Today we present an amazing collection of virtually believable hedgehog facts for your wonder, delight, and edification:
You can even get the shirt here.
If you enjoy these, you might enjoy our amazing merchandise available here:
Today we present an amazing collection of virtually believable hedgehog facts for your wonder, delight, and edification:
You can even get the shirt here.
If you enjoy these, you might enjoy our amazing merchandise available here:
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.And so, as we always try to do, we begin our story with a picture with words under it.
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!”
“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.”
Her 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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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)
Dear readers, our introduction will be brief for this, our latest blog post.
We are required to mention the existence of superb, compelling t-shirts that you clearly want:
Feel their powerful draw, can you resist?
With that complete, we begin our story with a picture with words under it.
Princess Pricklepants and friends were sitting in a new meeting about Her Highness’ presidential campaign. They were gaining some supporters, but humans had a strange tendency to support one of the human candidates, despite her clearly being an ideal presidential candidate.
“Item one,” said Jane, “so far we haven’t sold any shirts.”
“The shirts are so delightful, this is a real puzzle,” said Her Highness.
“I feel like I’m living in a shameless marketing ploy,” said Boris.
“Deal, Mr. Existential. Anyway, they’ve only been up for a day, maybe we need to wait,” said Jane.
“Okay, so what can we do to win more voters,” Princess asked?
“I know what to do,” said Boris, “forget the humans, they’re fickle. We need woodland creature support.”
Jane protested, “What about farm animals? The cow vote is critical.”
“Cows never vote,” said Boris, “they’re sheep.”
While the others were bickering, Princess wandered off to go on Twitter, which was where presidents were made these days. It seemed like just the sort of place for calm, mature discussions of political matters.
She decided to check in with the squirrels there, since squirrels were a key part of the small furry mammal base she wanted to win over. She also had read a book about squirrels that she found deeply delightful for some reason.
In the Twitterverse, she found a politically engaged squirrel, and was delighted…
Wisconsin’s primaries were winding up, and she was excited to see the news about her support from squirrels there. She didn’t want to hurt any squirrels feelings, so she apologized politely while sharing the news of her support.
The count was ongoing…
Happily, the final count put hedgehogs clearly in the lead:
For some reason there was skepticism.
Her Highness politely pointed to science to help the misguided:
Sadly a minority of squirrel extremists read some misinformation on the internet and became very upset.
But truth reigned supreme.
Sadly, it was clear that some squirrels were reading fringe conspiracy theory web sites…
While most squirrels supported Her Highness, these particular squirrels were less enthusiastic. And definitely not polite.
Things got even more disappointing…
Disappointing, and clearly rooted in a handful of species-ists.
She realized that she had to reach out to squirrels with kindness and politeness to try to build bridges and promote inter-species understanding.
This worked out, squirrel polls showed even better numbers, so it was time to reach out to other woodland creatures.
With knowledge that support from squirrels, mice, and opossums was growing, she thought about the next core demographics for support – bunnies, guinea pigs, and chinchillas, but was a little tired. She went back to the living room. Jane and Boris were still arguing about cows voting. She got some tea, and went to bed.
She was really not looking forward to the New York and California primaries…
A reader who is a 4th grade teacher, and generally awesome person (and also a fine quilter), uses our photos as writing prompts in her class, something we take pride and delight in. (She’s the cool one who sent us the blankies we used in a number of photos, and you can find more of her fine work here.)
Recently she used Bat-Hog as a writing prompt for her class:
She was kind enough to send some of the amazing, brilliant, funny, and generally wonderful work her students used. Read these, and be pleased, delighted, amused, and generally a little more optimistic – they are all brilliant and need to be shared:
Dear reader, hopefully you were led here from this post’s immediate antecedent. Due to technical reasons far too risky to explain, we shall now only refer to that previous post as The Post That Must Not Be Named. Still, there’s happy news – those previous complications, digressions, and Dark Arts can now be left behind (provided they are never discussed, explained, or named).
And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.
Princess Pricklepants was profoundly pleased. After a complicated series of events and delays (which must not be discussed, explained, or named), she was finally able to fulfill her supreme destiny in teaching a monkey all the things a monkey should know – politeness, manners, and grace at a tea party (well, there was also dancing, singing, and proper diction, but those were a digression, and at this point Her Highness had become very suspicious of digressions). The tea was set out, there were some nice snacks, and she had her artful friend Artemisia as a model manners assistant. There was even a fancy chair for the monkey. Things were going swimmingly.
Now all she had to do was teach the monkey. She’d been so busy with email and avoiding meetings that she’d overlooked making a lesson plan. She decided to wing it as delightfully as possible.
“Now Monkey, um, let’s see. To be polite, one should use the term ‘one’ instead of ‘you’, smile nicely (as I and Artemisia always do), and also… Hmm…” She thought about having Monkey walk with a book balanced on the head to teach grace and poise, but that really didn’t seem like the right thing to do around cups of tea. Enunciation lessons would be frustrating since Monkey didn’t speak English like a normal hedgehog, bear, or cow. At a loss, she decided to google something polite to do at tea parties.
Puzzlingly, when she looked up ‘Tea Party’ on google, the results were utterly bizarre and distressingly impolite. Google was clearly confused, it seemed to be looking into some strange and rather grumpy alternate reality she was pleased to be no part of.
With no help from the internet, she bravely forged ahead. She began a lesson showing Monkey how to make a plate of treats with impeccable manners. Surely this would be a simple and foolproof lesson.
She illustrated daintily placing a treat on a plate with grace and poise. Next came Monkey’s turn.
Unfortunately there was a mishap. But in every mishap, there’s an opportunity to be polite and helpful. “Oh dear, Monkey, are you okay? Let me help you back up.” She politely helped Monkey back to the seat. Monkey got back on the seat but at this point, things took a turn towards the complicated, as reality cruelly conspired against etiquette lessons.
Monkey sat upon the chair, but in a sense that was not so much “upon” as “upon, but in the entirely wrong way.” Monkey sat in a manner sadly lacking in refinement and sophistication. Princess politely looked away to give Monkey the chance to correct the posture problems.
In retrospect, looking aside was a poor choice. While looking anywhere but at the monkey, she noticed the wonderful beckoning dark space under the table. The beautiful, hypnotic, irresistible dark space. The allure was strong, so she decided to gracefully climb under the table.
She felt wonderfully sublime exploring this mysterious and fascinating new space, but the monkey posture problem remained. She had to think of a solution. She thought, and realized the solution. It was incredibly simple and elegant. “Monkey, perhaps you’d like to look under the table? It’s so lovely to crawl around there, and it’s so polite and refined,” she helpfully suggested.
It a was a perfect solution. The posture problems were in the past. There was a slight down side, though. The monkey’s trip under the table left Artemisia inexplicably distressed. Princess Pricklepants felt great concern. She tried to comfort her artful model friend.
