C.C. and Foghorn Flattery love traveling around the world with their dad for his freelance writing assignments. Their latest stop is Vienna—a city of beauty, culture, and of course, the Spanish Riding School. C.C. can’t wait to see the famous dancing horses, but when they get to the school, they discover that one of the stallions has been stolen!
It’s up to Foghorn and C.C. to track down the missing horse and return him to his rightful owners. But to do so, they’ll have to escape a circus, hide out in a spooky castle, and outsmart the thieves before it’s too late!
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Foghorn Flattery and the Dancing Horses
By Barbara Steiner
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1991 Barbara Steiner
All rights reserved.
"Dad, no fair. We're supposed to be on vacation. You said you'd take some time off," Foghorn protested. His hoarse voice was extra-loud. A man jumped, turned around, and looked at my brother.
"You scared that man, Foghorn," I whispered, poking my elbow into his side. When the man walked faster to get ahead of us, I laughed, teasing Foghorn. But I did agree with him. "You promised, Dad. You said no more work, and you'd take a week off to show us Vienna."
"I understand your disappointment," Dad said, "but my having to work was totally unexpected. They've called this industrial summit as a result of the meeting in Berlin that I just wrote about. I'm the natural one to cover the new story."
Foghorn, Dad, and I had spent the week in Berlin and we had just arrived in Vienna, Austria, early this morning. While checking into our hotel, Dad had been interrupted with a phone call. Due to Germany's new status, new trade policies had to be worked out. A number of the European countries and the United States were meeting for business talks in Vienna. The Denver Post wanted our father to cover the summit meeting and write stories for their newspaper.
"How about the Spanish Riding School?" I asked. I hadn't enjoyed Berlin that much, and I'd had my heart set on seeing the wonderful white dancing horses. Dad had even said he'd take us behind the scenes to meet the horses. His press pass could get him in almost anyplace.
Dad isn't just a reporter. He's a free-lance writer, which means he can go after any story he can sell to a magazine or newspaper. And usually he takes Foghorn and me with him if he can. We love traveling all over the world. Our teachers aren't always happy with our missing so much school, but Dad thinks we learn as much traveling as we do sitting in the classroom. Maybe more. And we always have homework. I'm going to write a report about the horses, complete with some of my photographs.
"Look, Foghorn, C. C.," Dad said. "Vienna is one of the safest cities in Europe, probably in the world. You can go alone to do all the sight-seeing you like in the daytime. I trust you not to get in any trouble. It's not like we're surrounded by wild animals again."
Dad was referring to our recent adventure in Africa. We were grounded for two weeks after we got home because of the mess we got ourselves into there.
"But we can't get into all the places you can, Dad. We have to do the regular tourist bit." Foghorn looked at me. He smiled. I didn't think he was totally disappointed that we'd be on our own in this exciting city. We're both really independent, and while we like Dad's company, we also enjoy exploring by ourselves.
"I don't think you'll be bored." Dad grinned. He knew we were almost never bored, even in Denver, which is where we live. "Let's take a carriage ride," Dad suggested. "I understand it's a little expensive, but this will be my treat and apology for being a workaholic." He put one arm around each of us as we stopped to look over the row of open carriages pulled by two decorated horses.
"These aren't called carriages," said Foghorn, looking at his guidebook.
"Okay." I heaved a big sigh. "What are they called? Chariots?" I looked at Dad and smiled. He winked. We learn more than we want to know about everything when Foghorn is along. Living with a twelve-year-old genius is not always easy. I untied the rope from around my waist and skipped "one-sy, two-sy, jump rope blue-sy" in order to be able to stand still for Foghorn's lecture.
"Fiakers, or horse cabs," Foghorn read. "Because they always used to park in front of the Fiaker Theater. And this says most of the drivers have Franz Joseph beards. That's after the way Haydn wore his beard. Haydn is—"
"I know who Haydn is—a famous musician. I play piano." Sometimes Foghorn assumes I know nothing. I don't have that steel-trap mind that he does, but I remember everything we do and everywhere we go. "There were lots of famous musicians that lived in Vienna."
