Freddy and the Perilous Adventure

Freddy and the Perilous Adventure

by Walter R. Brooks, Kurt Wiese

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First published between 1927 and 1958, the 26 classic books about Freddy the Pig have delighted five generations of children and are now going on to delight a sixth. They are available for the first time as Overlook paperbacks.
Strange and exciting adventures await Freddy and the two friendly ducks, Emma and Alice, when they get a chance to ride in a balloon at


First published between 1927 and 1958, the 26 classic books about Freddy the Pig have delighted five generations of children and are now going on to delight a sixth. They are available for the first time as Overlook paperbacks.
Strange and exciting adventures await Freddy and the two friendly ducks, Emma and Alice, when they get a chance to ride in a balloon at the Fourth of July celebration. If they or any of the other animals of Bean Farm had known what was really in store for the brave participants in the Balloon Ascension, they might have stayed quietly at home, listening to Freddy's poetry or to the boastful crowing of Charles. Once again, Walter R. Brooks has created an amusing and heartfelt adventure story that will delight grown-ups as well as children.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Freddy is blessed with courage, wit, agility and a Sherlock Holmes- like capacity for detective work." — Newsday

"The American version of the great English classics such as the Pooh books or The Wind in the Willows." — The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

The Overlook Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

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Freddy and the Perilous Adventure

By Walter R. Brooks, Kurt Wiese

The Overlook Press

Copyright © 1942 Walter R. Brooks
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-9217-6


Alice and Emma, the two ducks, sat on the bank and watched the breeze crinkle the surface of the duck pond into a sort of blue and silver carpet. The pond was the ducks' home, and they were just as proud of it as Mrs. Bean, down at the farm, was of her front parlor, with the new wallpaper and the picture of Washington Crossing the Delaware.

"Sometimes I think," said Emma thoughtfully, "that this is the most beautiful spot in the whole world."

"It's pretty enough," said Alice. "But as to its being the most beautiful spot in the world, how do we know? We've never seen anything of the world. Except for that trip to Florida we've hardly ever been off the Bean farm."

"Why, sister!" exclaimed Emma. "I—I thought you loved it here as much as I do. I thought we'd been very happy—"

"So we have," interrupted Alice. "So we have. But you must admit that there isn't anything very new about it. We swim round and round on the same water, and we dive into the same mud, and we see the same animals and hear them say the same things, day after day, week after week, month—"

"—after month," said a pleasant voice behind them, and they turned to see Freddy, the pig, who had come up unnoticed.

Freddy, besides being a very clever detective, was also a very accomplished poet, and it was plain from the delicate way in which he sniffed at a buttercup as he looked at them that he was in one of his poetic moods. For as everyone knows, a buttercup has no smell, and so it was evident that he was sniffing it for effect, and not because he got any pleasure out of it.

"I wish you'd cough when you come up behind us like that," said Alice a little sharply. "You quite startled us."

Freddy smiled dreamily and looked up into the sky as if he were listening to music. Then he began to beat time slowly with one fore trotter, and said:

"Hour after hour, day after day, I know just what everyone's going to say.

"Day after day, week after week, I know what they'll say before even they speak.

"Week after week, month after month—"

He broke off at this point and said: "You see, ladies, I know just how you feel."

"Oh, do finish the lovely poem, Freddy," said Emma.

"You liked it?" said Freddy, flushing with pleasure. "That is very gratifying. But I'm afraid I could hardly finish it now—that is, not properly. Perfection, you know—we poets must aim for perfection. Of course I could finish it, but—"

"Is there a rhyme for 'month,' Freddy?" asked Emma innocently.

"Dozens of them, my dear, simply dozens," he assured her. "But one must choose the best—the exactly right one. Poetry is not an easy thing. H'm, no indeed. Hard, brain-racking work. Sometimes, after finishing a verse, I am so exhausted that—" He stopped. "But I mustn't bother you with my professional troubles. What is it that seems to be the matter, Alice?"

"Oh, I don't quite know, Freddy," said the duck. "I'm tired of doing the same things over and over. I'd like a change. I'd like to take a trip. I'd like—" She hesitated, then brought it out, primly, but with determination. "I'd like to have adventures!"

