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holmes and parrot

Hello, Astropup here!
In the previous episode of my story, I told you how the parrot started to help Sherlock Holmes in the case of Lady Annabelle's Diamond Studded Dog Collar.
Holmes had just concluded that it was the butler who had stolen it, along with her dog, Anubis. This is how Holmes explained his theory.

“My client had in her employ a man who was her butler for five years. He is thirty four years of age, and like many of his profession, his perfect elocution is a little forced. I know for a fact that he left her service under a cloud, not long ago. As an intelligent person who spent time in the company of the good lady, he would be sure to pick up some knowledge of her greatest enthusiasm, the history, art and religion of Ancient Egypt. One of his duties was to walk her dog, Anubis, in Hyde Park. The dog knew him, and would not bark if he returned to the house, and would not be the least surprised if he put him on a lead and led him away from the house. I’m a 100% certain that if we visit the home of this former man-servant, who goes by the name of Stevens, we shall recover our diamond studded collar.”

“And the dog?” asked the parrot and I both at the same time.

“According to the note, the dog has been dispatched to the next world, no doubt as an act of malice against the butler’s former employer.”

“Well,” said Watson. “Let’s go and pay a visit to this Stevens.”

Holmes directed our cab driver to cross the River Thames and head for Old Kent Road.
On the way, I imagined what this dog-murdering former-butler would look like. I pictured a man with a bald head, an angry red face, and huge strangling hands. No doubt he was a cat lover… Grrrrrr!!!

We found his house on a street where kids were playing football in bare feet. One of them directed us to the door of the house where he lived with his brothers and old Ma. Holmes rang the bell, and, to my great surprise, the immediate response was loud and clear:

“Woof! Woof! Woof!”

A face appeared at the window. It had two large pointed ears and a long thin snout. When the front door eventually opened, a dog ran out wagging his tail. He was black and slim with slender legs.

“Hello friend,” I woofed. “We’ve come to rescue you from the evil dog-napper.”

“Rescue? What makes you think I need rescuing?” he asked.

“Aren’t you Anubis the dog with the diamond collar who was stolen and presumed dead?” I asked.

“I am Anubis” said he. “But my master is a good fellow who takes me for plenty of walkies and shares his nosh with me. Fairs fair.”

‘Well,” said I. “There’s been some mistake.”

Meanwhile Doctor Watson was talking to Steven’s old mother:

“My good lady, hand over the diamond dog collar and we won’t say another word.”

“There ain’t no dog collar here,” she was saying. “I should know. The house ain’t big, and there’s nowhere to hide such a thing.” This argument went on for some time.

Holmes sighed and said to the parrot: “Of course, she would say that, wouldn’t she? If I had spoken first, I would have taken a more subtle approach.”

“But she’s speaking the truth,” said the parrot. “The collar isn’t here. Stevens didn’t steal it.
He left it behind on the mantlepiece of his former employer’s house. He just wanted the dog.”

The parrot knew this, because I had just told him. Anubis had given me the full story. The butler had always looked after him. The lady of the house kept Anubis because he bore a striking resemblance to the Ancient Egyptian dog-god. After the butler had been fired, he missed his canine friend badly, and one night he came back to the house to take him home. He left the message, written to his former employer in Ancient Egyptian, quite appropriately, and placed it with the valuable collar on the mantlepiece. Anubis gladly went with the butler, because he regarded him as his true master.

“My dear parrot,” replied Holmes. “You take too kind a view of human nature. You may be sure that the butler was not so honest as to leave behind a valuable item that would make him rich beyond his wildest dreams.”

“Kind? I’m not being kind. He left it because he’s a dim-witt,” said the parrot. “The lady of the house won’t admit that she’s still got the collar because she doesn’t like the butler, she’s angry about losing her dog, and besides, she wants to claim for the diamonds on her insurance.”

“What makes you believe that?” asked Holmes. The parrot glanced briefly at Anubis and me before saying: “Intuition.”

The police from Scotland Yard were not far behind us. They arrived soon after and searched the house, but even their sniffer dogs could not find a trace of the diamond collar. Stevens himself turned up and was immediately handcuffed and arrested. Anubis growled at the police officers and they put a chain collar and lead around his neck.

“I assure you,” said the parrot, “that they’re searching the wrong place.”

“Perhaps the fellow has sold the collar already,” suggested Watson.

“Perhaps,” said Holmes stroking his chin. “In any case we must return Anubis to his owner.”