Some aspects of this may have comforted her friend (though the quill stabbing aspect was much too uncomfortable to be very comforting), but it had an unfortunate complicating effect. Monkey noticed that comforting Artemisia looked incredibly fun and decided to try it too.
Unfortunately, despite the monkey’s best efforts at being comforting, the end result was somehow not comforting at all, but distressing.
At this point Artemisia needed additional comforting due to these attempts at comforting. Princess politely jumped in great enthusiasm to offer aid and comfort. The outcome was truly memorable, which is the hallmark of a good party, so it worked out really well.
There was one tiny issue. She may have jumped in a little too enthusiastically, since bits of party ended up strewn across the floor. Still, there was a happy side, since some cookies had fallen to the floor. With the floor cookies she could both practice and illustrate her manners at not eating off the ground (challenge level: extreme), and there was added bonus – she could say “excuse me” for the minor faux pas.
While the incident had many wonderfully polite and delightful aspects for Her Highness, there was one very, very unfortunate side effect. In clambering across the table, she spotted something with an allure even greater than the magnificent sub-table space. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted the wonderful, enticing, tantalizing Gap Under The Sofa (so delightful it had to be capitalized). An irresistible space with an allure so tempting that there was only one possible polite pursuit.
Clambering under the couch was so fantastically, irresistibly polite that Monkey, as a new student of politeness, joined in happily. This pleased Her Highness to no end. These manners lessons were going so well!
With Her Highness sniffing under the sofa in the most refined and delightful way she could manage, and with Monkey following suit, her heart swelled. Her charge in charm training was clearly getting the knack of politeness, grace, and delightful things! Monkey Manners Mission Accomplished!
And with that happy ending, she was as delighted as could be. Clearly Monkey had seen that manners are fun and would now behave like a proper monkey. With a bit of work at balancing books on heads, a bit of refinement of diction, and perhaps some ballroom dancing lessons, things would be peachy. Now she just had to get those chickens in shape.
Coming soon in our next episode: Will the monkey manners be maintained? Will the chickens learn civility? What happened to the skunk? Will the story shift in some other unrelated direction pretending none of this ever happened? Will the author lighten up on the adjective extravagance? Will the crocodiles (or is it alligators?) return? These and other questions may or may not be answered in Princess Pricklepants and the Chicken Charm School (working title – subject to change).
Please be advised that the following story contains graphic self-referentiality. Younger readers and those sensitive to chronic self-reference exposure might experience dizziness, confusion, and mild irritation when reading this post. Precautionary meta-measures should be taken, though were we to mention them, this in itself could trigger acute self-referentialititis in those afflicted.
Since this is a longer post somewhat past the bounds of prudence and justice in hedgehog-blog related literature, we’ll keep this preamble brief except for this one item of note: Someone came to this blog from a search for “how can make the models of cow & duck from waste materials.” We feel like someone who suddenly found a mysterious doorway in their home that they’d never noticed before. This opens new dimensions.
And now, our first picture with words under it.
“Good morning, Boris.”
“Good morning, Your Highness. I notice that we’re in a standard two character intro. Lovely! Things are looking nicely normal for the literary form. I assume we’ll be briefly describing an important detail of the plot’s conflict to the audience mixed with a bit of light banter to set the mood?”
“Not sure what you mean about standard intros, but I was just having some tea and sitting here working out my plan for Monkey.”
“Ah, yes, Monkey. Have you read my latest blog post on Monkey?”
“You have a blog?”
“How could you not know this? I email links to it every time I post something… It’s a handy way for me to explain my displeasure at certain cows and other figures in a delightfully indirect way. I just skip sending links to the annoying… Uh… So, yes, eh, I have a boring blog. You shouldn’t read it. Very dull.”
“So, the monkey business?”
“Yes, I have a perfectly pleasant plan to promote politeness and philanthropy in our primate pal.”
“Interestingly, I wrote on my blog about alliteration recently… Anyway, you’re going to send Monkey to a zoo?”
“No. I’ve realized the error of my ways. The key is the tea. That’s what I always say now. So we’ll have a lovely and tasteful tea party. Monkey will be pleased, delighted, and educated.”
“Do those three words usually go together?”
“Yes. Now you too are pleased, delighted, and educated.”
“You know, I suddenly have a new blog post to work on. Good day.”
Jane entered in a way no adjectives could properly describe, so no description was offered. “So, the meeting. You ready? I’ve got a few new items. I found an amazing way to make models of ducks and cows from scrap paper! Oh, also it turns out the bear has a blog where he talks about us and how we’ve annoyed him. One of the chickens forwarded me a link.”
“Oh, maybe we could not have the meeting today? I have plans. Tea party plans with the monkey. It will be luminous.”
“So you’re really skipping an important meeting where you can contribute valuable time and resources to go have a tea party with a monkey?”
“It’s to teach Monkey manners.”
“I thought we were going to get that monkey a job. We’ll be going over this in the meeting we all really should be attending.”
“Would you mind holding on just a moment? I need to send a quick email.”
To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: A Missive on Manners in Meetings
I have some incredibly important business to attend to teaching a monkey proper primate etiquette, but to do so would require skipping a meeting. Is it polite to skip meetings if it’s for the purpose of furthering a great and noble cause?
To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings
Dear Somewhat Impolite Nickname,
Pursuing the promotion of proper politeness is a perennially perfect and proper plan. Perhaps you could try telling the meeting organizer you’re busy and see if they can reschedule.
To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings
What if they don’t agree?
To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings
Dear Still Inexplicably Using That Somewhat Impolite Nickname,
Mention that they skipped the meeting yesterday. Note that there’s clearly some flexibility in scheduling.
Oh, that’s a great idea. But how did you know about the rescheduling? Oh, wait, you must read my blog…
“Say, Jane, could we reschedule the meeting?”
“I really want to have a word with everyone about that bear and his blog. He said I was a passive-aggresive control-freak! You should hear what he said about alliteration!”
“Couldn’t you just talk to him?”
“That’s a kooky idea. We’ll talk about it in the meeting.”
“Remember how you rescheduled the meeting yesterday?”
“Yes, it’s been so long since we’ve had a meeting. I really miss our meetings.”
“Perhaps you could write a note about impolite blogging for the bear and leave it on the refrigerator? Then we could discuss leaving notes in the meeting tomorrow.”
“Fine. I’ll leave a note for the bear. I guess. But someone else might be seeing her own note about meeting rescheduling… And in the next meeting we’ll be discussing the importance of attendance.”
An astute reader might have noticed that we’re already remarkably far into this story with a withering sea of dialog, but no tea parties, few photos, and barely any story per se. Yet adorable photos of hedgehogs participating in tea parties with monkeys are really the main purpose of this blog post. “Why?” You are probably asking, “Why no hedgehog monkey tea parties? Why all this dialog and email business? Why this rambling authorial intrusion?” The answer is perplexing to us all, I’m afraid, even to the narrator. Sorry. We’ve really been trying to make things go that way, but instead here we are not presenting you with hedgehog-monkey-tea, and are even talking about not doing that very thing, adding to the sense that this digression is as distressing as it is inexplicable, like a metaphor without a comparison. Apologies. We really ought to do something about that.
