Tamara Forge

Mr Peculiar


Mr Peculiar is an odd flying fox,

He lives in a castle with hundreds of locks.


He frets as he shackles and bolts his doors down,

“Are these strong enough?” he says with a frown.


Convinced those around him will steal his things,

He sleeps with his valuables under his wings.


He would really prefer it if no one came near,

Still, nobody knows what’s causing his fear.


He says, “Never trust others, protect what you’ve got.

Keep them all out, or they’ll steal the lot!”


Next to the castle are dark drooping trees,

The whoople birds perch there, feeding on bees.


“Shoo whoople birds, you flap somewhere new.”

Mr Peculiar fears the birds too.


“With your pecking and flapping – you’re not getting in!

You won’t frighten me with your brain numbing din.”


So Mr Peculiar, in pyjamas and cap,

Raps on the windows, “Flap away, flap!”


“Stop looking in, you ‘orrible things!

You won’t get my treasures, they’re under my wings.”


“Whoople, whoople,” they chant in reply,

As they roost for the night, by a moonlit sky.


And before he can settle and sleep for the night,

That odd flying fox locks his castle up tight.


“You’ll not get in now you treacherous scum!

I’ve got ten big alarms, so good luck if you come.”


He hasn’t always just rattled around,

In this lonely place, with its acres of ground.


He lived there with grandma, so gentle and kind,

Until she got old and left him behind.


It was then that he realised, all by himself,

He must care for her castle and all of its wealth.

And that is what made such a young flying fox,

Fearful of neighbours, obsessive with locks.


Now, it is late and he’s settled to sleep,

Everything’s bolted - a fortified keep.


So eerily silent, just the odd whoople bird,

And Peculiar’s snoring, can faintly be heard.


A spark, a crackle, a frazzle of wire…

Something is stirring, something like fire!


So many alarms attached to one plug,

All left to simmer, on a hessian rug.


He’d thought all the danger was on the outside,

He wasn’t to know that the circuits were fried!


Thank goodness he wakes with the smell of the smoke,

He coughs and panics, and tries not to choke.


“Help me please! There’s a terrible fire!”

He shouts in vain as the flames grow higher.


“I can’t get out I’ve locked every door!

I’ve hidden the keys, they’re under the floor.”


“The shutters are bolted, the gates are shut,

The chains are the strongest and too thick to cut.”


“I don’t want to die, there’s no one to help.”

He falls to the floor with a pitiful yelp.


The whoople birds wake, as they sense something’s wrong.

“Quick!” they whoople, “He hasn’t got long!”


Stretching their wings, they ready their beaks.

“We’ll start with the windows!” the biggest one squeaks.


“I’ll call for help,” shouts the littlest bird.

“I’ll WHOOPLE so loud, I’m bound to be heard!”


So, through the flames and blinding fumes,

They find Peculiar in one of the rooms.


And when he comes to, on the moonlit hill,

The whoopling cheers are happy and shrill.



“You’ve saved my life by risking your own.”

The shocked flying fox says with a groan.


“I’ve been so mean, feared you for years…

How did you do it?” he asks, through his tears.


“We pecked at the windows, we bashed the doors down,

We gathered the neighbours, we woke up the town!”


“We know you’re not mean, just a bit sad.

Thank-whoople we saved you, we’re all very glad!”


So, smoky and charred, he opens his wings,

For a big grateful hug with his new favourite things.


The castle rebuilt, and each one a friend.

This fanciful tale must come to an end.


He still has alarms, for castle protection,

But now they are mostly for fire detection.




Tamara Forge 2013