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Happy Easter

Bertie looked longingly at the lovely Princess Beatrice, remembering how he used to stroll with her down to the edge of the pond, and how she would always bring some bread for the Sadie the beautiful black swan and for all the ducks, coots and geese who would come quacking and honking up to greet her. He noticed that today she was carrying a silk bag over her shoulder, and every now and then she would stoop down to the ground and take something out of her bag and place it carefully under a vegetable or a leaf.

In this special Bertie Story for Easter, the annual Easter egg hunt in the palace garden is heading for disaster, and Prince Bertie the Frog is about to take the blame for eating the eggs belonging to the children.

Read by Natasha Lee Lewis. Duration 15 minutes.
Proofread by Claire Deakin.

It was springtime on the pond, and all the pond life were sitting by the edge of the water, looking out at all the lovely daffodils that were starting to spring up around the palace vegetable patch. Sadie the Swan was sighing, "I do love the spring, Bertie, because all the flowers make me feel so romantic..."

Colin the carp said, "I don't like flowers. People go on about their lovely smell, but I can't smell a thing, because I'm a fish."

Just then, Tim the Tadpole stuck his tiny head out of the water and spotted a young woman walking under the fruit trees and the vegetable patch.

"That's the most beautiful person I've ever seen," he said. "Who can she be, Bertie?"

"Why," said Bertie, "that's the lovely Princess Beatrice, of course." Then he croaked rather sadly because, as you probably know, when Bertie was a handsome prince, he was engaged to marry the lovely Princess Beatrice, but then her horrid stepmother turned him into a frog, and he misses his princess quite a bit sometimes. Now she was ever so close to the pond, but she didn't recognise Bertie, because he looked just like a green frog. But all the pond life gazed at her. They were fascinated to catch a glimpse of her royal loveliness of whom they had heard so much.

"What's she doing?" Asked Tim.

Bertie looked longingly at the lovely Princess Beatrice, remembering how he used to stroll with her down to the edge of the pond, and how she would always bring some bread for the Sadie the beautiful black swan and for all the ducks, coots and geese who who would come quacking and honking up to greet her. He noticed that today she was carrying a silk bag over her shoulder, and every now and then she would stoop down to the ground and take something out of her bag and place it carefully under a vegetable or a leaf. The things she was hiding so carefully looked like ostrich eggs, only instead of being white like usual eggs, they were all sorts of bright and attractive colours.

"What are those?" Asked Tim, who is a very curious tadpole, and is always asking loads and loads of questions.

"Those," said Bertie, "are Easter eggs." Tim opened his tiny mouth and was about to ask another question. But before he could ask, Bertie answered it. "This time of year is called Easter, and all the children who live in the palace, and all the children from the nearby villages, come to the palace gardens, and they hunt for Easter eggs. The rumour goes that they are hidden by the Easter bunnies - but because I was a prince, and princes know everything, I realised that really it was the lovely Princess Beatrice who hid them. Do you know what I used to do? I would watch her from the top of the palace tower through my telescope, and spot where all the biggest eggs were hidden... especially the ones with jelly beans inside, because those are my favourites."

"I didn't know you liked eggs," said Tim.

"These were chocolate eggs, Tim," said Bertie.

"What's chocolate?"

Now little Tim is known for asking some very silly questions, and quite often when he asks them, the other creatures on the pond go, "Tim, don't you know even that?" But this time they kept very quiet, because they were all eager to learn from Bertie what chocolate was. Bertie licked his lips with the memory of its taste.

"Chocolate, little Tim, is the most delicious food in the entire universe."

Colin the Carp, who is a very grumpy fish, and very seldom agrees with Bertie, or with anyone else for that matter, said, "You might like chocolate, but it's not nearly so tasty as a dead insect with a nice bit of mud on it. In fact, chocolate is not nice at all, unless you are a frog, and a stupid one at that."

"Oh yes it is," said Bertie.

"Oh no it isn't," said Colin.

"Oh yes it is," said Bertie.

Just then Sadie the Swan glided across the pond. "Tish tish boys. You're always quarrelling. Instead of arguing about it, why don't we try just one little piece of chocolate? Then we can all make our own minds up."

Bertie thought that was a wonderful idea, because it was a very long time now since he'd had any chocolate, and even longer since he'd had a jelly bean.

"Come on," boomed Bertie", "Let's go and hunt for Easter eggs."

