Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

'Wilhelmina Tell' as told by Nanny Piggins

February 17, 2021 R.A. Spratt Season 1 Episode 52
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
'Wilhelmina Tell' as told by Nanny Piggins
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
'Wilhelmina Tell' as told by Nanny Piggins
Feb 17, 2021 Season 1 Episode 52
R.A. Spratt

When Nanny Piggins, Boris and the children accidentally chain themselves to the school canteen on a public holiday (while trying to protest against the inclusion of carrot sticks on the menu) she whiles away the time by telling them the story of her distant relative, who was a brilliant shot with a crossbow, called Wilhelmina Piggins.

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Show Notes Transcript

When Nanny Piggins, Boris and the children accidentally chain themselves to the school canteen on a public holiday (while trying to protest against the inclusion of carrot sticks on the menu) she whiles away the time by telling them the story of her distant relative, who was a brilliant shot with a crossbow, called Wilhelmina Piggins.

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Hello and welcome to bedtime stories with me R.A. Spratt


Today’s story is…


Williamina Tell as told by Nanny Piggins


 Nanny Piggins, Derrick, Samantha, Michael and Boris were handcuffed to the counter of the school canteen. It had all started when Nanny Piggins had read the school’s letter, something she usually avoided doing because it was the most boring document ever printed, and she didn’t believe that trees should be cut down to serve such a purpose. 

But she had needed a piece of paper to jot down a tea cake recipe and the newsletter was closest to hand. As she listed the ingrediants, her eye wandered and started to take in the text. 

She was shocked to discover that the Headmaster had hatched a diabolical plan. He had instructed the school canteen to start selling carrot sticks. 

Nanny Piggins was outraged. Personally she thought it was morally bankrupt to make children pay for vegetables, raw ones at that. But the thing that most offended her was that while introducing the carrot sticks to the menu he was subtracting something else – the octo-choc chocolate cake. 

A type of chocolate cake that combined chocolate in eight different forms. Chocolate powder, chocolate sauce, chocolate sprinkles, chocolate chips, chocolate ice cream, chocolate icing, chocolate cream and a block of chocolate sandwich on the top and bottom. 

Nanny Piggins had introduced this item to the menu herself when she had briefly been a canteen volunteer (she had retired from this duty because her baked good were so good, they attracted food critics, who started loitering around the school. And it was felt they were a bad influence on the students. Their over use of purple prose and unnecessarily unctuous superlatives was nauseating and not a habit young people should be encouraged to pick up.

Even after Nanny Piggins left the canteen, the octo choc chocolate cake, was still created using the detailed instructions she had left behind. It was the most popular item on the canteen menu. 

In fact it was the only popular item on the canteen menu. No one ever ordered anything else. Except perhaps a glass of milk as a rest break before ordering a second slice of octo-choc-chocolate cake. 

The school’s academic results had actually improved as a result. The students were all so happy and perky after a single slice of this cake they always soaked up their afternoon lessons like a sponge. 

But Headmaster Pimplestock had been to a conference for Headmaster where they had all been indoctrinated with information about nutritious food. (Ironically while being served rubbery chicken an ice cream every night for dinner.) And he returned to his own school determined to introduce the principles, while still secretly scoffing the chocolate biscuits he kept hidden in his bottom desk drawer.

Naturally when Nanny Piggins learned about this she was outraged. She immediately stopped what she was doing, which was trapeze on the washing line, not an easy thing to stop in the middle. And marched down to the school to chain herself to the canteen in protest.

This all went splendidly. They happened to have a marvellous chain in Boris’ shed. He’d always kept the chain used to kidnap him from the Artic tundra when he was a bear cub, the same way human children keep security blankets. So using the chain, along with the padlocks Mr Green put on all the cupboards he wanted to keep Nanny Piggins out of, not realising she could pick a padlock in 30 seconds flat. They took all that down to the school and locked themselves down. 

They had been chained there for just a few minutes, when it began to dawn on Nanny Piggins that something was not quite right.