To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: A Dramatic Failure
I know you don’t read my blog. I check. You really should. You’re a terrible writer tormenting me with an endless litany of literary failures, non-existent dramatic structure, meandering prose, and peculiar diction. I have so much advice for you. Please subscribe to my blog. Regarding your current meandering malaise of muddled mystification, hideous whimsy, mutilated story progression, and crimes against literature I also have some advice. Instead of reading your email you might want to just write the story. Or at least plug some pictures in with our charming bear protagonist offering helpful advice and commentary to his hapless animal friends.
To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: A Dramatic Failure
Thanks so much for contacting us with your criticism. Negative feedback can be a valuable part of the development of a creative work, but sadly, we are busy writing a lovely story about a hedgehog having a tea party with a monkey and currently cannot accept your criticism. We also regret to inform you that we have no plans to process criticism anytime in the near or distant future, including complaints about not accepting criticism, complaints about spending time writing email about not accepting criticism when we should be writing other things, criticisms of literary structure, complaints about typos or or speling errors in response emails, or any other from of complaint, critique, denunciation, etc. For further details, please see:
If you’re concerned about us effectively recycling someone else’s material, that too is a form of criticism which again falls under the category of things we are currently not accepting.
P.S. Please feel free to review this email whenever the thought of contacting us with criticism arises.
Soon another email arrived, but the Author had stopped checking email, since he was busy reading some articles found after googling procrastination, thinking about whether there actually was some way to construct a metaphor without a comparison (since that would be really cool), and trying to think of a way to work the phrase “bear umbrage” into the story somehow.
Things got complicated, and it didn’t seem like there was any hope the story could progress. How could a denouement be reached? With far more than a thousand words already spilled in a format with an arbitrarily self-imposed thousand word limit, a story that was in revolt against its own plot, and levels of self-reference that seemed like they’d suck everything into a swirling vortex of recursion the impasse seemed intractable. Fortunately Her Highness had an idea.
“Perhaps you could just call this complete, then start a new story. In the new one, we just need to find the monkey, set up a nice tea service with a few treats, some tasteful decorations, and an environment full of sweetness and light. With that, things will naturally unfold just as they should, and all will be well in the world.”
So, it is your Destiny that you must click here to continue to Princess Pricklepants, Magnificent Mender of Monkey Manners (we were going to title it, “Princess Pricklepants and the Quest for Monkey Manners – A New Beginning,” but certain editors protested) in which there are many photos, monkey manners may be modified, and tea is served.
Previously: Princess Pricklepants and the Monkey Business
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:
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.
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:
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|
She of the tea
|Hello, did anyone think of a job for Monkey?|
|Boris – Nov. 22 2015 11:01 AM|
“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|
|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|
“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|
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|
|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: email@example.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
To: [redacted] From: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
To: email@example.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
To: [redacted] From: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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
To: [redacted] From: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
To: email@example.com From: [redacted] Subject: Teenager Acting Out
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
To: [redacted] From: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com From: [redacted] Subject: Miniatures Photography Woes
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
To: [redacted] From: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
To: email@example.com From: [redacted] Subject: Advice re: Uptight Cow
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?
To: [redacted] From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Advice re: ... Cow friend
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.
To: email@example.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.
To: [redacted] From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Need Advice About A... Monkey
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?
To: email@example.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?
To: [redacted] From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Need Advice About A Monkey, Now With Improved Subject
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.
To: email@example.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.
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.
Hello again, dear readers,
In the news, we’ve got two items for you.
First, you won’t ever have to worry about fame going to our head. We made the mistake of looking at Alexa, a site that shows the relative popularity of web sites. Our humble blog is now even humbler after seeing that we’re the 5,568,903th most popular blog on the Interwebs. But that means you, special reader, can show how much cooler you are to your friends by referencing this very blog which they definitely will never have heard of.
Second, we didn’t have another item, but felt badly about only having one.
Third, with the holidays looming, we might be a bit spotty on posts.
Fourth, we really had a second item, but got to it third. Sorry for the confusion.
Fifth, Her Highness has been in a bit of a poetic phase recently. Behold:
And now, we begin our tale with our first photo with words under it (except the photos above, which clearly don’t count.)
Her Highness endured the trip back from the island with some discomfort, but they made it back home. There were some problems finding a new home for the chickens and monkey. Her farmer friends on hedgehogfarmercentral.com already had too many chickens and monkeys, so they had to stay at her place until arrangements could be made.
As a result of the new guests, Her Highness was having a very trying morning. So trying indeed, that these were the times that try a hedgehog’s soul. Things had been oddly unpleasant since the return from their great adventure. Chicken noise, chicken mess, and other chicken problems were piling up around her home.
But the chickens were the lesser concern. The greater was the monkey business. At first the monkey had seemed nice enough, but for some reason the monkey refused to speak. It just said “ooh ooh, aah aah” and then jumped around. Sometimes it threw things that definitely never, ever should be thrown, like pillows. It was a troublingly monkey.
While Jane wasn’t pleased by the chicken who’d decided to use her head as a nest, the monkey put googly eyes on Her Highness’s hindquarters. So distressing! So very discourteous! So incredibly impolite!
But this was a relatively minor kerfuffle when compared to The Starbucks Incident…
Her Highness wasn’t sure how this had happened. One moment the monkey was gesticulating, oohing, and aahing along, pointing at the gargantuan Starbucks cup prop that Boris had bought on a whim from eBay. The next thing she knew, she was in a very undignified and distressing position.
Regardless, it was definitely the last straw. Princess Pricklepants decided it was time to take the monkey on as a project. The monkey must become a genteel monkey, educated in the ways of politeness, manners, geography, figurative language, and related things that would prevent another Starbucks Incident. It would be rather like My Fair Lady, except My Fair Monkey. Soon the monkey would be singing lovely songs about dancing all night, and all would be nice and proper.
She worked out a lesson plan on hedgehoglessonplancentral.com, set up a classroom in the kitchen, and began her lesson in politeness. “Now, monkey, after you’ve eaten your banana, where does the peel go?” “Oooh ooh, ah ah.” The lesson quickly became very trying due to the language barrier.
She called Boris the bear into the kitchen.
“Boris, this monkey isn’t speaking words I understand. I think this may be a Canadian monkey. Perhaps you can translate?”
The monkey picked up a sandwich and said “Ooh ooh, ah ah.”
Boris said, “No, that’s not Canadian. Perhaps ‘ooh ooh, ah ah’ means sandwich?”
“The monkey always says that. Maybe the monkey’s always talking about sandwiches?”
