انبار آب سیب آقای بینز

کتاب: آقای روباه شگفت انگیز / فصل 15

انبار آب سیب آقای بینز

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15 - Bean’s Secret Cider Cellar

Mr Fox examined the wall carefully. He saw that the cement between the bricks was old and crumbly, so he loosened a brick without much trouble and pulled it away. Suddenly, out from the hole where the brick had been, there popped a small sharp face with whiskers. ‘Go away!’ it snapped. ‘You can’t come in here! It’s private!’ ‘Good Lord!’ said Badger. ‘It’s Rat!’

‘You saucy beast!’ said Mr Fox. ‘I should have guessed we’d find you down here somewhere.’ ‘Go away!’ shrieked Rat. ‘Go on, beat it! This is my private pitch!’

‘Shut up,’ said Mr Fox.

‘I will not shut up!’ shrieked Rat. ‘This is my place! I got here first!’

Mr Fox gave a brilliant smile, flashing his white teeth. ‘My dear Rat,’ he said softly, ‘I am a hungry fellow and if you don’t hop it quickly I shall eat-you-up-in-one-gulp!’

That did it. Rat popped back fast out of sight. Mr Fox laughed and began pulling more bricks out of the wall. When he had made a biggish hole, he crept through it. Badger and the Smallest Fox followed him in.

They found themselves in a vast, damp, gloomy cellar. ‘This is it!’ cried Mr Fox.

‘This is what?’ said Badger. ‘The place is empty’

‘Where are the turkeys?’ asked the Smallest Fox, staring into the gloom. ‘I thought Bean was a turkey man.’ ‘He is a turkey man,’ said Mr Fox. ‘But we’re not after turkeys now. We’ve got plenty of food.’ ‘Then what do we need, Dad?’

‘Take a good look round,’ said Mr Fox. ‘Don’t you see anything that interests you?’

Badger and the Smallest Fox peered into the half-darkness. As their eyes became accustomed to the gloom, they began to see what looked like a whole lot of big glass jars standing upon shelves around the walls. They went closer. They were jars. There were hundreds of them, and upon each one was written the word CIDER.

The Smallest Fox leaped high in the air. ‘Oh, Dad!’ he cried out. ‘Look what we’ve found! It’s cider!’

‘Ex-actly,’ said Mr Fox.

‘Tremendous!’ shouted Badger.

‘Bean’s Secret Cider Cellar,’ said Mr Fox. ‘But go carefully, my dears. Don’t make a noise. This cellar is right underneath the farmhouse itself.’ ‘Cider,’ said Badger, ‘is especially good for Badgers. We take it as medicine – one large glass three times a day with meals and another at bedtime.’ ‘It will make the feast into a banquet,’ said Mr Fox.

While they were talking, the Smallest Fox had sneaked a jar off the shelf and had taken a gulp. ‘Wow!’ he gasped. ‘Wow-ee!’ You must understand this was not the ordinary weak fizzy cider one buys in a store. It was the real stuff, a home-brewed fiery liquor that burned in your throat and boiled in your stomach.

‘Ah-h-h-h-h-h!’ gasped the Smallest Fox. ‘This is some cider!’

‘That’s quite enough of that,’ said Mr Fox, grabbing the jar and putting it to his own lips. He took a tremendous gulp. ‘It’s miraculous!’ he whispered, fighting for breath. ‘It’s fabulous! It’s beautiful!’ ‘It’s my turn,’ said Badger, taking the jar and tilting his head well back. The cider gurgled and bubbled down his throat. ‘It’s… it’s like melted gold!’ he gasped. ‘Oh, Foxy, it’s… like drinking sunbeams and rainbows!’ ‘You’re poaching!’ shrieked Rat. ‘Put that down at once! There’ll be none left for me!’ Rat was perched upon the highest shelf in the cellar, peering out from behind a huge jar. There was a small rubber tube inserted in the neck of the jar, and Rat was using this tube to suck out the cider.

‘You’re drunk!’ said Mr Fox.

‘Mind your own business!’ shrieked Rat. ‘And if you great clumsy brutes come messing about in here we’ll all be caught! Get out and leave me to sip my cider in peace.’ At that moment they heard a woman’s voice calling out in the house above them. ‘Hurry up and get that cider, Mabel!’ the voice called. ‘You know Mr Bean doesn’t like to be kept waiting! Especially when he’s been out all night in a tent!’ The animals froze. They stayed absolutely still, their ears pricked, their bodies tense. Then they heard the sound of a door being opened. The door was at the top of a flight of stone steps leading down from the house to the cellar.

And now someone was starting to come down those steps.

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