Tales of Peter the Hedgehog – Peter Meets Sleepy

Peter Meets Sleepy

Sleepy is a goldfish, and is Peter Hedgehog’s best friend. Peter won Sleepy at a fair, and it’s strange how he did it.

When the fair comes to Amersham, which is where Peter lives, the roundabouts and stalls stretch the whole length of the High Street. Peter loves the bright lights and the confusion, so he never misses it. Because he is so small – that is, small compared to people, he is really a very large hedgehog – not many people notice Peter as he walks around the fair. When he came to the big lorry with open sides that sells fish and chips, he had to go to the back door to get served.
Peter Hedgehog

“Ere Joe, there’s an ‘edgeogg `ere, oo says `e wants a bag a chips” said a young man who was peeling the potatoes. Joe, who was rather plump, and who looked as if he rubbed himself daily with frying fat, stared at Peter. “As `e got any money, that’s the thing? We don’t mind oo we serves, as long as they got money to pay” Joe said, and he sniffed and wiped his nose on the sleeve of his white overalls.

Peter wondered why Joe’s mother had never taught him to blow his nose on a handkerchief, but he gave him the money, and Joe gave him a bag of chips. It took three bags of chips, complete with salt and vinegar, to make Peter feel as if he had eaten enough.

Only then did he wander off to have a look at some other things. He went on the roundabout, going up and down on the horses, and seeing all the people’s faces whiz past. But after two goes he knew that he really had eaten too much, because he began to feel slightly dizzy and sick.

Next he became fascinated by the giant helter skelter. Being a rather slow creature, the speed with which people slid down the shute made him excited. He paid his money, dragged his mat in the door, and then wondered how on earth he was going to climb all the ladders to the top. But in the end he managed to catch hold of somebody’s mat who was passing. He clung to their mat with one hand, to his own mat with his other, and closed his eyes so tight that they hurt. In this manner he proceeded in bumps and jerks until he reached the top. There he sat down in a corner for a long time, until his heart stopped pounding. Only then did he drag his mat over to the slide, heave it up, and sit on it. But as he did so he suddenly saw how very far away the ground was. It was so far away that he couldn’t help feeling that he was falling, and he started trying to crawl back into the tower. But at that moment someone else sat down behind him with a bump, making him jump. His mat slid from underneath him, he lost his balance, became frightened, and curled up in a ball.

The people looking up, saw what looked like a big brown ball come bounding down the slide, whirling round and round, and going faster and faster. Round the big tower he went, once twice, THREE times; then he shot off the end at enormous speed, hit a pile of mats at the bottom, and bounced so high, he sailed right over to the next stall, where he crashed into the pile of tins that one throws wooden balls at. He knocked them all over the place, and by the time he had uncurled, there were such a lot of people crowding round, laughing at his antics, and shouting “Give him a prize” that the stall owner asked him what he would like.

Peter wasn’t sure at all what was going on. After such a lot of rolling and bumping, he had a definite tummy ache. So when he muttered “Oh my fish and chips,” and rubbed his tummy, the stall owner thought he was looking hungrily at the goldfish, so he gave him one. Peter is really very pleased about Sleepy. He is company about the house, and whenever he tells anybody about how he won him, it sounds almost as if he did it all on purpose.

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