“Thank you for coming so promptly, Tigger Holmes,” Queen Hepzibah said. “And you, too, Watson. You see we have quite a problem, and we need to solve it as quickly as possible.”
“It’s our pleasure, your majesty,” Tigger said.
“Does it involve Prince Earwig?” Eeyore asked dolefully.
“Earwig? Oh, Eadwig, no thankfully he’s not involved this time,” the queen replied.
“Oh good,” Eeyore looked slightly more cheerful.
“No, this is about Peregrine, Tertius’ son and heir. Tertius is desperate for Peregrine to get married.”
“I can’t think why,” King Septimus interrupted. “All a lot of fuss and bother, if you ask me.”
“We weren’t. Anyway, the night before last we held a ball with the intention of finding Peregrine a suitable wife. Everything seemed to be going all right, no-one got too drunk, the band were more or less in tune, that sort of thing. And then the clock struck midnight and Peregrine was left with a glass slipper and we need to find out who it belongs to.”
“I see,” Tigger Holmes said. “And what’s been done so far?”
“We waited to see if anyone came forward, but they didn’t, so we contacted you. We’ve also collected two white mice.”
One of the little dark-haired princes came forward clutching a cage containing two small mice. “I don’t want to lose Dotty and Dolly,” he said.
“They’ll be fine when they come back, don’t worry,” the queen said reassuringly. “And a pumpkin.” She pointed to a slightly soggy pumpkin which had had a face carved in it. “And with any luck these are the frogs.”
The door opened and a slightly older fair-haired prince came in, carrying a bucket containing one frog. He walked across the floor trailing mud and pond weed. “Sorry, he said, “the other one got away. One should be okay, shouldn’t it?”
“And where is Prince Peregrine?” Tigger asked.
“I’m here.” A young man slouched moodily across the room. “Please tell me you don’t expect me to kiss the frog.”
The frog looked back with an expression which said, ‘I can’t think of anything worse’.
“I don’t think that will be necessary,” Tigger said. “Do you have the glass slipper?”
“It’s rather a large slipper,” Eeyore commented.
“Does it matter? Presumably the lady concerned has large feet.”
“Hmm.” Tigger looked thoughtful.
At that moment there was a knock on the door, and a captain of the guard came in. “Compliments of the Grand Old Darth, your majesty, but would you care to join him for drinks at seven?”
Tigger noticed the captain looked at Prince Peregrine, who smiled back and then both looked quickly away again. “Captain, before you go, would you remove your boot and try on this glass slipper.”
The captain looked dubiously at the queen, who nodded at him. So, rather reluctantly he did as he was asked. It was too small for him.
“It looks pretty silly,” Eeyore said. “A thick army sock inside a glass slipper.”
“Yes,” Tigger agreed. “Captain, what time does your shift finish?”
“Twelve midnight, sir.”
“And did your shift the night before last start at midnight?”
“Err, yes, sir.”
Everyone looked at the captain who started to blush.
“I presume you were at the ball,” Tigger said. “And that you weren’t wearing thick army socks, but something more appropriate.”
The king looked at Prince Peregrine. “Does this mean what I think it means?”
The prince nodded.
“Bother!” the king said.
“I didn’t think you minded,” the prince said, hesitantly.
“What? No, of course not. But it just means there’ll have to be a wedding after all.”
“That’s all right, dear,” the queen said. “You can skulk in your study, while everyone else makes the arrangements. There’s no need for you to do anything.”
“Oh, in which case,” the king said, “I’m all for it. Congratulations, both of you. Captain, go and tell Vader that drinks will be here as we have something to celebrate.”
“Good,” the queen said. “I’m so pleased that’s all settled.” A dreamy look came over her face. “I do like a good wedding.”
The king, Tigger and Eeyore exchanged glances.
“I think we should be off now, your majesties,” Tigger said hurriedly. “Delighted to have been of assistance to you once again.”