Captian Cannonball

Page 1

They lifted up the barrel with Jonathan inside it.



The Mysterious Green Bottle



Jonathan Has Some Doubts



The Mandrake



Captain Cannonball



The Secret Message



Nicolas Solves the Puzzle



Captain Cannonball Walks the Plank 66 CHAPTER 8

Cuddler’s Cove



The True Teasure


“Hello,” said the other prisoner, “my name is Cuthbert.”


The Mysterious Green Bottle

Jonathan Kippernickker was in the swimming pool, floating on his back. He had at last managed to do this after much practice, and was now floating on the surface and thinking about nothing in particular. Nicolas Kippernickker and Sarah Kippernickker had been in and got out, and were drying themselves with the large bath-towels Mummy Kippernickker had put out for them.


Matthew Kippernickker was splashing about in the pool like a porpoise, because Daddy Kippernickker had bought him a little floating vest. Matthew strapped this tightly around himself and it stopped him from sinking. Even if he jumped into the water and sank to the bottom of the pool, he shot up to the surface again in a moment, like a table-tennis ball. Timothy Kippernickker was fast asleep as usual, but he was only little and not quite sure of what was going on yet. He lay in his stroller with a cloth canopy over his head to keep out the sun. He snoozed and sounded very content. Mummy kept an eye on everyone by the side of the pool. It was just one of those California days, when the sky is blue and the sun shines, and there is hardly a cloud in the sky. All you could hear were the buzzing of bees and the droning of insects. There was an occasional cry from the nearby golf course as someone made a good putt. 8

Jonathan floated quietly backwards, pretending he was floating on the blue sea. Then something knocked against his head. It was something floating in the pool, something solid like a plastic ball, but a bit harder he thought. With his hand, he fished about behind his head for what it was he’d bumped into. His hand felt the neck of a bottle. This was such a surprise he stopped floating on his back, splashed around onto his front, then stood up in the water. The water was not very deep in the swimming pool and he could stand in it. He looked at what he had in his hand. It was a bottle. An old green bottle. And it was not made of plastic. It was made of glass. Jonathan could not think how it came to be in the pool, because his parents would not let anything glass in the pool in case the glass broke. He’d been told not to have glass anywhere near the water. Yet, here he had in his hand, a glass bottle which had been floating in the pool. 9

Jonathan got out and walked into the shade of the trees. He jiggled the bottle up and down, but there didn’t seem to be anything in it. He held it up to the light. It was hard to see through the dark green glass, but he thought perhaps there was something in it after all. Not pop, or juice, or water, or anything like that, but he could see an outline of something rolled up. “Nicolas!” he shouted. “Nicolas!” “What?” shouted Nicolas Kippernickker, who was somewhere at the other side of the house. “Come! Look at what I’ve got!” yelled Jonathan. “What!” yelled Nicolas. “Just come!” shouted Jonathan, as loud as he could. “Give me a clue!” yelled Nicolas. At the pool side Mummy Kippernickker said she’d give them more than a clue if they didn’t stop yelling. They’d wake Timothy. So they stopped yelling. Then Nicolas came round the corner of the house and walked towards the pool. He 10

had his blue shirt and gray short pants on, and his sneakers. Sarah Kippernickker, who never liked to be left out of anything, had overheard the shouting as would everyone in the neighborhood, and she followed Nicolas round to the pool. “Look,” said Jonathan. “Look what was in the pool. I floated into it.” And he held up the green bottle. “Jonathan,” said Nicolas, “it’s glass! You’ll be grounded.” “It wasn’t me,” said Jonathan. “I floated into it. There’s something inside,” he said, shaking the bottle and listening with his ear. “Open it, Jonathan,” said Sarah. Jonathan looked at the bottle and he looked at the top. Instead of a metal cap to unscrew, it had a cork. He pulled at the cork with his fingers, but it wouldn’t move.“I can’t get it out,” he said. Now Nicolas Kippernickker, who read everything he could with words in it, had once run out of things to read and had picked up a cookery book in the kitchen. 11

In this book, which had many colored pictures, there was a picture of a wine bottle someone was opening. They were using a ‘corkscrew’. “We need a corkscrew,” said Nicolas. “What’s a corkscrew?” said Jonathan. “I think there might be one in the kitchen, Jonathan,” said Nicolas. So they put the bottle down on the grass and went into the kitchen. They searched in the drawer where Mummy Kippernickker kept all the strange kitchen things she used for cooking. Nicolas found the corkscrew at once, and showed it to the others. “What you do,” he explained, “is twist this thing into the cork, then pull it out, and it brings the cork out as well.” So the children went back into the garden, picked up the bottle, and went off into the trees where the ground was covered with thick green ivy leaves. Then Matthew arrived, dripping with water and wearing his new floating vest. They all sat down in the shade with the bottle and the corkscrew. Nicolas put the 12

Nicolas put the point of the corkscrew into the cork.


point of the corkscrew into the cork and began to twist, until only the corkscrew handle was left sticking out. Then with one hand he held the bottle. With the other, he grasped the corkscrew handle and pulled hard. There was a sudden ‘pop’ as the cork popped out. “What’s inside?” said Sarah Kippernickker. There was a piece of paper inside which Nicolas got out with a twig. He drew it all out slowly. The paper was creased and squeezed into a long roll, so they unrolled it, and saw to their surprise there was some writing on the paper. And it was not a code, or a quiz, or a treasure hunt clue like their Granddad made for them when he visited, or any kind of mystery. It was a simple message, written in pencil, which Nicolas and the children all looked at. Then, Nicolas read it out aloud. This is what he read . . .


HELP !! I am a prisoner on a Pirate Ship called ‘The Mandrake’. Captain Cannonball is a horrible pirate and says he will make me walk the plank. Please help me.

Cuthbert the cabin boy.


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