"Sir, I'd quite enjoy tagging along if you'd allow, sir." Brumble jogged slowly to keep up with the hurried Till Knobbin.
"Don't be nonsensical, Mr. Brumble. It is completely out of the question."
"Oh, but I'd very much like it, sir," Brumble said. He bumped straight into a small wooden table. A vase tumbled off and crashed to the ground, shattering into a million pieces.
Till sighed loudly with his back still to Brumble. Brumble bent down to pick up a large piece of broken glass.
"Leave it," Till said sternly. "Just leave it."
Brumble's large lower lip turned to a pout and began to quiver. He put the piece of glass back on the floor.
"Let me alone, Mr. Brumble. I have many a thing to accomplish before my journey. I don't need no one meddling with my things."
Brumble nodded, his lower lip sinking even lower to his chin.
"Goodbye, sir, " Brumble whispered. "Safe journey." And with that, Brumble closed the door of Till Knobbin's workshop and would not see his dear friend again for quite some time.
The next day, bright and early, when the sun lay it's pink blanket across all of Knobb Hill, Till rose with hope for adventure in his heart. He started the day off quite leisurely with a two hour breakfast consisting of seven courses, and a rather lazy stroll through his garden. The honeysuckles were blooming and the rosebushes' fragrance caught the light morning breeze sending it straight to Till's head which made him feel light and giddy. He swam with delight among the sweet aroma. Till hardly even noticed the time, he was enjoying himself so much. But as the sun rose to it's peak, the bumbles buzzed anxiously from petal to petal and even around Till's ears. He could hear them whispering a friendly warning.
"Must beeee on your way, sir. The day is late. You have far to go." They buzzed busily around him. "Mustn't beeee late."
Till hurried up the path to his back door, grabbed his sack, closed all his windows, and locked his front door behind him.
As he packed up his horse, many Knobbins passed his large barn door and bade him farewell.
"Good luck to you, sir," The Hornscotch Family said handing him three days' worth of black currants jam.
"We'll be missing you," chimed Old Farmer Petterfood, grabbing Till's hand and shaking it furiously.
A crowd of citizens stuck close around Till and his horse. Before he knew it, Till had a mound of farewell gifts strapped on the back of his horse.
"Has anyone see Mr. Brumble?"
"Aye," said Henry Hornscotch. "Catch him meddling with me horns early this morn. I reckon he be on his way to gather the bonnet bellows by now. Nasty job, that tis. Why, I don't wish it upon no one, that I don't. Not even me enemies."
Till nodded, quite disappointed in fact that he would not be saying farewell to his best friend. Till furrowed his brow. "Well, if that's how he's going to be," Till mumbled under his breathe. He mounted his horse and pulled the reins, bidding all farewell behind him.
This time of year, Clearywood was an active place. The leavs were changing from a green to a gold and all the citizens were preparing for the Harvest events. All of the produce in the fields were maturing, growing overly plump and juicy and ready to be plucked. During this season, everyone had a job, whether it be harvesting the crops or preparing dishes after.
As Till passed the field, he waved to the workers and gave a friendly holler. Till strolled along, wagon behind him and dirt kicking up around the horse's hooves. The autumn breeze danced around Till's face. He wrapped his long scarf tighter to his neck.
A kind worker met Till on the side of the road with a warm cup of appling drink to give. Till graciously accepted and continued on his way. Now, with the appling mug warming his chilled fingers.
The sun was beginning to descend in the sky, leaving all of Clearywood covered in a blanket of gold. The road became a little more reckless and the edges a little more wild. Up ahead was inevitably the line of the Clearywood bounds and a very rotten man indeed.
Hickery Snook never asked to be a grumpy old man, neither were his intentions. It was just that he got teased so much. It's not to blame the young folk for teasing him, it was rather easy. The old man Hickery just got so angry, though they knew could do no harm, not even to a bonnet bellow and therefore circumstances were perfect.
In fact, Till Knobbin and Mr. Barnebee Brumble were the guiltiest among the other young citizens of Clearywood for creating such a horribly grumpy man.
It started one bright summer day when Barnebee Brumble tended to the bonnet bellows in the Knobbin's garden. He always seemed to have a nack for taming the wild creatures. It very well have been only that he had the patience and compassion to try. I must tell you, not many people, Knobbin or not, enjoyed the company of a bonnet bellow.
They were of a pesty bunch that, though rather cute to observe, were vicious creatures. It may even be they whom the phrase is named from, "give them an inch and they take a yard". That is more or less what happened where bonnet bellows were involved. The bonnet bellows first begin as one very small, fury, blue worm measuring about an inch in length which sit upon a flower petal singing a short, yet repetitive tune.
The problem with this little worm is he will continue to sing, and how the little thing's voice does carry!, until you feed him a drop of honey. However, once you feed him the honey, the little worm splits in two. And both bonnet bellows then begin to sing, in harmony if you are lucky, a song with no beginning or end. Most folks cannot stand to hear the song and therefore feed the worm for just a few minutes of silence. They get caught in the cycle of feeding and the splitting of the worms which very rapidly becomes feet, yards, and miles of bonnet bellows sitting upon flower petals singing a song with no beginning or end.