“So, I have caught up with you at last,” the man said.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Strange Meeting
Rupert, the Young Prince
Jonathan Keeps the Crown
The Birthday Party
Jonathan Opens His Presents
Rupert Passes the Test
He looked exactly like Jonathan Kippernickker.
Jonathan Kippernickker swished his sword through the air. It was a thin sword. He had used a flat sword at first, made out of scrap wood, and he kept it in his belt, but the sword he had now was a rapier. Thatâ€™s what his Granddad had called it on his last visit. It was made from a very thin strip of wood which his dad had left over from a project in the house. The wood was so thin it easily snapped, but Jonathanâ€™s Granddad had taken two old wire coathangers, cut and bent the wire into two long pieces, then hammered the pieces straight. He had then placed one wire on each side of the thin piece of wood and 7
taped everything together using duct tape. Finally, he covered it all over with bright, aluminum foil. This made the sword look very real indeed, and also strong, and it hadn’t snapped yet. Jonathan said it would be a good idea to have a guard to protect his hand while he was sword-fencing, so Granddad had made a guard from the top half of an old plastic pop bottle, and fastened it securely in place. It worked very well. Then the handle of the sword was taped up with black electrical tape until it was a good fit in Jonathan’s hand. He found the sword very easy to swish. And he swished it back and forward and enjoyed the ‘swish’ it made. Swish! It was only natural of course, for Nicolas Kippernickker to ask if he could have one the same. Then Matthew Kippernickker wanted one. If Timothy had been more than one year old and not always asleep, he too would have wanted one. Sarah Kippernickker was not particularly interested in swords. So Granddad only made two more swords. 8
After three days, Jonathanâ€™s was the only sword left. He was more restrained than the others, although the sword-fencing duels had been very real. So real, that after several battles, the swords of Nicolas and Matthew were in several pieces. By that time Nicolas had a band-aid on his left arm, and Matthew a bandage on his right wrist. Jonathan, therefore, not having anyone left to sword-fence with, swished his sword through the air and pretended he was fighting pirates, or enemies of the king in the book he was reading. He walked over to the long trailing ivy vines which covered the ground near the edge of the garden, and which separated the garden from the nearby golf course, and he sat down on the little three-legged wooden stool from the tree-house. He looked at his sword. After three days of battles it still looked very real. He thrust it forward with his arm out, like the picture in his book. Then he defended himself by pulling in his arm and warding off the blows he pretended were 9
falling upon him. He slashed at the broad green vine leaves spreading over the ground beneath him, and cut off several leaves with one blow. He did it again, then stood up and waded into the middle of the leafy area, and struck again. This time his sword hit something hard. It was so hard he thought his sword might have broken, but it hadn’t. He brushed aside the vine leaves with his foot to see what he’d hit, and saw it was the small wooden trap door through which they went to have adventures. Now, this trapdoor was the strangest thing. It was a real trapdoor hidden underneath the vine leaves. They had discovered it one day by accident when looking for golf balls in the vines, and no one else knew about it. They found the trapdoor just after they’d found a key in an old box which Jonathan had dug up in the garden. The Kippernickker’s called the key the Adventure Key since it had unlocked the trapdoor. When they’d opened the trapdoor they’d discovered stairs leading 10
Now, this trapdoor was the strangest thing.
down into an underground corridor, with mysterious doors along each side. Three times they’d gone along this corridor and through one of the many doors, and three times they’d had an exciting adventure. But for the last while the trapdoor had been closed, as if forever, for there had been no sign of any keyhole, and they needed the keyhole so they could use their Adventure Key. Jonathan looked at the door again and his heart missed a beat. There was the keyhole. There it was! “Nicolas!” he shouted. Nicolas had been out bike riding with Sarah and they’d just come back. Jonathan saw them in the driveway. “Nicolas!” he shouted again. “The key-hole’s back!” “The keyhole!” shouted Sarah, letting her bike fall, and running through the gate into the garden. “We can have another adventure! Matthew!” she shouted, and ran off to find him. “Matthew!” Nicolas came over. He had his bicycle helmet on and his new sun glasses. 12
Sarah came running back with Matthew who also had his bicycle helmet on, but only because he hadn’t bothered to take it off since the morning. “All right, Jonathan,” said Sarah, “open the trapdoor!” She loved adventures. Jonathan didn’t love them as much as Sarah, because on the adventures so far, he’d had too many frights and scary moments, and had been put in jail twice. However, just then there was nothing much to do and he didn’t want to appear timid. So when Nicolas asked him to get the key, he bent down to get it from under his sock, where he kept it taped to his leg with a band-aid. It wasn’t there. “It’s not there.” he said. “Oh, Jonathan!” said Nicolas “Not again. Why can’t you look after the key! Where did you put it this time?” “Oh, yes . . . I forgot,” said Jonathan. “The band-aid kept coming off so I put the key in a safe place. Anyway, every time I had a bath I had to take it off then stick it back on again, and the band13
aid wouldn’t stick. So I hid the key in the cupboard in your room,” he said, nodding at Sarah. “Where did you hide it?” said Sarah Kippernickker. “In the old bicycle helmet,” said Jonathan. “The blue one.” “The one that’s hanging up?” said Sarah. “Yes,” he said. “The blue one.” “That’s Matthew’s,” said Sarah. They looked at Matthew who had a blue bicycle helmet on his head. “That one?” said Nicolas Kippernickker. “Eh . . . yes,” said Jonathan. “Yes. The key’s inside, stuck on the inside top, with chewing gum.” Nicolas untied the strap on Matthew’s helmet and lifted the helmet off. He turned it upside down. The chewing gum was still there and while they could see something had once been stuck in it, there was nothing stuck in it now. “Jonathan!” said Nicolas, “you need the 14
Key tied round your neck!” Jonathan thought this was a good idea and he wondered about it for a moment. It would be like a medal on a ribbon, and he could take it off and hang it up somewhere. “Matthew,” Sarah said, “was there a key in there when you picked up the helmet?” “Yes,” said Matthew Kippernickker. “Well, where is it now?” asked Sarah Kippernickker. “In my pocket,” said Matthew, taking the key out of his pocket. “Then why didn’t you say so in the first place!” said Nicolas Kippernickker, shaking his head. But Matthew was bending down and fitting the key into the trapdoor keyhole. He turned it, and at once there was a ‘click’ and the door was opened. “Another adventure coming up!” said Sarah.