Chapter 1 – The Circus
“The circus is in town.” KFC ran into the house yelling as loud as possible. “I’ve never been to a circus and everyone is going.” Susie and Gracie paused from playing a game of Rescue Girls Monopoly and asked, “Who is going and when?” Many times the two girls seemed to think alike or ask the same questions or have the same idea. “Tin Can found a flier in the garbage and it starts today.” KFC ran into his room to change his clothes and grab his backpack. He skidded into the kitchen and grabbed two bottles of water and an apple. “They have an elephant that plays his – uh – nose with the circus band. I’ve never seen an elephant before. Tell Mother I’ll be home before dinner. Bye.” The door slammed as KFC hurried outside to join the other animals leaving for the circus.
Later that day, Gracie and Susie were out by the barn swinging in the old tire swing when they saw KFC, Tin Can, and Twitter coming up the road. From the way their brother was shuffling his feet and kicking dirt, they could tell he wasn’t happy. Sugar, the Shetland pony they had rescued, wandered over munching on the green grass growing around the large oak tree. “How was the circus?” The girls asked when the trio walked up. “It was nothing but a big joke. That elephant never did anything but stand there and look at the ground. He was supposed to play with the band and sound like a trumpet and everyone booed him too. What a waste of time.” KFC was upset and kick the ground again.
Sugar stopped munching grass and asked, “What was the elephant’s name?” KFC just shrugged and kicked some more dirt so Tin Can answered, “It was something like trumpet or horn, but that’s not it.” “Was it Bugle?” Sugar questioned and hurried over to Tin Can. Tin Can replied, “Yes. That’s it. The elephant’s name is Bugle and he was supposed to play along with the band to the march Casey Jr., you know the little train in the Disney cartoon.” “You mean Bugle didn’t play a note?” Sugar was puzzled and crowded even closer to the old goat. Tin Can took a step back and gruffly answered, “That’s what I said.” Sugar anxiously quizzed the grumpy old goat, “Was there a small white goat with Bugle, smaller than you, a pigmy goat?” “Harrumph.” Tin Can glared at Sugar and pointed out, “Look who’s calling someone small. You’re not so big yourself.” “Sorry,” Sugar apologized. “I didn’t mean to upset you, but Bugle always performs with his pal Stomper a little white goat. They have been together since they were babies and never go anywhere without each other. This is bad. Something must have happened to Stomper.”
KFC stopped kicking at the dirt and stood listening to the conversation between Tin Can and Sugar. “How do you know so much about Bugle?” He asked Sugar. “Bugle and Stomper were the main event at the state fair where I pulled pony carts for the children. They always put on a great show and everyone loved them.” Sugar sighed, remembering happier times, and admitted, “I don’t know what happened to them after the fair closed. I can’t understand why anyone would separate them; they were a team. I wish I could talk to Bugle and find out what happened to Stomper.” Sugar was worried about the small white goat and the very large elephant.
“The circus is on this side of town so it isn’t far. Maybe we could go after dinner and find Bugle and you can talk to him.” KFC suggested. He was becoming excited about going back to the circus and seeing the large elephant again. “Wait just a minute.” Gracie interrupted. “Mother will not allow you to go out at night and to the circus.” Susie nodded her head in agreement. “Tin Can will go with me and Sugar.” KFC tried to reason with his sisters. “I don’t like to go out after my dinner. I prefer to snuggle down in my bed at night.” Tin Can loudly gruffed. He didn’t want to go back to the circus and turned and headed for the big barn and his dinner and his bed. “I’ll go. I’ll go.” Twitter stuttered, hopping on one foot then the other, excited at the chance of another circus adventure with friend KFC.
“Great.” KFC exclaimed, “And if anything happens, Twitter can come and get you and Susie.” KFC had solved the problem. Gracie and Susie were not sure if KFC going back to the circus at night was a good idea, but Sugar was very worried about the small pygmy goat. Finally Gracie and Susie agreed that KFC, Sugar and Twitter would leave at dusk for the circus; locate Bugle and find out what had happened to Stomper and then come straight home.
Chapter 2 – The Trip
It was a strange sight when the three animals left the barn at dusk. KFC and Twitter were perched on Sugar’s back because Sugar could go faster than the smaller animals and they could be back home before it was KFC’s bed time. The girls decided not to mention to Mother about the night trip to the circus. They didn’t want to worry her, unless something happened, which usually was the case with their brother.
It was dark when the three friends entered the circus grounds. All the animals were back in their cages, fed, and bedded down for the night. Sugar stopped and stared at all the circus tents and then said, “That one, over there by itself should be the elephant tent. See the buckets of water sitting outside. The men have to wash down the elephant every morning.” Sugar headed toward the large tent and when they came close, KFC and Twitter jumped from Sugar’s back and quietly followed close behind him. Sugar approached the tent’s entrance and slowly pushed open the flap and peeked inside. It was pitch black, but before he crept inside he told Twitter to wait outside and stand watch and warn them if anyone came around. Twitter was excited about standing watch, just as long as he didn’t have to stand still which was impossible for him.
Once the flap closed behind him, Sugar whispered, “Bugle. Bugle are you in here?” Sugar’s eyes adjusted to the dark and he could make out a large hump on the other side of the tent. “Bugle, it’s me Sugar. Remember, from the state fair.” The large shaped moved and asked, “Sugar, the little pony that gave the children rides in the pony cart?” Sugar hurried forward with KFC close behind and replied, “Yes. It’s me and I am so glad to see you.” With their eyes now adjusted to the darkness, Sugar and KFC could see the large elephant slowly stand up. KFC’s mouth dropped open as he realized just how gigantic the elephant was and he edged closer to Sugar. Sugar said, “This is my friend KFC. He was at the matinee today and told me you seemed sad and didn’t play with the band. We came to find out is something wrong.” A stuttering voice yelled from outside the tent, “Is – is – is everything okay?” “We’re fine Twitter. Stay on guard.” Sugar replied to the anxious Twitter.
Bugle knelt down on his bed of hay and finally told them, “I’ve been so sad and lonely that I can’t play or eat. The circus owners would not purchase Stomper and he was sold to someone else. The old owners even offered to give Stomper to the circus, but the new owners said they didn’t need another goat to feed. I don’t know what happened to Stomper and all I do is worry and worry.” KFC felt sorry for the sad elephant who was worried about the small goat.
Chapter 3 – The Mystery
The mystery of what happened to the small goat had to be solved. Missing his friend Stomper was the reason Bugle was sad and not playing with the circus band. If Bugle didn’t start performing, the circus owners would get rid of him. KFC bravely inched closer to the large elephant and said, “Bugle, can you give us any clue of where Stomper may have gone?” The large elephant sadly shook his head in thought and uttered, “Maybe Ernie knows. Ernie knows everything that goes on around the circus.”
KFC jumped up on Bugle’s leg, which was as big around as a tree, and asked, “Who is Ernie and where can we find him?” Bugle replied in a low sad voice, “His cage in the office wagon – but the office is locked at night and no one can get in.” KFC excitedly asked, “Sugar, can you find the office wagon if we come back tomorrow and bring Susie and Gracie? They will know how to get the facts from this Ernie, who or whatever he is.” “No problem.” Sugar answered and in a firm voice stated, “I’ll find the office.” Then Sugar assured Bugle, “We’ll return tomorrow and talk to this Ernie. Don’t give up hope because you haven’t seen the Rescue Girls in action.” Quickly KFC reminded Sugar, “And their sidekick KFC!”
Just as the three investigators arrived back at the farm from the circus, KFC heard Mother calling him and he jumped off Sugar’s back and ran home, yelling over his shoulder, “I’ll see you after breakfast.” KFC leaped over the gate with a few inches to spare; he was getting good at jumping things from all his kung fu practice sessions. Mother held the door open and quizzed, “What have you been up to? You’re all out of breath.” “Just horsing around.” KFC grinned at Mother and then hurried to find his sisters and tell them what he and Sugar had learned from Bugle.
Then next morning after an early breakfast, Gracie took down the backpack and checked for paper and a pencil. From KFC’s report last night, they may have a lot of clues to write down when they find Ernie. Gracie nibbled on the pencil eraser wondering what had their brother gotten them into this time. Susie looked out the window and said, “They’re here. Let’s go.” She and Gracie were dressed in their Rescue Girls outfits of blue jeans, long sleeved green shirts, and boots that laced. They high fived each other and said, “Rescue Girls on the job.” They were ready for the day’s adventure and hurried out the door to meet KFC and Sugar. KFC told the girls to hop on Sugar’s back and hold on; Sugar was in a hurry to get back to the circus to find Ernie and what had happened to Stomper.
