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"Yew" part 2 by Pearl Took

The second installment of my August Challenge story


That evening, Yew was the talk of the supper table. Pearl thought he was cute, Pimpernel wanted nothing to do with him and Vinca said if he got out and she found him, he was hers.

"Finders keepers, losers weepers." She sing-songed.

Pippin bristled. "You take Yew and you'll regret it!"

"Children." Paladin warned.

"Yes, Da," the two youngest siblings replied while glaring at each other.

"I was thinking, Pippin," Paladin interrupted the stare down, "that Yew seems a bit big for your bug cage. That and we know lizards like to hide in rocks and such. Shall we build a new cage for him tomorrow?"

Vinca was forgotten. "Yes! That would be grand. I'm sure he would be much happier."

After supper father and son sat at the table talking and drawing plans for Yew's new home.

Yew convalesced in the bug cage in a corner of the kitchen for two more days. His healer wanted him where she could keep an eye on him as she worked. Lanti put chamomile tea into his saucer instead of water while recruiting some of the farmhand's lads to catch small bugs and worms, along with gathering various mosses and plants she knew were nonpoisonous, to try to learn what the small lizard liked to eat. The first day he drank his tea but didn't eat anything as far as she could tell. At tea time the second day he caught and ate a tiny cricket when she was refilling his tea.

"It's always good to see a patient eating," Lanti cheerily told Yew. "Although I'm not used to seeing things eaten alive. That, my wee friend, will take some getting used to." A shiver went down her spine as she walked away.

Pippin and his father worked hard on the new cage; even taking some of their meals out in the work shed. It measured two feet by one and a half feet by one foot deep. They made the sides and cover from thin strips of wood woven together, spaced wide enough apart to make viewing Yew easy, yet close enough that he shouldn't be able to get out. Its crowning glory was the small cave in one corner. Its base was a triangular shaped piece of slate. Paladin mixed a small batch of mortar, then he and Pippin built a sturdy little structure with stones Pippin gathered. In another corner they made a small pond with the mortar they had left over. They nailed a couple of dead branches in place for Yew to climb on, covered the bottom with a layer of moss and Yew had a new cage fit for a lizard king.

The ceremony to present the new cage preceded dinner on Yew's third day in the Took home. Lanti had declared her patient fit and able to be housed away from the kitchen so it was placed on a low table in Pippin's bedroom. The whole family was there for the unveiling.

"That's very nice." Nell stated. "I'll be getting the table ready for supper."

Pippin lost some of his bouncy excitement at her lack of enthusiasm.

"Don't droop, Pippin," Pearl said. "You know how prissy Nell is. I think it is a wonderful cage and I'm sure Yew will love it. Are you putting him in it now or after supper?"

"Why don't you get him now, Pippin? He is feeling much better and I'm certain he would like more room to move about in."

"All right, Ma! I'll be back with him in a wink."

Lanti gave her husband a squeeze around his waist. "It is a lovely cage, Paladin. I particularly like the cave. It turned out very well."

"Thank you, my dear. It was a bit tricky to keep the roof from falling in while the mortar hardened, but we did it. Pippin was a great help. Ah! Here's my building assistant with the resident of this fine cage."

Pippin set the bug cage down and opened the door.

"Be careful, Pippin," his mother admonished. "He is feeling better. He might try to run away or bite."

"Just remember, if he gets away and I catch him, he's mine." Vinca interjected. "And the cage too."

"Yes'm." Pippin replied to his mother without looking at her. He ignored his pesky sister. "All right, Yew. Time to move into your new home."

Pippin spoke softly to the lizard as he moved his hand closer. To his surprise, Yew scampered onto his palm and then sat there. He waited to see if his pet would make a dash up his arm, but Yew just sat there with an impatient look in his eye. Pippin drew his hand out of the bug cage, turned and lowered it into the lizard cage until the back of his hand rested on the mossy bottom.

Yew walked off the lad's hand and over to the cave. He eyed it. Sniffed it. Flicked his tongue at it three times, then strolled into it. For a few moments they couldn’t see him in the shadows, then his head appeared at the entrance. He laid down, curled his tail around his feet, and stared back at the hobbits staring at him.

"I think that's lizard for 'I approve!' What do you think, Da?"

"I think you're right, son. Why don't you dump those crickets out of that jar into the cage so Yew can have his supper, then we can go have ours."

Pippin unstopped the jar. "Here's your supper, Yew. Hope you enjoy it. I'm off to have my supper. I'll be back to spend some time with you after I help Ma with the dishes." He secured the cover on the cage before following the family out of his room.




( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
Yew had a new cage fit for a lizard king.

Awwww. :)
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Happy lizard :-)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you, mews. For the most part my Pippin and Paladin get along. Yes, he is a lucky lizard.
Aug. 25th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
but what keeps the crickets in the cage?
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Shhhh . . . you weren't supposed to ask that, nancy.

Actually, I wondered about that myself but couldn't think of a solution. I don't think they would have had screens like we have on our windows, nor do I think you could go to the corner pet shop and buy an aquarium. I thought, maybe a very shear fabric, but that would be costly to put on a critter cage.

I chose to not worry about it. :-)
Aug. 25th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
Ah! Sounds well planned and lovely! Now, to find out what happens next!
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
Paladin does good work, with his young helper. Yes, I'm looking forward to it myself. Hope more pops up soon.
Aug. 25th, 2009 09:40 am (UTC)
Oh, this is shaping up to be such a sweet story. Something tells me that Yew is a very special lizard and that he is going to be a part of Pippin's life for a very long time.:)
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Garnet!

He is special, but I've no idea how long he plans to stay with the Tooks. We'll have to see what happens. ;-)
Aug. 28th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
Love this, and can't wait to see what will happen next! I especially liked the father and son interaction building the cage, very nice. Yew is certainly an odd little creature!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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