Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery in the Hundred Acre Woods


Hello again dear readers,

While there hasn’t been nearly a long enough delay, here we are with another post.  Like many others, it’s going in a slightly different direction.  If there are three phrases that describe us, they are “somewhat inconsistent,” and “not great at counting.”

A reader, Quentin, wrote in to mention that they did not believe the art works we had been posting recently were real art.  We can only say that art is the thing artists make, and we aren’t in any position to judge besides that since we’re not artists.

No readers wrote in to ask about their homework though many visited searching for answers to Princess Penelope’s Figurative Language homework, which we hope we were able to help with in our small way.

One person also arrived here searching for “can a hedgehog die by being too loud,” to which the answer is that hedgehogs do not like loud noises at all, it would cause them chronic stress, and they definitely shouldn’t be kept in loud environments.  Even if they don’t die, it’s cruel to expose them to loud noises. Don’t do that.

We’ve promised to move on from Hedgehog Art Through History series, as it was time for a proper story, so that’s what we’ll do.  Pretty soon.  Since we aren’t going to do a post on art, we wanted to share this remarkable illustration of a squirrel drinking coffee from a crazy straw from a rejected Alice in Wonderland story to make sure we’re not foolishly consistent.  This also give us the opportunity to subtly plug the new shirt with this design. Sorry.alice_squirrel_colorAnd so, as we always try to do, we begin our story with a picture with words under it.

pp_pooh
Once upon a time, a very long time ago now, around last Friday, Princess Pricklepants was taking a lovely stroll in the garden.  Through a bit of digging, a few extra left turns, and perhaps not quite the right number of right turns, she wound up in a very unfamiliar place.  The colors were so very wrong that they weren’t even there, and everything smelled strangely, almost like paper.  She decided to pause, close her eyes and take in a nice deep sniff to see if she could smell the right direction to go.  In mid-sniff she heard a small squeaky voice.

“What is it Pooh?”

“Oh, I think it’s a Pricklebump.”

Her Highness was not a Pricklebump, but for the time being chose to let it pass as there were greater concerns, “Oh, hello, I’m afraid I’ve become so very lost I can’t even find my name to properly introduce myself.  So very sorry.”

“Well, hello whoever you are, I’m Piglet,” said Piglet.

“And I’m Pooh,” said Pooh bear, “Could we help you find your way?”

“I’d really be grateful, though there’s something else I’m missing I’m more worried about, but I’m not exactly sure what it is.”

Piglet was very worried, “Oh no!”

oooh

“Don’t worry,” said Pooh, “We can take you to Owl.  If anyone knows anything about something, it’s Owl who knows something or other.  Or maybe the other way.”

Piglet seemed slightly relieved, though not very much so.  “I s-s-suppose it’s not s-s-so bad, then. An adventure with Pooh and the Primpole will have t-t-to t-t-turn out.  I g-g-guess, unless there are W-W0ozles.”

He Highness decided the polite thing to do would be to just let the piglet with an anxiety disorder use an incorrect name since she didn’t have a proper name to offer.  These monochrome animals certainly did have a lot of odd pronunciations, and very strange habits with capitalization as well.

Her Highness wasn’t fully sure about the plan. “So, this Owl, does it eat rodents?  What about hedgehogs?”

Pooh giggled, “Oh no, Owl doesn’t eat.”

Her Highness was relieved, so they set on their way.  As they walked Pooh hummed a tuneless little melody which turned into a song about bees and honey and things.

Her Highness decided to make an attempt at conversation.  “You know, you’re a very unusual bear.” Her Highness was used to bears with Canadian accents who didn’t hum and sing about bees.

“Well, you’re rather unlike any, um, Prickly Animals I’ve met either.  Delighted to meet you.”

“Delighted to meet you too.”

They arrived at Owl’s home in a lovely old tree which was drawn really nicely.

Pooh said, “Now all you have to do is walk to the door and ring the bell, since a knock means you’re there to eat honey.  Or maybe it’s the other way.  I never remember.  Still, maybe you should knock, I could use a little Smackerel of something.”

pp_owlHer Highness wasn’t fully comfortable with this arrangement, but happily it didn’t matter, as Owl was already outside, hopefully not in the mood for eating any hedgehogs.

“Why it’s a Periwinkle,” exclaimed Owl, with his huge deadly talons gripping the branch.

Her Highness was working diligently not to lose patience with these creatures and their habit of calling everything the wrong name with strange capitalization, but knew better than to offer a correction to a rodent and hedgehog eating predator, as this wouldn’t be polite.

“Why hello Owl, it’s very lovely to meet you. I’m afraid I’ve become very lost, so lost I can’t find my name.  I met a bear named Ooh who suggested you might be able to help.”

“I’ve never met a bear named ‘Ooh.’ Very strange. Well, this thing you’ve lost, can you describe it?”

“It’s, well, you see, it’s difficult to describe.”

“Well, when you lose something, the customary procedure is to go back to the first place you saw it, then go to every other place you’ve ever seen it and eventually it’ll be in one of those places.”

This was helpful advice in a sense of trying to help, but also unhelpful in the sense of not being practical for someone who’s lost, or even for someone who wasn’t lost.

“Well thank you, I’ll toddle off and see about going to many places.  Oh, also, the bear wanted honey.”

“Oh, I’m afraid I’m all out due to a recent bear visit.  You’ll need to try a bee hive to find honey, maybe you could use a balloon to get some?”

“I’ve always had very bad experiences with balloons I’m afraid, but thank you. Very lovely visiting you, good bye.”  She hurriedly made her way from the large-taloned raptor.

pp_balloon2

As she scurried politely, she remember back to her last balloon adventure.  It had all started off so nicely, with a lovely balloon and no bees at all.

pp-balloon

Then several seconds later there was a terrible sound, just the kind of loud sound she liked least in the world, really, and after the sound her former balloon wasn’t very lovely any more. No, there would be no balloons.

When she got back to Pooh and Piglet she carefully forgot to mention the balloon, bee, honey idea, but related the rest of the advice which they chose to ignore.  Not being sure what to do, they decided to walk about to see if the right idea might visit, though all the ideas that came to visit were never quite right.

As they walked, they eventually came upon a morose donkey despondently looking at its feet.

piglet-eeyore-3

“Good afternoon, Eeyore” said Pooh.

“Oh, Good afternoon, Pooh, Piglet, hedgehog,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good afternoon,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he. “It’s probably going to rain.”

“We seem to have a very confuddling problem, you see, this Pricklebump has lost a Thing, but she’s not sure what it is.”

“Oh, well.  Probably will never find it.  All the same, it’s better to lose Something and not know what it is, than to know what it is.  Then you can forget it, and go somewhere else to be Alone and Forgotten sitting in the Rain. Like me.”

“You’re not alone, dear Eeyore, since we’re actually here, silly.  Also it’s not raining.” said Her Highness, who was still quietly losing her mind at their capitalization habits.

“Oh, well it might not be Raining now, but one day it will. This Thing you’re looking for, what does it look like?”

“Oh, if I could draw it, I’d remember it for sure.  I went with Ooh Bear to see Owl, but they didn’t exactly help, and I’m quite erplexed, and at a loss for what to do.”

“Hmm,” said Eeyore.

piglet-eeyore-p

“Does it perhaps look like the letter you keep forgetting to use?”  Eeyore made a P on the ground with some sticks.

