The Goosepill Gang

Scrag & Marmaduke

Scrag's memory was sketchy, she can remember being made along with other scarecrows when the top Goosepill Farm fields were turned over to crops one year. She recalls not being very good at scarecrowing because she never managed to scare anything away apart from herself, she was frightened of the dark and the shadows at night and would shout and wiggle her arms and legs around even when it was dark, just in case something horrible was out there in the darkness. She was retired early because all the birds and crows would come and sit on her head and outstretched arms just to have a chat and Scrag would gossip away for hours with them, she made great friends with them all and they would bring all the gossip back to her from the whole area.

The farmer was not pleased because while Scrag was chatting away with all the local crows and wildlife the birds would have a great time eating all the crop seeds which had recently been sown. Her scarecrow days in the field didn't last long and she was moved into one of the tumble down barns on the edge of one of the top fields and forgotten. The birds and the wildlife never forgot her and everyone came to visit her regularly so she was never alone.

When animals in the neighbourhood needed company, Scrag would be there for them and she would take them in and make them feel very welcome in the Top Field Barn she called home. Scrag would hold regular get togethers with all the local animals and many a good day and night was had throughout the four seasons of the year at Top Field Barn.

Scrag cared for everyone and worried about everything, she had always been the same, she was useless with numbers and letters but she made up for that by being the kindess person you could wish to meet, never a bad word said about anyone, sometimes she though she should have been a hen because fussing and clucking around everyone she knew was something she was very good at.

Charlie Robin brought her news one day that the horrible black rat clan led by Tar had been on the rampage again and had fought a pitched battle with his arch brown rat rival Tan, there had been many casualties, no one had any sympathy for these horrible rats because the war between the two clans always managed to involve innocent animals. This battle had been no different a field mouse community had been ransacked during this battle and many had been injured and killed.

Charlie had asked Scrag if she could take into her care an innocent victim of this terrible battle, because many of the young field mice who had escaped had been orphaned. Scrag agreed immediatley and Charlie would arrange for this little person to be brought to her under the cover of darkness.

That night this tiny field mouse was brought to Top Field Barn, scared to death and shaking Scrag brought this little field mouse into Top Field Barn and made some bedding up so she would feel warm and welcome. It was weeks before the little mouse spoke a word, Scrag never pressed her new little friend at all, just made her feel welcome and safe. Then one day out of the blue while Scrag was making breakfast the little mouse said - "Thank You Scrag"

Scrag replied - "You are very welcome - and can I enquire into whether you have a name"

The little mouse said - "Yes I have a name - it is "Marmaduke" or to my friends "Marmi"

"Well Marmi" said Scrag - "Welcome to my home you can stay as long as you like - forever if you want to"

Over the next few months Scrag learned about Marmaduke's background how she was a very intelligent little mouse, very witty and funny, Marmamduke loved art and music. Scrag even suggesed that Marmaduke may wish to help her with her numbers and words to which Marmaduke was happy to repay Scrag for her kindness.

Scrag and Marmaduke became life long friends, little did they know what lay in wait for them in their Blue Bottle Mystery adventure which would test their friendship to the limit.

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