The monkey threw the sandwich.
She addressed the monkey, “No, monkey, throwing things is definitely not polite. Now, what is the capital of Argentina?”
“Ooh ooh, ah ah”
“No, it’s Buenos Aires. I showed you on the map. I think that the monkey’s not saying ‘sandwich,’ it’s just speaking some strange language. I think there’s a figurative language barrier. Perhaps it’s speaking Cockney?”
The monkey left. It didn’t say goodbye or engage in any polite formalities. This was not like My Fair Monkey at all.
She sighed. This was a problem. It’s difficult to educate a monkey in manners when you can’t speak with it. She asked herself, “What is the ideal way to solve any problem?”
She called a meeting.
Jane: Item one, naming the monkey. What should we call it?
Jane: Yes, but what should we name it?
(After a much longer conversation than is polite to relate, it was decided to name the monkey “Monkey.”)
Jane (cow accountant): Item two. Snacks. We’re totally out of bananas.
Boris (bear): It’s the monkey. The monkey is a banana thief! A cruel taker of snacks.
Jane: Did the monkey take the three pies that were out this morning? Remember a few minutes ago when we had two dozen donuts? I count eight now.
Boris: This meeting is about the monkey.
Princess: The monkey is also very impolite. We should discuss monkey manners.
Boris: As a bear’s-rights snacktivist, I find eating my food much more serious.
Jane: Well, all the items are about monkey business. I suppose we can we just talk about the monkey business, even if it does ruin the meeting format.
Princess: So what is the appropriate thing to do in these circumstances?
Boris: I move that we send Monkey back to the island. Jane, you can take the monkey in the boat. We’ll wait here.
Jane: Boris, you are insufferable.
Boris. Label me all you like. I don’t believe in labels. I’ve recently stopped believing in pronouns or adjectives as well. Prepositions are also out.
Jane: Moving on… I just looked up ‘monkey business’ on the internet. Do you know how many jobs can be replaced with trained monkeys? I had no idea. We should get this monkey a job.
Princess: Monkey, what kind of job would you like to do?
Monkey: Ooh ooh, ah ah.
Boris: It seems to be saying it wants to make sandwiches. Does some kind of sandwich-making job exist?
Princess: Is there a job where they pay you to throw things and be impolite? Monkey is very good at that.
Christine (cow safety officer): I don’t think we want to encourage Monkey throwing anything. Seriously.
With much more discussion that went on longer than is decorous or seemly to relate, and in a manner that was as rambling, overlapping, and digressive as only meetings can be, they determined that they should find the monkey some kind of job, the exact details of which were only loosely agreed upon (no throwing, no making sandwiches, no computer programming, and acupuncture was right out. Songwriting seemed like a promising idea, though.)
With that decision complete (and us passing 1000 words), it felt like a full day. Princess Pricklepants retired to her happy place to read a book.
Will the monkey find gainful employment? Will chicken troubles appear? Will peculiar and not very relevant photos be forced in? Will chicken crossing road jokes appear? Is a chicken crossing the road poultry in motion? Will they think to ask the strangely-ignored chickens to translate the monkey’s mysterious language? Will they do anything with the Gem of Destiny? Will a tea party involving monkey manners lessons happen? All these and other questions may be answered when the next blog post appears.
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:
Also, we saw other cool birds:
But we will spare you vacation photos. You can see them here:
Except, wait, we also saw other things like a 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.
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.
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…
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.”
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.
(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.
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.
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?
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.
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)
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.
Jane: The monkey too?
Jane: You’re sure about the monkey?
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.
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.
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?
Happily, we’re really on a roll with getting back into the swing of infrequent posts, but as is our way, we have a few items to go over that are significant in some way.
We were thinking of mentioning the search for “comfortably annoyed” that brought some person with very mysterious emotions to our humble blog, and also mention the sudden onslaught of people searching for “imlovlinlit princess penelope answer key” (looks like school’s back in session), but then thought better of it, so we won’t mention those.
For our semi-first item of note, we wanted to mention that Quentin emailed in asking about where to find the imlovlinlit princess penelope answer key, though Quentin really wanted to know about when our next post was. It’s now,Quentin. We hope you’re comfortably annoyed.
For our very first item of note, for those souls who stumble on this, here are the previous roughly four-ish episodes:
For our ultimate first item of note, the observant reader might have noticed that we titled ourselves into a bit of a corner, so we’re just doing what we can with this title, and apologize to any titular purists who might be comfortably annoyed with our choices in this domain.
And with that brief preamble, on to our first picture with words under it.
They arrived at the island. There, they saw a few birds, which wasn’t really what they’d been expecting, helping the island to live up to its name. It looked oddly familiar somehow.
Boris was agitated, “Maybe we should have a meeting instead of debarking? Did I mention I have a chronic fear of birds that aren’t chickens? Chickens, cool. Owls, ducks, the kind of things. Terror. In nature, bears and birds are natural enemies. You should see the things those terrible sparrows say.”
Princess assured him “We’ll protect you from the scary birds and their scary bird words.”
The birds suddenly flew off, except the chickens.
“There we go, problem solved.”
Boris was still apprehensive, “Well, maybe we should have a meeting about this meeting, and then a post-mortem meeting to go over the meeting? Perhaps a planning meeting for the post-mortem…”
“Now is the time to act,” said Princess with gravitas.
“How about if our action is to call for a delay. Let’s discuss how this meeting is going. I think it’s a bit too brief.”
“Now is the time to act in a way that isn’t calling for a delay or discussing the meeting. It’s time to debark,” said Princess with gravitas.
They debarked with some trepidation onto the Island of Mystery.
After they debarked, a mysterious figure appeared with a puff of smoke and a flash (not pictured). The figure took a dramatic pose.
“Greetings, o strangers recently debarked from a boat from a far off land, I am Marvin the Marvelous Magical Mathematician. What is your name?”
[Author’s note: dear readers, you may have noticed the use of the term “debark” cropping up more than might have been expected in normal usage. We apologize for the over-use of the term debark and will attempt to reduce our use of the term now that they’ve debarked. We just really like the word debark.]
“Hello, I am Princess Penelope Pricklepants, Grand Duchess of Tiggy-Winkle, Defender of Hufflepuff, Empress of Quillonia, and Dominions beyond the Seas.”
“Greetings Princess Penelope Pricklepants, etc. What is your quest?”
“To find the Gem of Destiny hidden by Captain Quillbeard.”
“Wonderful! We have puzzles and riddles, conundrums, enigmas, and oh so very many brain teasers here. If you can answer me these questions three, you will solve the mystery, and gain the final clue to finding to the Gem of Destiny. Our questions are wonderful brain teasers – mathematical word problems, riddles, logic puzzles, that kind of thing.”
There was a soft groaning that came from the adventurers.
Boris said, “My brain really prefers to not be teased. Also the meter on that little rhyme was terrible.”
