Chapter 6

 

Professor Hasty

 

 

 

Many hours later they sat together in Elfrida’s room. When they all had phoned their parents and told them about the terrible thunderstorm, they felt better. Of course nobody told about the ecxiting adventure they had had. It was just that Mr. Bobble noticed two children which up to now he never had seen.

 

Daddy, you won’t understand that”, Elfrida said. “You don’t believe in witches and the like.”

 

Well”, Bobble replied, “if I think of Aunt Odilia, I’m not that sure. But I will get angry if you don’t tell me where your new friends are from.”

 

So Elfrida told the whole story how they met Mona and Moyo. She told him how they had travelled with a space ship to the planet Zeta after Jenny had picked up emergency signals from Mona and Moyo with her new telescope. The planet had been attacked by monsters, but thanks to Bernie’s firecrackers they had finally driven off the monsters.

 

Fustian”, Bobble muttered and went over to his TV-chair. “Such things do not exist. I am an man standing with both legs firm on the ground and looking straight forward. I do not believe in such stupid… Aaaaah!”

 

There was a tremendous thud because Bobble had stumbled over the TV-chair. He crashed onto the table and banged his trunk into the ashtray. When he got up, his trunk was decorated with fags.

 

Ftop fat filly laughing”, Bobble said and spit out some of the fags. “Better tell me the truth. I want to know who your new friends really are!”

 

Okay”, Elfrida sighed. “They’re from South America and spend their holiday here.”

 

You see”, Bobble grumbled and brushed ash from his trunk. “Why can’t you say so in the first place?”

 

Daddy”, Elfrida asked, “may my new friends stay overnight?”

 

Bobble thought that over. “But only until Monday, then they have to leave.”

 

Thanks, Daddy, longer will not be necessary.”

 

Elfrida ran from the sitting room back to her chamber. Sometimes grown-ups really have no imagination, she thought. Everything always has to be right and common sense - how boring. When Elfrida and the others had discussed what to do next, it was time to sleep. Tomorrow morning they would visit Professor Hasty. While the others went home, Mona and Moyo prepared their place for the night. Tired to death they fell into their beds and slept at once.

 


 

 Next morning they all met at the Magic Forest bus stop as agreed. The bus driver was surprised because he did not know the two new children. At the third station they got off and walked towards the beach. From the distance they could already see smoke coming out of the upper window of the lighthouse.

 

Hurry up!” Jenny shouted. “Something happened there!”

 

The friends ran as fast as they could manage in the deep sand. Jenny was the first one at the door of the high tower and saw with relief that it was not locked. Closely followed by Elfrida, Daisy, and Bernie she reached the rooms of the professor. They were full of smoke and Bernie opened the windows. When the air became clearer they saw the professor sitting in his working chair. He was wearing a funny black mask.

 

Professor Hasty, what’s the matter? You okay?”

 

Daisy tore the mask from his face and the professor gasped for breath.

 

Th-th-thank you, th-th-that w-w-was quite a near thing.”

 

What shall be the outcome of that?” Bertha panted, who now entered the sitting room together with Susie and Mary. “As far as I can see, something terrible.”

 

A t-test, only a t-test, I w-wanted to t-test a new breathing mask for the f-fire brigade”, the professor stammered. “B-b-but somehow it d-does not really w-work.”

 

Slowly he seemed to calm down, but then he saw Mona and Moyo. Before he could get excited again, Elfrida told him the whole story. For a long time now he sat on this chair and turned this over in his mind.

 

You w-want to go home, w-won’t you?” he asked.

 

O yes, Mr. Hasty”, said Mona, who could not pronounce the word ‘professor’. “Can you help us?”

 

Eh, w-well, we n-need a space ship, but that’s no p-problem. If I begin at once, w-we can start s-soon. The old space ship has to be t-tested and refuelled.”

 

I’ll help you with it”, Bernie said, and the professor nodded.

 

So do I”, Rosie cried. The professor shook his head and they all shouted: “Not you!”

 

We’d better go home and pack some important things. Later on we’ll meet here again.”

 

Everybody agreed with Daisy, and so they went home to pack the necessary things for their journey.

 

While Mona and Moyo were packing, Elfrida said to Dolly the doll: “You stay here, you are much too small!” Then she took the magic ring and the magic bottle, and they walked to the bus stop again. They were the last ones at the lighthouse. Even Rosie was already there chewing chocolate.

 

And wipe your fingers before entering the space ship”, Bertha grumped. “I have no mind to fly through space in a dirty dustbin.”

 

You may stay here, then I need not listen to your nagging!”

 

Rosie, Rosie, you have to learn to keep your things in order, because…”

 

Now do stop quarrelling, or you’ll both stay here”, Elfrida butt in. “We must stick together, because we don’t know what kinds of danger are expecting us. Only think of the planet Trion monsters!”

 

Nobody said a word, but everybody thought of the horrible monsters. Would they be able to help Mona and Moyo? The professor checked his instruments, then they started. Slowly the heavy space ship took off into the sky. Minute by minute it became faster. Due to the heightening speed the friends were pressed back into their seats and hardly could breath. The engines roared so that talking was impossible anyway.

 

It will be better in a moment”, the professor shouted over the noise. “If we left the gravitation of Earth, it will be all right.”

 

When this happened, it was suddenly very silent and they all felt light as feathers.

 

May I eat something now?” Rosie asked and opened her safety belt. “I’m starving.”

 

No p-problem”, the professor replied. “But you must hold to something if you g-get up.”

 

Like so often, the hungry pig only could think of her munchies and did not listen to the last words of the professor. Briskly Rosie got out of her seat, took off and hung under the ceiling of the space ship.

 

Professor, help, I want to get down!”