“That’s it,” exclaimed Princess, “You’ve found it!  You’re positively perfect!”

With the letter P found, Princess Pricklepants was at last able to mention her name, which was a relief, as the pressure of being powerless to proffer polite greetings was perturbing. Pooh led the way to Christopher Robin who it turned out followed her on Twitter (Facebook being for old people), and so was able to help her find her way home, and all was well in the world again, wrapped up remarkably quickly since there was a 1,000 word limit which we actually passed a surprisingly long time ago.

So we must say, “The End” for a post that was mostly an excuse to show off some line drawings we’ve been working on as a trick to continue with Hedgehog Art Through History even when we weren’t supposed to.

Stay tuned for our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Voters (working title)

 

 

 

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Princess Pricklepants’ Somewhat Distracted Guide to Manners, Monkeys, Etc.


Previously: Princess Pricklepants and the Monkey Business

Dear Reader(s),

Something odd happened recently – a story from our humble blog wound up briefly on the front page of a tech news site (news.ycombinator.com) – naturally it was Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder Extraordinaire. So we got a lot of visits for a bit and were for a very brief moment slightly more famous (9,000 hits in a day), though things are largely back to normal now.

For perfectly good (though difficult to explain) reasons relating to that, Her Highness now has a LinkedIn profile, so if you’d like to add a Noble Hedgehog Adventurer/Farmer/Model/Space Traveler/Acupuncturist to your professional network, feel free:

https://linkedin.com/in/penelope-pricklepants-98198010a

There are a lot of words in this, our latest post (more than two thousand five hundred – sorry for the wordiness), so we’ll keep this preamble succinct, pithy, and free of superfluities, and will not drone on in a long run-on sentence about how brief, concise, and terse our intro. is, but rather will press on into the body of our story with no delays, distractions, or pointless diversions. And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

The Quiet Place

Princess Pricklepants was rather irked by The Monkey Situation. She decided to be forthright, proactive, and assertive in dealing with the problem. She went off to be alone in her room to hide under a blanket and reflect on how best to be forthright, proactive, and assertive. In her room, she started writing a note to place on the refrigerator:

Dear Monkey,

Please do not leave the refrigerator door open. Please also be sure to help clean the dishes. While doing so, please do not throw any more dishes. Once again, Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. In addition, please stop harassing the alligators.

That font was all wrong, so she tried out different fonts for a while, bumped the font size and adjusted margins, and then went to Wikipedia to check on something. After a brief voyage through the Wikipedia spiral of distraction, she found herself logged onto the PrincessPricklepantsCentral Forum.

PrincessPricklepantsCentral Forums -> Community board

Her Highness – Nov. 22 2015 11:00 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

Hello, did anyone think of a job for Monkey?
Boris – Nov. 22 2015 11:01 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“fourth wall demolitionist”

No. We’re all just avoiding the obnoxious food-stealing monkey.

Hey, you know why the monkey liked the banana? It had appeal.

Jane – Nov. 22 2015 11:03 AM
captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

Some of us are also avoiding the obnoxious food-stealing bear.

You know what you call bears with no ears? B.

Boris – Nov. 22 2015 11:05 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“fourth wall demolitionist”

Sounds like someone is a mad cow, maybe it’s time for your check-up?

On a more important note, is this plot ever going to go anywhere? It’s like the writer’s just shamelessly making it all up as they go along…

What do you get when you cross a bear and an elephant? A revocation of your research grant and a stern rebuke from the ethics committee.

Her Highness – Nov. 22 2015 11:10 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

So everyone, shall we have a meeting to go over Monkey employment then? These forums seem too… frivolous.
Jane – Nov. 22 2015 11:23 AM
captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

It’s Sunday. Maybe we should hold off until tomorrow, then we’ll be able to call around to see if anyone will hire Monkey.

Also, agreed, Boris’ jokes are becoming unbearable.

 

She logged off the forums and tried to catch up on email. Being a hedgehog, her eyesight was poor. Happily, when she had difficulties reading things she went by smell which worked remarkably well (as far as she could tell).

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Pinterest Advice

Dear Princess Pricklepants, I try to be a polite, refined, well-mannered person, so naturally I have been throwing tea parties. I’ve been getting great ideas from Pinterest. Recently my husband, Ned, has been joining us at the parties, which is nice except that he eats the kale and quinoa salad with his fingers, and drinks his hot tea in a mason jar. I’ve told him that mason jars are not for tea, but are for lemonade (or for candle-making, creating a sewing kit, toy storage, crafting, holding tortilla chips, salad, cocoa mix, potpourri, etc.). How do I convince him to be more genteel and refined in the ways of proper manners at tea?

– Pinterest Paige

No Touching

Touching non-finger-food with hands and touching all the cookies – troubling manners.

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Pinterest Advice

Dear Penless Page, thanks for writing. Table manners are oh so very important, and a domain in which I have an extensive background. Let him know that the appropriate way to eat is to sniff out food, then bring one’s snout to the food dish, grab the food with one’s mouth, or perhaps slurp it in a bit with one’s tongue (provided it’s long enough), then crunch away. That is, until the monkey shows up, grabs the food with his hands, then throws it, and the food spills everywhere, leaving you very confused, while your attempts to teach manners and geography are completely ignored. Gently suggest to your husband that using his hands is being like that monkey, and nobody would want to be like that monkey. Don’t be that monkey.

-PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Refrigerator Lurking

Dear Princess, my kids and my husband will wander into the kitchen, go straight to the refrigerator, and then just stand there with the door open staring into the void. It drives me crazy – it wastes electricity, risks food going bad, and it’s just plain frustrating. What can I do to help others to break free from their former lives as fridge dwellers?

– Wishing They’d Cool It With The Refrigerator

Fridge Time II

Loitering with the refrigerator door open – uncouth

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Refrigerator Lurking

Dear Wishing You Were As Cool As a Refrigerator,

When a person, beloved pet, or monkey spends a long time lingering in the refrigerator, this might be because they have already eaten all of your food and are just wishing more would appear. Or perhaps they just love the rich and interesting smells that refrigerators emanate (such a fascinating bouquet). But if you ask politely for them to stop, and they act like a tricky monkey, then I’d recommend you write a note and place it on the refrigerator. Be sure to use a nice font. Make sure the note is polite, thoughtful, and kind with a clear helpful lesson on manners (and perhaps geography), so it can ultimately lead to an outcome somewhat like the plot of My Fair Lady, with singing, dancing, and a somewhat ambiguous ending.

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: A Crumby Old Bed

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

My husband Vern is a good man, but he brings toast, cookies, crackers, and even cups of tea into the bed all the time while sitting to read. He creates terrible messes! What’s a polite way to tell him to stop bringing food to bed?

– Neat Freak

Eating In Bed

Eating and drinking in bed – a politeness apocalypse

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
Subject: Re: A Crumby Old Bed

Dear Nut Freak,

Too often one may find oneself in the situation of a person or monkey climbing on one’s bed, eating bananas and leaving the peels all over, spilling drinks, jumping on the bed, and even throwing pillows. To deal with this, hold a household meeting to discuss a plan to deal with the bed crumbs. Then have a followup meeting to go over the plan’s implementation details, followed by a series of pre-planning meetings for each item, and ideally some off-site training. At some point the amount time used by all the meetings and preparation will be so great that there will be no more time for bed eating/hopping/sleeping/etc., and the problem will be solved. Be sure to follow Robert’s Rules of Order.