It seemed only a few minutes had passed before the girls saw the colorful flags flying above the Big Top circus tent and were amazed at the number of tents, trucks, wagons, and people hurrying around getting ready for the first show of the day. They could hear various animals, from roaring lions to whinnying horses, all demanding their breakfast. Sugar halted at the top of a small hill and said, “See that large blue wagon. That has to be the office; notice the bars on the windows the other wagons don’t have them.” KFC told his sisters, “Wait here; I’ll go scout it out and be right back.”
The girls jumped off Sugar’s back, glad for the chance to walk around and stretch their legs. The ride had not been all that long, but holding on and trying to keep their balance and not fall off was exhausting. Barely a minute had passed before KFC returned, leaping over rocks and running between trees like he was a lion on the loose in the African plains. “There’s a big sign on the door that spells – O F F I C E.” KFC grinned widely; he was really enjoying this circus adventure.
Susie spoke up, “Sugar, it would be better if you wait here in the trees. One of the animal handlers may think you belong to the circus and try to capture you. Gracie, KFC, and I will sneak through the grass, get into the office, and meet you back here afterward.” Sugar agreed that he would stay hidden in a small stand of trees and wait for them to return.
Chapter 4 – Ernie in a Cage
The three cats approached the office wagon, being careful to stay hidden in the grass as much as possible. The wagon door was closed, but the window was open and the bars were far enough apart that the three cats could crawl though. “I’ll go first and check things out.” KFC stated. The girls were surprised to see that their brother had his KFC mask and cape on. He, too, was dressed for action. KFC jumped on a large crate by the wagon and up on the window sill, holding onto the bars as he squeezed inside. Susie was holding her breath and let out a large sigh when KFC’s arm reached out the window and motioned for them to come inside.
Susie went first then Gracie and both girls jumped down onto a large desk littered with papers. KFC was scouting around the large office and whispered, “Over here.” The girls were careful not to knock anything off the desk and arouse attention. Next to the desk a large cage hung from a metal stand. The three cats surrounded the cage and looked inside when a loud scream caused them to jump back. “Don’t eat me, don’t eat me.” A round furry ball frantically dug its way through wood chips at the bottom of the cage and into an empty green bean can. When the wood chips settled, the back of the animal stuck out of the empty can exposing a short tail and round fat behind. The animal’s fur was reddish in color and he was shaking all over like a bowl of red jello.
“We’re not here to eat you. We’re looking for Ernie; is that you?” Gracie asked in her sweetest voice possible. The animal didn’t answer but shook even harder causing the empty can to vibrate against the metal cage. KFC rattled the cage with one hand and said in a loud voice, “We don’t have a lot of time and need your help. Besides you’re only half hidden and might as well come out.” Then he added menacingly, “Or else.” Gracie shushed KFC, “Stop it; you’ll just scare him more.”
The green bean can stopped vibrating and the furry ball started to back out. It took a couple of tries as he was stuck tight in the green bean can and had to wiggle his round behind back and forth to free himself. Susie had to giggle as she watched the wiggling fur ball trying to get free of the can. Finally a round head emerged and small black eyes focused on the cats surrounding the cage. “Wha – wha – what do you want with me?” The fur ball asked. “Are you Ernie?” Gracie wanted confirmation. “Who wants to know?” The fur ball wasn’t going to give them any information. “We’re trying to help Bugle. He told us Ernie may have the information we need.” KFC explained, looking through the cage at the round ball of fur and he was beginning to lose his patience.
The small furry animal sat back on his hind legs and looked at his finger nails and finally said, “Well since it’s for Bugle I may help you.” Ernie was becoming obstinate and getting out of hand. “We’re trying to find out what happened to Bugle’s friend, a small goat named Stomper. Bugle is very worried about him.” Gracie tried to keep calm, but it was becoming apparent that Ernie wasn’t willing to cooperate. “Can you find out who bought Stomper?” Susie asked and crowded close to cage.
Ernie looked between the bars of the cage at her and offered, “Let’s make a deal.” “What are you talking about?” Susie shrieked. “We are trying to help Bugle find his friend and you want to make a deal!” “You are one rude fat rat! What if I eat you for lunch? You like that deal?” KFC glared back at Ernie. “Excuse you. I am a hamster and not a rat.” Ernie corrected his animal heritage and didn’t look too concerned about being KFC’s lunch. Finally Susie spoke up, “Will you help us?”