"Sister!" exclaimed Emma with horror. "Oh, sister; how can you say such dreadful things?" And she began to cry.

"Well, I don't know," said Freddy; "that is quite understandable. I've often felt the same way. And I really don't see why you shouldn't do it, if you want to."

"But you're a pig, Freddy," sobbed Emma. "You're so brave and resourceful. We're only ducks!"

"Only ducks?" exclaimed Freddy. "Only ducks! Why, that reminds me, there's something I wanted to tell you about, that I read the other night in my encyclopedia. You know on the Fourth of July, in Centerboro, they're going to have a balloon ascension. They have one every year. They fill a big balloon with gas, and it has a basket hanging under it, and then a man gets in the basket and the band plays and the balloon goes up in the air. And by and by it comes down again in the next county or somewhere. Well, I thought I'd read up about balloons, and what do you suppose I found out? Who do you suppose was the very first living creature to go up in any balloon, anywhere?"

"Mr. Bean?" asked Alice.

"No, no; this was long before Mr. Bean's time over in France. There was a man named Mont—Mont—Well, I won't give you his name because he was a Frenchman, and of course his name is in French and you wouldn't understand it. Well, anyway—"

"Do say it in French," interrupted Emma, who had stopped crying. "Such a pretty language, I always think. And I'm sure you have a fine accent."

"The name is unimportant anyway," said Freddy firmly. "Now this, er—Frenchman made a big balloon, and when it sailed away up into the sky, who do you suppose was in the basket?"

Alice and Emma shook their heads.

"A duck!" said Freddy.

"Dear me!" said the sisters together. "Really? A duck!"

"Exactly," said the pig. "A brave and fearless duck. The first living creature to fly. The first aviator. And you say you're only ducks! You ought to be proud of your duckiness."

"What was her name?" asked Alice, and Emma said: "Did she come down safely?"

"History does not record her name," said Freddy, "but she did come down safely, and was, I have no doubt, rewarded for her gallantry with the highest honors. I should tell you that she was not alone in the basket; a rooster and a sheep were also passengers, but according to the encyclopedia they did not behave very well. At least when he came down the rooster had a broken leg because the sheep had kicked him. So we can assume that the duck was the only one that remained calm and unafraid. From what I know of you both I can only guess that she must have been an ancestor of yours."

Alice and Emma tried to look worthy of so heroic an ancestor, and Alice said: "I'm sure our Uncle Wesley wouldn't have hesitated to go up in a balloon."

"Dear Uncle Wesley!" said Emma. "He was so courageous!"

"Pooh," said Freddy, "I knew your Uncle Wesley, and I don't remember that ... Well, let's put it this way: I think you're just as courageous as he was. I tell you what, Alice. That balloon man is a friend of the sheriff's, and the sheriff is a great friend of mine. How would it be if I spoke to him and got him to take you up with him the Fourth?"

"Take me up?" said Alice. "Well, gracious, Freddy; I don't know that I—"

"You wanted to have an adventure," said Freddy. "And here's one all ready-made for you."

"Why that's—that's—I mean—" Alice quacked excitedly. Then she closed her bill with a snap and drew herself up. "Very well," she said determinedly; "I'll do it."

"Sister!" exclaimed Emma in horror. "Oh, you couldn't!"

"And why not, pray?" said Alice. "I guess if a French duck can do it, an American duck can."

"But the balloon might be carried for miles; it might be carried out into the ocean by the wind. It might blow up."

"Well, if there's one thing I can do, it's swim," said Alice. "I've never had much practice flying—we domestic ducks aren't like the wild ducks—but if I fell out, I have my own parachute." And she spread her wings and fluttered them.

"Really, sister, you quite terrify me," said Emma in a faint voice.

"No reason for that," said Freddy. "I'm sure she'd be quite safe. And it would indeed be an adventure. Yes, I may say that it has an attraction even for me. I've always wanted to fly."