-HRH PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Teenager Acting Out

Dear Princess,

I have a lovely 17-year-old step-daughter. Recently she has developed a lot of anger issues and has loud, tantrum-like outbursts where she curses out her father and me, and says very hurtful things. She even called me a witch! What can I do to bring her in line?

– Frustrated Mom

Witch Trial

Witch accusations – ten points from Slytherin

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Teenager Acting Out

Dear Frustrating Mom,

I think you may have written in before, when I was interrupted due to some dinosaur-related business complexities. Apologies if that’s so. Witch accusations are no laughing matter, and not to be taken lightly. They must be followed up by a proper trial. Our favorite method for testing whether someone is a witch is to build a large set of scales and weigh the accused to see if they weigh more than a duck. If they weigh less than a duck, then they’re a witch.

If you find they are a witch, ask them which house they were sorted into to, ask if they’ve met Hermione, and see if you can help get a teacher to reward their house points. Also please let me know (unless they’re in Slytherin). I’ve been looking for the secret passage to Diagon Alley for a very long time with no luck yet. I love the Harry Potter documentaries, and really would love to visit the wizarding world.

-Her Royal Highness PPP Grand Duchess of Tiggy-Winkle, Defender of Hufflepuff, etc.

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Miniatures Photography Woes

Dear Princess,

My husband is a bit eccentric. Or, well honestly, really eccentric. He is a photographer who creates little sets with miniatures and props for his photos (he even puts our pet in the photos sometimes). It’s a hobby and seems to make him happy, I suppose, though it’d be nice if he cleaned up his mess more. Sometimes our nieces and nephews come over to visit and treat his photography equipment like toys, which bothers him. How do I get him to put his equipment away before people come over?

– Really Not Toys

Miniatures

Playing with other people’s toys without asking – very impolite

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Miniatures Photography Woes

Dear In Reality Toys,

That sounds like a really wonderful hobby. We have a doll house also, and enjoy putting our toy cows and animals in little scenes, though recently we’ve taken on a monkey in residence who has been ruining our setups, creating general chaos, and leaving banana peels in the tiny, carefully set up doll rooms. It smells like you need to get a lot more toys for your husband’s doll house so that if there are visitors they can play too.

-PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Advice re: Uptight Cow

Dear Princess,

Sometimes at work (I work as a programmer writing robot controller software and internet forum software) I like to read Facebook or hit Pinterest or read Cute Overload. My overbearing cow-orker Jane has become a total control-freak, insisting I focus on my work and nothing else. How can I tell her to loosen up a bit?

– Bessie

18658501738_ce897ffcfa_k

Surfing the net – politeness will vary

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Advice re: ... Cow friend

Dear Bessie,

We’ll put this on the agenda for the next meeting. I’m fairly sure we just need to get an outsider from the big city to come in and teach us about modern music and dancing to loosen things up and revitalize the spirit of the repressed townspeople, but this will need discussion.

-PP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
From: [redacted]
Subject: Need Advice About An Accursed Monkey

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

Due to tangled reasons involving a turgid plot too difficult to describe for both emotional reasons and time limits, I’ve wound up with a horrid monkey living in my home. It eats all the food. It is a conniving, cruel taker of snacks. With the monkey menace so serious, I feel that it would be courteous to wage guerilla warfare against the monkey. I was thinking that we could let the Universe decide whether the monkey should stay here by loading the monkey into our catapult and flinging the monkey far, far away. Please tell me that this is the polite thing to do.

-Primate Adversary

Catapult

Flinging monkeys with catapults indoors – clearly not polite

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
Subject: Re: Need Advice About A... Monkey

Dear Boris,

It smells like it’s not so much manners you’re worried about here, but your food. Instead of trying to throw the monkey out of your world, help Monkey to improve as a monkey – be the changed monkey you want to see in the world.

Regarding the catapult, it’s never polite to fling monkeys with catapults inside. If you take the catapult outside its polite to fling jewel encrusted antiques, rare glasswork, a cat, or other items that would be fun to watch fly, but not monkeys. Perhaps you could take Monkey on a trip to a farm where Monkey could live happily?

-HRH PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
From: [redacted]
Subject: Re: Need Advice About An Accursed Monkey (don't edit my subject either)

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

I believe we’ve established that deliveries are Jane’s job. It’s polite to lock Monkey in a cage, right? It feels very polite to me.

I would mention my concerns about the lack of plot development with this episode, it’s like this whole post is just a pernicious plan by a particularly peculiar person to post pictures of their pet posed with pleasant pint-sized props and pen pleasantries rather than pursue a proper plot.

At this point I have to say that I truly feel that my rights are being violated by being used in this way, and plan to contact Amnesty International’s fictional bear’s rights program. Regardless, I know you will just ignore it. How do you always manage to ignore these pressing literary matters?

-Primate Adversary

Caged

Caging monkeys – probably poor manners.

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
Subject: Re: Need Advice About A Monkey, Now With Improved Subject

Dear Boris,

I am fairly sure it is not polite to put monkeys in cages. I checked Haley’s 2007 etiquette guide, but it didn’t say anything one way or the other.

On an unrelated note, I have happy news. I’ve discovered something that Monkey is very good at. Monkey is a skilled and talented illustrator of poor manners. I think we should give him a job as a politeness model for every conceivable item in the “do not do”column.

-HRH PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
From: [redacted]
Subject: Re: Need Advice About A Banana-stealing Monster

It seems fitting that Monkey’s purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

– Boris

In our next episode, will we just forget the monkey and finally get to Princess Pricklepants and the Live Action Role Playing Game? Will we just wander and digress pointlessly some more? Will we stick with the monkey so we can do Princess Pricklepants and the Code Monkey? Will an homage to Curious George appear starring Her Highness as the Hedgehog Princess in the Yellow Hat? Tune in eventually when we finally get to publishing the next episode to find out what happens next. With the Holidays things will be spotty.

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Ultimate Finale of Completion


Dear readers, first we want to thank you for your amazing patience in tolerating this story that’s extended well past the polite and well-mannered bounds of storytelling.

One first thing to note is that the hand servants went to Costa Rica, which was fantastic.  While away we saw things, and did things that were unrelated to maintaining her highness’ blog. Her highness elected to remain at home in her dome of solitude as we couldn’t get her passport worked out in time. Yes, you don’t need to know this, since it’s not relevant to the hedgehog princess’s quest to discover the Gem of Destiny, but we will make you know it anyway, because it was that cool.

Look, we saw a toucan:

toucan2

A Toucan!

Also, we saw other cool birds:

Red-legged Honeycreeper

Red-legged Honeycreeper (Another Cool Bird)

But we will spare you vacation photos.  You can see them here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/somebachs/

Except, wait, we also saw other things like a cool waterfall.

Cool Waterfall

Cool Waterfall

We also saw Costa Rican squirrels and coati, but will spare pushing the photos on you here.

Oh, but also one last thing, we saw a lot of chickens.

One of many chickens

Foreshadowing

We have a few more firsts to offer before we embark on our tale.

As our first first, we have some fantastic news. Someone, somewhere searched for “how to be polite at a tea party” and discovered our humble blog. This is an absolutely fantastic thing.