“Well I’m not a poet, I’m a Marvelous Magical Mathematician. Now, you might have noticed these two chickens. One always lies, the other always tells the truth.”
There was groaning of a less soft variety that came from the adventurers.
“Now, nobody on our island knows the color of their eyes.”
There were comfortably annoyed murmurs emerging from several of the adventurers.
“Also, one of the chicken’s last names has a Z in it, and at least one has a B in it, and one has no vowels.”
There were angry grumblings emerging from several of the adventurers.
“Now here is your first puzzle.”
Boris blurted out, “Did I mention I have a chronic allergy to mathematicians and logic? I am suddenly feeling my ailment coming on. I think I need to just go off somewhere that’s not here to convalesce.” He left.
Marvin continued, “You are a chicken farmer going to a market on the other side of a river. You have one chicken, one bag of seed, and one fox. If left alone, the fox will eat the chicken, and the chicken will eat the seed. You have a boat that holds you and one passenger and must cross a river. How do you get across and on to the market taking passengers across one at a time without the seed or chicken being eaten?”
Princess answered, “I take the chicken across first. The fox will leave the seed alone. Then I take the seed across. Then I leave. I’m a chicken farmer. I hate foxes. I certainly wouldn’t take one with me, I’d get rid of it as fast as possible.”
“Oh, hmm, I guess that is sort of logical, but that’s not the answer. Yet, since it was sort of an answer, we’ll say that one won’t count, and you’ll have to answer another question.”
Jane said, “You know, suddenly I’m feeling a bit ill too, I’ll just pop off for a moment to breathe.”
Princess said, “Would you please excuse us, Marvin, we must have a word.”
They held a provisional Quillbeard Quest meeting.
Boris said, “You know how I always say violence is not the answer?”
“Right, I never say that, lets get the catapult. You know those bottles that were supposed to be important to the adventure? We should fling those at the Math beast. Excelsior!”
Jane was concerned, “No, that’s just not right. They’re too soft. We should find rocks. Does RedBot have any lasers?”
Princess said firmly, “No, violence is not the polite way to deal with this.”
“Well, if we have to answer these horrible puzzles, our quest is probably doomed.”
Franklin called down from the crow’s nest of the ship, “Perhaps you could let me answer them? I have a math degree.”
They agreed that this sounded like a plan. They let Franklin down.
Boris said, “I’ll bring the bottles.”
They returned to Marvin.
“Oh, so, you, um, have a… skunk…”
Boris said, “Why yes, yes we do. And I also have this set of bottles. They are full of skunk juice. Give us the clue or there will be smell to pay.”
Marvin said, “Would you really unleash that stench?”
“Congratulations! You’ve correctly answered three questions. And here is the final clue.” There was a flash and a puff of smoke (not pictured) and an owl appeared.
“This is Bubo the owl. Bubo has the power to lead you through to Treasure Island where Quillbeard hid the Gem of Destiny. The island is protected by a illusory field that makes it look like open sea, but Bubo can see through it. He will lead you to the Island of Henakau. There are some things you should know about Henakau. The Island is populated by the former crew of Captain Quillbeard, so the island is peopled by pirate chickens and cows. They speak Canadian, so you may need a translator.”
Boris said, “Don’t worry, I speak Canadian, eh.”
“Excellent. Now when you find the island, make sure to offer them a gift, it’s a tradition there. If they accept it then you must tell them you’re on the Quest, and then, well, things should work out probably. Now off you go, and take the skunk and those bottles.”
And so they embarked and headed off to Henakau with their new owl guide, relieved that they didn’t have to solve any logic puzzles or math word problems.
Will they find the Gem of Destiny in the next episode and finally be free to pursue other things? Will the hedgehog start start sitting still when we’re taking pictures? Will she stop crawling under sets knocking everything over? These and other questions may or may not be answered in our next episode, Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: the Gem of Destiny (Or Something Like That, Depending on What We Decide To Name It).
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.
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…”
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)
(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.”
“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.
“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.
A voice called out, “Hey, like, Princess.” The delightful recollection of happy times ended.
“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.
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.
We have a few items of note to address before this, our next episode of Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder.
For people who stumble on this, here are the previous three episodes:
First off, sorry if we scared any of you with the brief Princess Evilpants interlude. There was a brief accident involving a malfunction when transporting her from the Huffledome, but things have been sorted out. Princess Evilpants was from a Mysterious Mirror Universe, but the technical glitch was sorted out and our polite Princess has returned.
Second off, we haven’t got a second item, so this is just pointless rambling. Please just skip this sentence and the previous one so we can move forward without getting bogged down in a pointless digression that just wastes words and adds nothing of note.
With that brief preamble, we begin our story with a picture with words under it.
Princess Pricklepants was moderately displeased. The last few elections had all nominated her to serve as night watch on the ship. Democracy sometimes didn’t really seem very polite. This shift was particularly difficult since she had only gotten ten hours of sleep during the day, so she was somewhat tired.
Very tired, really. So tired that she drifted into sleep and dreamt a peculiar dream full of mysterious symbolism very relevant to the story even if it’s maybe a little overt.
Princess Pricklepants was concerned. (She was also oddly sleepy for being in a dream where she was awake). She knew she was a princess, and she therefore merited wearing a crown or tiara or other princess-related regalia for her head, and that it was her quest to find this. The hand servants offered to her a crown of paper, but it was not good enough for the very picky princess. She huffed and pouted at the affront of it all. A mysterious beaver-like voice with a mildly Canadian but more overtly pirate-like accent spookily said, “Paper is how the journey begins, but beyond it there is more to win.”
Princess was puzzled, “The journey started with a boat, and the boat is not paper. Also, why the rhyme?”
“I’m rhyming for dramatic effect. Come on. Also, not, paper, you know, like the map.”
“Oh. I suppose that makes sense.”
She went to look for another more suitable crown under the table. A different mysterious voice, that of the mysterious narrator we try not to bring up said, “dang.”
She found a chenille crown, and the hand servants placed it on her head (and also cleaned up the table a bit). This crown too was completely unfitting a hedgehog of her nobility and regal stature. It was sparkly, which was better, but it was still altogether wrong. The mysterious pirate voice spoke again, “Chenille, arr, I don’t even know what that be, yet I be sure it’s symbolic of something, though. Maybe gaining the bottles of mystery or some such.”
Princess said, “I’ll take your word for it. I’ll keep looking.”
She searched under the couch to see what other crowns might be found and caused even more damage to the set, much to the dismay of the narrator.
The next crown was nicer than the first two, and she rather liked it, but it wasn’t properly speaking a crown. It was a cap. The mysterious pirate voice spoke once more, “Wait, what be this? I have no idea what’s going on here.”
Princess said, “Isn’t is great? I like this cap.”
The mysterious voice spoke, “Arr, keep to looking, and try not to get distracted, matey. Oh, perhaps this symbolizes the dangers of being distracted on the quest for the Gem of Destiny. Just a guess.”
