Rupert and his piggy pals, Bilbo, Nutmeg and Cocoa, were stuck in their hutch. Herself had decreed it, since the weather was rainy and windy. He could hear talkative Cocoa chuntering in the hay, Nutmeg sighing and Bilbo rummaging in the dry food bowl. Rupert stared grumpily through the wire meshing, wishing he was outside playing in the grass.
Bilbo failed to find any hidden treat in the food bowl so headed over to the hay to lie down beside Cocoa. Suddenly there was a loud squealing and squeaking. Rupert jumped round grumpily: ‘Shut up Cocoa! You’re such a drama queen!’
‘Shut up yourself!’ Cocoa shouted back, followed by a sudden squeak as she nipped Bilbo, who shot out of the hay in a hurry.
His furry face wrinkled in a deep frown, Rupert lumbered down the wooden ramp to the play area. His paws sank into the soft sawdust and he pushed past some wooden chew toys, heading for the large blue plastic box lying on its side. He jumped up and sprawled across it with a sigh of relief. Peace and quiet.
Rupert awoke to find himself sliding sideways. He tried to dig his claws into the plastic but he couldn’t get a hold. Thud! He was firmly wedged between the wooden wall of the hutch and the plastic box. Nutmeg called from the top of the ramp: ‘Rupert, are you okay?’
He grunted and, with difficulty, turned himself the right way up so that he could stand on his hind legs with his front paws on the top of the plastic box. He looked up to see Nutmeg’s white and cream face staring at him in shock. ‘What are you going to do?’ she asked.
Rupert tried to jump onto the box, but he was wedged too tightly and his paws merely scrabbled at the plastic. Panting, he gazed up at Nutmeg with panic-stricken eyes. He was completely stuck. By this time, Cocoa and Bilbo had joined Nutmeg at the top of the ramp. They could all smell the mess of Rupert’s droppings from fear. The three furry piggies scampered down the ramp and stood on their hind legs to push the plastic box with their tiny front paws. When that failed, they put their heads against it and pushed. They even took a run up and threw their little bodies against it. Nothing worked. Rupert scrabbled frantically against the plastic.
Nutmeg called a halt. ‘Don’t worry Rupie, Herself will rescue you when it gets dark.’
Bilbo brought mouthfuls of hay for Rupert to nibble while Nutmeg foraged in the play area for any leftover carrot or broccoli for him. Cocoa established herself on top of the plastic box, where she stayed throughout the day, nose-to-nose with Rupert, sometimes licking his face and ears. Drama queen she might be, but all her maternal instincts came to the fore whenever anyone was hurt or scared.
As the sun went down, the patio door opened. All three piggies raced to the wire mesh door of the play area and squealed loudly and urgently. Herself knew at once that something was wrong. ‘What’s up little ones? she asked. She bent down to peer through the door. Bilbo and Cocoa ran in circles between the plastic box and the door, while Nutmeg scampered up the ramp to jump on the box. They kept up their constant, piercing squeals.
It didn’t take Herself long to spot Rupert’s desperate brown eyes peering at her over the edge of the box. ‘Oh Rupie!’ She quickly moved the box before scooping him into her arms. They all breathed a sigh of relief that Rupert was no longer stuck.