Maxwell Grantly

Magical stories from an independent author

Archive for the tag “Johan”

The Pirate Adventure

One June Sunday afternoon, Johan handed Little Teddy a pirate’s hat and took him by the hand, into the back garden.

“What’s happening?” enquired Teddy with an inquisitive tone.

“We’re going to play pirates,” replied Johan, as they stepped towards an old cardboard box lying on the lawn. “And we might be gone a very long time.

“When we will get back?” asked the little bear with an intrepid glance back towards his boy.

“Weeks and weeks,” Johan answered with a mischievous smile, “We won’t be home until teatime at least!”

The little bear stepped into the cardboard box and Johan followed in behind.

“Raise the main sail,” called out Johan, “and steady as she goes.”

The sails billowed in the sailed and tugged away at the small ship, as they sailed out across the ocean. Soon their homeport was no more than a small speck on the horizon behind them and the expanse of the ocean lay before them.

As they journeyed away, Little Teddy pointed to the two barrels on the main deck and his curiosity began to get the better of him.

Teddy and Johan Guard the Honey Barrels

“What’s inside these?” he asked Johan, pointing to the two sturdy containers lashed together on the exposed deck of the vessel.

“That’s our valuable consignment of the finest honeys, stolen from the King’s ships off the Caribbean Isles,” replied Johan proudly.

The small bear looked up with awe and wonder at his faithful companion. Johan certainly knew how to treat his little teddy well and he was obviously a loyal and faithful friend.

A single spot of rain landed softly upon Johan’s face.

“We’re in for a heavy storm,” the boy called out and he began to lash the honey barrels securely with think binding hemp ropes, as the ship began to heave and roll in the mighty surf. “Did you see that flash of lightning?” he yelled to his teddy through the imaginary gales of tormenting winds. “Fasten down the main hatch!”

Another single spot of rain fell onto the bear’s nose and Little Teddy felt its gentle caress as it rolled down to his nostril. He licked it off with a single swipe of his tongue.

A Storm at Sea

“Aye Aye Master!” replied the bear and he attended to his chore dutifully anticipating a dreadful gale to strike the vulnerable ship as she heaved in the mighty waves.

Mrs. Jones from next door dashed out into her garden with an empty laundry basket, towards her linen blowing gently in the breeze.

“It looks like rain!” she called out over the fence, as she hastened to collect her drying clothes before the rain set in.

Johan screamed at the neighbour with feigned surprise, “A sea monster! A sea monster! It’s after our valuable cargo.”

He pointed to a mass of seething tentacles erupting from the surface of the waves. Slowly and methodically, each tentacle began to entrap the tiny vessel and began to pull at the delicate structure. Little Teddy began to panic as the ship began to heave under the strain.

The Monster Attacks

“What shall we do?” he squealed with a terrified wail.

“We must save the honey,” called out Johan and he began to lash through the air with a wooden sword at the entanglement of tentacles as they seethed and pulled at the small ship. The small bear pulled his small wooden sword from his sheath and began to swing and wave his sword in the air too but the two of them were no match against the massive monster of the deep.

Monster Attacks!

“Perhaps we could sacrifice one of the barrels in order to divert the monster,” suggested the little bear.  “There are two of us and two barrels. Let’s release your barrel into the sea as a diversion and then make good our escape.”

Release the Honey!

Johan gave a knowing wink and shouted his agreement above the sound of the imaginary  gale. Soon the two of them had unlashed one mighty barrel and rolled it to the edge of the ship. With one enormous heave, they barged it over the edge of the vessel and it fell gently, almost too gently, like a champagne cork onto the surface of the frothing waves. The sea monster’s tentacles loosened their grip on the ship and coiled around the bopping container as it sunk beneath the waves, clutching its prized honey-barreled treasure.

The Monster Retires

Mrs. Jones collected the last few items of clothing from her washing line and dashed back inside her house as the spots of rain began to hasten.

“The monster’s retreating!” they cried out together, “The plan has worked!”

The two companions stood on the deck and surveyed the remaining barrel, labeled “Johan’s Honey” lashed safely on board.

“Which barrel did we push overboard? quizzed Johan to his bear, as the realization of their dreadful error began to sink in.

“Its of no importance,” blushed the little bear, “You might have known that two barrels of honey was too great a temptation for a little bear like me, on such a long voyage like this.”

He tapped the side of the remaining barrel with the hilt of his wooden sword and a hollow boom echoed out from its depths. Johan looked at his playmate with a loving glance and he could hold no grudge for his teddy’s honey fetish. He should have realized that the small bear could not avoid the temptation of the honey treasures on such a long voyage.

“We had better make our escape before the sea monster returns,” exclaimed Johan and he reset the main sail.

The wind billowed in the canvas sheets and tugged the small vessel assuredly out across the ocean, away from the monsters lair.

The Escape

“Our pirate adventure was incredible!” Johan whispered to his faithful toy companion.

“And so was the honey!” the teddy replied, with a wink, to Johan.