She decided to save the nice cap, but to continue looking. After some further digging in her surroundings a much nicer crown was found.
The crown was nice, but heavy was the crown that sat on her head.
It was so heavy it fell off repeatedly which was rather irritating to the narrator (who was also the photographer).
The hand servants offered their help, but their assistance seemed to stick out too much for proper regalia, and this solution didn’t see at all suitable for such a noble hedgehog.
The mysterious pirate voice spoke to her, “The heavy crown will weigh you down, but will be sparkly all around town. Sorry, just making up a rhyme there. I think this is symbolic of trials yet to come on the Island of Mystery.”
Princess replied, “I guess that sounds like a plausible explanation. What is the Island of Mystery?”
The mysterious voice replied in a slightly spooky and mysterious way, “It’s a slightly spooky and mysterious mystery yet to be spoken of.”
Princess was frustrated with this, “mysterious mystery” – what kind of diction was that? Yet she realized that the mysterious pirate voice was not really always polite, helpful, or even grammatically correct, so that was all she was likely to get. She sought again for a crown suited to a hedgehog of her bearing that was perhaps a bit lighter and more comfortable to wear.
With a bit more searching around, she ruined the set once more, but discovered something wonderful, and was very pleased.
The hand servants set upon her head the final crown, and it was really quite nice. She was delighted, so delighted that she tipped the crown at a jaunty angle which to hedgehogs is symbolic of really liking having things that are set upon them.
She was very pleased, and felt happy that she would no longer need to keep looking, since she knew she had found what she had needed.
The voice pirate spoke once more, “As the suitable crown is discovered, so too will the Gem be found, with peace and merriment all around. Remember these things. By the way, I was really trying to think of a nice rhyme for this bit, but they’re tricky, and I’m not really a poet.”
Princess replied, “So should I be digging under couches and tables, then?”
The mysterious voice seemed irritated and not particularly polite. “No, seriously, the dream is a metaphor for the search for the Gem of Destiny. Your quest will involve searching but not by literally climbing under furniture, please try to keep up. I’m not sure everyone is all that pleased by you climbing under everything.”
“Oh, well that’s a shame, there’s little more delightful than climbing under tables and couches.”
“Sorry, eh. And sorry if I was a bit impolite, it’s been really frustrating waiting all these years for someone worthy of the great quest for the Gem of Destiny.”
“Oh, it’s okay, pirate ghost voices aren’t expected to have the best manners. I have a helpful guide to manners if you’d like to read it. In the future, if you do these dream thingies again, do you think you could skip putting heavy things on my head though?”
“Oh, yeah, sorry about that too, eh. It looked lighter than it was. Your pickiness has served you well. Now waken.”
Princess woke up and looked around. The stars in the night sky were lovely. It was a very strange dream, with a very annoyingly heavy crown, and she wished there would have been more digging under furniture, since that was such a delightful thing, but in all seemed like a helpful interlude on their adventure somehow. She remembered the mysterious pirate voice, and knew her quest was making progress. Soon there would be an Island of Mystery with some new trial.
Will they finally find Captain Quillbeard’s mysterious treasure? Will we sort out a better way to make something island-like? What exactly is this mystery of Mystery Island? Is this thing going to wind up being like eight posts long before we can finally finish? These and other questions may be answered in our next episode, Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Mystery Island (or something similar).
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:
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.
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.”
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.”
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!
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!”
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.
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.
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.
This is not part three of Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder, but just a quick post, because this photo of Princess Pricklepants trying out her Mouseketeer hat came out nicely:
And here she is illustrating the polite way to scratch your nose – note no hands.
A proper update is forthcoming once we get things more sorted out for the story.
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.
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?”
“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?”
“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.
Boris returned a few minutes later.
“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!”
Boris grabbed her hat and tossed it overboard.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.”
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?!”
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.
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.
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:
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…
…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:
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.
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.
Princess Pricklepants, Boris, Moonflower, Redbot, Bessie, and Jane prepared for adventure while robots loaded the ship.
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.”
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.”
Things were going swimmingly, except with a boat and ideally no swimming. They prepared to board and begin their journey.
End of Part I
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:
Previously: Princess Pricklepants, Entrepreneur
Dear reader, for our preamble we’d like to say a number of fascinating, witty, clever, and delightful things, but we can’t think of any. Sorry.
A reader contacted us indirectly with a really brilliant idea that we can’t tell you about. Also, sorry.
Quentin emailed in to say something, but we haven’t read that email yet. We’ll do that really soon, though.
Our awesome and brilliant reader Mike sent in this superb graphic, which you should all admire, and which we plan to develop into a theme once Princess runs for President, which now must happen.
On a separate note, we found someone reached our blog via a search for “when adventure trip on a ship. how can we do good manner.” Cool!
And so, we begin our story with a picture with some words under it.
Princess Pricklepants gathered the council of cows et al. to pitch her latest idea in the living room. Startups were supposed to be in garages, but she didn’t have a garage, so the living room would have to do. “Princess Pricklepants-pedia – an online encyclopedia of all things related to me.” Jane, the cow accountant and general downer, explained that this sounded like a really fun idea, but had the problem that there was no way to possibly ever make money.
“Well, what about a blog?”
“You’ve got a blog, and so far you’ve lost money. Your blog is free so you don’t even get anything from the ads other people see. It’s just a vanity project.”
“Mugs and Tee-shirts?”
Princess turned to google “polite web startup ideas,” but the first result was an article titled, “Polite, Purposeful People Create Startups That Fail.” Clearly google was confused.
Christine, the cow safety officer, had a warning, “Since we’re starting a business we should use Robert’s Rules of Order and keep minutes so that we have accountability.”
Boris made a motion, “I propose that we never ever use Robert’s Rules of Order. All those in favor?”
The ayes had it.
Boris stepped forth with a daring plan, “We start a comparative mythology as a service company. We create a platform for employees on their mythic and heroic quests.”
This was not well accepted.
Princess pitched another idea, “MaPaaS, Manners and Politeness as a Service, we architect a dynamic cloud platform for delivering the infrastructure of manners, refinement, sophistication, and politeness to the enterprise. We’ll target mobile advice. Also, synergy.”
Nobody could think of an objection, or if they had one they couldn’t find a polite way to say it (since the software didn’t exist yet), so they started their plan.
Their plan had three parts.
1) Develop dynamic MaPaaS cloud platform.
Boris said, “Oh, we also need to name the business, this is an important part of the heroic journey.”
Jane suggested, “Politetronic Logistics”
They googled it to make sure nobody had already taken the name. Clear. They still needed to register telstaretiquettronics.com, but would get to that soon.
Boris said, “Princess, there’s an important point I think I need to make. If we look at this situation in terms of a literary structure, there’s no antagonist, nor are we following a traditional comic form of three separate minor conflicts that intertwine until they are resolved in a denouement.”
