Hot, tired and sweaty, the kits gather on deck. They have worked very hard for days, and now the work is done. “Ok,” Willow meows. “We awr awll agweed. We will name our ship the “MCV MUNCHKIN”, in honor uf owr beluffed mayor. Justin, did yu bwing da shampane to cwissen hur?” Justin steps up with da big bottle an paws it to Willow. “Yup, I have it rite here.” Willow takes da bottul and effery steps back. “Here goes,” she meows. “I hereby cwissen you da MCV MUNCHKIN”! With a mitey swing she bweaks da bottul on da bow. Da watching cwoud uf furs lets owt a roaring cheer…”Hip hip meooooooooooooooooow! Hip hip meooooooooooooow!” They laugh and cheer, huggin effery in site. Justin bwings out more shampane, dis to dwink in selebwashun uf der wunnerfwul new ship and da adbentures ahead uf dem. Finaly, Willow meows, “Ok effery, we set sail in da morning. Effery get a dood nites shleep an be back here by nine a.m.. Who nose wat wunners await ush, but we shure gonna find owt.” ………………………………………………….. Nexsht morning da furs awife at da dock. Dey climb aboard and settel in der cabins. Paloma, da ships cook, wit hur able assistants Gus and Maddie, set up a bweakfasht buffay on deck. Once effery ish aboard, Captain Vester cawlls fur da cwew to welease da lines howlding dem to da dock an waise ankor. When dey ish fwee, Vester steers da sailing ship into da Catnip Riffur and heads fur da opun sea. Da furs sit, finishing der bweakfashts an lookin at da luffly view along da shore. Da sun gwissens on da water, fishies jumping. Sum kits get owt fishing poles an dwop lines in da water, mmmmmm, maybe dey can catch nuff fur a fish fwy supper. Offurs stwart to klear da tabuls an take da dishes to da galley fur washing. When awll ish cweaned up dey bweak into gwoups an wandur about da ship. Some head fur da libwary where der awr lots uf books, many telling bout awll da pwaces dey mite bisit. Some uf da yungur kits stwart a game uf horsie shoes on da deck, or pway games in da game woom. And sum lounge in deck chairs jusht enjoying da bootifwul day. Up in da wheelhouse, Captain Vester sits meowing wit Captain Larry as da two sip hot coffee and study da maps. Tuffer, currently at da wheel, cawlls to dem. “Captains, I fink I see da landing pwace fur da Elven village up ahead. We need to get ready to stop.” Vester looks owt da window. “Yup, der it ish just ahead.” He cawlls fur da crew to get weady to tie up. “Been a long time since we bisited the elves,” he meows. “Aways dood to see owld fwends.” As da MCV Munchie slides gently to a stop and da crew ties hur up, da furs prepare fur da jaunt into da forest to bisit with their owld friends. They kwickly go down the gangplank and follow the path leading off into da woods. At a huge oak twee dey stop an look awound. Then a voice comes fwum abofe. “Who dares tresspass in Elfland?” The furs find themselves surrounded by a dozen tiny elves, bows at da weady. “We come fwum MCV,” Vester weplies. “We wish to pay owr wespects to da queen.” “Oh, yu do , do you? And wat makes you think the queen wants to see you?” One of the elfs in the circle calls to their leader. “Wait, Galdrol. I recognize some of these furs. They have been here before. Willow, Caleb, Topaz! It is you! ” With a smile and a wave of hur bow, the little elf hurries to gweet them. “Oh my, it has been a long time…and where is that handsome devil, Tare?” Tare peeks around Capt. Larry and waves his paw. “Here I am.” He pwulls Missy fruward, “and dis ish my new wife Missy.” “New wife? But ware ish Franci?” “I am sowwy to say, Franci has gone to the bridge.” Tare replies. “But I nose she sent hur blessing on Missy, they were cousins you know.” “Well, dis is boff sad and happy news. But come, lets get to the village.” With a wave of hur hand, the elf sends another ahead to annouc the arrival of their old friends. Then they start down an almosht inbisible paff through the woods. At last they come to a sunny clearing. A long table has been set in its center, laden with food . Elves scurry about at their tasks. From high above them a voice cawlls, “Greetings owld friends.” The look up to see Ellendron, the elfen queen standing on her porch waving down at them. She kwickly descends a ladder made of vines and is soon standing beside them. “It is so good to see you all again. Come, sit. We will eat and you must tell us what has been