"I read that Beethoven lived in over forty different houses here," Dad added to the conversation.
"How come he moved so much?" I asked.
"I'll bet I know." Foghorn grinned. "As he lost his hearing he played the piano louder and louder:"
"That's right." Dad laughed. "And he played anytime during the day or night. I don't think he paid his bills too regularly, either. And he was pretty grouchy much of the time."
"Like someone else I know." I stopped jumping and punched Foghorn.
"I'm never grouchy, C. C. When have I been grouchy on this trip?"
"This morning when we had to get up so early to catch our train. If you'd have gotten a sack full of goodies like I did last night, it would have helped."
"Eating is not a substitute for a good night's sleep. And I'm not a pig like you are." Foghorn likes to tease me about eating all the time.
I do eat a lot. I eat all the time if food is available. I was looking forward to all the wonderful pastries you can get in Vienna. Dad teases that it takes about a million calories a day to keep me going. I do have trouble standing still. Right then, I skipped my rope from the first carriage in line down the row, looking over all the choices.
Foghorn was right behind me, while Dad talked to the driver of the first in line. We probably had to take that one if the rules were like taxi cabs at the airport.
"Two don't have beards," I reported, retying my rope around my waist and practicing being as observant as Foghorn. "Look, Foghorn, that guy second from the end is awfully young. I'll bet he's just starting out. And if he had a beard it wouldn't be black. His hair is too blond." "The other man is a new driver, too. He's just growing a beard. I'll bet it's about—hmmm—a week old." Foghorn was showing off. I didn't think he could tell how much a beard would grow in a day—or a week.
"The young man can only afford one horse. Let's be sure we get two." I ran back to where Dad waited for us.
"Do you want to see the regular sights or the quiet back streets?" Dad asked, helping me get onto the high first step and into the carriage.
I looked at the two beautiful horses, one snowy white and one black. Rubbing my hands over the smooth leather seats, I took a deep breath. The carriage—no, the Fiaker— smelled all horsey and old. I love any smell connected to horses. I've begged for one at home, but we live right in the city. "The back streets. Foghorn and I will visit all the important places in the guidebook by ourselves."
"For once I agree with C. C." Foghorn hopped into the seat beside me, pushing up his thick glasses. Dad sat in the middle.
"You two won't fight all the time you're sight-seeing, will you?" Dad said, after he told the driver where we wanted to go.
"We never fight, Dad," Foghorn explained. "Sometimes we disagree, when C. C. won't listen to the logical thing to do."
"Who wants to be logical all the time, Foghorn? It's not nearly as much fun."
We stopped "disagreeing" in order to look at the old buildings and narrow streets off the main square.
"That's the time museum." The driver pointed to a narrow building. The front of it looked like a tall grandfather clock. "You'll want to come back and go inside. There are dozens of clocks and they all keep precise time."
"I wonder if we can get time there?" I remembered a funny television commercial. "I'd like an extra hour on today and two extra days this week," I ordered. I was sitting tall, pretending I was the queen of England in her carriage.
Our driver, who spoke good English, kept up a constant conversation as the horses trotted and we click-clicked smoothly along behind. "There are lots of parks in Vienna. The Vienna woods surround the city, and a street called the Ringstrasse circles the city." The day was sunny and many people strolled about, filling the sidewalks.
"Is downtown always so crowded?" I asked.
"The shops close for lunch."
"That's a great idea," I said, getting hungry myself.
"Take us to the open-air market," called Dad, when our ride was almost over. "We'll get some fruit for snacks, and see what else they have." He looked at me when he said that.
"And lunch, too?" I asked.
He laughed and nodded, helping me from the carriage when it stopped. "We'll try one of the coffeehouses. This market is where the Vienna housewives shop."
We waved at the carriage driver—I'd patted each horse and thanked it after taking a photo—and moved over to the open-air stalls which sold fruits and vegetables. The smell was twice as rich as the produce department at the Safeway at home. My nose led me straight to a huge pile of tiny bananas. I bought a bunch and immediately peeled one.