As a second first, several readers wrote in to ask whether we were ever going to finish this story thread and go on with other things. Well, no actually they didn’t, but we wish they did. Few readers have written in with anything besides Quentin who wanted to know about whether it was acceptable to end sentences with prepositions. Grammar’s something we have little to do with. Still, answering questions is what we’re made for. So we’ll pronounce that one should never end sentences with prepositions, nor use run-on sentences, and that’s what we’ll stick to.

As one post-ultimate first that makes that last first less of a last first, we wanted to mention that our marketing department had pitched the title, “Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Grand Denouement’s Ultimate Finale – The Supreme Ending Part I,” but happily that didn’t happen.  “Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Ultimate Vengeance – The Final Denouement Part I,” also was rejected.  “Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Toucan Terror,” was not pitched, though we wish it had been, and are now thinking about a toucan terror episode.

And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

DSC_0011 (2)

With the guidance of Bubo, our intrepid heroes reached Henakau Island. They looked at it, then quickly turned away – having seen it they really wanted to not continue looking at it.

They decided to begin their daily Quillbeard Quest meeting as a way to do something that didn’t involve facing that scene.

Bessie the generic cow said, “Wow, that’s a lot of chickens.”
Boris popped in, “Ahem, the number of chickens is not on the agenda.  Item the first, the narrator doesn’t like using things like “Boris said,” and “Jane replied,” and so on, so we’re going to use something in line with the format in dramatic scripts rather than a story narrative. Given the theatrical nature of the set design, it seems fitting. All the world’s a stage, and all the men, women, cows, bears, hedgehogs, and various other animals are merely players, eh?”
Jane: What does that even mean? “Narrator?” We aren’t characters in some story or play. Can you stop for even a minute with this meta-fourth-wall-whatever business? You’re going to alienate readers.
Boris (annoyed): If there was an Olympic event in wrongness, you’d take gold. There are so many dimensions and aspects to how you’re wrong it would take an epic quest to…

DSC_0092

Franklin (calling down, interrupting): Excuse me, can we get to item two?
Jane: Yes, good. Item two. The skunk wants down. We will vote. All those in favor?
(Everyone but Franklin): No.
Jane: Decided. On to item three. We’re at Henakau island. Bubo, what do we do now?
Bubo: First, make sure we bring Boris as a translator. Also, let’s bring those bottles as a gift. Third, we’ll need to establish some kind of rapport with the locals.
Jane: Well, rapport with the cows shouldn’t be too hard. Hope the chickens like bears and owls.
Boris: My experiences with chickens have been generally positive.  Better than with the toucans.  Terrifying things, toucans.
Bubo: Chickens should have no reason to fear a large predatory bird.
Moonflower: I feel like you guys are ignoring me.
Jane: Okay, so bears and owls are fine with chicken rapport. Good. Now to get to the Boris item I wish we could skip. (pause and sigh) “Homericness.”

mast

Boris: Yes, thank’s, eh. I am deeply concerned – when this adventure began we had a fine start at following a heroic journey – we even had a reference to Homer’s Polyphemus from the Odyssey. There was even a visit to an island with a magician. Everything was copacetic. Then things stopped being copacetic. We have not had an ordeal of visiting the underworld, we haven’t reaped the hard gained rewards from that ordeal – we’re dropping the ball. I propose that we adopt a mission statement: “Homericness.” To live up to that mission statement, I suggest that we tie Princess to the mast while we pass through sirens singing beautiful songs that lead to our death if we hear them. All those in favor?
Christine (cow safety officer): While I understand you’d really like to do this, it would involve at least fifteen different violations of Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code Section VIII.
Jane: Also, a single word is not a mission statement.
Boris: Well, could we turn the boat around and be forced to choose either all dying in a whirlpool, or passing under a cliff-dwelling beast that will grab and eat a few of us at random?
Jane: Absolutely not.
Boris: Since the rules prohibit tying hedgehogs to masts, and the random death by cliff-beast suggestion was a non-starter, I propose a new mission statement: “Gilgameshness.”  We shall pick up the narrative themes of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Princess will battle an ogre named Humbaba.

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(Everyone else at same time): No.
Jane: Also, a single word is not a mission statement.
Boris: Deadly toucans?
(Everyone else at same time): No.
Boris: We’re doing it all wrong, you guys… All wrong. I guess we should get back to preparing to debark since we’re at the island. I fear we’re going to be way past our standard word count at this point, especially with all that’s needed to complete this epic.

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They looked out at the island. It looked remarkably similar to the other islands they’d visited in some ways, other than the inhabitants. They were somewhat interested, yet troubled, due to those inhabitants, and a little tired of islands, longing for living rooms, castles, farms, and other places that weren’t islands.

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They debarked. A rooster approached.
Rooster: Greetings to you, eh. It appears that we finally have adventurers worthy of the Gem of Destiny. Tell me adventurers, what are your names, eh?
Jane: What?
Franklin: Can anyone understand what he’s saying?
Boris: It’s ok, he’s speaking Canadian. I’ll translate, “Greetings to you. It appears that we finally have adventurers worthy of the Gem of Destiny. Tell me adventurers, what are your names?”
Princess: Oh, well I am Princess Penelope Pricklepants. I have a lovely and extensive title, but we can save that for later. These are my loyal friends who joined me on our quest. Perhaps we could skip listing everyone’s names for now, though?
Rooster: All’s copacetic then, eh.
Boris: He says that’s fine.
Jane: We should give him the bottles. We’re supposed to give him a gift.

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Princess: O noble rooster who has not yet shared his name, we offer to you these bottles of a fluid we assume to be wonderful as a gift.
Rooster: Thanks, eh. Well, we have a tradition here of giving a gift when one is received. Here.
(handing over gem of destiny)

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Princess: Odd, I thought it was red for some reason…
Rooster: Oh, the color changes.  Here’s an instruction manual, eh.  The Gem is pretty easy to use, and can be of great benefit to many if held in the paws of a worthy hedgehog.
Boris: No! We are not ending things like this!
Princess: What’s the matter Boris? We should be happy – we completed our quest. It would be delightful to return home and no longer live in close quarters with one another on a ship, we can all get back to my house and have a delightful tea party.  I could wear my favorite hat.
Boris: This is just what I’m talking about – this is no ending, this is a bolted on non-denouement with no dramatic tension and resolution, doesn’t even deal with the question of what the gem of destiny is for. Gratuitous monkey thrown in for no reason. No pirate theming. No fulfillment of the heroic quest. It’s a travesty! An outrage! I thought I was in some kind of existential nightmare, but I see this is far worse. This is postmodern! But being trapped in a postmodern work is an existential torture, so it’s even worse.
Jane (still in a poor mood from the long journey, and having not had a proper cup of tea in ages): Boris, let me offer you this sign from the universe – her death-facing trial was having to listen to you.
Boris (mumbling): That’s not even how the universe works.
Princess: Well Mr. Rooster, thank you so much for the gem, we appreciate it, and really want to get home, so bye.
Rooster: Say, could you give us a lift back to civilization, eh? I think we’re done, and it’d be nice to just live on a farm. Since the first days our ancestors have passed on a tradition of explaining how it’s not all that nice, and it’s much nicer on the mainland, eh. This isn’t even a cool island where there are toucans, and cool birds (besides chickens), or waterfalls.
Boris: I refuse to translate. This is killing me. Also, toucans aren’t cool birds.
Jane: I think he said they want to come back on our ship… Mr. Rooster, peck once if this is correct, twice if this is incorrect.
(one peck)
Jane: The monkey too?
(one peck)
Jane: You’re sure about the monkey?
(one peck)
Princess: Of course we can take you all (including the monkey) back to our vaguely-defined country/place of residence, it would be a pleasure.

