The Miracle of Wogg, a Tale of Enchantment
Friday, June 10, 2005 8:21:00 AM
by joseph j duome
|This children;s story is a lovely tale of a little peaceflul town (Wogg) that has now encountered trouble and the loss of their beloved fire engine, the heart of the entire metropolis. How it is finally resolved makes a happy, happy bunch of Woggs in this enchanting town.
joseph j duome
73 magnolia drive
newtown, pa 18940 words: 3115
THE MIRACLE OF WOGG, A TALE OF ENCHANTMENT
by joseph j. duome
Once upon a time there was the little town of Wogg.
It was a friendly town-- where people were jolly, the houses small and neat. The skies over Wogg were always blue, a deep azure blue--not unlike a deep-sea colored jewel; the air crisp and clean.
Today, however, the people of Wogg were sad-- a dark cloud dimmed the sunlight and hearts were heavy. Mayor Timothy Wogg, a cherubic round and smiling man, was not smiling. As he paced the floor, his hands knotted behind his back, his head bowed, he called to his tiny wife.
“Clara Wogg, please hurry! The town meeting is scheduled to start in ten minutes.”
He wiped little beadlets of perspiration from his brow and frowned as he stared at his wristwatch. “Hurry! “ he bellowed.
Clara Wogg adjusted her Wogg-ian-styled bonnet -- the latest chic fashion -- in the town of Wogg., dashed down the Lilliputian spiral staircase and hooked her dainty arm around Timothy’s with a smile.
“Come,” she said with saccharine tone, “we’ll be late.”
All the town was there.
Cletus Wogg, the Police Chief was there, as was Raul Wogg, the Commissioner of Public Affairs; Chauncey Wogg, the Town Treasurer; Washington Wogg, the Fire Chief; and the entire Wogg Town Council and Wogg townspeople.
Mayor Timothy stepped up to the lectern and coughed a small cough as silence fell on the crowd. He wore a solemn Wogg-ian frown.
“Ladies and gentlemen…we know whey we are gathered here today. Our town of Wogg is in deep, serious trouble.”
The citizens of Wogg nodded and sighed as one. Cletus Wogg grumbled and nodded, his double-chin shaking like jello. Washington Wogg wiped a slowly falling tear. Chauncey Wogg, the town of Wogg’s mortician, stared stonily ahead, expressionless.
The Mayor coughed a little cough again.
“Ladies and gentlemen…our valiant, brave and courageous fire engine is very, very ill. As you well know out faithful fire engine, hero of many battles over the years and so close to our hearts…our gentle Wog fire pumper needs medical attention desperately…” His voice dropped and a tear fell to his roseate cheek.
“We have tried everything…a new coat of finest red…crimson paint…extremely expensive white-walled tires made expressly by our finest Wogg-ian tire maker, Georgio Wogg,…new chrome and brass fittings…custom-knitted fire hoses…” The Mayor paused for breath.
“As a final resort we have sent for the most famous fire engine doctor in the world…Doctor Philander Herman Broadfellows from the nearby town of Bon Ton.“ The townspeople looked up hopefully at their Mayor.
“He will be here tomorrow.”
The townspeople released an audible sigh with small smiles.
“Now,” the Mayor continued, “we will move to our Wogg Fire Engine House and pass on the news. I am certain that Washington Wogg, our Fire Chief, would like to tell his men and…their brave fire engine that Doctor Broadfellows is sure to help.”
In little Wogg-ian steps the townspeople, followed by town officials, strode down Main Street towards Wog Engine House No. 1.
ENGINE HOUSE NO. 1 -- TOWN OF WOGG
The hand-painted red and gold sign blazoned proudly over the sparkling brick fire house. Several Wogg firemen sat glumly inside the Engine House staring with sad eyes at the old fire pumper. Some cheeks glistened.
Timothy, with Clara at his side, stopped short of the hosed down driveway. His eyes--along with many other Wogg-ian eyes glared glumly at their ailing fire engine.
There it stood, motionless -- feverish, pale and just plain sick. Without pep, almost lifeless.
Timothy took tiny steps and walked slowly to its side and stroked a slightly marred fender. It felt overly warm to the touch.
“Don’t worry, old feller,” he said softly. “Help will soon be on the way. Tomorrow. Tomorrow, Doctor Broadfellows will be here to fix you up as good as new.”
