand.’ ‘Your new job will be assigned to you tomorrow, in the most efficient way.’ Finneas Figglebert left and sent a detailed report including the elaborate tap dancing sequences and all the colours of the rainbow directly to Governor Jackson. Twinkle spent the rest of the night going through his weave log remembering all the beautiful dream tapestries he’d woven in the past.
The next day, Poppy didn’t come home from school directly, instead she went to Willow’s house to play. The Witherspoon hamster was so excited. His Willow was a quiet girl but ever so kind and faithful. She found it hard to make friends but now she had Poppy. They both loved colouring so Willow got out all her best pens and crayons. Before they knew it Willow’s mother came in to tell them the play day was done but first she couldn’t help but comment,’ Poppy that is the most spectacular picture, are those tap dancers on the ceiling?’ ‘Yes,’ said Poppy, ‘and all the colours of the rainbow like in my dreams.’ ‘Topsy Turvy Tap dancers, all the colours of the rainbow! Why that’s the dream in the report Finneas Figglebert sent,’ said the Witherspoon hamster, Governor Jackson Witherspoon.
As soon as the day was done governor Jackson summoned both Finneas Figglebert and Twinkle McFarland. Twinkle had already been reassigned to a new job, as a squeaky wheel tester so he jumped off at once, waited for his head to stop spinning and went to the Witherspoon household ‘Gentlemen, please do sit down,’ said the Governor. ‘In hamster society efficiency is highly valued but our first priority is and always has been to bring joy to our humans with that in mind I have amended our how to handle human’s handbook. From this day forward, hamsters will be not only encouraged but rewarded when they take extreme measures to bring joy to their humans.’
Finneas did not like where this was going. ‘Twinkle McFarland, in response to your creative intervention, risking your own future, to bring joy to your human, I award you the highest honour of the Hamster Guard, the purple tail.’ Twinkle did like where this was going. Not only did he get awarded a purple tail, they also returned his loom and if you look really closely you can see a plaque to Twinkle McFarland, hamster and human dream weaver.
The end [book close]
Nanny Bea: Thank you Jules for that dreamy story. I wonder if there are any other hamster and human dream weavers out there? Please say you will come back again with more Tales and Tea?
Jules: I’ll be back next week.
Thomas: go to www.nannybea.com
Jules: Go there to find out more including how to be on the show.
[Be on the Show jingle]
Announcer man: This has been a Toad in the Hole production for NannyBea.com