Princess explained, “Boris, we aren’t in some fictional universe, we’re real hedgehogs and cows and bears doing work things. Real life isn’t like fiction, there aren’t usually antagonists or neat little situations that get wrapped up nicely. It’s just you and your friends and family and coworkers doing your things as best you can, and trying to not waste all your time watching amazing hedgehog videos on YouTube or reading wikipedia articles when you should be getting important things done.”
She then checked wikipedia to make sure this was correct and wound up reading about grizzly bears for a while, then salmon, then the Yukon river. Then she watched an amazing hedgehog video. Then she visited boingboing.net.
Eventually they got to working on part 1 of their plan.
Part 1 was the fun and annoying part, since it meant they’d need to make a program. They turned to Bessie, the generic cow, who was also a robotics programmer. “Bessie, can you write the software tonight?”
“Um, well, you see, I, uh, write C for embedded systems, and for web things it’s all completely different. We need to hire someone or learn these things.”
Princess hit the books. It was so boring, though. All those letters and words that didn’t quite mean the right thing, and the jargon, that odd almost, but not quite English jargon. Even with a montage this would be unbearable. So they decided to find a programmer.
While Mufiki, King of the Planet of the Baboons, might not have seemed like an immediately obvious choice, he had previous experience as a software engineer for a web company in the dot com days. He was interested and would take low pay in exchange for equity. Soon he had something running. We’ll spare you the boring details of a code monkey. He also wrote a module to measure how polite or impolite something was that was named polite-o-tron2000 that applied machine learning with vectorized Bayesean analysis on natural language processing, text analysis, and computational linguistics on the works of Emily Post on a Hadoop cluster (this obviously was a Big Data problem) to assign a score from 1 to 10, where 1 is something we couldn’t possibly say, and 10 is something really, really polite and appropriate. Sorry, had to throw in boring details.
The software would send text messages to Princess’s iPhone where she would respond with helpful advice. They ran their first test, sending an etiquette request:
“when adventure trip on a ship. how can we do good manner.”
Princess texted her reply, “When taking an adventure trip on a ship, always be sure to share treasure maps with any cows that want to go on the adventure with you.” It went through the internet tubes and showed up in their software thing where it was supposed to. polite-o-tron2000 ranked it a 10. They were cooking with gas!
Many other things happened, but they were dull business things that nobody in their right mind would ever want to read about, let alone suffer through in real life, so we’ll skip to the interesting part – getting funding from venture capitalists.
They showed up at Yoyodynamic Capital to pitch their business. They did a great presentation on how Telstar Ettiquettronics was the premiere MaPaaS business in the industry, with exponential potential for growth, and presented their highly relevant buzzword catch-phrase – immersive big data and well-mannered disruption of advice columns through the mobile cloud, and also social media. Negotiations were tense, but they were ultimately funded with a lot of money to start a business in ways that were complicated to explain, but which Jane, the cow chief financial officer thought were workable.
Yoyodynamic Capital even forgave Princess for climbing on the table.
Thus they were probable tech millionaires. Maybe. All they had to do was make an actual company with customers, a long term manageable strategy, and a way to make a profit – easy.
Next episode: Will they buy a foosball table, fancy espresso machines, and nerf guns with their startup capital? Will the Yoyodynamic dinosaurs betray the company? Will the platform do the right platform-related things? Will Princess become a tech millionaire? Will this whole episode be explained away a few sentences in the next preamble? Will they ever get a decent lighting setup so the color temperature and shadows aren’t all over the map? These questions and others may or may not be answered in our next installment:
Dear reader, we regret to inform you that we haven’t got any proper introduction to this, our latest post, nor any apologies to offer, nor any reader letters to review, nor other things like that which fill up space at the top of a post that are easy to use as filler to help avoid going and writing the other parts of the story that involve more work, and thinking, and coming up with ideas, and setup to do. Rather we are going to immediately jump into this tale, with no delays, rambling, digressions, or other peripheral delays. And here we are… Jumping right in. Oddly, while it feels unsettlingly like somehow that isn’t happening, clearly this is an illusion. Probably it’s to do with Quentin, who had recently written in to say something, though we can’t remember what.
As a break from the usual format, we’re also going to not start with a picture, but instead start with words and then a picture, and then words under that picture.
Princess Pricklepants had given up the farming life, and was preparing to retire to a life of royal luxury, when Jane, her accountant gave her a call. “These phones, they’re so hard to dial with hooves. Anyway, I was calling to tell you that the farm wound up eating a surprising amount of capital, to the point that it’s a plot device requiring you to find some form of livelihood.” Princess wasn’t sure what that meant, but assumed it was good news. Jane went on, “You have to find a job.” Maybe not great news. The lack of a photo above the dialogue was moderately unsettling to Princess, somehow, adding to her sense of unease.
But Princess, in her inimitable metaphorical style, decided to make lemons out of lemonade. So, Princess decided to pursue her true passion, acting.
Sadly, in addition to breaking the fourth wall, she also broke a table, a chair, several cups, and broke the skin of several actors. While the director of the show she was trying out for was a patient dinosaur, he eventually had to say “rawr,” which is dinosaur for “Don’t call us, we’ll call you, and we’ll be sending a bill for the broken props and medical expenses.”
Jane noted that this meant that there were going to have to be some lifestyle reductions until they had an income.
Princess came up with a brilliant plan. She would play to her core strengths, and pursue her true passion, acupuncture.
While it seemed like a great idea, in retrospect, acupuncture was very difficult to make a living at. While she tried to be polite, her patients kept whining. And screaming. No patients ever returned after their first visit, and most refused to pay, even when they seemed much healthier once they had every acupuncture point stabbed artfully (and politely) with her quills. A few sent medical bills to her saying something about blood transfusions. When she checked on hedgehogaccupuncturistcentral.com she was surprised to find many other hedgehogs had similar problems.
So she decided to pursue her real passion, photography.
She decided that taking photos of small farm animals on table-top sets had to be the start of a brilliant and lucrative photography career. Strangely, her work never became massively popular in a whirlwind of fame bringing in no cash, prizes, or wonderful adventures as a brilliant and respected photographic artist. She did get a photo shared on Cute Overload, her favorite blog, but somehow that didn’t bring everlasting fame, but more like twenty views. Perplexing.
Clearly that was a ridiculous way to spend her time. So she looked around at what was popular in the Internets and noticed bird photography was very popular. She could still pursue her true passion, photography, by doing a different type of picture-taking. Also, birds were moderately interesting, at least for nerds, so she could use them as a market. Perfect. They buy all kinds of worthless things.
At first things were going pretty well. She found a bird, it didn’t fly away, and she took a picture. Then she looked at the blurry picture, poorly composed, and with terrible light, and determined that she’d need to find another bird. This was tedious. She also realized that while she could pursue this course for a very long time, enough to fill a few blog posts full of Princess Pricklepants, Bird Photographer, this would be very dull for the poor readers. Also, her blurry duck photo was rejected by National Geographic.
