The sun beam was filled with fairy dust as it shone through the kitchen window as the family ate breakfast each lost in their own thoughts. Teresa pushed her plate away as tires crunched in the gravel followed by voices and car doors opening and closing.
In a few minutes Aunt Georgina and Uncle Patrick entered the room followed by Joy and Hope.
“The road never gets any shorter,” Uncle Patrick said, in his deep baritone voice.
“The girls slept most of the way, so we took turns driving through the night,” Aunt Georgina set her overnight bag beside the door.
You must be hungry and tired,” Granny said. “How about a bite and a nap?”
“Coffee sounds good,” Uncle Patrick said, “Then have a look around.”
The room sounded like a busy bee hive as the adults visited while Granny prepared coffee and breakfast for the travelers. Katie, Teresa, Hope and Joy stared at each other as they listened to the conversation. They were startled out of their trance when there was a crash in the pantry.
Granny dashed across the room when they heard squawking and flapping wings. She gasped when she paused in the doorway. “Goodness, gracious. What a mess.”
Teresa, Katie, Hope and Joy crowed behind Granny. The pantry looked like a tornado had struck. The silverware was scattered along one shelf and across the floor. Crackers were scattered everywhere with dusty bird tracks in flour that was spilled on the counter.
Granny crossed her arms. “That bird has to go. This is his doing. Look at the evidence he left behind.”
“There’s a black feather.” Hope leaned over to pick it up. “There might be something fun to do after all.”
Teresa looked at Grannies face. “The window is open. What’s missing this time?”
“Our thief has struck again. Small screwdrivers and other small objects have disappeared from the shop. Granny is right that bird is becoming a nuisance.” Father shook his head as he looked at the mess.
“Anything that glitters seems to attract him,” Robert picked up silverware. “Looks like he was after the spoons in the display case. It’s pulled off the wall but the spoons are still there. Wonder where he puts everything?”
“Katie, Hope and Joy, are you coming outside?” Teresa asked, as she turned towards the door.
“Sure. How exciting.” Hope and Joy said as they followed.
The girls walked around the yard for a few minutes pausing at the tent. “You really slept out here last night?” Hope asked, as she shielded her eyes from the sun.
Joy walked around the trees before joining the others. “You have a pet crow? How unusual.”
“His name is King Cole but at the moment his name is mud. I have never seen Granny so angry. Where does he hide everything?” Teresa asked as she shielded her eyes from the sun.
“Look up there,” Hope pointed towards the oak tree. “The sun is shining on something.”
Robert came up behind them. “Father and Uncle Patrick had a tree house up there. I used it when I wanted to escape to read comic books. Who wants to climb the tree.”
“Not me,” Teresa, Katie, Joy, and Hope answered.
“I guess it’s me then. Mystery will soon be solved.” Robert said when they reached the base of the tree.
Teresa cupped her hands to give Robert a boost up to the closest branches. “Father cut the lower branches off so he could get the combine underneath.”
Teresa, Katie, Hope and Joy watched Robert climb the tree weaving back and forth like a monkey. In a few minutes he disappeared and let out a whoop. “Look at all this lute?”
Father and Uncle Patrick came out onto the porch. “What’s going on?”
“Robert is up in the tree,” Teresa said as she pointed.
“There was something shiny up there,” Hope answered, as she watched.
“Well, I’ll be darn,” Uncle Patrick said as he looked over to the enormous tree. “Our old tree house is still there after all these years.”
“Need help?” Father strolled over to the base of the tree and looked up.
“No. You should see all the stuff up here,” Robert shouted. “I’ll put everything in my cap. Hopefully before King Cole comes back. Could use a ladder, though”
A half hour later they gathered around the table with everything spread out in the middle. “Well you could blow me away with a feather. The rascal has been up to no good. Windows will have to be kept closed around here and things put away. I always knew he was a no good scamp but he is cleaver that I imagined.” Granny picked a silver thimble out of the pile. “Always wondered where this went. the screens need fixing.”
“Now Mother, he does keep the mice away. Better that an owl,” Father rummaged through the pile as he scratched his head. “Will get those screens fixed right away.”
“Can we sleep in the tent with Katie and Teresa tonight?” Joy and Hope asked. “Nothing like this ever happens at home.”
“Of course, my dears,” Aunt Georgina said as she looked at the eager young faces.
“Don’t stay up all night talking and giggling,” Uncle Patrick said.
Written by M.E. Hembroff