 

They all laughed when Rosie hung in the air, pedalling.

 

Shall I hand up your chocolate?” Bertha jeered. “But take care. If you want to mess about here, everything gets flying.”

 

Rosie had totally forgotten that everything is weightless in space. Of course, there was no more gravitation. The weightless Rosie rowed with her arms, but by that she only bumped against a wall with her head.

 


 I can’t stand that wailing any longer”, Bernie said, took a belt und shouted: “Hold at the end of the belt, Rosie.” When she did so, Bernie slowly dragged her back to the floor.

 

We are approaching S-Saturn”, Prof. Hasty remarked. “Do you see the ring around the planet? It consists of ice and dust. The whole planet is covered by ice.”

 

It must be piggish cold there”, Bernie whispered, and Bertha looked at him reproachfully.

 

Will you please tell me what you mean by that?” she haughtily asked.

 

Well, just that’s it dam’ cold.”

 

Dam’ piggish cold, yes?” Bertha eyes glazed at Bernie.

 

Whatsoever”, Elfrida tried to calm her down. “Let’s better fly on.”

 

Y-yes, that’s exactly what w-we do”, the professor said. “In a few minutes we’ll approach the planet Zeta. P-please fasten your seat belts and sit down.”

 

You mean, sit down and fasten your seat belts?” Bertha asked.

 

He said so, didn’t he?” Rosie snapped.

 

No, he first said fasten belts and then sit down.”

 

So what’s the problem, Bertha?”

 

Well, dear Rosie, if I first fasten my seat belt, I can’t sit down because my seat belt is fastened, while if I first sit down…”

 

Shut up!” This was too silly for Jenny. “No do sit down, you buckles!”

 

And then buckle the belts?”

 

Shut up, Rosie!”

 

Finally all the friends had fastened their seat belts and the space ship entered the orbit.

 

Now we are in the orbit”, the professor announced and studied the monitor.

 

Are we in a roundabout now?”

 

Not exactly, Rosie, that just m-means, we are c-circling the p-planet within its g-gravitation. P-perhaps you notice that you f-feel heavier again.”

 

Yes, my arms do and I in all feel heavier.”

 

Small wonder, Rosie, after all the things you’ve stuffed yourself with”, Susie grinned.

 

The professor still watched the monitor. He looked for a suitable landing spot. It was clear that they had to avoid the monsters. After a long time the space ship suddenly turned and the professor approached to land.

 

Why do we fly backwards?” Mary wondered, and Bernie replied:

 

Because we want to touch down. If we approach the planet in a forward position, we are so fast that we would crash to the ground. To slow down we turn the ship and fly with the drive jets forward with very little push. If you fly with a rocket and accelerate less and less, then you’ll slowly return back to the ground.”

 

By now the ship approached the ground, and suddenly the professor shouted: “Hold fast!”

 

There was a hefty thud and they had touched down. After recovering for a moment, they all got up and ran to the windows. Nothing was to be seen, it was dark.

 

It’s in the middle of the night”, Elfrida shouted. “That’s much too dangerous. Professor, we have to take off again at once.”

 

No, no”, the professor laughed, “that’s only the d-dust dispersed by the engines. In a few m-minutes you can see again.”

 

Professor Hasty was right. Soon the friends had the well known view over Zeta: desert and sand as far as they could see.

 

Nothing much has changed here”, Elfrida stated. “What is so special at this giant sandbox?”

 

Water is rare on the planets. On our planet we’ve got plenty, but it is a few meters underground and that’s what the monsters are here for”, Mona explained.

 

But if the monsters discover us?”

 

Don’t worry”, Professor Hasty replied. “I developed a monster-alarm. I will switch it on in a moment, and if there’s a monster closer to us than two kilometres, the unit will give alarm.”

 

How far are two kilometres?” Bernie wanted to know.

 

Well, those lame monsters need about half an hour for two k-kilometres, time enough for t-take-off. But I’ll now switch on the monster-alarm.”

 

The professor took out a unit with an antenna, pulled the antenna out and pressed a button. Immediately a shrill alarm sounded and the professor paled.

 

My goodness, monsters are close. I try to locate them.”

 

He turned some knobs, shook his head and tried again. He moved the antenna a little, pressed a few other buttons, then he asked Rosie and Bertha to go into the next room. When the two pigs were gone, he again pressed some buttons and said: “Aha! Rosie and Bertha, you m-may came back!”

 

They came in and the professor again pressed a button. For a second time the unit gave a shrill noise.

 

Okay, I th-think I’ve found it.”

 

Bertha went straight to Professor Hasty and looked at him angrily: “Professor Hasty, will you please tell me what I am to think about this?”

 

N-nothing, I m-must r-readjust the unit, because… eh…”

 

Because what?” Bertha stood right in front of the timid professor.

 

Eh, well, because the monster-alarm also reacts… How shall I put it?”

 

To pigs?!”

 

Yes, I’m sorry.”

 

The answer of the professor was drowned in the laughter of the others. Elfrida, Daisy, Jenny, Susie, Mary, and Bernie rolled on the floor and cackled. Mona and Moyo grinned.

 

For the rest of the day Bertha and Rosie did no longer speak with the professor. However, when it was time to sleep everyone looked for a cosy corner in the space ship. It goes without saying that the two pigs had their bedding as far as possible from the professor. They talked a lot about this and that and of how the monsters could be driven out, but one after the other fell asleep. Only Elfrida still was awake. Just for safety she once more searched her luggage. Yes, everything was there: the magic ring and the magic bottle. She wondered whether the magic bottle would function on a far away planet. Elfrida’s thoughts drifted back to a time when she could neither read nor write. How had it happened that she came by the magic bottle?