So she decided not pursue this as a career. What was left? She had so many skills, advice columnist, farmer, warrior, space traveler, but none of those things were a proper job fitting a hedgehog of noble bearing, regal poise, and impeccable politeness.
Then she had a great idea! She would be a web entrepreneur. She began to study…
This was slow and dull, so she began a montage with 80s music to make it go faster.
Yet, the post was already too long even with this career-related activity compressed into a peppy compressed series of images edited into a sequence to condense space and time illustrating her hard work. Also when she put in her resume, all her applications as a programmer and systems analyst were rejected by the companies she applied to. They said things about degrees, and prior experience, but it was clear that they were hiding the truth – another sinister side of the Perils of Pet Prejudice.
And so she decided that next episode she would pursue her real passion, doing a web startup. But that is something to tell about another time, since we’re close to 1000 words, which is how long these things typically go. So, for now, adieu. And soon, Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder might appear. Or maybe not soon. Given the way these things go, we might wind up with Princess Pricklepants Pirate Adventurer in a few months. Or maybe, Princess Pricklepants, Bird Photographer, because we’d really like to do that even if it’d be dull and tedious for everyone but us. Sorry, we like taking bird photos, even though it is definitely not a profitable venture.
We have a few items before our story that we feel are important to express.
First, this is our eighty-seventh post, the first being 1 year, 6 months, 1 week, and 3 days ago. Happy 1 year, 6 month, 1 week, and 3 dayiversary! Princess would like you all to know you really are our very favorite readers, and we are glad you are reading these tales of hedgehog royalty. You’re the best, except Quentin. Sorry Quentin, you’re second best.
Second, while we’re a little sad to say it, the following story is yet another in the series relating to goings on at Princess Pricklepants’ farm. This is not because it took a bit of work to get that set going, and we’re milking it since we’re lazy. It is for some other reason, one that is very persuasive.
Third, an attentive reader mentioned that weblogs are these things where you post relevant items of note about your life, goings on in things you’re interested in, or other sorts of things that aren’t stories about pet prejudice, procrastinating, encountering anarchist Barbie blogs, etc. That reader was Quentin, and he’s wrong.
Finally, the following story contains graphic scenes of toy violence and may not be appropriate for our younger readers or those who are shocked, horrified, or distressed by such scenes. You have been advised. For those brave enough to press on, here’s the first picture followed by words.
Princess was concerned. She had gotten back from dropping off Mufiki back at his planet, and returned to a surprising scene. Mittens, the evil cat, had somehow managed to escaped the poorly guarded dungeon (as it turns out, the window slid up surprisingly easily), and had managed to seize control of the farm again. This time she’d put in an ad on Craigslist, and hired an army of men-at-arts, armed with fearsome weapons. It was a surprising set of events. Also it was a huge distraction, as she’d hoped to write a blog post.
Mittens began a bitter monologue, “It is I, Mittens, who once again have the upper hand, and this time my artful warriors shall do my bidding in…” There was a lot more, but you get the idea. The robots had been banished, the bear was in the paddock again with no reading material, the crocodiles (who had a terrible fear of heights) were stuck on a roof, the cows were stuck in the pasture doing nothing, leaving Jane, the cow accountant, very distressed at the state of the farm’s finances. There was also a new wall that the cat apparently believed left the castle invulnerable to catapults. Cats don’t really understand catapults, apparently.
Twenty minutes later, once the monologue was complete, Princess held council with the cows (and sheep). Bessie, the generic cow (and sad robotic engineer with no robots to program) suggested that they might want to also put an ad on Craiglist and hire some kind of backup. This didn’t seem practical, since the cat had their computer, and Princess forgot her iPhone back on the Planet of the Baboons. Jane suggested they wait a week for the farm to go bankrupt and then they could buy it back when it was foreclosed on. This involved patience, which wasn’t Princess’ way. Princess wished she could get to the computer, since she could visit hedgehogfarmercentral.com for advice, and also catch up on email, and maybe play a little Scrabble online, and then work on a blog post after reading wikipedia a little, but alas they were in a digital dark age. After more reflection she came up with a daring plan to be described after the next picture.
“Mittens, I challenge you to put up one warrior in single combat against one of ours. The victor shall take the farm, the loser shall be banished,” said Princess. Mittens replied in a long drawn out agreement that we will spare you from reading, and selected Sir. Meow-Meow (the cat had given them their titles) as her representative.
Princess chose Boris. The cat was annoyed, but had to let it pass. Boris was released, ambled forth to the field of battle, and said to the man-at-art, “You, good sir, will now pay for depriving me of my copy of War and Peace that I was in the middle of reading and really into. It’s kind of long, but in a metaphorical sense Princes is our Catherine the Great, while your cat is Napoleon, who will suffer a stinging defeat today. Or perhaps Princess is like Natasha Rostova, while you are like Ippolit Vasilyevich, and the cat like…” The bear’s attempts are comparisons of the current situation to the Tolstoy novel became complex, detailed, and somewhat strained, so we’ll spare you.
The knight taunted the bear, “Foolish bear, you think you can defeat me!?” He then said many very unkind things about Tolstoy, Russian literature in general, bears, hedgehogs, cows, tea parties, and many other things. All were so impolite we can’t repeat them, but imagine something very rude, then imagine googling it (with SafeSearch on) and finding the worst thing in the results, something truly uncouth, impolite, poorly informed, and ill-mannered. Then imagine multiplying it by two (or if you are bad at math imagine doubling it). It was that bad. Please don’t actually do those google searches, though. Princess was shocked at the impropriety, and even the cat almost looked like it was blushing under its plushy fur.
Several seconds later Sir Meow-Meow deeply regretted his words. Several more seconds later, Mittens, the treacherous cat, broke her agreement (as cats are wont to do) and called out for her warriors to attack.
Unfortunately for the cat’s warriors, the crocodiles managed to find the elevator in the tower and joined the fray. As the battle escalated Princess went to retrieve The Secret Weapon. Christine, the cow safety officer, organized the cows into a safe orderly formation.
The crocodile-laden hedgehog war tower (and orderly row of cows) struck fear in the heart of art model and cat alike. They fled in terror, never to return in all likelihood.
Princess looked down on the tower and reflected with some melancholy at how her farm, intended to cultivate food and good things, had somehow brought so much chaos and despair to the world. She also had recently peed on part of the farm a bit to the left (tastefully obscured by the battle tower) so it was needing some extra cleaning. She realized it might be time to consider some new vocation, and began to think about retiring from the farm, filling out a resumé, finding some new line of work, and then she could check email, read some wikipedia, and maybe work on a blog post.
Note: No animals or toys were harmed in the production of this post, though there is still some cleaning to do.