Watson gave a sharp tug on Anubis’s chain, and we clambered back aboard our handsome cab. This time our journey took us to the high end of London society, Belgravia, where the doors of the white stucco houses are opened by butlers. A dog who lives in these expansive squares can expect to nosh on the butcher’s best tripe and go for walks in Hyde Park. I knew that if Anubis was willing to give up such a life of luxury, and exchange it for the rough streets of the East End, he must love Stevens the butler as his rightful owner.

Lady Annabelle greeted Anubis as her long-lost best beloved pet, stroking his handsome head and patting him affectionately. But Anubis only wagged his tail quite faintly. When Holmes explained that they had failed to recover the valuable dog collar, she waved her hand and said:

“What do I care for diamonds when my darling dog is returned to me?”

A noble sentiment indeed, I thought, if only it were true. Her diamonds were hidden somewhere in the house, of that Anubis had no doubt.

Holmes, Watson and Marlow were invited into the drawing room to be served tea by Lady Annabelle's new butler. We dogs were lead downstairs to the pantry. The cook put water in a bowl for us and dished us up some porridge. I woofed my share down, but Anubis was not hungry. When I’d finished eating both bowl-fulls, I looked up and saw the parrot sitting on the head of a chair.

“Hey, Anubis,” he said. “I need to borrow your nose for some detective work.”

We slipped past the footman and sneaked up into the hallway. The staircase was guarded by eerie Egyptian statues that looked uncannily like cat-people. I shuddered as we climbed up to the first floor and slipped into the bedrooms that were strictly off bounds to animals, although there were plenty of statues of cats, dogs and birds. A maid came out onto the landing, but fortunately she was carrying a pile of laundry that blocked her view.

Lady Annabelle had not taken too much trouble to hide the diamonds. Anubis knew his own collar’s smell well, and soon he sniffed it out. She had slipped it into the pocket of a silk dressing gown that was hanging in her wardrobe. He tugged at the gown with his claws, and picked the collar up in his teeth. Before we could get away, the maid came into the room.

“Out, you naughty dogs, shoo!” she shouted, and we flew past her, quite literally in the case of the parrot. We headed downstairs and when we reached the bottom step, the parrot declared:

“Now for the final showdown of my greatest mystery to date.”

We waited in the hall. Doctor Watson was just saying: “We shall leave no stone unturned,” when the parrot fluttered into the drawing room.

Holmes looked up and said: “Excuse me, Lady Annabelle, my parrot has escaped.”

“Excuse me!” exclaimed the parrot. “Mr Holmes is wrong on several counts. I am not his, and I have not escaped.”

“Good Gracious!” exclaimed Lady Annabelle, and then she looked at Marlow and said: “Was it you who said that?”

“No Ma'am,” said Marlow.

“No, it was I, Horos, the bird-god of the sky!” announced the parrot, as he settled onto Marlow’s shoulder. Then he fixed the lady with his beady eyes. She sat back in her chair, quite stiff, ashen faced, and afraid.

The parrot said:

“I see everything, nothing that happens in this house of Egypt escapes me, you may as well confess that you have mislead Mr Holmes and made a right Charlie of him.”

“C-c-confess what?” asked the lady.

“That!” said the parrot pointing with his wing. For while he had been speaking, Anubis had trotted into the room. He padded up to Lady Annabelle with the collar in his mouth and laid it at her feet.

“Case solved!” declared the parrot, and I woofed my approval.

“Why, why, Anubis, you clever dog, you brought your collar back from Steven’s house,” said the Lady, appealing to Holmes.

“Why what a clever doggie, we didn’t even notice,” said Watson. Holmes remained silent.

Eventually he stood up and said decisively: “Watson, it is clear that we have been out brained by a bird. I must return to Baker Street and consider my future as a detective.”

As we left the house, the great man looked most dejected. The parrot fluttered beside him and said:
“Don’t take it too harshly, Mr Holmes. In this case we had the advantage of animal speak.”

Holmes tipped the brim of his deerstalker cap. “I take my hat off to you,” he said. “And I see now that the ability to communicate with animals provides many intriguing possibilities for detective work. Animals see a great many things which we humans overlook. Perhaps, if you have time, you will teach me some useful words and phrases?”

“Woof, certainly,” said I, but Holmes did not understand me.

“I’m afraid,” said the parrot, “that we are wanted in a different time and a different place.”

“Mr Holmes, it has been fascinating,” said Marlow, “but my friend the parrot here is right. We have another mission to complete and we’d better be getting on with it.”

“In that case,” said Holmes, “I must bid you farewell and i thank you for an instructive lesson in the art and science of detective work.”

And thank you Astropup, for telling the world about that previously unknown episode in the career of Sherlock Holmes. Come back soon and tell our listeners on what happened next in your travels through space and time.

For now, from Astropup and me, Richard Scott, goodbye.

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