They packed up, boarded, and most sighed with relief that they were done except for the trip home.

The sense of relief was very short lived.

The sigh of relief was very short lived.

Stay tuned for our post-ultimate finale episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Long and Tedious Ship Ride Back (working title). Will they resort to fisticuffs? Will Boris come to terms with his crisis of existing in an existential post-modern drama? Will we just skip that episode and call this the final finale? Will the author ever learn the meaning of the words “first” and “last?” These and other questions may be answered at some point in the future when the next blog post appears.

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Boris: I’m going to write a haiku about how unbearable it is to be on a ship laden with chickens.
Jane: Of course you will. Hey, what do you call bears with no ears?
Boris: What?
Jane: B

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Mystery Island


Dear reader,

Happily, we’re back from a brief vacation and back into the swing of infrequent posts. We have a few items to go over that are significant in some way.

First, we are delighted to mention that we have a few search terms that are bringing multiple people in from google: “hedgehog fist,” and “princess filler.”  We clearly are making the web a better place.

Also first, for people who stumble on this, here are the previous four episodes:

Secondly, you might have noticed that this particular adventure has been dragging on for far more episodes than any previous one.  We apologize, and will work to resolve all the conflicts, and wrap things up in a nice neat conclusion as quickly as we can.

Also secondly, an alert reader might notice that the extended time on the surprisingly small ship together is beginning to cause some tension among the crew.

As a final secondly you might have noticed that we aren’t sure what “first” and “secondly” actually mean.

And with that, peregrinate with me as we offer our first picture with words under it.

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Another day, another daily Quillbeard Quest meeting.

Boris was excited, he had several items for the meeting, “Okay, eh, item one, epithets.  I think we all need epithets. It’s fitting for participants in an epic, and at this point things have been dragging so long on this accursed boat that this is clearly an epic.  I shall be Boris the Awesome. Jane will be Jane the demanding. Christine will be Christine the safety obsessed. Bessie will be Bessie the generic. Franklin will be Franklin the marginalized due to smelliness. Moonflower will be Moonflower the grass aficionado.  And Redbot will be Redbot the one who doesn’t need an epithet but has one anyway.”

“Um, no,” said everyone else emphatically.

Boris the Awesome continued, “So glad we’re all onboard. Now onto my item two – catchphrases.  We each need a catchphrase we regularly say that is a trademark of our persona.  Mine will be ‘excelsior!’  Amusing, inspiring, clever, and sophisticated, much like me.”

“That sounds a little, um, off, so, maybe…”

“Excelsior!”

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Jane was annoyed, “Why, Boris?  Why would you say that?  That doesn’t even make sense!”

“So, I think Jane’s catchphrase should be ‘You see, I told you!’  And Bessie’s will be, ‘Fine, whatever.’  Princess should have something cool like, ‘Sounds like a fine time for a cup of tea,’ Redbot will say, ‘Beep-Boop-Beep,’ Christine will say, ‘That’s dangerous,’ Moonflower will say, ‘Groovy’ and Franklin won’t really say much since he’s quarantined in the crow’s nest where he belongs. It’s perfect.  Be sure to use them.”

Franklin called down, “I can hear you, you know!”

(Hi, author’s note here, since as an omniscient narrator we were able to see just what Boris was thinking when he came up with this, we offer this helpful illustration)

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(Hello, additional author’s note, Boris has a somewhat peculiar imagination which the properties of this image reflect. It is important to note that this image doesn’t really indicate a lack in the author’s Photoshop skills, and that Captain Quillbeard wasn’t just thrown in to fill in a blank space, but was part of Boris’ planned monologue that he forgot to mention.)

Jane said, “No catchphrases.  It will devolve into something annoying.”

“Excelsior!”

“You see, I told you!”

Boris giggled, “Maybe Jane’s could be, ‘Okay, you’ve had your fun, let’s get back to business.'”

Jane worked very hard not to inadvertently use this catchphrase.  “Okay, you’ve been entertaining yourself, but there are important things to discuss.  Item three – We are approaching Mystery Island.”

Moonflower was excited, “Mister Island!  Groovy!”

Jane cut in, “Look, these epithets, these catchphrases, they are simply… wrong… I move that we never surrender to this frivolousness.  We are approaching the island, though.  We need to prepare.  Let’s just end this meeting and get ready.”

Boris was pleased, “Maybe, Jane the pushy would be a better epithet.  Or Jane the demanding.  Or Jane the control freak.”

Jane the control freak became increasingly annoyed.  “You see, I told you! You’ve had your fun, let’s get back to business. No epithets! No catch phrases. Isn’t there some Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code regulation against catch phrases?  If there isn’t there should be. “

Princess Pricklepants was concerned, “I don’t think that if we use epithets we should use any that are impolite.  Perhaps Boris the Bear, Jane the Cow Accountant, Moonflower the one who doesn’t have an epithet, and Redbot the one who doesn’t need an epithet but has one anyway would do?”

It was generally agreed by most, excluding Boris, that this would probably work, and given the grand island adventure approaching it was time to engage in adventure-preparation related activities.

While they went off to do their activities, Boris took Moonflower aside.

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“Okay, now is your time to shine, eh. We all need you to be a wise counsel to Princess Penelope on her heroic journey. Take her aside, and say some things to help her prepare mentally for the challenges ahead. Say things that sound profound when you first hear them, even if they don’t hold up to a lot of scrutiny. Something like, ‘Wherever you go, there you are’ would be superb!”

Princess was tired of the ship.  She thought back to the wonderful times she had in her lovely home, the pie (all eaten by Boris), the cookies (all eaten by Boris), the tea, the cheese.

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 A voice called out, “Hey, like, Princess.”  The delightful recollection of happy times ended.

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“Yes, o Moonflower the delightful and kind?” (Princess was trying out epithets despite Jane’s concerns.)

“So, you’re going to be on an adventure soon.”

“I think we’re already on one, aren’t we?”

“Well, I have some words of wisdom to offer – wherever you are, you’re already there.”

“Yes, yes, I suppose that’s true.”

“Your mind is like a book.  It’s better for it to be open.”

“Oh, but wouldn’t it be hard to keep books on shelves if they were all open?”

“Yeah, that’s kind of weird, maybe we should close our books and open our minds?  Oh, also do unto others or do not, there is no try.”

“Well, I’m afraid that I have to get going to do some important work, thanks for our little chat, perhaps we could talk more soon after I’ve finished?  Since you don’t have anything to do, sounds like a fine time for a cup of tea.”

Boris the Bear was moderately pleased.  The plan wasn’t exactly falling into place perfectly, but it was pretty much kind of working, and things could only get better. He said, “Excelsior!” to nobody in particular.

They approached the island. It was indeed a bit of a mystery.

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The greatest mystery was how we got to a thousand words (our standard cutoff) without actually reaching the Island which was the whole point. Also, why all the birds? Why is the sky still wrinkled? Was the author lying when they said that this was going to be wrapped up quickly? These and many other mysteries might be answered in our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Mystery Island Again.