‘Where is everyone?’ asked Nanny Piggins.

‘Who?’ asked Derrick.

‘All the people,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘The students and the teachers. It’s ten past nine, shouldn’t they all be here by now.’

‘But Nanny Piggins,’ said Derrick. ‘I thought you knew. Today is a public holiday. There won’t be anybody here all day.’

What?’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘You mean we chained ourselves here for nothing. The canteen ladies won’t even be here to feed us carrot sticks?

‘Never mind,’ said Michael. ‘You can just unpick the locks and we’ll come back tomorrow.’

‘Unpick with what?’ asked Nanny Piggins.

‘Don’t you usually use a hairpin?’ asked Samantha.

‘Look at my hair!’ said Nanny Piggins.

Samantha looked. Nanny Piggins hair always did look stunning. But it looked particularly lovely on this occasion. Her angry walk down to the school had blown the wind through it and given her hair a jaunty curl at the bottom of her bob. ‘It looks very nice,’ said Samantha.

‘But it’s out!’ said Nanny Piggins.

Samantha was not a great hair stylist herself, but it began to occur to her what Nanny Piggins was saying. Her hair was not lifted off her face in anyway. ‘You haven’t pinned it up?’ she asked.

‘My coiffeur is entirely au natural!’ said Nanny Piggins.

‘Huh?’ said Michael.

‘Today’s stunning beauty is entirely natural,’ explained Boris. ‘Although obviously in part due to Nanny Piggins extremely healthy high chocolate diet.’

‘Is chocolate good for your hair?’ asked Michael.

‘Chocolate is good for everything,’ declared Nanny Piggins. ‘If for no other reason that because it makes you not care about anything else.’

‘Is there nothing you can do to get us out?’ asked Samantha.

‘I can’t reach my handbag,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Boris, be a dear. Can you check and see if I brought any explosives with me?

‘Boris reached out with his foot, hooked the strap of her handbag with is toe and tipped it upside down so the contents tipped on the floor.’

‘I can’t see anything explosive, Sarah,’ said Boris.

‘Probably for the best,’ said Derrick. ‘If there had been explosives in there, they would have exploded when you tipped them on the ground.’

‘And I keep my bolt cutters in my hot pink clutch purse,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘How vexing.’

‘We’re going to be stuck here all night,’ lamented Samantha.

‘Never mind,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘We’ll survive. Fortunately I had the foresight to sew two dozen chocolate bars into the hem of this skirt, for just such an emergency. Let’s eat them all to cheer ourselves up.’

‘Shouldn’t we ration them out over the next 24 hours?’ asked Derrick.

‘Gosh no,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘That would be sensible, no self respecting circus folk ever responds to an emergency by doing something sensible.’

‘It’s true,’ agreed Boris. ‘I knew a sword juggling aardvark who waited 30 minutes after eating before she went swimming, she was asked to leave her circus immediately for showing good sense and propriety not befitting of a circus performer.’

So Nanny Piggins unpicked the hem of her skirt with her teeth and they all started munching.

‘Why don’t you tell us a story, Nanny Piggins while we eat?’ suggested Derrick.

‘Alright,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘This dreadful business with the carrot sticks actually reminds me of one of my distant relatives from long ago.’

‘Really?’ said Michael. ‘Which one.’

‘She was a legendary Swiss archer who lived 600 years ago,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘And her name was – Willamina Tell Piggins.’

‘You don’t mean William Tell?’ asked Derrick. ‘The famous Swiss freedom fighter and brilliant crossbow shooter.’

‘Yes, that’s her,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘People mistook her for a man, because she always wore a fake moustache to hide her identiy. The Swiss are a wonderful people, great yodellers and great chocolate makers. But back in the 16th century they were not as advanced on the issue of pigs rights as they should be.’

Anyway, one day she was walking through the forest with her son, Walter.

‘What he a pig?’ asked Michael.

‘Why do you ask?’ asked Nanny Piggins.

