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Author Biography: Walter R. Brooks died in 1958 after writing 26 Freddy the Pig books. Kurt Wiese illustrated over 400 books, nineteen of which he also wrote, before his death in 1974.
Freddy the pig does some detective work in order to solve the mystery of a missing toy train.
FREDDY'S FIRST CASE
It was hot. When Alice and Emma, the two white ducks, got tired of diving and swimming about in the pond, they climbed out on the bank and looked over toward the house where Mr. Bean, the farmer, lived, and: "Oh!" said Emma, "the house looks as if it was melting. All the straight lines—the roof and the door and the walls—are wiggling. Look, Alice."
"It always looks like that when it's hot," said Alice.
"Well, I don't like it," said Emma. "It makes me feel funny in my stomach. I think things ought to stay what they are, even if they are hot. Let's jump in again and cool off."
Alice looked at the water without much interest. It wasn't a very large pond, and in it were three cows and two horses and a dog and on the bank were half a dozen other animals who were resting after their dip. "Too much company," she said crossly, or as crossly as she could, for she was really a very mild duck. "I don't know why they call it a duck-pond. Just as soon as warm weather comes, every animal on the farm seems to think he has a perfect right to use it as a swimming-pool without so much as saying please. And just look at that, Emma!" She exclaimed. "What chance would you and I have in there now?"
Two of the cows, Mrs. Wiggins and Mrs. Wurzburger, were having a race across the pond and back. They splashed and floundered and snorted, making waves that would have upset the stoutest duck, while the animals on the bank cheered and shouted encouragement.
"Come on, let's take a walk," said Emma. "Let's find a place in the shade where there's a breeze. That water's just as hot as the air is, anyway."
They waddled up the lane toward the house, and in a corner of the fence they came upon Jinx, the black cat, who was lying on his back with all four paws in the air, trying to keep cool.
"Hello, ducks!" he hailed them. "Gosh, you look nice and cool!"
"Well, you don't," said Alice. "I should think you'd stifle, lying in that breathless corner. Why don't you come with us? We're going to look for a breeze."
"Whoops!" shouted Jinx, jumping up with a bound. "I'm with you, girls. Tell you what: we'll go find Freddy. That pig'll be in a cool spot, you bet. He knows how to be comfortable better than any other animal on this farm."
Freddy was indeed a very clever pig. It was he who had organized the animals on Mr. Bean's farm into a company, known as Barnyard Tours, Inc., which took parties of other animals on sightseeing trips. He knew how to read, and he had gathered together quite a library of the books and magazines and newspapers that different animals had brought in to pay for their trips with. He kept them in a corner of the pig-pen which he called his study.
The ducks knew that even if Freddy wasn't in a cool spot, he would have a new bit of interesting gossip, or some story he had just read, to tell them about, so they started out to find him.
"Have you heard about Everett's train of cars?" asked Jinx as they walked along.
"No," said the ducks. Everett and his sister, Ella, were the two adopted children of Mr. and Mrs. Bean, whom the animals had rescued the year before from a dreadful place where they had been living in the North Woods. Because they had rescued them, the animals all felt a great interest in Ella and Everett, and they were fond of them too, so no two children ever had a better time. The ducks taught them to swim and the horses taught them to ride and the cat taught them how to climb and to move through the woods without making a sound, and Ferdinand, the crow, had even wanted to teach them how to fly, but of course that wasn't much use, because they didn't have any wings. But there were always animals to play games and do things with, and they certainly had as good a time as any children who ever lived.
"Well," said Jinx, "it's the funniest thing I ever heard of. When Everett went to sleep last night, the train was beside him on the bed. When he woke up this morning, it was gone. Mrs. Bean has looked all over the house, and I've done some looking on my own account. But it's gone; there's no doubt about that."
"Well, that is queer," said Emma. "You don't suppose he hid it himself, as a joke?"
"Oh no, not a chance. He's been looking everywhere all morning. He's very fond of that train. I'd like to get my claws on the one that took it!" the cat exclaimed fiercely.
"Mercy!" exclaimed Emma with a slight shudder. "I wish you wouldn't glare like that, Jinx. Alice and I didn't have anything to do with it."
"No, no; of course you didn't," replied the cat soothingly. "Imagine a duck being a burglar!" He laughed heartily.
But the ducks turned on him indignantly. "Well, I guess we could be burglars if we wanted to!" said Emma. "I guess we're not as poor-spirited as you seem to think!"
"I guess not, indeed!" put in Alice. "Look at our Uncle Wesley! I guess you know what he did, that time when that big old elephant escaped from the circus at Centerboro and tried to take a bath in our pond. He chased him off the place!"
"Oh sure!" said the cat. "Sure I remember." Jinx remembered how the elephant had laughed, too, when pompous little Uncle Wesley had ordered him out of the pond. But he didn't say anything to the ducks about that. "Well, anyway," he went on, "I think it's a shame, and we ought to do something about it.—Though it's too hot to do anything about anything today," he added, and stopped to wipe the perspiration from his whiskers with a fore-paw.
