Tales of Peter the Hedgehog – Peter Goes To Church

Late one night Peter felt like a walk, and wandered down to the High Street to look at the shops. He had only just arrived when it began to rain. The Memorial Gardens were near, so he went into the little summer house there, as he called it, to have a think!

But it was draughty, the cars made a noise on the nearby road and he felt damp “It’s no good”, he said, “I’ll have to go home. I just can’t think deep enough here.” So he got up to go. But he suddenly remembered that the church nearby was always open, and it was warm and dry inside.

By standing on a collecting box outside, he was just tall enough to open the door. It was warmer than he expected when he went in, and he thought somebody must have been burning incense, because it was thick with smoke.

It wasn’t until he was trying to find the most comfortable seat that he saw the flames dancing up from the front pew. All his prickles stood on end, “Oh grief, it’s a frier,” he said, “I mean it’s a fire, and I might get fried.”

It was a large cassock, burning in the front pew. It was standing on a thin carpet, and by pulling this, Peter pulled the fire onto the stone floor of the aisle. Then he ran round the church looking for something to put the flames out with. He found a fire extinguisher and banged the top before he realised it was too heavy for him to carry. All the water spurted up in the air. Peter left it shooting out like a fountain, and ran to the font, where a large jug of water stood. He managed to pick it up, and went stumbling towards the fire, nearly falling on it as he poured the water on the flames. They all went out with a hiss and a cloud of steam, and Peter sat down and puffed through his efforts.

When he felt better he went to the front of the church where the bell ropes hang, and holding onto one pulled up and down until the bell started ringing. In a few minutes the vicar came running in, followed shortly afterwards by a policeman.

“What is up in here”? the vicar called through the thick smoke. “I am,” Peter said, “I’m up here. I pulled on the bell rope, and it lifted me right off the ground”. Just then the bell swung the other way, and he came down again with a bump.

Sitting on the floor he looked up at the faces of the vicar and the policeman, and said, “Well your Revellence, I came in here to have a think, and I saw them leaping up and down in the front pew”.

“Who?” the policeman said, taking out his notebook.

“The flames,” Peter continued. “They were frames – I mean I was frightened of the flames. But I overflowed them with water. Whew – it was awful, I really think I’ll have to have a sleep now.”

The policeman wrote down his name, where he lived, and how he came to find the fire, and how he put it out. The vicar meanwhile went round the church opening all the windows to let the smoke out.

The next morning, Peter had only just got up when a newspaper man called to see him. He was a young man dressed in very tight trousers, and lots of pens and pencils in his jacket. “I understand you discovered a fire in the church last night and put it out.”

Peter, after his sleep, now felt much happier about the whole thing, and said, “Well, yes. I know it was brave of me, but I didn’t care about the heat and the smoke.”

“Was it that bad then?” he asked Peter.

Peter looked at him out of the corner of his eye. “It was so bad, even I was frightened,” he said.

The reporter wrote this down in his notebook, then said, “My newspaper is particularly impressed by the way you defied the criminals who tried to burn the church.”

“The criminals?” Peter said, surprised.

“Yes, two dangerous men were seen leaving the church just about the time you went in. It was probably you who frightened them off, because they left by another door.”

Peter couldn’t go white as some humans do when they are frightened. Instead he turned a sort of dirty brown. “Suddenly I feel terribly tired again,” he said. And that was the last the reporter, or I, saw of him all day.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved