Barking Up the Wrong Tree


Olivia was woken by what she thought were people arguing in the kitchen, below. She quickly dressed and ran down the wooden stairs to see if she could help.

To be honest, Olivia was a curious little girl, some might say ‘nosey’ even, but this isn’t the time or place to air those thoughts. As she got to the bottom of the stairs, she could hear clearly that it was her Grandpa and Grandma laughing so hard that Olivia thought that both their heads might just fall off, there and then.
Her Grandma saw little Olivia standing at the door, looking worried.

“What’s wrong, Sweet-pea?” Asked her Grandma.
“I thought I heard folks fighting,” said Olivia.
“No, no, little one, it’s that buddy of your Grandpa’s we were discussin’. Old Edward, you know the one who lives over in Star County. Anyway, seems Old Edward is up on the high road and he wants Grandpa to join him,” said Olivia’s Grandma.
“To do what?” Asked Olivia.
“’To do what’, you hear your granddaughter, Grandpa? She’s askin’ what Old Edward wants with you,” said her Grandma before breaking out into laughter again.

Olivia felt she’d better just leave them to it, as she wasn’t getting any sense from her grandparents. So Olivia got dressed and then went to sit outside in the farmyard and enjoy the sunshine.

It was just a little after one o’clock when she heard her Grandma tell the mailman about Old Edward and how he was looking for gold up on the High Road but everyone knew he was barking up the wrong tree.

That was enough for Olivia to take a walk up to the High Road and see what was happening. She had only got as far as Asker’s Farm when her pal, Herbert, the dog, stuck his head over the fence.

“What cha doing?” He asked.
“Going up to the High Road, that’s all,” said Olivia.
“To do what?”
“Why, to see Old Edward looking for gold,” added Olivia.
“Mind if I join you? Asked Herbert.
“Don’t mind if you do,” said Olivia to her pal.

So the two of them talked and talked until they got to the old town well where they saw their pal, Scrimpy, the Ass, taking a well-deserved drink.
“Where are you guys going?” Asked Scrimpy.
“Why, we’re going to the High Road to see Old Edward discover gold,” said Herbert.
“Mind if I come too?” Asked Scrimpy the Ass.
“Don’t mind if you do,” said his two friends.

All three, Scrimpy, Herbert and Olivia went to their usual spot on the road and they sat down.
“So what are we looking for?” Asked Herbert.
“Should be easy,” said Olivia. “Apparently, Old Edward is barking up the wrong tree,” she added, making it sound as if she knew what she was talking about.
“Which tree?” Asked Scrimpy.
“Whatever one he chooses will probably be the wrong tree,” added Herbert.
“So he’ll pick the wrong tree, on purpose?” Asked Scrimpy.”Then what?”
“Then he barks at it,” added Olivia.
“And that’s how you find gold?” Asked Scrimpy – and both Olivia and Herbert nodded their heads.
“I believe so,” said Olivia quite confidently.

The three of them sat for an hour and didn’t see anything of Old Edward or him barking up any tree, never mind the wrong one.

“What cha say if we meet here next week, and I can bark up the wrong tree on account of being a dog, maybe we’ll find gold,” said Herbert. And they all thought that was a great idea and said they’d look forward to it.


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