Once upon a time, in a Pond far away, there ruled a tiny Queen.
Bored with ordering subjects about and demanding various treats, Queen Bitty proclaimed there would be a ball.
“What kind of ball?” wuffled Bear, who was very interested in squeaking balls.
“A grand Pond Puppy Ball,” Bitty declared. “With delicious treats, dancing, digging, plenty of tail chasing and all the chewing and gnawing one can stand!”
“Who’s all coming?” wuffled Bear, clutching on to his dolphin friend.
“Everyone!” Queen Bitty shrieked, her tail swishing with excitement. “Spread the word! I must ready the Pond!”
For two weeks, Queen Bitty’s minions cleaned and polished and scrubbed every inch of the Pond until it glittered. Special treats from a gourmet bakery were ordered for creatures of all shapes and sizes. Sand pits lined the wall sprinkled with bones for easy digging and mobiles hung from the ceiling low enough for batting. There were toys to chew, toys to throw and toys to pull in two. A large soft floor had been cleared for dancing and lush pillows had been set out for guests wanting to nap.
It was time for the Pond Puppy Ball.
The first guests were from the Land of the Flowered Bed, a enchanted land of magical toys in a little girl’s bedroom.
“Fabulous!” Cookies the Owl cried.
“I wonder if we’ll be the only stuffed animals?” Hairy the mayor asked.
“Where’s the food?” Pumble inquired, his stomach rumbling.
The seals clapped their fins in delight, while Miss Moose McKinley set off to find Bear and the dolphin.
The next guests were Sarah and Sydney, having traveled long and far from The Land of Delia.
“Hello,” Bear wuffled, happy to meet new friends. “Welcome to the Pond Puppy Ball! What would you like to do? There’s a place to dig, chew, run, frolic…”
“Frolic!” Sarah and Sydney chorused. In a flash, they were frolicking through a small field littered with butterflies and ladybugs.
After that, the guests began to pour in. There were puppies and kitties, stuffed bunnies and moose and dogs as small as a fist and as big as a horse.
“Future subjects!” Queen Bitty bellowed, standing on top of an enormous couch that overlooked the room. “I am Queen Bitty, ruler of the Pond! During the course of the evening, a Pond Princess and Prince will be chosen! Please cast your votes in the giant bone box over there. The votes will be announced at midnight, at the close of the ball. Until then, eat, drink and be merry!”
Everyone cheered. Thor, a large Mastiff, wondered up to a group of dogs conversing at a station handing out peanut butter bones. “Pardon me,” he asked in his deep British voice. “Has anyone read the latest work of St. Bernard? I heard he had a delightful new novel out, The Philosophy of Paws.”
“Baroo?” asked Bella, cocking her head.
“You see, it’s quite fascinating,” Thor explained, pulling out a book to show her. “The author has deconstructed the general perception that all dogs must travel on fours by presenting the idea that our paws hold us back from the heights our intelligence can accomplish. It’s rather like a ball being”–
“Ball?” Ice the Jack Russel Terrier raced over to them, panting. “Where? Where’s the ball?”
“My dear friend, I was just telling little Bella here about the philosophy of St. Bernard”–
“Ball, ball, ball, ball,” Ice shrieked, bouncing up and down. “Where’s the ball? Ball? Ball? Ball!”
“Excuse me,” Bear interrupted, looking up at Thor adoringly. “Don’t you have a lobster for a friend? I have a dolphin.”
“Why yes,” Thor replied, his dark cheeks turning pink. “I must say, my lobster is simply the most wonderful–”
“BALLLLLLL!!!!!!” Ice bellowed, racing through them and jostling all the dogs about as he raced after a purple ball rolling across the floor.
Bella never noticed.
Meanwhile, across the room, Queen Bitty had spotted a dog who took her breath away.
“Who is that?” she demanded of the nearest dogs, Dixie and Sadie Belle. “Who is that magnificent man?”
“I’m not sure,” Sadie Belle replied.
“I believe that’s Wallace!” Dixie cried, stirring from her lush cushion. “I’ve heard about him. Supposedly, he valiantly protects his mistress Legally Blond Mel from invading squirells.”
The girls stared at Wallace as he bounded across the floor towards the Land of the Flowered Bed friends, who were handing out honey cakes Pumble had whipped up.
“He seems nice,” Sadie Belle said, who thought everyone was nice.
Dixie returned to her nap as Queen Bitty watched Wallace.
“I must have him,” she whispered. ” I must have him.”
“Excuse me, your majesty,” a small male Chihuahua said with a bow. “I am Diesel, and I have been watching you all evening. You are the most lovely creature here.”
Queen Bitty waited for him to tell her something she didn’t already know.
“Will you dance with me, my liege?” Diesel asked, bowing again. “It would be an honor.”
“Of course,” Queen Bitty said grandly, stepping off her throne and giving him her paw.
Sadie Belle and Dixie giggled.
Meanwhile, in a corner of the Ball, Baba the sheep was distressed.
“This isn’t the place for me,” he murmured, twisting his hooves as he stared at the Land of the Flowered Bed. “I simply don’t know why I came. Every other animal here is real! There’s not even another sheep. I’m much more comfortable in Ireland. The hills, the tasty grass….” He sighed and shuffled his hooves against the wooden dance floor.