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Johan’s Fathers’ Day

The first early morning sunrays nudged their way through the folding drapes of a badly drawn pair of curtains and teased their way onto the yawning face of Little Teddy, who laid asleep on his astro-bunny bed. He knew that Sunday was a special day, for Johan had been reminding him all week but he simply couldn’t recall what was so special about this Sunday: after all, the early morning sun was making his eyes squint in exactly the same way as it did yesterday.

Teddy wakens

He leant over to the calendar that Johan kindly placed by his bedside, to help him make sense of the passing days. The exposed sheet of the calendar showed a black stroke and a black tadpole sitting side-by-side and Teddy remembered to rip this carefully off, in the way that Johan showed him, to expose a fresh sheet with other black lines on – this would be sure to assist him to understand that a whole day had passed and that another day of new adventures was awaiting him.

Teddy tugged at the upper sheet and carefully pulled it away from the calendar to expose a fresh sheet with a black line and a bent black line together. He spotted a small coloured picture of Daddy drawn in the lower corner of the sheet and a distant memory jogged his head and gently eased its way into his consciousness.

“It’s Daddy Day!” yelped Little Teddy, with a gasp of excitement, “I remember now – it’s Daddy Day!”

With a quick cry he leapt out of bed and down into the hall, where Johan was already dressed with his outdoor shoes and woollen hat.

“Shh!” whispered Johan, raising his index finger to his lips, “Be very quiet or you’ll wake Daddy. We’ve got an adventure to tackle before daddy wakes up.”

With that, Johan took his little bears hand and lovingly led him towards the front door and out into the garden. Step-by-step, they made their way to the very edge of Little Teddy’s world, the Garden Gate, and beyond that into new and exciting territories, the Wooded Dell.

“What are we coming here for?” enquired the little bear, his face aglow with excitement and the nervous apprehension that comes from leaving the sanctuary of the back garden. Johan bent down to Teddy’s face and pointed to the ground blanketed with fallen acorns, like spilt jewels from an upturned pirate’s chest.

“It’s Fathers’ Day,” he replied with a contented smile, “and today we need to make Daddy a special present.”

He bent down and carefully inspected a fallen acorn. He raised it to the air and allowed the morning sunshine to sparkle across its glossy crown and exaggerate the intrinsic beauty of such an ordinary mundane object.

“We need to find a perfect acorn,” Johan explained to his little bear, “One that is special, unique and perfect.”

With that, he tossed the acorn to the ground and picked up another, and another, and another. With each acorn, Johan inspected it fully and methodically from every angle. He held it up to the dappled light, which eased its way through the oak foliage, and allowed the sun to caress the chestnut-coloured exterior. Each time, there was some flaw: a subtle mark, an indistinct blemish and incorrect shading. Each time he would toss the acorn to the ground and move onto the next. Little Teddy looked in wonder at his boy and copied his movements, his gestures and his actions. He was determined to assist his boy complete the quest for the perfect acorn, even though he didn’t know exactly what the perfect acorn was.

Collecting Acorns

After an hour of searching Johan found what he was looking for. There was a beautifully formed acorn that lay symmetrically in its crusted case, with the slightest hint of a flawless twig branching out from beneath. The dappled sunlight sneaked its way through the dense oak foliage and danced upon its surface, like a thousand fairy wishes, and the reflection of an innocent boy’s face was captured in its glossy smooth exterior. Johan bent down to his teddy and showed him the beautiful acorn that he had discovered and Little Teddy just looked in awe – it truly was the perfect special acorn for a special father on a special day.

Little Teddy glanced down to the ground where there was a grubby broken acorn half-poked into the softened mud of the ground. He bent down and prised a single claw of his paw into the soft mud and picked it up. The acorn had a deep scratch grooved into its shell and the twig strutted out from the case awkwardly at an obtuse angle. Little Teddy passed it to Johan.

“I think I’ve found the perfect acorn too,” he said expectantly, his eyes glowing and his face beaming. “Wouldn’t Daddy love another acorn too?”

Johan smiled down at his beloved cherished bear in only the way that a small boy could. He took the acorn and wiped a smear of dirt off its shell and held it to the light too. The sunlight bounced abruptly off the discoloured shell and the acorn seemed to groan discordantly within the fingers of the small boy.

“Why, it’s perfect!” exclaimed Johan, “Simply perfect! You are such a wonderful little teddy. Daddy will be so pleased to have both of these.”

Johan smiled down at the expectant face of his teddy and placed the grubby acorn alongside his own, within his pocket. Then he picked the little bear up and hugged him tightly.

“You’re such a special little teddy and I do love you so,” Johan whispered into the ear of his toy and, with that, he carried him back to his home: for it had been a very long walk and the poor little bear was so very tired.