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part III – Stench Island


Dear readers,

A few notable things need to be cleared up before we can begin our most recent episode.

First, this is the third of a multipart series:

Part I is here

Part II is here

Also first, there were a few poor visitors who came here from searches that we really need to address to protect future visitors looking for these things.

Someone searched for “what does a pedigree hedgehog do its business in.”  The answer here is simple, the same place a non-pedigree hedgehog does its business in.

Someone searched for “regal san clemente,” which kind of sounds interesting, but um, we’re not a reliable resource for regal san clemente related information of any kind, and are really confused how a search engine though we were relevant, and more confused that someone would see a hedgehog blog and decide that was a reasonable thing to click on to find out more on regal san clemente.  But still, it’s nice to have visitors.

Someone searched for “peregrinate with me” which is such a compelling little phrase that we had to share it, though we have no advice for our traveling friend.  Sadly, they didn’t leave a comment with contact for us to make our travel arrangements so they are stuck peregrinating alone.

Finally, someone searched for “sleeping in bed with pygmy hedgehog,” a topic we haven’t covered here before.  This is one we really need to address to protect any and all who might be so insane as to attempt this.  Do not attempt this.  It is a terrible, terrible, idea in every sense.  You will be intermittently woken up by your night-wandering little stabby pal.  Each time you will be awakened perforated in some new terrible way.  In the morning you will be exhausted and lying in a bed full of hedgehog poop and pee.  You don’t want that.  Your hedgehog doesn’t want that.  Nobody wants that.  Don’t do it.  We’ll definitely never try it again.

Wow, that’s a lot of preamble.  We had a Quentin-related thing, but we’ll share it some other time, were going to note our frustrating chicken problem, and wanted to mention that we’re bumping the word count, but no time for that now.  So now we will proceed to our first picture with words under it.

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Princess Pricklepants and her intrepid crew carried on gallantly. Their adventures with the art-model cyclops baker left them somewhat shaken, the trip seemed more dangerous than anything they’d done before. Boris had eaten all the cyclops baker’s pies after a few hours, much to the annoyance of everyone else.  They began their daily Quillbeard Quest meeting.

“I’ve really been looking forward to today’s meeting,” said none of them.

Christine, the cow safety officer began, “Okay, item one. According to Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code Section II, we need to run a tidy ship.  Why is there a houseplant on deck?”

It was generally decided that someone should probably straighten things up at some point.

Jane said, “Item two – the pie…”

Boris interrupted quickly, “But it’s pie. I’m a bear. It is my nature to eat pie. Bears have no impulse control with pie.  If I didn’t eat the pie I’d be out of character.”

Jane was unimpressed with this explanation, “I am unimpressed with this explanation. As a solution, all future pies will be put in picnic baskets with little latches on them so you won’t be able to get to them.”

Boris said, “Well, fine then. There’s no way a bear would figure that kind of thing out. I will definitely never be able to reach a pie in a picnic basket, it’s not in a bear’s nature. Now that we’re done with that topic, which we definitely should not revisit, let’s quickly move on to item three. The next island on this map is Stench Island. Are we really going there? Maybe we should skip it? The map says there’s a Dread Smellbeast of Terror. I think we might want to avoid Dread Smellbeasts of Terror.”

Jane agreed, “Stench Island, Dread Smellbeast of Terror, maybe we really do want to just skip all that…”

Princess stepped in, “I hate to be the voice of reason, that’s Jane’s job. Still, the map says there’s something important in a chest there that we need to get. So we need to go there.”

Boris wasn’t happy with this, “But… It’s named Stench Island. I think that our heroic quest would be nobler if we were to bravely avoid danger. Also, someone should iron the sky, it’s very strange to see wrinkled clouds.”

Princess insisted, “Don’t try to distract us with meta-commentary. We have to go.”

“Fine, but I’m staying on the ship.  Great meeting, guys.”

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They arrived.

Boris said, “All those in favor of Princess going to the island, since she has natural defenses?  Surely the Dread Smellbeast of Terror would fear her.”

There was only one vote against.

“But quills have nothing to do with guarding against smells, and I have an incredibly sensitive nose. I would go into details of hedgehog biology explaining how we use our sense of smell to forage, but that’d be tedious. Plus if the Dread Smellbeast of Terror attacks, being a ball of spines doesn’t exactly solve that problem.”

“But cows, sheep, and bears are defenseless. Plus we already voted. Protect our democracy, go forth to Stench Island.  It would be ill-mannered to ignore our vote.”

“Fine.”

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Princess sniffed around.  It wasn’t too bad, a little musky, but not incredibly bad. Plus there was a chest like the one pictured on the map just sitting there. She went to investigate. Suddenly the Dread Smellbeast of Terror appeared!

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Princess bravely attempted her natural defense maneuver.

“Arr, I am the Dread Smellbeast of Terror! If you do not leave immediately, you will experience my natural defense, at which point you will leave immediately, so you might as well just leave now.”

“Oh, hello, I’m Princess Penelope Pricklepants, Grand Duchess of Tiggy-Winkle, Defender of Hufflepuff, Empress of Quillonia, and Dominions beyond the Seas.”

“Oh, that’s a really nice title.  I really wish I had a really nice long title like yours, but I haven’t got that.  I just have an utterly terrifying natural defense. I insist you leave my island, or you will smell my wrath!”

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Princess decided to use the power of politeness to defuse the situation.

“This is a really lovely island. I notice that we both have natural defenses, we’re similar in that we’re not really aggressive towards other animals, just inclined to defend against predators.”

“Yes, it’s true. Honestly, I really don’t like doing this job. I really just want to hide when anyone comes. But I was elected by my tribe to carry on the ancient Quillbeard Calling, so they left me here with this task (I think I was elected since I took one of Flower’s cookies and accidentally spilled tea on his thesaurus – Flower was really angry). So I’ve been doing this. It’s not really my style at all. I’d much prefer to pursue my true calling, writing my travel blog, Peregrinate With Me.”

“Oh, you have a blog? So do I.”

There was more pleasant conversation, and eventually Princess Pricklepants and Franklin (Dread Smellbeast of Terror was more of a nickname) were fast friends through the power of politeness, manners, etiquette, and delightfulness. Franklin learned about Captain Quillbeard’s capture and failed swimming experiment, determined that there was no longer a need for the Quillbeard Calling, and agreed to let them open the chest provided he could join them on their adventure.

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They opened the chest and were somewhat disappointed. There was nothing really interesting, just some bottles of wine. Only the cows were really wine drinkers, and none of them had a corkscrew. But apparently it was important, so they loaded it on board.

Christine, the cow safety officer had a concern, “Princess, we have a slight issue. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Harold is a skunk. We can’t take a skunk on the boat. Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code Section IV Item 3 says no skunks are allowed on the decks of pirate ships engaged in treasure seeking.”

Princess had a solution.

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With a suitable place for Harold on the ship, they peregrinated with one another onward towards their next adventure.

Will they finally find Captain Quillbeard’s mysterious treasure? Will they visit another island while we continue to wait for our package of props to be delivered? Will we sort out a better way to make something island-like? Will we ever iron the sky? These and other questions may be answered in our next episode, Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part IV – The Journey Continues (or something similar).  Well as it turns out, it’s really named Pricess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Picky Princess.  You may read it now.