"Oh, would you go up too?" asked Alice. "That would be very nice. We could make up a party, and take a picnic lunch—"

"Well, really," said Freddy, "if it was any day but the Fourth, I'd be delighted. But I have some—er, rather important engagements on the Fourth. And then, too, I weigh a good deal more than you do. The balloonist man might be willing to take a duck up with him, but I'm afraid a pig—no, I'm sure he'd object. Better not propose it to him at all. He'd very likely refuse you too, then."

"Oh, dear," said Emma; "sister, if you do want to have adventures, as you say, why can't you have them on the ground. You know how terrified I am of heights."

"But you don't have to go up."

"Naturally, I should insist on going," said Emma decidedly. "Why, we always do everything together, Alice."

"Then see if the man will take two ducks up, Freddy," said Alice.

"Oh, dear," said Emma, "I know I shan't enjoy a minute of it."

Freddy laughed. "No," he said, "you won't. That's the funny thing about adventures. I've had my share of them in my time, as you know, and my experience is that either you're too busy to think whether you're enjoying them or not, or else you're just scared. And yet there must be something about them that you like, too, or else you wouldn't go on trying to have more. But the nice thing is afterwards, with the crowds and the cheering and your picture in the paper and all."

"I shouldn't care to have my picture in the paper," said Alice. "Uncle Wesley always thought it was rather vulgar."

"They never look like you, anyway," said Freddy consolingly.

So after a while he left them, and that afternoon he walked down to Centerboro. At the jail he found the sheriff and some of the prisoners having a candy-pull, and he had to wait until the candy was cut up into lengths and rolled up in pieces of oiled paper before the sheriff could go over to the fair grounds with him. Mr. Golcher, the balloonist, was busy spreading out his balloon on the ground and getting ready for the ascension. He was a thin, rather sour looking man, but he shook hands with Freddy politely when the sheriff introduced them.

"So you're one of the talking animals from the Bean farm," he said. "Glad to meet you." Then he shook his head. "'Tain't right for animals to talk, though," he said. "Against nature."

"Freddy's my good friend, Golcher," said the sheriff. "Don't go picking on him."

"Say no more," said Mr. Golcher; "say no more. Any friend of the sheriff's a friend of mine, whether he be man, beast or insect; whether he talks, sings or merely grunts. What can I do for you, Mr.—er—"

"Just call me Freddy," said the pig, and explained his errand.

"Two ducks, eh?" said Mr. Golcher. "Well now, Mr.—er, Freddy, I'll tell you. The balloon business ain't what it was. It's hard to get a crowd for an ascension nowadays, what with everyone wantin' to see nothing but airyoplane flights. Balloons is going out, that's the truth of it. Now you're offerin' me a pair of ducks to take up with me, and I'd like to oblige you, but it ain't enough. Two ducks goin' up in a balloon—that ain't anything to draw a crowd.—But hold on!" He struck his forehead sharply with the palm of his hand. "Golcher has an idea." He looked sharply at the pig. "I expect you've made speeches in your time. Something of an orator, if what I hear is so, eh?"

"One of the finest public speakers in the county," said the sheriff warmly.

"Oh, well; I wouldn't say that!" said Freddy blushing.

"Fine," said Mr. Golcher. "That's how we can get our crowd. Ha, that'll bring 'em out. Patriotic pig makes Fourth of July address at balloon ascension. Think you could do it, Mr.—er Freddy? A good, roarin' patriotic speech just before the balloon goes up. Bringin' in America, and the flag—and balloons, of course. Think you could do that?"

Freddy had a sudden picture of himself, standing on a platform before a cheering crowd, with a flag waving overhead and a band ready to play when he had finished. "You bet!" he said enthusiastically.

"Good. That's champion, that is. Pig orator makes balloon ascension. I'll get me out some handbills right away, and those two ducks, they can go along with you as sort of trimming—they won't add nothing. But as long as they want to go—"

"You mean I'm to—to go up?" interrupted Freddy.

"That's just what Golcher means. Golcher has said so, and Golcher never goes back on his word."