Little Teddy Gets Tired

On arriving home, Johan threaded the two acorns onto a shoelace and presented them to his father, who was working in the garden shed. His father laid down his working tools, took the acorn necklace delicately into his hands and placed it around his neck. He didn’t notice how one acorn was mangled and discoloured. He didn’t understand how his little boy has spent many many valuable hours of treasured playtime making him such a special gift. He just knew that he loved his son beyond what words could describe and that he treasured the gesture that his adored boy had performed.

Daddy Wears the Acorn Necklace

“Thank you Johan – I love do you so,” said Daddy as he took the boy into his arms and hugged him closely.

Little Teddy remained quiet, hanging limply from Johan’s hand. If you had looked closely, as Daddy hugged his son, you might have seen a wink from the teddy bear too for the bear was sure that his acorn was the best.

Little Teddy Meets Johan

There are some things that are better in pairs than alone. What is the attraction of fresh toast with no butter, an autumn conker with no shoelace or … consider this … a teddy bear with no master?

Little Teddy felt alone and incomplete with no master to look after him and play with him. In addition, there is the natural obligation for a teddy to offer complete love and loyalty to a human child and, without one, any teddy’s life lacks lustre and is of no value or no reason. With the departure of Kelii, due to the onset of adulthood, Little Teddy began to look around for a new master – someone who would care for him and love him without condition and someone to whom Teddy could return the innocent trust and affection that is only understood in the world of teddies.

It was on one December afternoon that Little Teddy first met a new friend. Teddy was sitting on the fishing quay at Nemo beach relaxing in the hazy sunshine as he overheard a shuffling coming from behind, from the insides of the Escapades Store. He craned his neck upwards and caught the glimpse of a small boy looking through the T-Shirts one at a time, pondering on which one to purchase.

“Red is best!” suggested Little Teddy helpfully, as he giggled playfully at his own bravery in daring to talk to a complete stranger.

The small boy turned around and his eyes sparkled in the afternoon sun as he looked out, towards the quay. With a fleeting glimpse, Little Teddy caught sight of the boy’s soul through the glassy facades of the boy’s first glance and he knew at once that he was looking into the face of someone he could trust.

“Red? And what would you know?” replied the boy playfully, looking down on the face of the teddy that peered up over the boardwalks of the quay from below.

Little Teddy took his cue effectively and immediately delivered a lecture on the quirks of boyhood fashion, drawn from the many years of his own past with his old master. He recalled how Kelii would dress him in an array of multiple hats or how Kelii would share his birthday and Christmas wish lists with him. Teddy recounted fancy dress parades in the garden and Saturday afternoons shopping with Kelii and his mummy. Immediately the air was buzzing with conversation and playful laughter as the two strangers giggled and bantered and they, at once, felt at ease in the company of the other.

And so, one event led to another and the seeds of friendship were sown from that moment on. Day by day, the little boy returned to the fishing quay, hoping to see the courageous little bear that had dared to speak to a stranger, and the little bear returned, hoping to discover more about the youthful innocent play friend that he had found in the store.

Little Teddy discovered that the boy was named “Johan” and that Johan was a monster. Johan discovered that Teddy kept bees and that Teddy loved the taste of honey. Teddy discovered that Johan loved spaceships and that he was excellent at climbing trees. Johan discovered that Teddy’s favourite colour was red and that he had a compulsion of pressing buttons. Little-by-little the two characters began to find out more and more about the other and little-by-little the two became inseparable.

It was, in fact, a full months before Johan discovered the most important thing about Little Teddy and that, strangely, it was something that the little bear knew nothing about, nothing about until the April that followed that first meeting. Tucked safely away in a box inside Teddy’s home was a small piece of paper, carefully placed there by Kelii so many years before. Teddy had found it neatly folded and safely stashed in Teddy’s treasure trove; a box full of amazing trinkets and useless junk that only a teddy would find of value.  As teddy had sorted through his conch shell, his peacock’s feather, his pirate’s coin, his porcupine quiver, he had noticed a small rectangular folded paper sheet that he hadn’t noticed before. He inquisitively handed the paper to Johan who began to unfold the note and read the words aloud with a sense of bewilderment.

Johan recounted the words one by one, pausing at each one, trying to make sense of the seemingly random sequence of abstract terms, “Cirrus. Socrates. Particle. Decibel. Hurricane. Dolphin. Tulip.”

Little did he know at that time that, what he had just uttered was the start of the imprinting protocol for Little Teddy. Instinctively (and without any logic other than the subconscious law that governs our own fates and very being) he added his own name into the last three words, “Johan, Teddy, Johan”

“It’s just some weird poem, Teddy,” explained Johan with confussion, “It doesn’t even make sense!”

Little Teddy didn’t care whether the poem made sense, whether it rhymed or not – he didn’t even care that he didn’t care. However, he did know that the most amazing and wonderful little boy stood before him and that he cared intrinsically that this boy should be totally happy.

“Let’s catch fireflies,” suggested Teddy, as he pointed to the tall grass that lay before the two of them, beckoning them forwards with its undulating green waving fingers that danced with the gentle breeze. “It’s a perfect day for fireflies!”Image

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