happening in the outside world.” They sit at the table and begin to eat, fresh fish from the nearby riffur, fruits and berries and nuts harvested from the surrounding forest. Soon the confurstion picks up, as the two groups exchange news of their villages. Elendor sits back and wipes hur mouf with a leaf. “Sigh, so many losses since you were here last. And some happy additions.” She looks about the table taking note of the missing friends and putting to memory those new ones. Then Ellendor waves her hand once more and several elves appear bearing goblets and jugs uf nectare. They pour and set a goblet in front of each one at the table. When everyone has been served, Ellendorn stands. “We shall drink a toast,” she says. Everyone rises. “To old friends and new, good health and long life to all.” “And to you and your tribe,” reply the others. finaly the visit draws to an end and the furs of MCV start back to their boat. When they arrive, they settle in for the night anticipating the next stop on their voyage. ———————————————————————- Next morning, da sun begins to rise and so do the furs on da good ship Munchkin. Shlowly dey appear on deck in surch uf bweakfast. Once again, wit da hewlp uf hur abul assitants, Paloma has pwoduced a skwumpshush buffay. In da wheel house, haffing der bweakfast bwought to dem der, Captain Vester and Captain Larry stwart da engine and slowly steer da ship away fwum da dock an on down da riffur. Down on deck, as dey finish eating, da furs once again wander awound da ship finding fings to do to pass da time. Cuddles gaffurs da yungur kits togeffur fur a race awound da deck. Peggy and Polly join in awong wit Hank and Lilly. Dey line up at da stwarting line and wen Cuddles dwops da flag da four take off racing neck and neck to da cheers uf da watching cwowd. Peggy shlips on da furst twurn an fwalls behind. Lilly and Hank pwull ahead wit Polly rite on der tayuls..Polly offur takes dem on da stwaitaway wit Peggy twailing behind. At da next turn Hank puts on a burst uf speed leefing da offurs behind wounds da turns an flies to da finish line. Polly comes in secon, Lilly thurd an Peggy bwings up da rear. Cuddles picks up da winner an puts him on his shoulder to da cheers uf da watching crowd. Meanwhile, at da stern, some uf da menkits once again cast der lines into da watur in hopes uf catching more fwesh fishies fur lunch. Da ladies gaffur in deck chairs wit books an sewing or jusht to watch da passing scenery. Smig, who has volunteered as look out, climbs da mast and stands in da crowsnest looking awll around. Den she quickly climbs down and runs to da wheelhouse. ” Captain Larry, Captain Larry she meows, dashing in da door. Up ahead not too far, der ish wat looks like a bootiful beach. Maybe we cood sthop der awhile an haff a picknic lunch and go swimming.” “Dat shounds wike a gweat idea,” Larry meows. “Wat ya fink, Capt. Vester?” “Wurks fur me. Looks like da beach ish just ahead.” Vester steers da ship toward da shore neer da beach. Once da anchor ish dwopped, timmy, Caleb an Loki dwop da ladder an lower da rowboats fur effery to go ashore. Justin an Tare begin to dig a firepit while Tita, Topaze, Topaz, Oreo and Zade walk awong da shore wit buckets lookin fur clams. Paloma and hur assts. Maddy and Simi and Willow stwart bwinging taters and corn and da days catch uf fish ashore. Once da lunch is cooking effery goes into da water to shwim or basks in da warm sun. finaly, tummys fwull an muscles stwetched, effery feelin welaxed da gang furs begin to gaffur togeffur der bewongins and head back to da MCV Munchkin to continue der twip. When da leftoffurs awr put away, an da dishes washed, da ladies awll go back on deck. But now dey see da scenery has changed. Da forest has faded into swamp. Tawll cypress twees coffured in moss haff taken da pwace uf da oaks an maples walnuts dey know. Da farthur the ship progresses da more swamplike it becomes. “Oh, look,” Willow meows. “Ishn’t dat a awwigator?” Da furs go to da rail fur a cwosur look an see da long greyish body wit da huge jaws an teeth. As dey look closer dey can shee big snakes hangin fwum da twees an darting about da water. Dey heer da cawlls uf stwange birds. Da furs look at each offur den back at da stwange sites befur dem. Many awr finking how gwad dey awr on der sturdy little ship an not haffing to walk along da riffur bank.