“Nope,” admitted Dotty, and the others agreed. “Do you know that Ergo is definitely in there, and alive?” asked Nigel. “Yes,” said Sodge. “Last night one of our patrols was creeping past pigfrog command and heard a piano playing...” “That doesn’t prove anything,” interrupted Elsie. “No, wait a minute,” continued Sodge. “The playing was very simple and clear, and was coming from a window slit, high up in the rock face of the North wall of Pigfrog Command. At first our patrol thought it was just somebody learning to play – badly – until one of them noticed it was playing morse code! And the morse code said “E. R.G.O. A.N.D. E.L.F. A.R.E. A.L.I.V.E. A.N.D. H.A.V.I.N.G. A. H.O.R.R.I.D. T.I.M.E. B.U.T. W.E. E.X.P.E.C.T. A. R.I.G.H.T. G.O.O.D. S.Q.U.A.S.H.I.N.G. A.N.Y. M.O.M.E.N.T. N.O.W. P.L.E.A.S.E. H.E.L.P. ...E.R.G.O. I.S. I.N. J.A.I.L. B.L.O.C.K. F.O.U.R. A.N.D. I. A.M. I.N. M.O.U.N.D.R.O.T.S. R.O.O.M.S. T.E.A.C.H.I.N.G. T.H.I.S. F.A.T. O.L.D. P.I.G.F.R.O.G. T.O. P.L.A.Y. B.U.T. U.S.U.A.L.L.Y. I. A.M. I.N. C.E.L.L. B.L.O.C.K. F.I.V.E....L.O.V.E. F.R.O.M. T.H.E. E.L.F. B.Y.T.H.E.W.A.Y. M.Y. N.A.M.E. I.S. H.O.R.A.C.E.” Good old Horace the Elf had thought up a ripping wheeze – to use Ursula’s piano lessons as a signal, and had written a special tune with a morse code message in it, all on one note. He had taught it to Ursula so that she would play it even if he wasn’t there any more. And, boy, did she play it! Over and over again, she was playing it, and the passing slug patrol had heard it! “Hip, Hip, Hooray!” shouted Elsie, and the others agreed. Ergo was alive! Then Else stopped and looked up at the ceiling, as if having another fantastic idea. Yes, here comes another one, she thought. “I’ve got a better plan than storming the place!” she cried. “I’ll dress up as a washerwoman and knock on their door and when they let me in, I’ll find my way to Ergo’s cell and give him my clothes and he can get out dressed up as me dressed up as the washerwoman. And then I’ll put on some other clothes I’ll have taken in, and make my escape dressed up as another washerwoman!” There was a short pause as the others considered the idea. The short pause was followed by a long pause. “Why don’t you just give Ergo the clothes you take in, and you stay in the ones you are wearing?” said Nigel. 70
A free readable copy of Mike Batt’s adventure story for childish grown-ups and grown-up children.