"Don't spoil your appetite for lunch, C. C.," Dad warned.
"Fat chance." Foghorn poked me. "Get it? Fat—"
"I get it. It's not even funny." I headed for a stand that was piled with perfectly round oranges and flat, squat tangerines. "We were supposed to bring our own bag," I said, realizing that people there don't use as many paper and plastic bags as we do in the United States.
I stuffed fruit into my camera bag, careful not to get any food on my equipment. I plan to be a professional photographer someday, so I was lugging around a bunch of heavy gear. But my pictures were getting so good that Dad used some of them in his stories. "Do you think I can take some pictures, Dad?"
"I'd think so, C. C. They're probably used to it. But ask if you want a close-up of anyone."
"I will." I put on my fifty-five lens and snapped a few shots to get the general idea of the market. Then I spotted a really old man, who smiled at me. He waved and pointed to himself, then gave a really wide grin, showing two teeth missing. He wanted his picture taken.
I snapped a couple of close-ups, including his beautifully stacked pyramid of carrots and green and red peppers. "Danke, danke schön," I said, thanking him.
Foghorn pulled on my sleeve and nodded at something. "Now there's a tourist if I ever saw one."
A man in a dark suit, who was fifty or sixty at least, was talking to a young man, who looked like a worker. He probably helped in the market.
"I'll bet he's an American, what do you think? He's buying a case of—oh—" Foghorn was thinking up a story.
"Wine. You can't take fresh fruit or vegetables through customs." Foghorn and I had invented a new game. We'd spot people where we were traveling and make up stories about them. Sometimes we'd laugh at how wrong we were if we got to meet them.
"Maybe he owns a restaurant, though. He might come down here and pick out all his vegetables and fruits himself." I liked that story better. I liked the idea of a cook being that particular about using fresh produce.
"Good idea, but I'll go with American. Let's ask." Foghorn dared me to find out more about the man we'd chosen to investigate.
I thought fast. "Excuse me," I said as I approached the man. "Did you drop this?" I held out the lens cap from my own camera.
The man clearly didn't like my interrupting his conversation, making me realize I was being rude just to play our game. He frowned at the round, black object. "Of course not. Do you see me using a camera?" he growled.
I held back my smile. He'd matched my rudeness with his, making Foghhorn right, which was a shame. I turned and headed back to my brother. "He's an American. I win," he said.
Unfortunately we had found that Americans weren't always as polite as other people where we visited. But then some were terribly friendly, balancing out the grouchy ones. Often we had to refuse invitations to tour with them. Especially women. I think they were worried when they saw Foghorn and me sight-seeing alone. We're perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves, but they wouldn't know that.
"Have some snacks, C. C?" Dad asked, finding us. He had a bag of fruit himself. "I got so much I had to buy a string bag. It's beautiful produce."
"Yep, but let's eat lunch. I'll try their goulash." I'd heard of it, some kind of hash, I thought. I knew nothing would compare to our housekeeper-cook Mrs. Briggs' cooking, but I was hungry enough to try anything.
We entered a coffeehouse, which was less crowded as people had begun to head back to work. When we were seated and had ordered, Dad said, "I've just had a great idea, kids. I remembered a friend whose daughter is working over here—for one of the newspapers. I'll call until I find her. I'll bet she'll take you to see the Riding School, as well as get you a visit behind the scenes."
"Oh, boy. That sounds okay." I nibbled a roll from the basket on the table. "I wish I could ride on one of the white stallions."
"These are show horses, C. C. They aren't just any riding-stable horses." Foghorn laughed at my idea of riding one. "They're special."
"Well, I'm special, too." I pretended to pout.
"Not that special. Each one of those horses is worth really big bucks. They have ancestors that go back almost three hundred years."
"So do I. Our great-great-grandfather came to the United States from Ireland. That's why we all have red hair." I could tell I was bugging Foghorn. He buried his nose in his guidebook and stopped talking to me.
