Skippy’s Gift (Part Two)
Little Teddy scratched his fluffy head with the claw of a paw and looked around for someone to write down the rest of the words of Skippy’s “Quest” story. The room was empty and no one appeared.
”I guess I’m gonna have to tell you what happened instead cos there’s no one around to note my words. Being’s I’m a bear, I can’t read or write so please ‘cuse me if I ramble about in a wiggly sorta way or if I can’t find the right words to say what happened. Perhaps you’ll understand, I’m only a teddy – but I was there and I saw everyfing that happened so this is what I saw.
Well, we got back to the cabin, me and Skippy, and we sat on the floor. Skippy had the gift in his pocket and we wanted to look at it more carefully somewhere safe – like in his cabin. So there we sat, me and Skippy, and we just looked at each other in that sorta expectant sorta way, ‘cos we knew that something special was about to happen.
We choose the cabin ‘cos it was safe in there and we didn’t want to get the gift out, only to find that it flew away or scarpered off into the woods. It had been hard gettin’ it and we both wanted to make sure that it kept safe. So there we sat, me and Skippy, and we just looked at each other.
Then slowly, oh so slowly, Skippy put his hand in his pocket and pulled out the gift. Then, oh so very gently, he placed it on the floor in front of us and we both looked at it. It just sat there; the gift, with me and Skippy lookin’ at it.
It was kinda beautiful, you must admit, it glowed with a slight gentle glow and it looked so beautiful, just sittin’ there on the rug on the floor alone in the safety of the cabin.
Carefully, Skippy knelt down close and peeped inside. He turned to me and whispered that he could see something inside and I was kinda impatient to find out what it was. I poked him a bit I asked him to look and find out. Skippy explained that it was some words and he showed me them. As I said, being a bear, the words were all wiggly and muddled and kinda long too so Skippy said that he would read them to me and that is what he did. It sounded more like a poem or a riddle than a gift and Skippy told me that this was exactly what it was. These are the words that he said:
Through century, locked door, dwells inky snaked trail,
Along rugged back high, lays stocking silk veil,
Sits lonely watchman, many eyes one head,
Find your precious gift, in tangle of thread.
They didn’t make any sense to me at all. I was stumped as to where a 100-year old door was or the whereabouts of a snake on the island. The watchman wearing silk stockings simply seemed too bizarre for even a bear to understand and I couldn’t work out what Skippy’s gift was.
Skippy asked me for help in trying to understand the message but the whole thing seemed a jumble of words and all I could suggest was that we went to the Fairy Dell and find Mister Wolf. Wolves are intelligent creatures and perhaps he could give us a hint or two.
Skippy carefully picked the gift up and placed it in his pocket. Then he picked me up too and walked me right down to the fairy dell. There was a fairy there playing in the woods and so we sat down on a bench and waited for Mister Wolf to come walkin’ past, as he tended to do. So we sat and watched the fairy dance in the long grass, and sat and watched, and sat and watched.
Anyway, it wasn’t long before Mister Wolf came by. Skippy excitedly told him all that had happened and how we had found the gift and what was inside and how we needed to find the answer to the riddle, in order to claim Skippy’s gift.
Now, here is the weird thing. I explained that wolves were intelligent creatures but I never realized how intelligent they were until that moment. I mean, I had heard it in stories and I had heard my boy read books – but it wasn’t until that moment that I finally understood how very intelligent wolves can be. The reason was, he never told us what the gift was – he simply asked questions. Bit-by-bit Skippy answered the questions and ended up telling Mister Wolf exactly what he had waited for Mister Wolf to tell him. That’s really weird – really weird indeed. It was like Mister Wolf knew the answer all the time and simply led Skippy and me to discover it for ourselves -without actually sayin’ so. Mister Wolf just simply led us to the answer, without disclosin’ what that answer was. That’s why I say again, wolves are really intelligent.
Anyway, Skippy ended up tellin’ Mister Wolf that the century clue didn’t refer to the age of the door – it referred to the number one hundred, that was connected to the door. The snake was a metaphor for the path (whatever a meta-four is) and the path was inky black because the door was locked closed and the path led deep underground.
Skippy told Mister Wolf that there was a silky draped web hangin’ from the roof of the path, hidden in some rugged nook, and in this sat a solitary creature that had lots of eyes. Skippy explained that a spider had eight eyes and it was the only creature that he could think of that would sit absolutely still in a web of silk and so that was where he would find his gift.
Everything made perfect sense then. Obviously, the gift we were searchin’ for had become stuck on the sticky threads of the web and it was being safely guarded by a spider until the time when Skippy could claim it.
I know I do tend to hark on a bit – but I just wanted to end by saying how wise wolves are. Mister Wolf told us one thing before we thanked him and left him and the fairy and it was so important, I think I ought to say it separately.
“Sometimes, it’s not the destination that is important – it’s the journey that you take to get there.”
I didn’t quite understand what he meant by that when he said it but later, at the end of the quest, I did. I’ll leave it to you to ponder on as I continue.
So, after we had said our farewells to the fairy and Mister Wolf, Skippy carried me to the short way to the cavern. Strangely, it was only a few steps away from the fairy dell – it’s weird how things just fall into place when you want them to. It’s like the whole universe conspires to make things happen, ehh?
Luckily, in my rucksack, I had a pair of underground helmets. You might wonder how on earth I had them there but weird things occur in the world of fantasy and sometimes it pays not to ask questions but simply “go with the flow.” Anyway, me and Skippy went with the flow and took our helmets and walked to the locked door of the cavern, torches in hand.
Skippy fumbled around for a key and found that he could buy one for one hundred pounds – that kinda linked in with the riddle too! Soon we were off down the tunnel and it didn’t take long to find the spider’s web because the riddle explained exactly where it would be.
We spotted a glowing orb in the web, guarded by a spider and so Skippy lifted me up and jumped slightly so that I could reach up and pick the orb out of the web. It wasn’t that hard really and, with one snatch, I had it in my paw. I carefully passed the orb to Skippy – after all, it was his.
We decided to continue to walk to the end of the tunnel to look inside the orb and discover the secret gift there, in the clearin’, and so we did. It was only a few more steps to the end so it only took a few seconds. When we got there, Skippy gently lowered me to the ground and we both sat down on the stoney floor. Skippy, careful peeped inside the orb.
Do you remember the parting words of Mister Wolf, about the journey being more important that the destination, ehh? Well, we found out what Skippy’s gift was – it all finally made sense. I could tell you that Skippy’s gift was that he is a “Weaver” and tell you what that means but I won’t. It’s not as important as the journey itself and how we got to that point. It all made sense to me at that moment – of course, yes, Skippy is a Weaver. After all, he can take the finest spider silk and make the most incredible ropes and ties with it. I think I knew that all the time. I think he did too. The important thing was that we had completed the quest together and had an amazin’ journey. We had met some amazin’ people and shared some memorable moments and that’s what counted.
Yeah, Skippy is a Weaver but I guessed, like us, you knew that all the time too.”
If you enjoyed reading this, take a look at Skippy’s two versions of these stories here: