Two days later, the village , being the village, is agog with the news of the arrival of the Good Ship Franci, and Willows plans to sail her to Hawaii. News travels faster than a firekit sliding down a greased pole in MCV. Most effery has signed up for the adbenchure, and now they cover the worn old boat armed with mops and buckets, brooms and dust cloths, hammers and nails, cans of paint and stain. Vester, Timmy and Willows brother Caleb , are busy checking out and adjusting gauges and dials and other mechanical stuff to make sure everything is in good working order. Down in the hold, Tarrigo the pup, with the able assistance of some of the younger boykits, checks the hull for leaks or other damage. In the galley, Paloma Abycat, the villages best cook and candy maker, with the help of some of the village ladykits, scrubs and polishes till the galley sparkles. Oreo heads a crew of ladykits preparing the cabins, while the Snowtaboys and Noblekits haul crate after crate of supplies on board. Finally, with the last board painted, the last bit of brass polished and the last window shined, Willow climbs over the stern and repaints the jaunty sailboats name. With that , the Good Ship Franci is ready for the high seas. One by one the tired villagers make their way home for a good nights sleep..Tomorrow the adbenchur begins..
Vester starts the engine and carefully backs the Franci away from the Flying Fish Fish Markets dock, and heads her down the Catnip River toward the great sea. The deck is lined with the happy villagers, excited by the idea of a summer adbenchur, and of course, a visit with Unka John. Hmmmmmmm, guess we needs to explain about Unka John. The Village is a place of furs and feathers of course, but the members also have humans with whom they live. The Village is a secret place just for animals. It is a place where anything is possible. But even in the Village bad things can happen and all too often these days, it seems, a villager crosses the Rainbow Bridge. When that happens, if they were an only fur, then their human is allowed to enter the village and take part in village life. Unka John is one of those special people. In the village we do not eat our friends, nor do we abandon them, even if they do happen to be human…..ahem, moving on. The Franci continues her journey down river, past Toona Falls, past Dog Town, past Fairyton. Pixie waves at the fairy she spies in amongst the trees as they glide quickly by. Through the Blackwood so dark and eeire. On to Gatorville and Frog Town. Gotta watch the pawkies around Gatorville, those guys are a bit snappish. Then back into the sun near Bunnyhutch Garden and Blossom Hill. Finally the river starts to widen Just a few more miles and they will arrive at the Great Sea. A salty smell begins to fill the air and Vester decides it is time to drop anchor for the day.
As the Franci comes to a stop, fishing lines are dropped into the water. What’s a sea cruise if fresh caught fish is not on the menu? A giant tortoise swims lazily to the side of the boat. “Ahoy, ” he calls to the kits on deck. “Where are you off to?” Willow peers down at him from the deck. “Why we are going across the Great Sea to visit Uncle John. Where are you going, Mr. Tortoise?”
“Me? I’m not going anywhere. At least no farther than that sunny rock over there. Why do you want to go into the Great Sea ? There be all sorts of monsters out there, even dragons , so I have heard.”
Willow blinks, “monsters? Oh my doodness. Oh well, what is an adventure without a monster or two. And I would love to meet a dragon.” The tortoise stares at her for a moment then glides away to the river bank and hoists himself onto the bit sunny rock.