"Well," said Freddy, "I don't know. The Fourth is a pretty busy day for me, and I don't know that I could spare the time. It's very nice of you, Mr. Golcher, but—"

"Eh?" said Mr. Golcher. "I don't get it. You said you had time to make a speech. You ain't afraid, are you?"

Freddy was indeed very much afraid. To see Alice and Emma go up in a balloon was one thing—after all, they had wings; but to go up himself was something different. He'd got himself into a nice fix.

But before he could say anything more, the sheriff said with a laugh: "Afraid? My friend Freddy afraid? I guess, Golcher, you don't know much about this pig's record." And he went on to make a list of Freddy's brave deeds for the benefit of the balloonist.

And as Freddy listened he began to perk up. It's true, he said to himself; I really have done all these courageous things. I guess I can't just back down now. That's the trouble with a reputation for bravery: you have to live up to it. Oh dear, I wish I wasn't such a fearless character!

So when the sheriff had finished, and Mr. Golcher had expressed his gratification at being privileged to know such a celebrity, Freddy said why of course he would go up in the balloon. And then after making some necessary arrangements, he and the sheriff left.


When the animals on the Bean farm learned that Freddy and the two ducks were going to take a balloon trip on the Fourth, they were very much excited. A number of them came and asked Freddy if they couldn't go too. Freddy thought most of them were rather relieved when he said it couldn't be arranged. But they all planned to go over and see the ascension, and Mrs. Wogus, one of the cows, was appointed chairman of the refreshment committee, to see that a nice lunch was put up and taken along. Of course the Centerboro Fair Grounds was too long a walk for some of the smaller animals, so Hank, the old white horse, said he'd get hitched up to the phaeton that they had taken with them on the trip to Florida, and the mice and the chickens and any other small animals could get a ride.

Freddy spent nearly all day on the Third looking through his encyclopedia, and trying to find out how far the balloon might be expected to travel before it came down again. He didn't look in the encyclopedia very often, and like everything else in his study, which was in the front part of the pigpen, it was pretty dusty. When he turned the leaves the dust went up his nose and made him sneeze, and then he would lose his place and have to turn back and try to find it, and that would make him sneeze again, and then when he found the place his eyes would be watering so he couldn't read what it said. So he didn't get much information. But he kept at it, and by four in the afternoon he did know a little more than when he started. He knew that nobody could tell where a balloon would come down.

So he put the encyclopedia away and blew his nose and went over to see Charles, the rooster.

Charles was sitting on a fence post in front of the henhouse. "Hello, Freddy," he said rather distantly.

"Hello, Charles," said the pig. "I suppose you've heard about this balloon ascension tomorrow?"

"Who hasn't?" said the rooster. "Anybody'd think nobody'd ever gone up in a balloon before, to hear 'em talk."

"Oh, sure," said Freddy. "It doesn't amount to anything. Only thing I'm worried about is this speech I've got to make. I'm no good as a speaker. Now if they only had you to make one of your good rousing patriotic orations—that would be something."

"Oh, you'll make a good speech all right," said Charles. "Of course, you haven't had the practice I've had, and maybe you aren't as eloquent as I am, but you'll do all right."

Now what Charles said was perfectly true. When Freddy made a speech he said what he had to say and sat down. But when Charles made one, he said everything he had to say in six different ways, each more high-sounding, and with bigger words, than the last one. On days when Charles was to give an oration, animals came from miles around to shout and applaud and wonder how he could go on and on in such beautiful language without saying anything of importance at all. For a funny thing about Charles' speeches was that though they were so stirring at the time, when you got home and thought them over you couldn't remember what they were about.


Excerpted from Freddy and the Perilous Adventure by Walter R. Brooks, Kurt Wiese. Copyright © 1942 Walter R. Brooks. Excerpted by permission of The Overlook Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Walter R. Brooks (1886-1958) is the beloved author of 26 books about Freddy the Pig. He edited for magazines, including The New Yorker. In addition to the Freddy books, Brooks created the character of Mr. Ed the Talking Horse.

Kurt Wiese (1887-1974) illustrated over 300 children’s book and wrote and illustrated another 20 books. He received two Newbery Awards and two Caldecott Honor Book Awards.

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