A Dream about the Secret Brandy Cellar Before I start my story, I have some good advice to share with you: never, ever drink that 30-year-old brandy from Brockenborings! Nothing good comes of it. I am not sure why I feel like that… I don’t really remember what happens after… But let me tell you this: I don’t always drink Brockenborings brandy, but when I do, I see the strangest dreams! That happened a while ago, and now I would like to share that dream with you. In the dream, it was a lovely summer day, and I was making preparations for a fishing picnic… with a friend. I was in the kitchen, putting things to my picnic basket: apples, pie, scones... I also took some old cheese with me, because that’s good for luring fishes. They seem to like the stinky stuff. I hurried out from my burrow towards the pond, to meet my friend there. But then I suddenly realized that I hadn’t taken any drinks along! How stupid of me. I was already about to turn back when I realized that I was standing in front of the Songburrow Hall. Surely they wouldn’t mind if I borrowed a few drinks? No, no! Once inside, I headed for the many cellars. The best drinks would be kept there, well hidden from the curious inn-specting bounders! But if you have ever been to the Songburrow cellars, you must know this: It is maze! Far worse than the one near Bree-town. Pretty soon, I was lost. The corridors led me deeper and deeper… And then, I saw it: A large, old door, with the promising sign on it: “Brandy”. It was the secret brandy cellar! It wasn’t a rumour after all. I tried the door, but of course, it was locked. Then I saw a tiny note peeking from under the door. It said: The key to this cellar full of brandy Is a thing small and mouldy Bring it to us and see What the cellar can give to thee “Oh dear”, I thought. “Is there an amateur poet trapped guarding this door?” Well, now I just had to find this small mouldy key to get to the precious brandy. And where are the most precious items kept in the Hall of the Grand Order? In the study of course, where they keep their mathoms too! That’s where I’ll find the key, I thought. So I went back up the stairs, trying to find the study. I dropped breadcrumbs as I went, so that I could find the way back to the cellar. A trick I learnt from another story… Soon, I found the study with no scholars inside. Quickly, I started to rummage the drawers and chests, looking for the mouldy key. Then, I saw an ominous pile in the corner, and a faint glitter. The key was lying there on a pile of… something stinky. As I picked the key, I could recognize the smell… it was… Pig manure! Suddenly, I felt someone, or something, staring at me from behind. As I turned, I saw two red eyes looking at me from the darkness. And heard two threatening oinks. At once, I knew that voice didn’t belong to Master Potty, our scholar. It was Minna the pig, Miss Tibba’s breeding pig that had invaded our precious study. For a pig, Minna had an incredible appetite: she could devour anything. She had already destroyed many of our mathoms, scripts and Potty’s napping… er, study chair. I had totally forgotten about her. And there she was, staring hungrily at my hand and the key… Drool started to drip from her merciless mouth. She wanted to eat the key! Maybe she had already eaten it a couple of times already, by the looks of that key… But I needed the key for the cellars, I could not give it to her! Minna grunted disapprovingly. Could she read my thoughts? “You can’t have this key!” I heard myself squeaking. “I wants it! I needs it!” Minna grunted again and shook her head. “Maybe… we could have a riddle contest? The winner gets the key, eh?” I tried. But all I got was an empty stare. “Maybe you would like to have something more edible in exchange for this key? I have a packed lunch…” But she had had enough. After all, she was pig-headed, and she WANTED that key above all else. A short chase followed, making the mess in the study even worse. And even though I am a Pouncella, I am no match for Minna. I dropped the key, and she ate it… I was defeated. Well, I just have to go on a picnic without the brandy, I thought. I had to return to the cellar, as I had left my picnic basket there. But when I got back to the cellar door, I faced a strange scene: The basket was knocked over, and its contents were all over the floor. Someone had been here! I started to gather the stuff and checked if everything was still there. Only one thing was missing: the old, stinky, small piece of mouldy cheese… I remembered what the note said: The key to this cellar full of brandy Is a thing small and mouldy Bring it to us and see What the cellar can give to thee The key was actually mouldy cheese! But how… Then I saw that the door was slightly ajar! So I went inside, and I saw… George, the pesky mouse who lives at the Songburrow hall! He was currently enjoying his mouldy cheese on the floor, looking very happy. I could only laugh! Only a mouse would use cheese as a key, of course! “You tricksy creature”, I said smilingly. “Thank you for letting me in. Now let me take a look at the brandy…” I followed the dark corridor, and then I saw a glitter in front of me… It got stronger and brighter, and then I saw it! A single flaming eye stared at me from the dark! Merciless, lidless, less of anything! Its gaze pierced me, and I started falling…. Then I opened my eyes. And what did I see? A lidless eye, staring at me still! But this time, it was surrounded by fur… “Yuck!” I shouted and pushed my cat’s bottom away from my face. “I hate it when you do that, cat.” And that’s it. It was just a dream, luckily. But you folks just be easy on that Brockenborings brandy!