The sun was setting below
the horizon. The last of the sightseers were leaving Trafalgar Square in
downtown London, heading back to their hotels with their families.
The Square took on an eerie
emptiness. The pigeons flew to nearby window ledges to roost for the night
and the monument, with Lord Admiral Nelson sitting atop, stood alone. The
only noise that could be heard was the spray of the fountain as the drops
of water hit the pool below. The four bronze lions that sat on the
monument, protecting Lord Nelson, were now alone. No longer were children
climbing all over them. No longer were cameras flashing. It was silent.
"Are they all gone?" asked
Susan looked around, "All
clear from my view."
"Here too," said Beatrice.
"Weíre okay over here,"
"Then letís go and have
some fun!" growled Albert, as the four lions sprang to life, as they did
every night at this time, and leapt off the monument onto the ground
below. They stretched their aching limbs. Sitting in the same position all
day long was tiring.
"Iíve got an idea of what
we can do tonight!" exclaimed Beatrice. She was the mischievous one of the
group. "You know those guards down at Buckingham Palace? I say that we go
there and try to get one of them to move. They arenít supposed to even
blink. Iíve thought of a good way to scare them."
"Great!" said Edward, "and
while weíre there we can go through the Royal rubbish and find something
for dinner. I heard some tourists talking about a banquet at the palace
tonight. You know what that means, donít you?"
"Leftovers," Susan and
Albert called out together.
The four bronze lions
headed down the Mall, which is the name of the street leading from
Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace. St. James Park is off to the side
of it. They ran in there to stay hidden from any cars that might drive
past. Beatrice roared and scared a flock of sleeping ducks. She roared in
delight as they quacked and flew away angrily.
Susan wasnít quite as
mischievous as the others. As she went through the park, she took time to
avoid stepping on the daffodils and crocus. Albert and Edward didnít care
what they stepped on. "Thereís Buckingham Palace. Albert, you jump over
the fence first, but be careful. Those spikes at the top are sharp. They
can scratch you pretty bad," warned Beatrice.
Albert didnít hesitate. He
leapt over the fence without any problem; after all, they were all very
large bronze lions. Susan, Beatrice and Edward followed.
"Now, should we eat first?"
"Letís scare the guard
first, Albert, and then weíll eat. Come on, weíll have to be really quiet
if we want to sneak up on the guard," Beatrice reminded the group. One by
one they made their way toward the guardís box, staying very close to the
palace walls. They could see him standing there, stiff as a board. "Letís
play with him," giggled Beatrice. "Iíll run by really fast. Heíll see a
blur, but not be sure what it is. That will attract his attention."
Beatrice ran as fast as she could past the guard. He didnít move a muscle.
She ran back, but this time much closer to him. He still stood at
"He didnít even blink an
eye," said Edward, amazed.
"This time, Iíll go and
stop right in front of him and roar," said Albert. "Heís never seen a
bronze lion roar before, surely."
Albert crept up slowly and
went behind the guardís box. He bumped it softly, on purpose, to alert the
guard. He stood waiting, but the guard never moved. Seeing that he was
wasting his time, he jumped out from behind the box and stood in front of
him. He was three times the size of the guard. There was still no reaction
from the soldier. Albert took a deep breath and then let out a loud and
ferocious roar. His breath blew the black fur on the guardís hat. The
guard still didnít move but the palace lights came on and soon soldiers
were pouring out of the building.
The four lions ran and
jumped over the fence. They hid behind the Victoria monument and watched.
The soldiers were all over the grounds, searching under every bush and
behind every tree. Susan heard one of them say, "I could swear that noise
we heard was a lionís roar." She giggled.
Another soldier said, "It
was probably just a car revving up its engine. Whatever it was, itís gone
From behind the statue,
Edward commented, "Whew! That was close. We didnít get anything to eat
though and Iím starving!"
"We almost got caught that
time, Edward. Weíll have to find food somewhere else," Susan said.
"Did you see that guard? He
didnít move. Not one muscle!" Albert noted.
The four lions ran back
through the park towards Parliament and Big Ben. Just as they reached
Westminster Bridge, Big Ben chimed twelve loud chimes. BONG! BONG! BONG!
BONG! BONG! BONG! BONG! BONG! BONG! BONG! BONG! BONG!
"Iíve got a great idea,"
said Susan. "Letís go up into Big Ben and change the clock ahead an hour."
"What fun!" Edward added.
The four lions jumped over
the fence and snuck up the steps to the top of the tall tower where Big
Ben was. Susan stuck her paw out through a slit in the stone and changed
the clock so that it was one oíclock in the morning, instead of midnight.
They quickly ran back down and over to the bridge again. No sooner had the
last lion pounced onto the bridge when the clock struck one. BONG!
The groundskeeper turned on
the light in his shed. The lions giggled. He came outside and looked up at
the clock. "I just heard it chime midnight," he said, confused. "Whatís
wrong with Big Ben tonight?" He looked down at his watch and began to
climb up all the steps. The lions watched as he struggled to change the
hands back to just after midnight.
Susan, Albert, Edward, and
Beatrice ran down to the Thames River, laughing all the way. They stopped
in front of where the river cruise boats were docked. "Iíve never been on
a boat before. Have any of you?" asked Beatrice.