The two round headlights of the tired old pumper looked up dolefully at Wogg’s Mayor and blinked weakly with understanding.
Almost to a man…woman and child…the Town of Wogg awaited the arrival of Doctor Broadfellows the following day in the town square. Soon -- in what seemed like hours and hours-- the sound of a high-powered motor car was heard roaring down the street, fumes of smoke peppering the Wogg-ian air.
All eyes focused down Main Street as a sleek, long and powerful limousine slithered towards them. A three foot high sign on its side shouted : “PHILANDER H. BROADFELLOWS, M.D., SUPER DE LUXE AUTO, TRUCK PHYSICIAN -- FIRE ENGINES, AN ESPECIAL SPECIALITY” as a fancy shrill horn blared out the Broadfellow’s Bon Ton song.
The Wogg townspeople held their breaths as the limousine came to a screeching halt. A tall, cadaverous man stepped out. He smiled an almost toothless smile, his yellow, withered and bony face shadowed by a soiled and heavily creased top hat.
“Where is the patient?” he hissed.
The door of the Engine House lifted.
Broadfellows stooped, squinted at the old fire truck, “ahemed” and said. “I’ll need complete privacy.”
When the crowd nodded assent he pushed a shiny button protruding from the rear of the limousine. Suddenly, doors opened, drawers slid out and the fanciest array of tools, gadgets and electronic wiring appeared. He rolled up the cuffs of his jacket.
“Now, please -- all go home --and leave me with the patient.”
The town of Wogg, en masse, crossed its fingers as it turned as one and walked away.
It was a rare gray dawn as the townspeople gathered once again in front of the Engine House the next day.
A shirt-sleeved, sweaty Broadfellows swung open the Engine House door. The Woggs remained silent, inwardly harboring hope. Their beloved Wog fire truck showed little change.
Broadfellows wiped his hands, his brow with an oily rag and tossed it to the ground. He, reached for his jacket and donned it.
He looked out at the people and in a voice that seemed to rise from a squeaky chalk board said: “I’ve applied the best auto and tuck medicine possible today. New spark plugs, points, carburetor intake, all wiring replaced in the distributor caps, the paradynamic sleeves juiced up in the transmission, the filter filtered, the alternator alternated.. and so forth.” His voice trailed off and he shook his head and shrugged.
“That’s it. We’ll know in a few minutes. I dosed it heavily with a newly developed astro-petroleum and our superb Bon Ton super jet diesel fuel. Your Fire Chief, Washington Wogg, is ready to start ‘er up.”
The people of Wogg continued to keep their fingers crossed, their collective breaths silent. Chief Washington Wogg tossed a meek wave of the hand towards the crowd as he settled into the elevated fire truck leather seat. Hesitantly, he turned the key.
A small cough erupted from the truck. Nothing more. It just sputtered and died quickly.
The Chief turned the key once more.
The key turned again.
And again…yet nothing more than a weak hissing wheeze.
Washington Wogg, his face a cherry red now, wiped his forehead and turned the key again.
Now, the motor turned over and began to whir weakly, first with a whine and then a low, dirge-like moan.
Yet, this time it did not die. It fizzled…and fizzled…it sputtered and spewed and it coughed and harrumphed. But…it did not die.
Doctor Broadfellows scratched his head and crossed his arms, a quizzical look on his pasty face.
“No…no…” he started, lugubriously. “I don’t think your fire engine is gonna make it.”
The townspeople of Wogg, tearful, groaned.
Broadfellows looked a the Mayor. “Here is my bill for the medical repairs. And a prescription.,” “However, he added, “I suggest that you find a replacement, I’m afraid your old fire engine has had it. Yup. It’s over.”
The people of Wogg groaned louder.
And, then, in flash the Broadfellows’ hearse-like limousine leaped off, leaving in its wake, clouds of thick, black smoke and a town devastated.
The people of Wogg choked and gasped…and continued to do so as the Wogg’s fire engine’s motor sputtered once more…and died.
Timothy Wogg peered glumly across the glistening table at his Council members and began: “Men, we must do something. Our funds are low and our Town of Wogg is without the services of our beloved Wogg Fire Engine. One that has served us so well.”
Chauncey Wogg looked over his silver-rimmed spectacles. “You’re so right, Mister Mayor. Our treasury is down to nothing.”
