That night Town Owl came fluttering,
and perched upon the willow tree.
He asked about the guttering,
then saw their hats proclaimed them ‘free!’
“Whyever are you so downcast?”
he asked. “To whit, it’s down to you.
I hoped to see new bricks at last;
instead, it seems, you’re feeling blue.”
The Mongoose sighed. “Alas, some fools
who think this building out of date
will tear it down. We’ve bought the tools,
but now, I fear, it’s all too late.”
Town Owl was frowning. “Then perhaps,
might I bring help? This town contains
some creatures who are decent chaps,
and one who’s got the best of brains.”
“No foxes,” growled the Badger. “They
are always stealing into homes
a Badger builds. And on their way
they pry where’er a badger roams.”
Town Owl was thoughtful. “Then, perhaps,
it’s Mister Whiskers I should see.
But can you share those coloured caps?
The animals round here are free,
and Mister Whiskers says they are.
He thinks that they should all have rights;
like safety from the deadly car,
and milk put out on summer nights.”
“Oh, take them,” sighed the Mongoose. “I
have no more use for those. I see
that human friends are best to try;
and no one else can help our plea.”
The Owl flapped down, and in his beak
he took the paper hats, then flew
on silent wings across the bleak
abandoned lands on winds that blew
towards the little stream, and there
by foxgloves in a quiet lane
was Mister Whiskers’ hidden lair.
Town Owl began to pick his brain.
He told of how the valiant pair
had come to live within the house;
and yet encountered deep despair,
so now they’d only grump and grouse.
“Then tell them this,” smiled Whiskers. “They
should contact Heron, Grouse and Goose,
solicitors at law. Today
it’s late; but they may cause a truce
tomorrow. Yes, I’ll take those hats;
there’s plenty here who think they’re free,
and want to tell the world that that’s
how animals should always be.
I’ve got a friend – he’s just the man
to help their case, by far the best!
He helped me with the hunting ban,
and loves to see free beasts at rest.”
So Owl flew back, and brought the news;
he recommended every plan
of Whiskers. “Well, there’s naught to lose!”
the Mongoose said. “I like the man!”
Town Owl just smiled, but Badger sighed
“I’m simply glad that someone cares.
I’ll fight! They’ll know a badger tried -
tomorrow, I’ll begin repairs.”
So Owl flew home to perch all night
within a tree that viewed the land
on which the free would come to fight,
at Mister Whiskers’ wise command.