They walked round the house and down the road to the fence where the farm ended; then they walked back along the fence to the woods and across the back pasture, but saw no sign of Freddy.
"It's funny," said Jinx. "I felt sure we'd run into him. Let's sit down under this tree and rest awhile."
"You can if you want to," said Emma, "but I started out to find Freddy, and now I'm going to find him." Like all ducks, she was very stubborn, and when she had made up her mind to anything, nothing could stop her.
"Oh, all right," said the cat good-naturedly. "Only it's so hot. Let's try the pig-pen. Maybe he's in his study."
But he wasn't in the pig-pen, and he wasn't in the stable or the cow-barn.
"He must be puttering round in the woods somewhere, then," said Alice. "Maybe he's calling on Peter." Peter was the bear whom the animals had brought back from the north the year before, and who now lived in a cave in Mr. Bean's woods.
"It'll be cooler in the woods, anyway," said Jinx. So they went back across the pasture and plunged into the green silence of the trees.
It was very still in the woods, and very dark after the glaring sunshine outside. They walked slowly along, calling: "Freddy! Hey, Freddy!" every now and then. Jinx liked the woods, but the ducks began to get a little nervous. "I don't like this," said Emma. "It's so dim and still, and I feel as if something were following us. There! Did you hear that?" She stopped, and they all looked back over their shoulders, for somewhere behind them a twig had snapped.
"Nonsense!" said Jinx. "There's nothing here to hurt you. Come along."
"Mmmmm," said Emma doubtfully, "I don't like noises behind me. Uncle Wesley always said: `When you're out walking and hear noises behind you, it is better to go right home.'"
"But you're with me!" said Jinx.
"Oh, all right," said Emma. "We know you won't let anything catch us"; and they went on.
But the ducks were very nervous, and they walked with their heads turned round so far backwards that they were continually tripping over roots and stones, and even Jinx began to feel a little uneasy, particularly as his ears, which were sharper than the ducks', told him that someone really was following them. He wasn't afraid for himself, for there was no animal in these woods that could hurt him, but he thought it might be a fox, and there's nothing a fox likes better for supper than a nice plump duck.
He was about to suggest that they turn back when Alice suddenly gave a terrified quack and tumbled over in a faint.
"Good gracious!" exclaimed Emma. "She must have seen something that frightened her terribly. She hasn't done that in I don't know when. No, no; there isn't anything you can do. She'll be all right in a minute. Just keep her head low. Dear me, I wish we were out of here!"
"We'll go right back," said Jinx, who was supporting the swooning duck in his paws. "There! She's coming round now. Well, Alice, you did give us a fright! What was it you saw?"
Alice's eyes opened slowly. "Where am I?" she murmured; then as she remembered, she scrambled to her feet. "There!" She pointed with her bill. "Right behind that clump of bushes. There was a face, with a long pointed white nose—" She broke off and shuddered violently. "It gave me such a turn!"
"You wait here," said Jinx. "I'll show him!" And he crouched low on the ground and crept noiselessly toward the bushes.
As he came close to them, the ducks saw him gather himself together, then spring clean over the bushes. There was a commotion among the leaves, a snarl, a shrill squeal of fright, and out into the open dashed Freddy with Jinx on his back. The cat was cuffing the pig soundly about the head, but as they came near the ducks, he jumped down, and Freddy stopped, shook himself, and looked about him ruefully.
"You didn't have to be so rough, Jinx," he complained. "I wasn't doing any harm."
"You scared Alice, here, into a faint," said the cat angrily. "What on earth were you trying to do—play Indian?"
"I'm sorry, Alice," said Freddy. "I really didn't mean to scare you. I didn't think you saw me. I was just shadowing you."
"Shadowing!" said Jinx. "What's that?"
"Oh," said Freddy importantly, "it's a term used by detectives. It means following you to see what you're up to. I'm going to be a detective, and I was practicing."
"Well, I don't know what a detective is," said Emma, "but you can just try it on somebody else next time. I think it's mean of you to scare us like that. You even scared Jinx."
"You did not!" said the cat quickly. "But you were trying to, and I'm going to get even with you for it, Freddy. I'm—"
"I wasn't; honestly I wasn't, Jinx," protested the pig. "Look here; I wasn't going to tell anybody about it, but I'll let you three in on it to make up for giving you such a scare. I got the idea from a book I found in the barn, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It's the best book I've come across in a long time, and you'll admit I know something about literature. I'll venture to say that there isn't a pig in the country has a finer library or a wider knowledge of—"
"Oh, cut out the hot air," interrupted Jinx rudely, "and let's have the story."