Suddenly, there was rat-tat-a-tat-rat-a tat on the chamber door. It was an angry and persistent rat-a tat-rat a tat.
The door swung open abruptly and Clara Wogg, her bonnet askew, and a dozen Wogg housewives catapulted into the room.
“We have something to say, Mister Timothy Wogg, to you and your Town Council,” she cried.
“Yes!” her fellow housewives echoed loudly.
Never, ever in the history of Wogg had a female interrupted a Town Council meeting. Never had a woman even appeared in the sainted halls of the Town Council’s austere chambers. It was more than Mayor Timothy Wogg could bear. He slumped into his seat -- weary, confused and defeated.
“Now, listen, gentlemen,” The gentlewoman Clara declared, “You men have tried everything to help our beloved fire truck regain its health. You’ve spent virtually all the town’s treasury and still it lies there more dead than alive. Our dear Wogg fire truck loved by our Wogg children! Why, our boys and girls would be lost without their weekly excursion over the countryside in our Wogg fire truck.” She paused an tilted her hat. “And, what would our parades be without our proud hero…with its colorful flags flying high and leading the way?”
The Town Council and the women nodded in unison.
“So-o, “ Clara Wogg went on, “we thought we’d find a solution.”
The Mayor wiped his round, cherubic face. “What is it,” he asked helplessly as he glanced at the unhappy, frowning faces staring down from their mahogany frames on the hallowed Council walls. He wondered what these Woggian forefathers were thinking of this unprecedented disturbance.
“We have found a man who says he can help our fire truck get well… recover.”
“Who is this man?”
“Wal,“ Clara drawled, “we don’t rightly know his name. We only know that he left his calling card on the door steps of the Wogg Schoolhouse. Miss Mercy Wogg, our school teacher, found it.”
Clara pulled a card from an oversized purse. The card was a small 4” by 4” but the words and message seemed to jump right out and off it in wild, bright, frenzied colors. The luminous brilliance of the words dazzled the room’s occupants. It read:
“Let me take the earth, the sky
And lend new…new life
To an old trusted friend.
Let me give our Wog fire truck
New life and luster…never ever to die.”
The message was simple and clear. But the Town Council remained baffled. Washington Wogg jumped to his feet.
“What have we got to lose? Who is he and where do we find him?”
Chauncey Wogg shook his heavy head. . “Yes, hut how much will it cost? And, where will we get the money?”
No one paid heed to him as Clara brought forth another sun-drenched card. The instructions on this card were clear. She read:
“Have Miss Mercy Wogg take her classes of boys and girls to the brook that winds at the end of the rainbow at Wogg’s Trail’s End.
The children will help me gather the elixir I need to make our friend well again.”
“We can’t allow a stranger…!“ Raul Wogg started to protest.
Mrs. Treadbottom Wogg hushed him quickly with a gentle but firm hand. “Hush, these are our children, too. And we are more than willing. What, pray tell would the Town of Wogg be without our dear, beloved fire engine? We…our children would just wither away…unhappily…”
The vote was unanimous. Tomorrow would be the day.
The Town Council could hardly believe their eyes the next day. Their collective eyes bulged as they looked at the roly poly stranger for the first time.
There he stood--not very high--a very, very broad comically rotund fellow with cheeks the color of red jelly apples. His jacket and trousers, which fit him ever so snugly, were a crazy quilt of shimmering colors never, ever seen by a Wog-ian eye, much less the Wogg Town Council.
He wore no hat. His mass of curly hair was of a golden yellow hue.
He did not walk. He wobbled, wobbling joyously from side to side, his every step making small pleasant musical sounds.
The children of Wogg gathered and pranced behind him in a merry prattling trail. Miss Mercy Wogg tried to hold on to her bonnet and keep up with the group at the same time.
The plump little colorful man moved with surprising speed for his size and girth as he led the joyous group towards Wogg’s Trail’s End. The Town Council could hear the festive sounds of singing ringing through the air as the children disappeared over the horizon with the rollicking troubadour.
The hours trickled away slowly. The Wogg Townspeople remained puzzled and stone faced as each [pondered the what, when and where of this mysterious stranger who seemingly had mesmerized and held the children in the palm of his hand.
It was painfully long wait.
The mirthful voices of the Wogg children exploded the chilling quiet and the chubby troubadour’s figure could be seen waving his hands gaily as he danced towards the Towns people with the boys and girls trailing behind in a happy array.