"Not me. Do you think
thereís food on any of these boats?" asked Edward.
"Iíve never been on a boat
before either but Iíll bet thereís food on board," answered Albert.
"Iíve never even seen the
Thames before," added Susan.
The four lions leapt onto
the boat, but their bronze bodies were so heavy that when they leapt, they
made huge holes in the bottom of the boat and it began to sink. "Letís get
off this boat!" roared Albert. They jumped back onto the bank of the
Thames and watched as the boat sank into the murky water.
"Weíd better get out of
here," urged Edward.
They ran along the
riverbank and didnít stop until they reached the Tower of London. "These
buildings have been here a long time, havenít they?" Susan asked, gazing
up at the tall towers.
"At least one of them has
been here a thousand years," noted Albert.
"By the way, Iíve heard
that there are ravens that live at the Tower. I hate birds. I get so tired
of having pigeons land on me. Letís go inside and wake them up and chase
them out into the river," Beatrice sneered.
"Thatís cruel," Edward
said, "but it does sound like fun. Say, can we eat the ravens? Letís get
They jumped over the gate
and crept silently across the grass towards the White Tower, the main
place where the ravens slept. "Watch out for the guards. Theyíre called
Beefeaters," Beatrice said. "Theyíll cause us a lot of trouble if they
find us here."
"Why on earth are they
called Beefeaters?" Edward chuckled. "Can we eat them? Do they taste like
"Would you please stop
talking about food, Edward," Beatrice said.
Edward shrugged his
shoulders and the lions moved on. They spotted the sleeping ravens. There
were about twenty off them sleeping in a cluster near the White Tower.
Their glossy black feathers shimmered in the moonlight. "Theyíre odd
looking birds, arenít they?" Susan said.
"They look delicious enough
to eat," Edward said softly so Beatrice wouldnít hear him.
"LETíS GET THEM!" roared
Albert. The four lions roared and ran towards the sleeping birds.
The ravens woke up, saw the
approaching lions and ran in all directions. None of them could fly
because their wings had been clipped. They ran very fast. Beatrice chased
one all around the White Tower. Edward chased two of them down to
Traitorís Gate at the River Thames. Albert chased a few around on the
grass, trying to nip their tail feathers. Susan was having so much fun
running about that she stopped worrying about the ravens altogether. After
a few minutes, when the excitement had worn off and they were tired of
chasing the ravens around, the four lions gathered on the grass. "Good
riddance to those birds! Now that theyíre gone, did you know that they
have jewels in that building?" Beatrice told them. "Theyíre called the
Crown Jewels. Iíd like to see them and even try some of them on."
"Beatrice, weíd be caught
for sure," warned Susan.
"No we wont. Those
Beefeaters didnít wake up when we roared, did they? So they probably wonít
hear us while we try on the Crown Jewels," Beatrice said, pointing to the
They snuck inside and found
the cases, which held the priceless Crown Jewels. Edward ripped all the
wires to the alarm system out with his sharp claws. Carefully they lifted
the glass off. Beatrice reached in and took out the Coronation Crown. She
put it on her head. "Donít I look queenly?" she muttered proudly.
Edward took the Royal
Sceptre and pranced around the room with it. "I dub thee, Sir Albert," he
said, as he touched Albert on the head with the scepter.
Albert bowed and then tried
on a few necklaces and rings. "Oh look at me," he said. "Donít I just
glitter and sparkle?" Susan tried on the tiara-type crown. She didnít say
anything but felt beautiful in them.
After a while they tired of
the fun and games. They put all the jeweled treasures into a pile in the
middle of the floor and snuck back down the cold, stone steps towards the
door. On the way out, Edward tripped and his paw went in front of an alarm
that heíd forgotten to short-circuit. Suddenly the lights went on! Sirens
blared! Beefeaters, in uniform, came running towards them. The lions leapt
over the walls of the Tower of London and ran straight into the
"Edward, you clumsy lion.
We nearly lost our heads that time," Beatrice scolded. She stopped for a
moment and added, "But that was a roaring good time."
It was deserted on the
Underground. Hardly anybody traveled the Tube at three oíclock in the
morning. As they stood on the platform Edward spotted half a bag of cold
chips lying on the ground. He picked them up and ate them. "Yummy.
Vinegar," he said, surprised and happy at having something to eat.
A train pulled into the
Tower Station. The doors opened and the lions went inside. "Mind the Gap,"
came on over the loudspeaker, warning the lions to be careful as they got
on the train. There was always a gap between the train and the platform.
The lions rode around London for a few hours, but it wasnít very much fun.
Finally they got off at Charing Cross Station and ran up the steps to
Trafalgar Square. The Underground closed down for the night.
"Iím tired," complained
Beatrice, "but I did have a roaring good time."
"Me too," whined Albert.
"We did do more than usual
tonight, didnít we?" Edward reminded them.
"Lets go into the fountain
for a soak," suggested Susan.
"Jolly good idea," answered
Edward with a yawn.
The lions sank into the
fountain pool. They lay there, laughing and talking about all that they
had done that night. They planned new adventures for the following night.
Before they knew it, dawn had arrived. They climbed out of the water, bid
each other good day and jumped back onto their slabs at the bottom of
Nelsonís Monument, ready to endure another day of being climbed on, jumped
on, kissed and photographed.