‘Well it can be hard to work out sometimes in your story which characters are pigs and which aren’t,’ said Michael. ‘Then when I realise I’ve got it wrong and imagined the character looking very different to how they actually do, it’s hard work to reimagine them.’

‘Well actually Walter was a goat,’ said Nanny Piggins. 

‘How does a pig have a goat for a son?’ asked Derrick. 

‘Adoption of course,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘

So anyway, they were walking through the forest, I don’t know whistling a jaunty tune or whatever it is that people do when they’re walking through forests. Probably lamenting the fact that solid chocolate wasn’t going to be invented for another 350 years. When they came to a village and in the village there were some very bad people.

‘Carrot farmers?’ asked Boris.

‘Worse,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Representatives of the Austro-Hungarian empire.’

‘Who were they,’ asked Samantha.

‘I’m not entirely sure,’ admitted Nanny Piggins. ‘But if they were hungry, perhaps they were representatives of an empire of very hungry people who went around Europe demanding food.’

‘How rude,’ said Michael.

‘Exactly,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Anyway, this naughty Austro Hungarian official had put up a flag and was making all the villagers kneel down in front of it. Which they did, despite the fact that the grass was wet because it had been raining.

But they played along because they were concerned that any people so hungry that they put the word hungry in the name of their country ,were probably in a very bad mood. 

Now as all this was going on, Willamenia and her son walked past. The mean Austro Hungarian demanded that she bow down before the flag. 

‘What did she do?’ asked Michael.

‘She was a Piggins,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘What do you think she did?’

‘Ate some cake?’ guessed Michael.

‘Good guess,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘But she’d just had a lovely slice of lemon sponge so she was okay for now. No she simply said, ‘No thank you and kept walking.’

The Austro Hungarian was outraged. No one had ever said no to him before. Which was probably why he had so many behavioural issues. His mother should really have been firmer with him when he was younger. He ordered his guards to seize her and condemned her to death.

‘For not bowing?’ asked Samantha. ‘That’s very extreme.’

‘Hunger does strange things to people,’ said Nanny Piggins.

The villagers pleaded with the Austro Hungarian to relent, because this was the famous Willamena Tell Piggins. The greatest archer in all of Switzerland. 

Now the Astro Hungarian was intrigued. He had a very cruel streak. He said he would let Willamena and her son go, if Willamenia cold shoot a cupcake of her son’s head.’

‘That’s awful,’ said Samantha.

‘And weird,’ said Derrick.

Willamena was disgusted but she had no choice. If she didn’t it meant certain death for them both. She had to try. The soldiers stood her son up against a tree, and balanced a chocolate cupcake on top of his head.

‘He must have been quaking with fear,’ said Samantha.

‘Actually no,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Walter was so confident of his mother’s abilities. He was calm as could be.’

‘So she shot the cake rightoff his head,’ and they both were saved?’ asked Michael.

‘Sadly no,’ said Nanny Piggins.

‘No!’ exclaimed the children.

‘She shot him in the head!’ wailed Boris.

‘Of course not!’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘If I had a distant relative who shot a boy in the head I wouldn’t tell that as a bedtime story would I?’

‘So what happened?’ asked Derrick.

‘Well the problem was that Willamia was a Piggins,’ said Nanny Piggins.

She looked at the children as if this explained everything. But the children were still baffled. 

‘She really really really loved cake,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘She couldn’t bring herself to shoot the arrow and desicrate that beautiful dessert.’

‘Even though her life and her son’s life was a stake?’ asked Derrick.

‘It was a really nice cupcake,’ said Nanny Piggins, ‘It was chocolate, with chocolate chips inside and a beautiful demi-glaze frosting on top decorated with chocolate sprinkles.’

‘Yum,’ said Michael.

‘Exactly,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘As she stared down the shaft of her crossbow, aiming at this divine cakey treat, her mouth watered, her heart filled with longing – she could not shoot it. I

t would be desecration. Like going to the Louve and chopping up the Mona Lisa with a hedgetrimmer. Worse because the Mona Lisa does not taste good at all. It tastes dusty. 

