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“Boris In Bother Again” (another ‘Lisa and friends’ tale, no.3)
Text Ross Hunter
Illustrations: Nika Harrison

Boris tried to think clearly, despite the pain and the fear. This wasn’t easy, because the pain and the fear were both bigger than each other. Also because thinking clearly was not Boris’s strong point.

Clear thinking would not have got him badly cornered at the back of the geese’s hut, on his own, heavily outgunned by seriously unhappy and aggressive ganders, closing in.

Oh dear. Boris liked geese on a plate or in an omelette, not deafening his ears with their squawking and pecking at his young and tender paws. This was not part of the plan.

It had seemed such a good idea at the time. Telling Lisa, his Mum, that he was going out to play with Sasha, Dasha and Masha, then carefully dodging them in their play area behind the railway sidings, and lolloping straight for the goose farm beyond.

If only he had got brother Sasha to come with him. If only the twins has been able to warn him not to. “Solo action hero bringing home the goose egg trophies, strutting round the burrow enjoying the adulation!” It was all so well planned.

Apart from getting caught. And discovering that protesting innocence is a lot harder with hard-beaked birds than with soft family. He tried barking ‘Help!’ but it only came out as a half strangled yelp. Two geese were flapping, stamping, and hissing. One from each side, so each time he turned, he got another nasty nip at the other end; when he tried to save his tail his ear got bitten.

Just when he thought matters couldn’t get any worse, a third goose suddenly launched itself at him, making a deafening screech that even caused the other two to pause and look. Boris thought he was done for.

Suddenly everything changed. The new arrival was in midair because its bottom was separated from the ground by the length of brother Sasha, minus his teeth, which were firmly sunk into white feathery backside. The effect was almost comic, and the shape of Sasha’s jaw suggested he was enjoying it. The large, heavy and extremely agitated bird was twisting around trying to get its beak onto Sasha, who took a lot of bruising every time she landed on him.

This was brave but suicidal. After the shock, the other birds recovered and started going for Sasha. Boris didn’t know whether to help him, or make a run for it. They were now both in big trouble.

He was saved from his indecision by a loud wolf-whistle, two in fact. There were so piercing that everyone stopped and stared.

By the wire-mesh fence, the twins, Dasha and Masha, were sitting beside some goose eggs, and Masha was holding a large rock, ready to smash it down on the warm and occupied eggs. The geese forgot about the two boys instantly, and turned in cold, throbbing fury on the twins. Horribly slowly, and quietly, apart from a steady stream of hissing steam, they pushed their necks out low and straight, and started (goose- )stepping towards the two cubs, and their eggs. Masha twitched with her rock, and they paused a second.

Boris and Sasha came to their senses, and slunk round to their sisters, where they saw a very small, tight hole under the fence.

“Get a move on,” barked Masha, and the three cubs scraped under the fence. Just as the geese lunged at her, Masha threw the rock at them and followed, minus the end of her tail which got bitten as it swept under the wire.

All four fox-cubs sprinted home so fast they didn’t have time to talk.

Lisa saw them coming, and pushed them all straight in the bath, where they were still shocked and shaken. At lunch, Boris felt very stupid. And very sore. And very grateful. When they had finished eating in silence, Lisa asked them, innocently, “What have you learned today?”

Boris clenched his eyes shut, and went even redder. But he felt Dasha’s arm around him, and Sasha’s paw pushing his chin up. The other three smiled sweetly and said together:

“Easy, Mum: Teamwork Makes the Impossible Simple!

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