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Dumpling Episode 5 Tortoise Road Cover Cover

Tortoise Road

“Bonnie, please close your eyes and go to sleep, dear,” Mum said. Her hand was on the light switch. Sylvie was already snoring away in her bed.

“I’m worried everyone will laugh at Sylvie’s new fringe tomorrow at her Turtle Troop meeting,” Bonnie said, staring at the ceiling.

“Oh, sweetbeans.” Mum sat on the edge of the bed and sighed. “Remember these three things. One: hair grows back. Two: you did your best. And three: Sylvie forgave you already for cutting her fringe too short. You know she really looks up to you.” 

Dumpling Episode 5 Tortoise Road Image 1

“Okay, Mum. I hope so. Thanks,” Bonnie said. Mum kissed her forehead and closed the bedroom door almost all the way.

“Hair is a big deal,” Dumpling said in his small, gruff voice.

“It’s like a hat that’s alive,” said Bonnie. Her shaggy toy creature sipped warm soy milk from a mug on the bedside table and began to glow. 

In a blink, Bonnie and Dumpling were flying together through the bright white sky of Fluffland. 

“Do I smell warm, soft pretzels?” Bonnie smiled.

Dumpling nodded. “Fluffland bakers are trying to make them crispy without the outsides turning brown.”

“Sounds impossible,” said Bonnie. “Is that my job today?” 

“Nope,” Dumpling said as they landed on Whistlecrisp’s sponge cake front garden. The silver deer creature stepped out of their front door holding a large basket of tools.

“Bonnie Fields! Lovely to see you, as always,” Whistlecrisp said. Their long, flowing mane blew in the pretzel-scented breeze. “There is a dreadful traffic situation out on Tortoise Road. They need you there right away, Bonnie.”

“I do like turtles,” said Bonnie.

“Tortoises,” said Whistlecrisp.

“Well, choose your tool,” said Dumpling, who perched on Bonnie’s shoulder. She eyed the basket of tools.

Dumpling Episode 5 Tortoise Road Image 2

“Tortoises and traffic...hmm.” Bonnie touched each item in the basket. “A large pair of scissors, a battery, a ball of yarn and a large silver coin. Which one to choose?” Bonnie paused in thought. Then she picked up the scissors. They were much larger than regular scissors. 

Dumpling took Bonnie by the hand and they flew into the sky. She held the scissors flat against her nightgown, with the point down.

“You should never run with scissors,” said Bonnie. 

“Good thing we’re flying instead,” said Dumpling. The two of them soared through the sky and crossed over the bubbling milk river. Spaghetti Bridge was sagging a little from the weight of all the animals gathered on it.

Dumpling Episode 5 Tortoise Road Image 3

“Why is everyone on the bridge?” Bonnie asked Dumpling.

“It’s the tortoises. They’ve caused a traffic jam, so people are taking the bridge instead.” 

The pair flew a bit further. Now Bonnie could see a long jumble of silver-and-white tortoises on the ground. Their shells were like shiny stones, and their legs and faces were very furry.

“Are they taking up the whole road?” Bonnie asked.

“They are the road,” said Dumpling. “Normally the tortoises all line up in a very neat row. Then travellers can step from one shell to the next as they go on their journeys.” Dumpling and Bonnie glided down. They landed on the white dusty ground near the line of tortoises.

“But lately, it’s gotten very bad,” Dumpling continued. “They’ve become all jumbled and crooked, and they cannot line up properly. We need you to straighten them out.”

Dumpling Episode 5 Tortoise Road Image 4

“Hello!” Bonnie said to the closest tortoise. “I’m Bonnie Fields. Can I help you folks straighten things out?” The tortoise could not see Bonnie. Its white hair was covering its eyes.

“Oh! Bonnie Fields. I thought I heard a human voice,” said the tortoise. “My name is Francis. It’s an honour to meet you. Though we must be in a right old mess if you’re here.”

“Well, yes. It seems so,” said Bonnie. “Do you have a tortoise leader I can speak with?”

“Our Mum. She’s a few tortoises up the line.” Francis the tortoise slowly pointed with his shaggy foot.

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“You’ve all got the same mum? How many are you?”

“There are four hundred and six of us,” said Francis.

“Tortoises are mysterious,” Bonnie said. Dumpling was already on the shell of the next tortoise, looking for the tortoise mum. 

“Here I am!” A very old tortoise called out to Bonnie. She and Dumpling hopped over to her. 

“Hello, Bonnie! This traffic mess was caused by my children’s long fringes. They refuse to let me trim them. They say they don’t want me to cut their hair anymore. They want to go to the barber, instead. But I don’t have enough money for four hundred and six haircuts.”

“Well...” Bonnie said. She pulled out the large pair of scissors and held them up. They gleamed in the bright light. “I’ll do it for free.”

Dumpling Episode 5 Tortoise Road Image 6

“Oh, thank you! But the only way is if Brian gets his cut first. He’s the oldest. The rest will follow if you can convince him,” said the tortoise mother. 

Bonnie stepped forward and called out, “Brian!?”

Brian the tortoise stepped slowly out of the jumbled line. His mum looked very surprised as her son came forward so quickly.

“I trust you, Bonnie,” said Brian the tortoise.

“Well, I’ll be!” said the tortoise mum.

Bonnie carefully snipped Brian’s fringe. The bright sun made him squint his eyes. The trim was rather crooked, but it did the trick.

“I love this style!” Brian said.

Slowly and quickly, every tortoise along the road lined up behind Brian. They each waited for their turn to have a fringe trim done by the one-and-only Bonnie Fields. 

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Trimming the fringes of four hundred and six tortoises went much quicker than Bonnie expected. It was also as much fun as she imagined. Before they knew it, the tortoises straightened out. Traffic on Tortoise Road was back to normal. 

And Bonnie suddenly found herself back at home, tossing and turning in her bed. She opened one eye and looked at her sister, Sylvie. She lay snoring in her bed, her crooked fringe curled high up on her sweet, little forehead.

Dumpling Episode 5 Tortoise Road Image 8

The End

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