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part II – The Great Middle Begins


Dear readers,

Thanks for your patience while we were off enjoying our trip to Rome not taking pictures of our hedgehog or writing stories about her adventures.  While we were away we received several pieces of correspondence.

First our mom says hi.  Hi mom!

Second, an oddly irritable reader, Ryan, wrote in to complain that we were ruining the Internet by writing about something so trivial as our pet.  It was his contention that by doing this we were contributing to the problem of unseriousness.  Dear Ryan, we fully admit to this.  We are definitely part of the problem of unseriousness and apologize for ruining the Internet.

Thirdly, Quentin wrote in to ask where he left his keys.  Try looking in the basket by the door under the things you let pile up in there.  Otherwise, check under the couch cushions.

Fourth, this blog post contains some scenes that may be disturbing to people who are upset by violent imagery involving cyclops art models being attacked by sharks.  For readers who are sensitive to this sort of thing, avert your gaze once you spot this part.

And with that, we begin our story.  Princess Pricklepants and her plucky peers piled upon the ship and set sail for adventure.  Princess put on her pirate hat to properly prepare for their plucky pirate plunder pursuit.  She was slightly put off by the photo following the first bit of narrative instead of being the other way, but was excited enough at the journey beginning that she gave it a pass.

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Boris was puzzled.  “Princess, so, um, I notice you’re dressed as a pirate.”

“Aye, and a fine pirate, indeed.  Arr.  Hey Boris, what’s a cannibal Pirate’s favorite lunch?”

“What?”

“A bacon, lettuce, and two-matey sandwich.”

“Lovely.  To the point, we’re looking for pirate treasure, but we are in fact not pirates.”

“Shiver me timbers, you’re right! So what has two eyes, two hands, two legs, and two belly buttons?”

“What?”

“Two pirates!”

“Yes, so as it turns out, dressing up as a pirate might cause others to think that we are pirates.  That would be bad, as people would be likely to do something unfriendly to us if they thought we were pirates.”

“Arr, we wouldn’t want to hornswoggle any land lubbers, that would be impolite indeed.  What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?”

“Look, this is not the time for pirate riddles.  Would you mind not dressing like a pirate as we travel the high seas?  Also, it’s R.”

“Fine, then, I’ll not dress up as a pirate.  By the way, while you might think a pirate’s favorite letter is R, it’s really the C.”

Boris wished that bears were able to roll their eyes.  He ignored her and wandered off to finish eating the last of the pie.

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Boris returned a few minutes later.

“Um, Princess?”

“Yes?”

“I notice you’re still dressed as a pirate.”

“Well, no.  Now I’m dressed as hedgehog royalty playing dress-up as a pirate.”

“That still counts as being dressed as a pirate.”

“But it’s really very different, actually, isn’t it?”

“Hey, look over there, the Universe!”

“Where?”

Boris grabbed her hat and tossed it overboard.

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Several sharks enjoyed eating the hat.  They thanked Princess for the lovely treat and mentioned that they’d be happy to offer more help so long as that help happened to involve eating other things – they were huge fans of eating things.

The trip to Henakau by ship was a very long one, so they played Scrabble, researched more about Captain Quillbeard, and sat around doing various things while the robotic helpers piloted the ship. Boris mentioned that the narrative structure seemed to be coming along better than he’d expected and droned on about possible tropes that they might incorporate into the story. Nobody listened to him, not even the narrator, so we can’t offer any quotes. Princess told pirate jokes, since when sailing this is a very polite thing to do.

“Hey Jane, did you hear about the pirate who got his left side cut off?”

“No, but I expect you’re going to tell me all about it.”

“He’s alright.”

Boris said, “I wish there was a way for the Universe to fling your pirate jokes into the sea.”

Princess replied, “What do you call a thousand pirates secretly meeting? Avast conspiracy!”

After sailing for a long time, which felt even longer to many members of the crew due to the onslaught of pirate jokes and bears talking about literary criticism in their personal lives, they approached an island that seemed like a good place to take on more fresh water and perhaps find some supplies. They prepared the ramp and piled off the ship to look around.

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After looking around a bit they decided to name the island “Skull Island” after the mysterious fortress that had a subtle skull-like shape about it. They were wonderfully delighted to find that Skull Island had a number of fresh baked pies, particularly Boris.

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“I think we should take as many pies as possible on board,” said Boris, “Ideally we should take several more than is possible.”

“But these pies must belong to someone, surely someone must have made them.  I’d be upset if someone took my pies,” said Princess.  “They’re lovely, and must have been a lot of work for someone to make.  It wouldn’t be polite to take them without asking.”

“Well, perhaps these pies grew on an unusual tree native to this island?  Or perhaps they were made as gifts to us from the Universe?  Perhaps as part of the Universe we should take our pies?”

“Maybe, but those all feel like iffy excuses for taking pies that don’t belong to us.”

“Perhaps I could just eat all the pies now?  I have an idea.  Universe (or pie owner, whoever you may be), if you agree to let us take the pies, send us a sign by not doing anything of note.”

They waited.  Nothing of note happened.

“Okay, I guess we can take a few onboard, then.”

They began to prepare to load the pies.

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As they prepared to load the pies onto the ship, an angry cyclops baker appeared.

“Who dares to trespass on my island and steal my pie?!  I, Artopius, king of the bakers of Baker Island, disdainfully criticize you!”

Jane, the cow accountant said, “So, wait, which island is Baker Island?”

“This is Baker Island.”

“No, this is Skull Island.”

“No, it’s Baker Island.”

“No, but the fort looks like a skull, so it’s Skull Island.”

“No, that’s Baker Fort, since it looks like a thing named Baker Fort.”

Jane and the cyclops argued about the name of the island for a long time, though you need not hear all the details.  Eventually they resolved to agree to disagree, and moved to the Cyclops angrily decrying the pie theft.

Boris explained, “We weren’t trying to steal them, we thought the Universe was giving them to us.  It even agreed.”

“Thieves!  You will suffer for your pie crimes!”

“Please, we aren’t pie criminals, we’re a noble hedgehog, a literary bear, a cow accountant, a sheep who hasn’t said much recently, a generic cow (who can program robots), and a helper robot on a quest.  Our quest is quite important, we’re seeking the treasure of…”

Jane interrupted, “Maybe we don’t need to explain all the specifics at this point?”

Artopius was tired of conversations and generally grouchy.  “I challenge one of you to a rap battle.  If you win, you can take three pies and leave.  If I win, I’ll eat you.”

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In retrospect, they probably should have selected a different rapper from their party than Princess Pricklepants, since she insisted on rapping politely.  The rap battle went extremely poorly.

Artopius imprisoned them in Baker Skull Fort and announced, “My friends, soon I will eat you one by one.  That hedgehog looks particularly plump and delicious.”

Princess noticed that Moonflower wasn’t really exactly imprisoned.  She whispered down to Moonflower, “Moonflower, since you’re not trapped, you should open the cow door, let Bessie free, then let her reprogram Redbot to save us all.”

“I am trapped, though. I’m a prisoner in a world sized jail!”

Clearly they needed an alternate plan.

Princess called out, “Alas, what shall we do?!”

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Dear readers, you may remember our previous warning to those who are sensitive or upset by violent imagery involving cyclops art models being attacked by sharks.  Just above this paragraph you’ll find the upsetting image, so please avert your gaze if you need to.