So Bertie hopped through the grass, and Sadie waddled next to him. Tim came along for the ride on Bertie's back, and a family of ducks with six little ducklings followed them. Only Colin the Carp wasn't able to leave the pond, because he's a fish, and he can only swim in water. So instead, he snapped at a fly that was nearby, and missed it. "Humph," said Colin, and he sunk down to sulk at the bottom of the pond, because when there are no insects to eat, grumping and sulking is what Colin does to pass the time.

When Bertie and the pond life reached the vegetable patch, they found one egg hidden behind the broccoli, and another one behind the cauliflower, and another behind the beetroot, although Bertie didn't want to go too close to that one because he never liked beetroot when he was a prince.

Bertie found the eggs, and then Sadie rolled them back to the pond with her beak. One by one, all the animals tried the chocolate.

"Ah, bliss," said Bertie, as he flicked another jelly bean onto his froggy tongue. "This is the life."

"Yummy scrummy," said Tim, as he licked a piece of an egg that was at least fifty times bigger than he was. Tim's mother, who is a frog, looked on rather anxiously. She was worried in case he didn't leave any room for his dinner inside his tiny stomach. She was planning green slime that night, and green slime is full of good and important vitamins for a growing tadpole.

"Oh, oh," trilled Sadie. "I think it's the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. Even more scrumptious than crusts of soggy sliced bread."

"I suppose it is quite nice," said Colin the Carp, "if you've run out of flies that is."

Just then, Barker the palace dog bounced through the vegetable patch. Now Barker is quite a silly dog, and also quite greedy, and when he smelled chocolate, his big tongue hung out of his mouth and slobbered. Next he started to hunt for the eggs with his wet shiny nose. Each time he found an egg, he went, "Woof, woof," and before Bertie could do anything about it, he started to dig a hole in the ground with his paws, and he buried all the eggs, and covered them up with earth.

The next morning was Easter Sunday, and after church, Princess Beatrice led all the children into the garden, and they started hunting for the eggs. They looked behind the cauliflower, the cabbages, and even behind the beetroot, although none of them wanted to go near the beetroot very much.

But they couldn't find any of the eggs. Not a single one!

"Oh, that's funny," said Princess Beatrice. "I'm sure they are here somewhere."

"These are stupid children," said her stepmother, who is very wicked and rather horrid.

Some of the children started to cry, because they were looking forward to finding the eggs so very much.

Colin the carp said, "Well now, Prince Bertie the Frog. Just see what you've done. You've upset the little children because you're so greedy."

Bertie thought that wasn't very fair of Colin, especially as he knew that it was Barker the dog who had eaten most of the eggs. But he wasn't in the mood to quarrel with a grumpy fish. He felt too sad, because he could see the children didn't have any eggs. Then he had a great idea. "Come Barker," he said, calling over to the silly dog.

He hopped onto Barker's back, and told him to run to the palace kitchen. He was a bit nervous, because really he was rather frightened of Barker, but he held on tight, and closed his eyes, and in a minute they were in the kitchens.

Now Bertie knew where the cook kept the special supply of eggs for the king, Bertie's father, because sometimes, when Bertie was a prince, he used sneak into the kitchen and borrow one - although he never actually gave it back, on account of having eaten it.

He got Barker to pick up the bag of eggs in his mouth, and then they ran back to the vegetable patch. By the time they returned, all the children were crying, and even the lovely Princess Beatrice had tears in her gorgeous green eyes. Just then, Barker said, "Woof woof," because he was a rather silly dog, and that was what he always said when he saw somebody. As he opened his mouth, the bag fell down, and the eggs rolled out onto the ground.

"Found one," shouted one of the children.

"Found one," shouted another. In the next few moments, each of the children had found an egg.

The children cheered and Barker pranced around and woofed excitedly. The lovely Princess Beatrice just happened to have some special doggy treats in her handbag, and she gave him a handful, which he licked up in no time.

"Oh Bertie, said Sadie the Swan. "That was so brave. You've made all the little children so thrilled."

Now if you promise not to tell anybody, I'll let you into a secret. Do you promise? Okay. Then I'll tell you. That evening, after it began to get dark, Barker the dog sneaked down to the vegetable patch. He sniffed out the hole where he had buried the remaining eggs. Then he dug them up with his front paws, and he and Bertie stuffed themselves on chocolate and jelly beans until they both felt quite sick - but very happy. So perhaps Barker isn't such a silly dog after all.

And that's the storynory of Bertie's Easter Egg hunt.

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