"Well, it's this way," said Freddy. "This Sherlock Holmes was a great detective. Whenever a crime was committed, and nobody knew who committed it, they'd call in Sherlock Holmes, and he'd find the criminal."
"But how did he find him if nobody knew who he was?" asked Alice.
"Because he was so clever," Freddy replied. "Maybe the criminal would leave footprints behind, and then Holmes would find out who made them. Oh, he was a wonder! He saw little things about people that nobody else would notice, for one thing. He could look at you and tell about where you'd been and what you'd been doing, just by noticing these things. Why, I'll show you how it's done; it's easy when you know how. Look at Jinx, here. Look on his back. There are a lot of little pieces of grass and leaves in his fur. This is a piece of a leaf off a raspberry bush. The only raspberry bushes on the farm are around the fence up by the house, so we know he's been there. Then—how did they get on his back? Well, it's a hot day, and cats sometimes lie on their backs to get cool, so we can be pretty sure he has been sleeping on his back in the corner of the fence up by the house."
"Gosh, that's pretty good, Freddy," said Jinx.
"It really isn't so good," said Freddy modestly, "because I saw you sleeping there. But of course I could have told that you had been there anyway, as soon as I saw the leaves in your fur."
"But what were you following us for?" asked Alice.
"Why, just what I've been telling you. I was shadowing you. I was practicing being a detective. I followed you all around the farm. I didn't mean you to see me, of course. If I'd been a good detective, you wouldn't have known anything about it. I was trying to see what you were up to."
"Why didn't you ask, then?" said Emma.
"Detectives don't ask!" said Freddy impatiently. "Can't you understand?"
"No, I can't. You were taking such a lot of bother to find out something we'd have told you right off. We were just looking for you!"
"He means that he was pretending that we were criminals," Jinx explained. "Of course if we had been, and we'd been going to steal something, we wouldn't have told him. It wouldn't be any use to ask then. See?"
"Oh," said Emma, and Alice said: "Oh," in just the same tone. And then they both said in their little fiat voices: "Let's go back."
Jinx winked at Freddy. They were very fond of the ducks. Alice and Emma were the kindest-hearted little creatures in the world, but it was useless to try to explain anything to them that they didn't already know about, and even with things they knew about they sometimes got terribly mixed up.
They waddled along happily together, their fright entirely forgotten, and Jinx and Freddy followed them, talking about detectives. Freddy told one or two of Sherlock Holmes's adventures out of the book, and Jinx was greatly interested. By and by he said: "Look here, Freddy, I forgot all about it in the excitement, but there's a job for a detective on this farm now." And he told about the missing train.
Freddy was all enthusiasm. "I'll get on the job right away," he said. "I'll find that train, you bet! There are a lot of mysteries on a farm like this and I'll solve 'em all. Maybe I can write them up in a book: `The Adventures of Freddy the Detective.' And this'll be the first one. Freddy's First Case."
"If you find the train," said Jinx.
"Oh dear," said Freddy mournfully, "I like you, Jinx, but why do you always have to say things like that? Of course I'll find it."
"Sure you will, old pig," said the cat with a grin. "Because I'm going to help you."
Posted January 21, 2013
This book is one of the best books I have ever read. It is about a plg who reads a sherlock homes book and wants to try to be a detective. First Freddy tries to find out where a little boys train is. Then he tries to find out where a rabbits son is. I do not know yet if he found the train or not but I know for sure that he found the rabbits son. I love this book so far!! I like how this book uses a lot of imatination in it. I cannot what to finish the book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 17, 2006
I read and re-read many Freddy books as a boy, and have re-read a few as a daddy. They are remarkably timeless. Traditional male (and female) virtues are mentioned as matters of course, ranging from humility and magnanimity to courage and integrity. We rejoice in Freddy doing the right thing, and daring to be creative. He's approachable as one with normal human temptations and doubts but old-fashioned persistence to triumph. There's good and bad people - but some of the bad may reform, and trust is valued. ...As a kid I barely noticed, or even skimmed over, the one or two poems per book that Freddy writes - and only recently realized that they're all suspiciously like take-offs on Longfellow classics and the like. Adults who get that 'in-joke', not to mention a few other adult remarks in passing here and there, will find this livens up a read-aloud. --About half the books in the series involve a gun at some point. As I recall, they're in bad guys' hands and no one is ever gravely hurt, but if you don't want a shotgun/pistol in your books you'd better avoid, or at least pre-screen, Freddy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 6, 2004
I read Freddy books when I was in elementary school. I marvelled at his adventures and the friends he had. I am glad to know that the books are still around...I was reading them in 1955-57 until I graduated to Nancy Drew stories.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 6, 2000
I can't believe they republished these books. When I was going up I spent my summers in the Catskills where Walter Brooks had written them. My sisters and I read every one. I can't wait for my chidren to read them. Freddie is a character that will stay with your children forever.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2012
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Posted January 8, 2011
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