Winston carries the day. Brothers Grimm Challenge; part V




You will remember Archie and I were sitting in my lounge room in Paddington, and Archie had just finished telling me about his adventures on Mount Wellington, the article in the Hobart paper, and the dire consequences of ignoring his wife’s advice.

‘I’m sorry it has all gone sour,’ I said, dreading what was about to come next.
‘Me too,” said Archie, ‘I better get going and take Winston home.’

I took a deep breath, searching for the best way to tell Archie about the disaster. ‘Bad news rarely travels alone,’ I said.’

‘Oh? What do you mean?’ said Archie, looking a little alarmed.

I reached into my pocket and produced the poster I had nailed on every telegraph pole and strategically located tree, distributed to all the shop keepers and handed out to passers-by in my neighbourhood that afternoon.

‘This here,’ I said as calmly as I could.

For a while, Archie just stared at the piece of paper on the table in front of him in silence, a look of utter disbelief clouding his troubled face. ‘Tell me this is a joke,’ he said at last.

I shook my head without looking at him. ‘I wish I could,’ I whispered.

‘He isn’t here?’


I paused, letting the tension grow, and looked at my audience in the dining room in front of me.

‘I can see you are itching to know what caused Archie so much grief,’ I said. ‘Here, let me show you.’

At my signal, Tom-Tom switched on her laptop, and the poster appeared on the wall behind me.





Winston, aka, “The judge’s dog”


Call: *******


After my surprised audience had calmed down, I turned to Archie sitting on the bar stool next to me. ‘Do you remember what you said to me after that?’ I asked Archie.

Archie nodded. ‘Sure do. Hillary will kill me! What happened?’

‘I had some friends from the theatre over this afternoon for a BBQ. We were all in the courtyard and Winston was in my study watching TV as usual …’


‘After lunch I went upstairs with a few left over sausages for Winston. You know how he loves sausages.’

‘Get to the point,’ Archie interrupted, pretending impatience.

‘The study door was open and Winston was nowhere to be seen. We searched the entire property; no Winston.’

‘How did he get out?’

‘One of the girls went to her car to fetch something, and must have left the courtyard gate open. It’s the only explanation we could come up with.’

‘This is a disaster!’ said Archie, covering his face with his hands. ‘What will I tell Hillary?’

‘Nothing; for the moment,’ I suggested. ‘The entire suburb is looking for him. My guests and I have left no stone unturned …Boy scouts, Police, shopkeepers, even the vicar …Short of going on National Television, we’ve done everything. We’ll find him; I’m sure of it,’ I said with more confidence than I felt at the time. I knew Archie needed all the reassurance I could muster under the circumstances.

‘Winston hasn’t spent a night on his own in his entire life,’ said Archie.

‘He’s a resourceful little chap; he’ll be alright.’

‘Try to tell Hillary that; good luck! You have until the morning. After that, I’ll have to tell her what happened, and I think we both know what that means …’

‘What are you going to say to her now? No Winston? How will you explain that?’

‘I’ll think of something.’ With that, a very dejected looking Archie stood up, and went home.


After Archie left, I finished the bottle of red I had opened for him and, totally exhausted, fell asleep on the lounge. The next thing I remember is the annoyingly persistent ringing of my mobile somewhere in the dark.

‘Yes, ‘ I growled, barely awake.

‘He’s here,’ an excited voice said on the other end.

‘Who is this?’

‘It’s me; Jack, the butcher.’ As the fog of sleep began to lift, the significance of what I had just heard began to sink in.

‘Winston?’ I croaked, barely able to speak.

‘He’s right here in front of me at the shop.’

‘Don’t let him out of your sight! I’ll be right over.’


It took me less than 5 minutes to get to the shop. Jack was waiting for me at the door. ‘I came in to check on my fridge and there he was, right here on the doorstep, fast asleep,’ he said.

‘Where is he?’

Jack pointed inside. ‘There.’

When I looked over Jack’s shoulder, I saw him. Winston was sitting in front of the counter, happily munching a pair of sausages.

‘Fennell and black pepper,’ said the butcher. ‘He obviously likes my new sausage. I didn’t have any rosemary and garlic left.’


15 minutes later I rang Archie’s doorbell. It was half past six in the morning and I had to ring the bell several times before a very sleepy looking Archie answered the door. He stared at a very excited Winston – curly little tail wagging madly – snorting next to me. Winston pushed past me and, ignoring Archie completely, disappeared into the house. Before I could explain what happened, Archie put his finger on his lips and said: ‘not now,’ and closed the door.


Two days later, I was invited to dinner at Archie’s. I had brought a big bunch of
flowers for Hillary and a bottle of Champagne for Archie. I was determined to turn this visit into a triumph.

‘Thank you so much for looking after Winston,’ said Hillary, arranging the flowers in her vase,’ and for that little game you played while we were away…’ I looked at Archie. He shook his head; something was up. ‘Pretending Winston was lost and then mounting that wonderful ‘mock search’ with your theatre friends …right down to the poster. I must say, what a splendid idea! Should he ever go missing, we’ll know exactly what to do, won’t we Archie?’ I was gobsmacked.


‘Don’t tell me she swallowed that?’ I said to Archie after Hillary had disappeared into the kitchen to serve dinner. ‘Is that what you told her last night?’

‘We believe what we want to believe,’ said Archie, pouring me another glass of wine. ‘You’re off the hook, laddie.’ I wasn’t convinced.


After serving dessert, Hillary turned to me and said: ‘I spoke to the butcher this morning …’ I almost choked on my Pavlova. ‘He told me that Winston has a new favourite sausage; fennel and black pepper. At first I didn’t believe him, but it’s true. Winston loves it! But you already know that … don’t you?’ she said, patting me on the arm.


Judging from the applause and the standing ovation, the story was well received. However, I hadn’t counted on what happened next.

After the applause had died down and I had returned to my table, Marcus stood up.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, it is now my turn to tell you a story,’ he said. ‘However, on reflection, I think that would be a mistake. Why? Because I believe what we’ve just heard — and seen — is an impossible act to follow.’ Marcus paused and looked in my direction. ‘I have therefore decided to concede’, he said, ‘and instead of boring you with a story, would like to propose a toast. Please be upstanding and charge your glasses. I give you the new master storyteller of our chambers who has just joined the Brothers Grimm.’


‘See, I told you so,’ said Tom-Tom poking me into the ribs with her elbow. ‘You’ve just embarked on a new career.’ I had no idea at the time, just how right she was about that.


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