Going through my drafts, I found this next installment of the Peeps story. I can’t believe how long I let it sit there. Wow. I offer ten times as many apologies as usual, especially to Peeps, who would like her story finished. To read the first part of the story, click here.
Peeps wasn’t as scared of the Old Fisher as she should have been. He wasn’t much bigger than she, and he had that skinny, pathetic look of a shaven animal, though in this case the king’s fur had simply fallen out. In all the history of fisher cats, no one could remember a case of a fisher cat losing his fur, but Old King Fisher was, without doubt, the oldest fisher cat ever to exist. He had survived seasons beyond counting, and he was just as sharp and cruel as he had ever been. It was whispered that his furlessness was punishment for being such a bad king. Canny Old King Fisher knew that, and he never pushed the bounds of decency so far that his subjects rebelled. They just continued their mutterings, and that was fine with him.
But his lack of fur was a constant source of irritation. He could still remember the smoothness of his fur as a kit. How lusterous! How soft! How warm! In his private den, on the coldest nights, he wrapped himself in a shirt stolen from a farmer’s clothesline, but he never allowed anyone to see it. They would accuse him of trying to be a man, and there was no higher insult in the animal kingdom. Animals simply did not wear clothes. Animals wore fur. Only fur.
As Old King Fisher glared at the cat before him, he realized that he had found the solution to his problem. Here was a creature with a fine pelt. A coat of fur, one could argue, was 100% natural for an animal to wear. He might just be able to pass it off. The more he thought about it, the more he could imagine the comfort that only fur can provide. He could almost feel the fur settling smoothly on his back, protecting his dry skin, easing the cold from his bones. He sighed in ecstasy.
“Your majesty?” said the Toad.
“Um, yes,” replied the king, shaking off his trance. “As I was saying, I did not invite this creature to my party, but you may introduce her to me, Toad.”