“That is a good suggestion,” barked Hoopy.
Pata-Pikki nodded in agreement. He was beginning to feel dizzy. What was left of his ear throbbed and he wondered if he had something in his pack to put on it.
They picked a spot near the turning of the cliffside. Hoopy began to dig in the warm sand. As he dug Pata-Pikki looked through his pack but found nothing to help his ear. He thought of the Phora.
“Who has the Phora,” he whined.
“Bar-Thur has it,” Flur-ella barked. “Why do you ask?”
“I just wondered.” Pata-Pikki whimpered.
Flur-ella looked at him curiously.
When Hoopy finished digging and curled up in a very nice hole, Pata-Pikki and Flur-Ella again curled up against him and they all fell fast asleep. Pata-Pikki woke once and shook his head. His ear hurt. Gradually he drifted back to sleep again and began to dream.
Little Scruffle-pups were running down a long grassy hill, rolling and tumbling down it, barking with a funny laughing bark. Then at the top of the hill he saw Flur-Ella following them. This surprised him very much as he realized they were Flur-Ella’s pups. He opened his eyes feeling very happy.
Flur-Ella was sitting up looking out into the darkness.
“Flur-Ella, what is it?” he whined.
“I heard something. Something or someone is behind the corner,” She woofed quietly.
“Pata-Pikki poked Hoopy with his paw and nodded to the corner. Hoopy jumped to his feet and his mustache began to bristle. Pata-Pikki motioned him to silence. They both approached the corner of the wall and rushed around it. A dark figure loomed in front of them and then a glow of light spread out into the canyon.
“Flur-Ella reached into the pocket of her Marsh-Flower jacket and held out something black and fuzzy. “Here it is, “ she sniffled, handing it to the Farmer Man.
Pata-Pikki and Hoopy looked at each other, “What is this about?” Hoopy asked.
The Farmer Man walked up to Pata-Pikki, “Here Pata-Pikki, this will set you right, “ he said.
With that he held what used to be the end of Pata-Pikki’s ear up to what remained of it. The Scrufflings each smelled a wonderful scent drifting in the air. To Hoopy it smelled like his favorite digging place in the old forest from which they came; to Flur-Ella it smelled like marsh flowers in the Spring; to Pata-Pikki it smelled like a hill, green with Spring grass that has just been crushed with the scent of many little running feet.
When the Farmer Man took his hand away from Pat-Pikki’s ear, his ear was just like it had been before the bad time with the Narflbots.
“Pata-Pikki! Flur-Ella yelped, “The Farmer Man has put your ear back the way it belongs!”
The Scrufflings were astonished.
“The One can do many amazing things,” the Farmer Man said with a smile. “Great is He forever and ever!”
“Thank you,” whined Pata-Pikki, touching his ear. “It doesn’t hurt anymore,” He shook his head from side to side and his ear stayed on, just as it had before. “May the One be praised!”
Hoopy put out his paw and touched Pata-Pikki’s ear. “It is just like it was,” He barked reassuringly.
“Yes”, whined Flur-Ella, “It is the same.”
“Will you breakfast with us,” Pata-Pikki asked the Farmer Man. “We have roots we can share.”
“Thank you,” laughed the Farmer Man, “I will.” With that they sat down and shared roots from their packs, and the water that Hoopy had carried with him.
“A fine repast,” the Farmer Man said. “It is time you were on your way. The Forest-Beings are waiting for you.”
“Will you come with us?” They woofed.
“I have business that takes me to the South. I will see you in Michel by and by.”
And so, they parted along the Deep Road, the Scrufflings to the North and East, and the Farmer Man to the South.
Heartened by their meeting with the Farmer Man, they began to run on their four legs making up with great speed the distance that lay between them and their friends. Turning a corner on what felt like a familiar passageway, they saw the rock slab that lay across the opening of the cave. Slipping behind it, they entered a cave filled with light from the lamps the Forest Beings had placed there. Rushing to the bottom of the cave with much barking, they heard the sound of all of the Forest Beings crying out in welcome, “It’s Pata-Pikki, Hoopy and Flur-Ella. Welcome! Welcome!”
“Welcome dear companions, to the company of the Forest Beings!” Bellowed High Horns.