The people of Wogg let out a huge sigh and breathed easier; smiles wreathing their faces. They noted that each child--even Mercy Wogg!-- were happily toting a ribbon-bedecked baskets. All, from the tallest and oldest to the smallest and youngest, gripped a basket while chanting a merry tune.
The Wogg Town Council and Townspeople wondered aloud now. Where…where had these baskets magically come from? They knew that the children had left empty handed. It was a curious puzzle they told themselves. And pray tell, they opined, what did the baskets contain ? Bright little stars seemed to be jumping upward into the air from each basket.
Soon, the wobbly, chubby troubadour--and the children with the harlequin colored baskets--reached Engine House 1. Mercy Wogg, out of breath, finally arriving behind them all.
A silence fell on the crowd as the wobbly, chubby troubadour with the mop of golden curly hair brandished a soft, pink hand to quiet the crowd.
In a voice that both surprised and startled, he said squeakily: “You may wonder what we--the children and I--have in our baskets. Wonder no longer. Each basket contains the necessary medicine to cure our fire engine dear friend here.“
He patted a pale looking fender. He looked up with a somber countenance. “All that I ask of you now is that you depart and wait for us in the Wogg City Hall Square. You will then see with your very own eyes--in less than minutes!--the unfolding of a miracle.”
The people of Wogg obediently and reluctantly turned and shuffled slowly onward towards the City Hall Square. The waiting would be painful.
And, yes, in less than minutes the waiting ended when the festive clanging of bells and the booming hurrahs of air horns and sirens exploded throughout the air as very healthy fire truck burst out with new found energy and rolled steadily down Main Street.
The children broke out into song behind the truck as the chubby, wobbly troubadour waved gloriously from the driver’s seat. A gleaming smile stretched from ear lobe to ear lobe as his golden hair glowed with each wave of the hand.
The Townspeople stared at the fire truck. Wonder o f wonders. The old fire engine was no longer old and no longer red! It gleamed anew and brandished an entirely new coat of paint….a startling bright lime yellow!!
Had the happy troubadour replaced the old fire truck? What miracle had transformed our beloved fire engine?
The townspeople smiled and whooped cheers as the “new” fire engine in its brand new coat of paint came to a halt. All looked at it with amazement.
Timothy Wogg voiced the sentiments of the crowd as he rushed to greet the newly bedecked fire engine. “Our fire truck-- with a new coat, gleaming…the motor humming so sweetly and gingerly, the brass slanting its brightness, too..oh, my. Here is our Wogg fire truck, alive and well! What magic had the chubby, wobbly troubadour wrought? It is indeed a miracle…truly a magical miracle”
They peered at the stranger as he leaped to the ground with a bounce. He seemed to sense what was in the hearts and minds of the joyful Wogg people. How was he able to perform this magic? The question seemed to hang in the air.
“With love…just love” he said finally in a soft voice. He waved his tiny arms. “We blended the color of the sky…the rich green of the sod…the gold of the sun…and wonderful warmth of the children’s love to bring new life to your beloved fire engine.”
He patted the shiny fender of the “reborn” fire truck. His effervescent smile broke out. “Old faithful here will continue to serve the Town of Wogg faithfully and with love for many, many more years to come.” The golden lime yellow fire truck seemed to beam.
And, the entire town of Wogg did indeed beam as they looked with pride at their “new” and yet old friend.
There eyes turned and searched for the chubby, wobbly troubadour who deserved their word of gratitude.
He was no where to be found. He was gone.
Timothy Wogg scratched his head. Chauncey Wogg squinted. Washington Wogg searched near the hoses. Miss Mercy Wogg caught her breath.
But the chubby, wobbly troubadour had disappeared. Timothy Wogg went to the spot near a plump, sturdy tire where the little stranger had been standing. He noted with a smile a word with four brightly colored letters boldly inscribed on the ground
It read: L * O * V * E*.
The colors of the letter, not unlike the “new” fire engine were an iridescent, mellow lime yellow…the color of love…
Author’s Note: Our nation’s fire engines were not always painted with a coat of red paint. In fact, early fire engines were painted white, black and even purple. It wasn’t until the 1920s that red became the popular color. In 1971 Ward La France introduced the first lime yellow fire engine.