of fuss!” said my
y J. T. STORY
Autumn morning about the time of the Boon-Danahar fight old Ferdy Garth
found a chestnut in the middle of his garden.
puzzled him!” I said to my wife. The only tree in the garden was a
picking it up,” said my wife. “Silly old fool.”
could tell she didn’t like him a bit.
next morning he found another. It obviously worried him.
picking it up !” said my wife. “Silly old devil!”
third morning he found another chestnut and he ran out and fetched a
Ferdy croaked, pointing to the golden-brown nut with a shaking finger.
“The sign of the Chestnut Tong! The villains have followed me from
China. I demand protection, sergeant! I know their devilish
methods—six chestnuts and I die!”
said my wife.
good,” said the policeman.
wrapped the chestnut in a handkerchief to preserve fingerprints, if
any, and departed.
next morning Ferdy Garth came to the window and saw a fourth chestnut
lying in precisely the same spot.
little later six policemen came into the garden. They measured the
distance from the chestnut to the fences. They photographed it, took a
wax impression and finally carried it away in a black case.
of fuss!” said my wife.
night seven detectives wearing big boots and carrying trays of matches
kept a close watch on the house and garden. But in the morning another
chestnut lay in the middle of the lawn. Ferdy fainted.
Ferdy came round a detective-inspector was with him.
more chestnut and I die…“ Ferdy groaned.
inspector rubbed his chin and cleared his throat. He said: “Perhaps
you’ve done something to offend them?”
Never!” cried Ferdy, his eyes flashing to the clock on the
mantelpiece. “It was not I who took the Sacred Emerald from the left
eye of their beastly dragon. Anyway it was cracked.”
see, sir,” said the inspector. And when he got back to the station he
telephoned Scotland Yard who telephoned the Chinese Embassy.
Chinese Embassy cabled Shanghai thus:
greetings honourable Chestnut Tong
Stop Hope you are keeping well Stop How is
your dragon Question
reply was prompt and prepaid:
the joys of Heaven upon you also Charlie
Stop The weather is appalling Stop The dragon
has lost a left eye
Chinese Embassy telephoned Scotland Yard and said yes they had.
the day of the sixth chestnut the inspector called again on Ferdy Garth.
Ferdy was in the cupboard under the stairs till he heard the
on now,” said the inspector, “give…”
this time Ferdy was a nervous wreck and too weak to pretend. He took the
emerald from behind the clock and the inspector took Ferdy Garth and the
the seventh day, with the old boy out of the way, the seventh chestnut
lay unmolested. There was nobody to examine it or photograph it or take
a wax impression of it or put it in a black box and take it to Scotland
goodness for that!” said my wife.
we want now,” I said, “is a drop of rain.” We got it.
Spring morning about the time of the Baksi-Woodcock fight, we flew up to
the little chestnut tree and built our nest. My wife was delighted. It
took seven chestnuts and a lot of patience but she certainly got her
tree where she wanted it. She’s a sweet old bird but a bit fussy about
where she lays our eggs.
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