A BITTER THORN

20 Jun

Trixie Pixielot was dancing.

There was nothing she liked doing better than dancing, and she told herself that if she always danced like she did she would never grow old and die. Trixie Pixielot didn’t want to die. Who does?

Then, one day, she trod on a sharp thorn that someone had left sticking out of the forest floor and it penetrated all the way through her foot, and she stopped dancing. There can be few things more painful than sharp thorns penetrating all the way through feet … at least, that’s what Trixie-Pixielot decided as tears flowed down her pretty pink cheeks and splashed onto the ground until they made a great big salty puddle.

“With all this pain” she whimpered to herself, “I can’t dance at all. I can’t waltz or foxtrot or even jive. My foot hurts so terribly badly.”

“What might be the problem, Trixie Pixielot?” asked a sudden and unexpected voice from a thicket behind an old oak tree. “For you’re not dancing and it doesn’t look like you when your feet are still and your smile is gone.”

“It’s s thorn, Hoggy-hog” she moaned, recognising the voice, “a long and vicious thorn that someone has left sticking out of the forest floor, and it has penetrated all the way through my poor little foot, and I’ll never dance again!”

Hoggy-hog stepped out from his thicket. He looked so much like a muddy pig that there could be no doubt that’s what he was, a muddy, dirty, smelly, perfectly unhygienic, pig with a really kindly face.

“Let me see,” he commanded, and she did.

She slipped off her pink and pearl dancing slipper and showed her wounded foot to Hoggy-hog, and in all honesty it looked dreadful. Even he thought it looked dreadful, and he went pale. It was inflamed like a fiery furnace and blood dribbled everywhere exactly like blood can when there’s a hole in a foot. When Trixie-Pixielot saw the mess that had been a perfectly good dancing foot as recently as mere minutes ago she wept even harder and gnashed her pretty teeth and banged her blonde head on the trunk of the old oak tree until she had an absolutely unpleasant headache.

“Is that all?” asked Hoggy-hog.

“Isn’t it enough?” wept Trixie-Pixielot. “Just look at my poorly foot, Hoggy-hog and you’ll see that I’ll never dance again, and if I can’t dance I might as well die here and now, just here!”

“I wouldn’t do that,” advised Hoggy-hog with a nervous smile, “it’s against the law, dying on this path in this perfect piece of woodland! If I were you, Trixie-Pixielot, if I was intent on dying I’d do it at home. There are all sorts of ways you can do it at home, though my favourite, if it’s any help, would be a good sharp blade in the gizzards. That would work, that would. It would make you deader than a very dead thing, and we’d all turn out to mourn you and your poorly foot…”

“But it might hurt!” interrupted Trixie-Pixielot, “It might hurt very badly indeed, and I’ve already got enough hurt in my wounded foot to last me a century or more!”

“Then there are toxins,” nodded Hoggy-hog, “though they’d do the job good and proper, stuff like chemicals and arsenic and deadly nightshade. You’d end up so dead someone would have to bury you before nightfall, or the smell would get to be unbearable. But be warned. If you used some of the more potent toxins, arsenic, say, and then when you were dead a kindly old hungry grandmother got it into her head that a nice slice of roast Trixie-Pixielot would go down a treat, and sliced a steak off your sweet little dancing bottom, and roasted it over an open fire, she might find herself with tummy gripes before dawn, and that would be far from nice..”

“And I wouldn’t like dying in the knowledge that my death would spread to kindly old hungry grandmothers” sniffed Trixie-Pixielot. “I’d hate one of them to get tummy gripes just because of silly old little old dancing me.”

“Or die,” put in Hoggy-hog, “the grandmorher could die eating a delicious slice of roasted Trixie-Pixielot, and find herself dropping dead from cooked toxins.”

“Then I must shoot myself,” decided Trixie-Pixielot, “I must get myself a nice little handgun and blow my brains out for good and for all.”

“Guns are out,” sighed Hoggy-hog, shaking his head, “they’re against the law, and there’s nothing we can do about that. We must obey the law. No, as I see it, and as you know I see things very well, you only have one option besides never dancing again.”

“I have an option?” whooped Trixie, “You mean there’s something I can do for my bloody, disgusting foot and its horrible thorn?”

“Hospital,” murmured Hoggy-hog, “you must go to hospital and a nice doctor and his very desirable nurses will mend your foot as good as new, and you’ll be dancing sooner than soon. But you must hurry!”

“I must?” queried Trixie Pixielot.

“You most certainly must!” declared the muddy pig, “for I did hear they’re closing the hospital very soon and only millionaires will get their wounded feet mended there. That’s what they’re doing because ordinary forest folk like us don’t matter any more, and I don’t think you’re a millionaire, are you?”

Trixie-Pixielot shook her pretty head and her golden curls danced.

“That I’m not, Hoggy-hog,” she whispered. “I’d better catch a bus to hospital sooner than soon, then.

And that’s what she did. Sooner than soon, and luckily that was just in time.

© Peter Rogerson 19.06.17

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