Chumleigh, the gerbil, Cookie the dachshund and Cleo the cat were off to spend a few days on a friendly farm… little did they know what the week had in store for them..
“I don’t think I’ve ever visited a farm before,” Chumleigh said. “I wonder what kind of animals they have there?”
“I believe they have a bit of a mixture,” Cleo told him. “I hope the accommodation is up to scratch; after all, I’m used to a certain standard,” she added.
Cookie and Chumleigh exchanged glances.
“It’ll be great fun – they’ll be so much room to run around in,” Cookie told her, thinking of all the possible places there might be to bury a bone or two….
“Wow look at that!” she said to the others. Cleo followed Cookie’s gaze and was startled to see what appeared to be a kangaroo smiling at them through the window.
“Is that a…?” Chumleigh began, but the kangaroo seemed to have disappeared. Next thing, it had hopped around to the open door.
“G’day mates,” he greeted them. “Good to see ya! I’m Cobber.
“I must say, we didn’t expect to meet a kangaroo on a farm…” ventured Chumleigh, most intrigued with Cobber’s long back legs.
“Nah, I’m no ‘roo; I’m a wallaby, mate,” corrected Cobber winking. “We’re more or less the same, but smaller,” he laughed.
Cobber takes them on a tour of the farm, where they meet pigs, sheep, bulls and even some alpacas – but they can’t fail to miss a goat by the name of Cotton…
The pets didn’t have long to wait before Cobber bounced back into the centre of the paddock. He was holding a long twig in one of his front paws.
“Alright everybody,” he called out loudly – some baahing was still coming from the sheep. “Erm hrmh! Everyone – can I get your attention please? Listen, the humans are up on the top field, so it’s a good time for us to get some practice in. Let’s pick up with the one we did last time.”
A sudden silence descended across the paddocks. Cobber stood tall and held up the long twig in the air with his right paw. He waved the twig smartly up and down and said, “one, two, three and…”
Chumleigh’s couldn’t believe what he was hearing – all the animals started singing together! The bulls softly bellowed in deep base tones; the pigs did little baritone snorts; the alpacas joined in with some alto humming and the sheep began gently baahing at soprano pitch.
The harmony was dazzling and all the different animal voices blended melodically together. The tune was rich and full and Cobber carefully guided each section along, signalling to them to increase or decrease volume and bringing them in on cue. It was an accomplished performance.
As all the animals were getting into their stride a loud, “maah, maah, maah,” could be heard above the singing. For a moment, everyone carried on, but the, “maah, maah, maah,” just grew louder – it was very off key and was spoiling the song.
The noise was coming from Cotton, who was balanced on top of the paddock fence, bleating at the top of her voice.
“Sorry guys; stop, stop please!” called out Cobber, waving his baton in a crisscross motion. Sighing, he turned to Cotton, “will you please not do that!” he said.
Still perched on the fence, Cotton stopped her bleating and studied him for a moment.
“Just stay quiet please,” Cobber told her. When no further bleating was forthcoming, he turned around and beckoned everyone to begin the song again. No sooner had they started, than Cotton decided to join in, bleating in a flat and grating tone.
Cobber sighed heavily, “sorry everyone,” he called as the singing trailed off. Then turning to Cotton, he said, “listen mate, I’m not gonna tell ya again – stay quiet!”
Cotton began her flat bleating once more, “maah, maah, maah!” on and on it went. Cookie put her ears between her paws and Chumleigh saw Cleo surreptitiously fold down the tips of her ears to try to block out the sound. He could feel his teeth grating at the tuneless racket.
“Right, that’s it – I’ve had enough of this!” yelled Cobber, clearly very annoyed. “You’re barred from this paddock – do you hear me? Barred!”
Cotton stood her ground for a moment and then seeing the cross look on Cobber’s face, she put her little head down and slowly made her way over to the field on the other side of the house.
Chumleigh could understand why they were all so annoyed at her, but nonetheless he couldn’t help but feel rather sorry for her and so he asked her why she was acting up.
“I just want to sing,” Cotton told him. Chumleigh wasn’t too sure quite what to say to this, having heard Cotton’s off-key efforts.
“I’m sure I could get better,” she said, seeing the doubtful look on his face. “I just need a little help.”
So what could they do about Cotton…? Maybe a friendly canary called Chipper can give them a few singing lessons..?
Chipper went through various notes, giving them all advice and guidance on how to improve. Soon they had managed to put the notes together and following Chipper, they were able to sing a little tune.
“Well, who’d have thought it!” exclaimed Chumleigh delighted with their efforts.
“OK that’s enough for today; we don’t want to wear out our voices. Tomorrow we will learn a little tune that Cotton can sing for Cobber,” said Chipper and with that everyone thanked him and agreed to meet back again the next day.
After a couple of days lessons, Chipper was pleased with everyone’s progress and proclaimed that Cotton was now ready to audition for the choir.
So, they wait for Cobber to come by and all begin singing….
“OK,” said Cleo, “after three – one, two, three…” and with that the foursome launched into the simple tune that Chipper had taught them. The music flowed along pleasantly and everyone was enjoying singing.
Cobber was bouncing back across the paddock when he heard the pretty tune. He stopped and tilted his head to listen – he didn’t recognise the voices who were singing. He quietly hopped closer to where the music seemed to be coming from and rounding the corner of the house – he was astonished to see Cotton and the three pets, singing their hearts out. Cobber came up to them, a look of utter surprise on his face.
“Hey, guys – was that really you singing?” he asked, amazed by what he had heard.
“Yes, it was,” replied Cotton nervously.
“But, I don’t understand – I didn’t know you could all sing! And Cotton – I didn’t think you could sing a note!” replied Cobber.
“We’ve been having lessons,” Cotton told him. “My friends here helped me – we all learnt together,” she added.
“It sure was bonzer mates,” Cobber told them.
Cotton continued to look at Cobber anxiously. Chumleigh stepped up. “I think Cotton is a little too scared to ask, but she would like to know if she could join the choir please?” he asked Cobber.
Cobber nodded, “blimey mate, you can all join the choir!” he laughed.
A little later on, when the humans were out of earshot, Cotton and the pets proudly joined the choir in singing for the first time.
Everyone was delighted with the performance; they all agreed that Cotton had a sweet voice and congratulated her on her progress.
“It was great to help Cotton and we also got to learn to sing ourselves – we love it now!” laughed Chumleigh.
“Yeah, you’re looking at the next hound dog singer,” chortled Cookie.
“I do hope you won’t be howling at all hours!” tutted Cleo, “after all you’ll find it hard competing with the cats chorus!” she tittered.
Chumleigh smiled at them all and declared, “We’re all in harmony together!” and everyone laughed as they nodded in agreement.