“Pardon me,” a voice interrupted. “May I have this dance?”
Baba turned and gasped. The most beautiful moose he had ever seen was looking at him.
Actually, it was the only moose he had ever seen. But that wasn’t the point.
“Me?” he stuttered. “I mean sure, but…”
“I would be honored if you would dance with me,” Miss Moose McKinley said with a smile. “And then, I’d like to introduce you to my friends.” She nodded towards the Land of the Flowered Bed creatures.
“Well, sure!” Baba cried. “Thanks!” Hoof in hoof, they walked onto the dance floor.
Nearbly, Hazel let out an irratable sigh. “This is so boring,” she muttered. “No princes, no rabbits to chase, not even a bit of fluff.”
“Pardon me, miss,” Sir Dodger said, his sharp beagle ears picking up. “I thought I heard you say something about rabbits. I am 10 though, so I might be a bit hard of hearing.”
“Oh no, I did say something,” Hazel replied. “I said how bored I was and that I wished I had some bunnies to chase.” She didn’t add that she had also mentioned meeting a prince. Slicking back her fur, she smiled and fluttered her eyelashes.
“I saw some rabbits in the garden outside,” Sir Dodger said, holding out his arm. “Shall we go? After we stop by the food table, of course. I heard there was bacon. I love bacon.”
“The only thing I like more than rabbits is food,” Hazel replied serenely, letting Sir Dodger lead her away. “Especially bacon.”
“Fabulous pate,” Chestnut said to Moon, the kitchen cat.
“Indeed,” Moon replied, licking his whiskers. “Shall we have more?”
“Good idea,” Chestnut replied, swiping his paw into a new bowl. “It is a party.”
“Indeed,” Moon replied. “Indeed. Though you know, I might be able to improve it…” He pulled out a cookbook from his bag. Chestnut licked his lips hungrily.
“Oooh! Look at that!”
Chestnut and Moon turned to see two dogs scampering toward them wearing identical outfits.
“I’m Merlin!” a cheerful Shih Tzu cried, wagging his tail happily. “What are you cooking?”
“It smells delish,” Bella, a dainty pug, cooed. “Our mother cooks all the time, and we simply adore hanging out in her kitchen.”
Chestnut looked at Moon, who nodded. “We would be delighted if you’d join us,” Chestnut replied. “I had an idea for a liver and tuna pate with asparagus and chicken flecked rice.”
“We’ll help!” Merlin cried. “We can make a salad! Or scones! Or a loaf of bread!”
“Or a pie! Or hamburgers! Or turkey and mashed potatoes!” Bella added, wiping drool from her chin.
“And I’ll help!” an excited voice cried. A King Charles Caviler Spaniel was waving a bubble wand in the air frantically.
“Bubble stew?” Bella asked.
“Bubble pie?” Moon pondered.
“Perhaps Bubble brew,” Chestnut suggested.
“Oh, no, you’ve got it all wrong!” the King Charles Caviler cried. “My name is Buddy, and I’m a bubbler!”
“A bubbler?” the others asked.
“Yes!” Buddy cried. “I blow bubbles for fun! And I’m a fabulous sous chef. I can help entertain you and cook at the same time!”
“I always liked bubbles,” Merlin added. “So cheerful and light!”
“Please join us!” Moon invited. “There are never too many cooks in our kitchen!”
Buddy nearly popped his bubbles with joy.
With two tails wagging and two twitching in delight, the four new friends bent over their culinary endeavors.
From across the floor, Wallace stared at Bella.
“My, my, my,” he murmured. “The Bell of the ball has arrived.”
A crash across the hall made his ears perk up. Whirling around, he burst out laughing. A German Shepard was chasing a tiny German Shepard puppy, who had just skid across the slick floor and crashed into a table full of puppy pies.
“Whee!” Radar the puppy squealed as it skid about in broken pie crust. Puppy pate was smeared on his fur and tail. Happily, he licked a blob dangling off his nose.
“Radar!” Skylar shouted, rushing after him. “Nein! Nein! Vat are you doing? Dat ist no goot, ja? Look at this mess! Who will clean it all?”
“OOOH!” Queen Bitty bellowed, her eyes lighting up. “German Shepards! I’ve always wanted to practice my German.”
“But we’re Chihuahuas,” Diesel stuttered as she grabbed him by the paw and dragged him over to the scene.
“Precisely,” Bitty declared.
For the next few hours, all the animals ate and danced and talked. Puppies chased balls across the floor and howled at the moon while the feline visitors lounged on couches chewing on catnip mice. The Land of the Flowered Bed and their new stuffed animal friends danced the night away and made dozens of dozens of honey cakes. Even Queen Bitty permitted a smile to cross her face as she danced with Diesel.
And finally, the clock struck midnight.
“Invisible Subjects!” Queen Bitty shouted from her perch on the royal couch. “It’s time to learn the Puppy Princess and Puppy Prince of the Ball (though of course, a cat can be nominated.”
Bear handed her a folded piece of paper. After unfolding it with her paws, Bitty’s eyes widened.
“The winners are….”
Winners will be announced Friday before Twirl!
Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! We have a new Coconut Queen coming up and a delightful new recipe! And we’ve got a new Twirl and new creative woman of the Pond! Of course, you’ll learn the Puppy Ball Prince and Princess as well! Stay tuned!
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