I knew I couldn't ride any of the dancing horses. I wasn't that dumb, but I loved the idea of it. I could see myself in one of those outfits—white pants that stuck out funny over the hips, a red jacket, a black top hat, and shiny black boots that came to my knees. I'd sit tall in the saddle, and the horse would perform with only slight signals from my knees or a tap of the stick I held in my hand.
When I stopped daydreaming and came back to the table with the spotless white cloth, Dad was smiling at me. He reached out and tousled my curly mop of red hair. "You certainly are special, C. C. Don't ever forget it. I want you and Foghorn to have a special day tomorrow, too. But always keep in mind that you're a guest here. Mind your manners and stay out of trouble."
"I will, Dad. And don't worry about my standing too close to the horses, or anything like that. I read that they're incredibly gentle and polite." A thrill ran all over me. I jumped up and started to dance in place beside my chair.
"C. C., sit down," whispered Foghorn. "You're embarrassing me." He glanced around the café.
"I can't help it. I've been looking forward to meeting the dancing horses ever since we left Denver. And tomorrow's the day!" Ignoring Foghorn, I kept dancing. I felt like I would never be able to wait until morning.CHAPTER 2
"It's certainly obvious that you three belong to the same family," said the young woman who approached us in the hotel lobby the next morning. She shook hands with Dad. "Not many people have that shade of dark red hair."
I liked this girl immediately. She wasn't the least bit shy. I thought it would be a lot of fun to tour with her.
"Kids, this is Carly Monroe," Dad told us. "Her father is an old friend of mine."
"My name is Carly, too!" I bounced from one foot to another. "But no one will get us mixed up because people call me C. C. Carly Catherine is what C. C. stands for."
Foghorn whispered to me before he spoke to the girl. "No one would ever get you two mixed up. She's beautiful." He turned to Carly. "Foghorn Flattery here, detective. Flattery will get you anything." He smiled and handed Carly a card from his pocket.
Foghorn had taken that phrase as his new motto. He had even had business cards made up with that printed on them. But I'd been dying for him to say it to someone. I had done a little research on my own. "'Knavery and flattery are blood relations.' Abraham Lincoln."
Carly nearly fell over laughing. "What delightful children, Mr. Flattery. Are they always this clever?"
I was paying more attention to Foghorn than to Carly saying I was clever. He was giving me a really dirty look, and I knew I was going to get killed later.
Dad cleared his throat. "Uh-huh, I'm afraid they are. You can ignore them most of the time, Miss Monroe." Dad gave both of us a warning glance. Don't give Carly any trouble, it said. Dad's face is as easy to read as a first-grade primer.
I gave Carly my best smile. "I'm really looking forward to seeing the Lippizaner horses."
"So am I, C. C. Are you ready to go?" Carly had a big canvas bag with lots of pockets slung over her shoulder. I knew it would have pencil and paper, and I was betting it held a camera, too.
Excerpted from Foghorn Flattery and the Dancing Horses by Barbara Steiner. Copyright © 1991 Barbara Steiner. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Title: Foghorn Flattery and the Dancing Horses Author: Barbara Steiner Publisher: Open Road Media Yong Media Published: 7-8-2014 Pages: 91 Genre: Children;s Fiction Sub-Genre: Europe & Russia; Geograpy and Culture; Mysteryl; Adventure ISBN: 9781497620049 ASIN: B00L2DV68 Reviewed For NetGalley and Open Road Media Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 5 Stars C. C. and Foghorn are in Vienna with their writer father exploring while touring the Spanish Riding School. When a beautiful horse goes missing the brother/ sister and begin looking into it. Readers will enjoy the tips and clues as they follow the story to find out the answers as to whether the horse ran away or was stole. Fast quick read for young readers. Delightful characters and intriguing mystery keep them glued to the story from the beginning to the end. My rating of "Foghorn Flattery and the Dancing Horses" is 5 out of 5 stars.