Their shark friends heard Princess’ plaintive plea, and due to an interesting coincidence, the phrase “Alas, what shall we do,” also happens to mean “free fresh delicious Cyclops ready for the eating” in Shark language.  The sharks pulled the cyclops into the sea.  Oddly, the cyclops disappeared once he was pulled into the sea, making the sharks very sad.  The pies did not disappear, making Boris very happy.

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With their island adventure complete, they loaded their pies onboard and got back underway.  Princess said, “Thanks Mr. Shark!”  And with that we end Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part II – The Great Middle Begins.

Will they encounter another island and have a similar adventure?  Will the disappearing cyclops be explained?  Will we figure out some way to make a different island-related set?  Will they continue to mangle the plot of the Odyssey with pirate treasure thrown in?  Will the chickens we ordered finally show up?  This and other questions may be answered in our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part III – The Great Middle of the Middle (or some similar title).

No art models were harmed in the creation of this story.

On a separate note, Artopius is the Latinized form of the Greek word for baker, in case you were wondering.

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part I – The Great Beginning


Previously: Princess Pricklepants and the Dinosaur Denouement

Dear reader,

Happily, and/or sadly, nobody has sent us any correspondence, so we have no reader responses to offer. We did find one search that led someone here for “how to have manners like a princess.” I’m sure we were very helpful. Someone also came here looking for “pleasantries synonym.” I assume they found what they were looking for.

This will be a brief prologue, since we have work to do here, thus we now offer our first picture with words under it:

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Princess Pricklepants was generally enjoying a regal life of leisure with her friends. They caught up on hedgehog documentaries, tried out surfing on a vacation…

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…and hung out with their old friend Moonflower the sheep from back in the farm days. One of the robots, Redbot, had moved in as well, to help as a personal assistant, tea connoisseur, and generally nice robot.

One day, while having tea and enjoying some truly delightful baked goods, Bessie, the generic cow and robot programmer, had a suggestion.

“Remember that pirate treasure map that you’ve had sitting around forever? Maybe we could go seek out the lost treasure of Captain Quillbeard.”  They looked at it to help justify this picture:

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They were impressed.  It looked like it must have taken someone a fair bit of work to make that map.  Also it clearly indicated something important.

Princess said, “This sounds like a very plausible premise for an adventure.”

Boris was puzzled, “Wait, we just found the pile of treasure chests in the quiet spot. What would be the point of even more treasure?”

“Because it would be fun. Also Captain Quillbeard’s treasure is a mystery. Maybe there’s something better than old coins.”

“Well, I suppose that does sound like a plausible premise for an adventure.”

They decided to start the adventure the typical way, by surfing the web for a while. Princess looked up Captain Quillbeard to do some research. She found nothing in wikipedia, which was strange. A query on hedgehogtreasureseekercentral.com returned no information. Google was no use. They even tried Bing, which returned results with a wikipedia article on chickens. After reading articles on chickens, red junglefowl, Christmas Island, and a number of other fascinating things, she had almost given up when she discovered an ancient secret web site that told about Captain Quillbeard. (note to reader: please make sure to visit this important link and read the important information therein, then come back here.)

The story told by the mysterious ancient web page seemed like typical pirate fare, but had some interesting information. Unfortunately that was all she could find, and all the links on that page to other notable things were broken.

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Jane was concerned. “OK, so this is one of those things we can’t just wrap up quickly, like most things.  So we need to actually for the first time in our lives have a plan.  And we have to make a real plan.” She was still recovering from her tech. career, and thus began most sentences with either “OK,” or a conjunction.
Boris suggested a plan, “First I finish this pie, then we take a helicopter loaded with shovels and stuff to the place the map indicates, then we dig the stuff up, then we take the stuff we find back in the helicopter. Finally, we have more pie.”
“OK, there are some problems, though. First, the island is part of Henakau. And they don’t permit helicopters and hasn’t got an airport. And the only way to travel there is by boat.  Also, quit hogging the pie.”
“So we fly to the nearest normal place, then hire a boat, eh?”
“OK, but part of their customs require that you take the boat from your home.”
“Fine. We have to take the boat. I hate boats.”

They ordered rope, shovels, metal detectors, food, and boat-related supplies from hedgehogtreasureseekercentral.com with free two day shipping, then sat around for two days binge watching Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog on Netflix and baking macarons while they waited, except Bessie who worked on reprogramming Redbot to serve as a Henakau protocol droid.

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Princess Pricklepants, Boris, Moonflower, Redbot, Bessie, and Jane prepared for adventure while robots loaded the ship.

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Boris said, “Maybe we could use a helicopter and air-lift the ship to Henaku?”
Jane explained, “That would be prosaic and dull. Besides, you can’t have adventures with helicopters.”
Boris began to think about explaining that you could have many adventures with helicopters, but then realized that using a pirate ship to seek out the treasure would add extra symbolism that would enhance the narrative. He then worried that there wasn’t a proper call to adventure, as a conversation over tea and cookies was barely a call to adventure at all. He thought about many other things as well, but we won’t dwell on them here, since the literary thoughts of bears are not the point of all this.  While he thought about pie and came up with a plan that didn’t involve eating more pie, but would help the narrative.

Boris pulled out his cell phone and called Princess. “Hello, this is Princess Pricklepants, hedgehog adventurer, who is calling?” (She was still working out etiquette for answering phones, she really preferred texting, where manners were easier to understand).
In a deep spooky voice, as mysterious as he could muster, Boris said, “It is I, the ghost of Captain Quillbeard. You must seek my treasure, for the Universe now needs it for its very safety, and only you can undertake this great quest!”
“Boris, is that you? Why are you using that odd voice?”
(spooky voice) “No, it’s Captain Quillbeard’s ghost, eh!”
“Why does my phone say Boris is calling?”
(spooky voice) “I am haunting his phone.”
“Oh, but also Boris is standing next to me, and is using the same funny voice and saying the same things.”
(spooky voice) “Pay no attention to the bear, eh, listen to me, the ghost of Captain Quillbeard. Seek the treasure.”
“Well, we were seeking the treasure, so I think we’re all set here, thanks Bor… Captain Ghost.”
“Oh, thanks, eh… hey, wait, you’re supposed to refuse at first, then go along with it…”
“Well then, I refuse to not seek the treasure.”
“No, you refuse to… Well, never mind. See you on the ship.”
“See you, Boris.”

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With that settled, they were ready to go. Boris was not fully satisfied, and was also annoyed that that last photo put the hedgehog in focus and left him in the background, but figured it was a start. Boris knew they needed to meet a wise person to mentor them at this point for everything to work out. He figured they’d met Moonflower recently, so that was pretty close.

“Hey Moonflower, got a second?”
“I have all the moments in the Cosmos, all in the now.”
“Oh, perfect, you sound like a wise mentor. I need to ask you a favor.”
“Right on, man.”
“Uh, so we need someone to help Princess make decisions on the journey, a kind of wise counselor who can guide her.”
“Oh, I’ve helped out on some really wild trips, I am so in.”
“Perfect. Thanks!”

Things were going swimmingly, except with a boat and ideally no swimming. They prepared to board and begin their journey.

End of Part I

Coming soon: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part II – The Great Middle

Will they find the treasure? Will there be sharks involved? Will they keep reusing one small set with boat pictures over and over? How will they manage to make a set that involves digging up treasure? These and other things will be answered soonish. Here is one small preview that answers the shark question, though:

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