(Nanny Piggins knew this for a fact because when she had gone to see the famous renaissance painting she had licked it out of curiosity, she licked most substances on the off chance they were delicious. The masterpiece was not. She had been banned from visiting the Louvre ever since, so whenever she went to Paris she had to carry a fake moustache with her in case wanted to revisit the gallery.)

‘She had just fome to the realisation that she could not fire the shot and they were both doomed to certain death,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘When the most remarkable thing occurred. The tree her son had been stood against just happened to be an apple tree, and it was autumn at the time, so the tree was in full fruit. 

At the exact moment she had decided that she could not take the shot, an apple fell from the tree, onto her son’s head knocking the cupcake off. 

And of course she was a Piggins, she despised all fruit, especially apples – because they always say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But Williamina had personally found this to be untrue. Not even if you throw the apples hard at the doctor to get him to leave. 

So as soon as she saw the apple land on top of her son’s head, she was overwelmed with the urge to destroy it, she pulled the trigger, the arrow shot out, hit the apple and stabbed it into the tree.

‘What about her son?’ asked Samantha. ‘Was he alright.’

‘He had never been better!’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘He didn’t even notice the arrow and the apple, he was too busy eating the cupcake that had just fallen at his feet.’

‘So they all lived happily ever after and Switzerland was liberated from the oppressive rule of the Austro Hungarian empire just 500 short years later. The end. Time for bed.’

‘We’re handcuffed to the school canteen,’ Derrick reminded her. 

‘Oh yes,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘I suppose it would be foolish to go to sleep here. All this story telling has made me hungry for chocolate cupcakes. Let’s go home and make some.’

‘How are we going to get the chains off?’ asked Derrick.

‘I can unpick the locks when we get home,’ said Nanny Piggins.

‘How are we going to get home when we’re chained to the counter?’ asked Samantha.

‘Well I may have forgotten to bring a hairpin,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘But I did remember to bring a 10 foot tall ballet dancing bear.’ She pointed to Boris, who was sitting alongside them.

The children were still puzzled by what she was getting at.

‘Boris, be a dear and demonstrate a grand jete for the children,’ asked Nanny Piggins.

‘Alright,’ said Boris. 

He loved the ballet and was always eager to give a spontaneous performance. In one beautiful fluid movement she sprang to his feet and leapt high in the air. 

A 700 kilogram fully grown kodiack bear leaping with all his strength was never going to be a match for the 40 year old wooden counter of the school canteen. The timber shelf ripped off and they were all easily able to walk home for their morning tea, carrying this plank. 

It was only after they had each eaten a dozen chocolate cupcakes each, that it occurred to Michael that they had not achieved the original purpose of going to the school in the first place. 

‘What about the carrot sticks at school?’ asked Michael.

‘I’ll sort that out tomorrow,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘I’ll get out one of my false moustaches, go down to the canteen posing as a new volunteer and offer to make the carrots into carrot cake.’

‘But you hate carrot cake,’ said Samantha. ‘You always saying it is immoral to put vegetables in cake.’

‘I’ll make a chocolate cake and tell them it’s carrot cake,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘They’ll love the cake so much they’ll want more. They’ll soon become addicted. And when I reveal that I have actually given all the carrots to a rabbit rescue shelter, they won’t be hard to convince them to stick with the chocolate cake.’

And that is exactly what she did.


The end.


Thank you for listening. To support this podcast just buy a book by me, R.A. Spratt. There’s plenty to choose from, across the Friday Barnes, Nanny Piggins and Peski Kids series. And now there are the audiobooks of The Adventures of Nanny Piggins and Friday Barnes Girl Detective as well. You can order them through your local bookstore, or go to my website and click on the Book Depository banner. They’ve got all my titles and free international shipping.  That’s it for now, until next time. Goodbye.