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The Pony-Mad Princess: Book 5
Princess Ellie's moonlight mystery
by Diana Kimpton
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“They said ‘yes’!” yelled Princess Ellie as she ran into the yard. Her frothy pink dress looked ridiculous with her wellington boots. But she didn’t care. She was in too much of a hurry to share her good news. “That’s brilliant,” said her best friend, Kate. She bounced with excitement, sending the water slopping over the edge of the bucket she was carrying. Meg, the palace groom, put a bulging haynet beside Moonbeam’s door. “I’m really pleased for you. But I must admit I’m surprised. I didn’t think the King and Queen would approve of you going camping.”
“Neither did I,” said Kate. She dumped the bucket beside the haynet and undid the bolt on the door. Moonbeam poked her head out to see what was happening. She spotted Ellie immediately and whickered a welcome.
Ellie grinned and stroked the palomino’s nose. “They didn’t like the idea at first,” she explained. “But the Prime Minister persuaded them it would do me good. I’ll be perfectly safe in the palace grounds and he thinks it will be character forming, whatever that means.” “I think it’ll be fun,” laughed Kate, as she swung Moonbeam’s door open and carried the bucket inside. “So do I,” said Ellie. She picked up the haynet and followed her friend into the stable.
Moonbeam immediately started pulling out pieces of hay. She made the net bounce and jiggle so much that it was hard to tie it to the ring on the wall. Kate pushed the hungry pony away so Ellie could finish quickly. Then she grabbed Ellie by the arm and pulled her impatiently towards the door. “Come on,” she said. “I’ve got something really exciting to show you.” “Can’t it wait?” asked Ellie. “We’ve got so much to plan.” “There’s loads of time to do that,” replied Kate. “You’ve got to see this first.”
Ellie was intrigued. What could be more exciting than planning their camping trip? She followed her friend round the back of the palace, past the garages and storerooms, until they reached the workshop. Kate’s grandad was waiting for them there. He was the palace handyman and this was his special place.
As soon as he opened the door, Ellie saw what the secret was. Two tiny lambs tottered towards them, bleating loudly. “They’re so cute,” she said, as she kneeled down on the dusty floor. The boldest lamb came forward and sucked one of her fingers. “They’re hungry,” said Kate’s grandad. “You’re just in time to give them these.” He handed Kate and Ellie a feeding bottle each, full of warm milk. The lambs immediately started to suck hungrily. Ellie was surprised how hard they pulled. She had to hold the bottle tightly to stop it being tugged right out of her hands. “Why have you got them?” she asked. “I thought the shepherd at the farm looked after all the sheep.” “He does,” laughed Kate’s grandad. “And they keep him very busy. That’s why I’m giving him a hand with these two.”
“Grandad’s great with orphaned animals,” explained Kate. “He’s reared loads of lambs before and some kittens, and even a deer.”
Kate’s grandad smiled. “That was my Stanley,” he explained. “I found him when he was a tiny fawn. He must have been in an accident. He’d been badly hurt.”
“Grandad nursed him back to health,” interrupted Kate, who had obviously heard the story many times before. “Not quite,” said her grandad. “His left ear never stood up properly again. It drooped sideways and made him look a real character. Which he was, of course. He’s not at all timid like a normal deer.”
“What happened to him?” asked Ellie. “Did you keep him as a pet?”
The old man shook his head. “You can’t keep a wild animal cooped up. It isn’t right. When he was big enough, I let him go free in the deer park.” He stared out of the window and smiled. “That was over two years ago now, but I still see him sometimes when I’m out there.” Ellie fed the last few drops of milk to the lamb. It was sleepy now that its stomach was full, so she cradled it in her arms, delighting in the soft warmth of its body. “My parents say we can go camping,” she announced, proudly. “We’re going to take two of my ponies with us. I got the idea from one of my books.”
“It’s going to be brilliant,” said Kate. “Two whole nights away from home.” “Two whole nights of total freedom,” added Ellie with such enthusiasm that the lamb woke up. “No rules, no servants, no nothing.” Kate’s grandad smiled and raised his eyebrows. “And you both know all about camping, do you?”
Ellie hesitated. There was something in his voice that suggested he didn’t think they did. But she’d read a book about it. She must know enough. “I’m going to talk to Dad about the arrangements later,” she said, confidently. “Then we’d better start planning,” said Kate. She pulled some paper and a pencil from a shelf and started to write a list of equipment. “I know what we need because I’ve been camping lots of times with Mum and Dad.” Kate’s dad worked abroad building roads and bridges, while Kate stayed with her grandparents so she didn’t have to keep changing schools.
“But that was in other countries,” said Ellie. “The palace grounds are different. They’re not like the jungle, or the desert.” “That’s true,” agreed Kate, crossing mosquito nets off the list. “But we still need tents, and sleeping bags and pit latrines.” “Pit what?” asked Ellie. “Latrines,” said Kate. “They’re holes in the ground. For you know...”
“What?” asked Ellie in confusion. “Toilets,” hissed Kate, and then collapsed in giggles. Ellie gulped. Her book hadn’t mentioned anything about that. Maybe camping was going to be harder than she’d expected.
Diana Kimpton has two passions - horses and writing. So it is no wonder that Diana creates brilliant pony stories, which demonstrate her own love and understanding of ponies. Diana also has a mischievous sense of fun, not unlike Princess Ellie!
Diana has written a number of books and television scripts for children. She lives on the Isle of Wight, just a short walk from the sea.
Visit www.dianakimpton.co.uk to find out more.
Do you agree or disagree with the reviews below? Why not write your own?
Pony mad princess
Hi, this book was very interesting and I would like to pass on the advice to people and say if you love ponies and horses get this book it is fab.
keri, 31st January 2007
A sparkling new series of books from Diana Kimpton all about ponies, adventure and being a princess - they're full of authentic details about riding and looking after horses, as well as Princess Ellie's palace life (which isn't always as fun as it might seem)!
Pretty Pony Club Magazine
A heady cocktail of princesses, horses and mystery is enough to make any girl giddy. The text trots along with humour and enough horsey fact to hold the attention, while the lovely drawings help fit faces to story.
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