Ernie looked up, then down at his long nails, and then squinted his eyes like he was thinking. “I suppose so, but I want a month’s supply of peanuts delivered to my cage. I really get tired of eating hamster pellets.” “DEAL!” Gracie, Susie and KFC all yelled in unison. Ernie waddled to the cage door. “Stand back.” He ordered and reached around and opened the cage door. It was another struggle for Ernie to get his rotund furry self through the cage door. KFC whispered, “He needs to spend more time running on that wheel in his cage,” causing both girls to giggle. Ernie climbed on top the desk, bent over, and started digging through sheets of paper, moving back and forth like a small plow, mumbling as searched through the mess of papers piled on the desk.
“Here it is.” Ernie jumped up holding a piece of paper. The three cats hurried over as Ernie smoothed out the wrinkles on the page and pointing with a long nail he read down the list, “All the goats went to a farmer for a price of…” “We don’t care about the price, what farm did they go to?” KFC couldn’t wait. Ernie paused and said, “Remember our deal – one month’s supply of peanuts.” “You’ll get your peanuts. Now who bought Stomper?” Gracie yelled. “Happy Hill Farm on Route 4 and Stomper was free as the circus owners didn’t want him and gave him to the farm at no cost.” Ernie informed them anyway. “Thanks Ernie.” Echoed three times as each cat jumped out of the window and raced to the patch of trees where Sugar waited.
Chapter 5 – The Rescue
All three were excited and raced to reach Sugar hiding in the trees and Susie told him the good news about Stomper. When Gracie added that she knew how to find Happy Hill Farm, KFC wasn’t sure he believed his sister, so she explained, “On the way here the second road we crossed had a sign pointing to the farm.” “Did it say how far?” Sugar questioned her. Gracie thought for a minute then answered, “I don’t recall, but it’s not far back to the road.” Sugar replied, “Let’s go find out.” And the three cats jumped on Sugar’s back and the small pony trotted back the way they came. Gracie couldn’t believe that Stomper was so close at Happy Hill Farm and crossed her fingers in hope that he would still be there.
“There’s the sign.” KFC excitedly pointed ahead to a sign that was in the shape of an arrow.
Happy Hill Farm 5 miles →
Sugar stopped by the sign and since it was still morning, they all agreed to continue their adventure and to go to Happy Hill Farm and find Stomper. That morning the girls had assured Mother they would be back before dark and so they still plenty of time to look for the small goat. Sugar turned at the sign and trotted off down the road at a steady clip clop. It didn’t take long before a narrow lane that led to Happy Hill Farm came into view. Sugar turned and entered an open gate with a sign hanging above that said, Welcome to Happy Hill Farm. At the end of the lane was a large two story house and off to one side was a bright red barn. “Let’s go to the barn and see if Stomper is in there.” Susie pointed at the barn.
As the Rescue Girls, KFC, and Sugar came near the barn, they instantly became the center of attention. A small pony with three cats dressed in costumes riding on his back was an unusual sight. All the animals came out of the barn and crowded around the fence, anxious to find out who were these strangers and one even had on a red mask and cape.
A large brown dog stepped out of the crown to meet them. He stopped in from of Sugar and in a deep voice asked, “May I help you?” Gracie hopped off of Sugar’s back and faced the dog and began to explain that they were searching for a small white goat named Stomper. “Is he here?” She eagerly asked the dog. “What do you want with Stomper?” The big dog was curious to know why three strangely dressed cats and one short horse wanted with Stomper.
Susie came up beside her sister and told the dog. “We are helping out a friend and he has been worried about Stomper.” Sugar stepped up and explained further, “These are the Rescue Girls and KFC from White’s Farm down the road. My name is Sugar and I worked with Stomper at a state fair before it closed. Stomper has an elephant friend named Bugle and he would like to know if Stomper is okay.”
“What – you don’t mean – I can’t believe it. Everyone these are the Rescue Girls and KFC. We have heard all the stories about you. You are heroes; two of our colts were part of the kidnapped baby animals that you rescued. My name is Hunter and I’m very glad to meet all of you.” Hunter spoke loudly so all the other animals could hear him.
The commotion and noise from the animals gathered at the fence was deafening after Hunter’s announcement. Cheers and thanks came from everyone and KFC pranced about in his mask and cape bowing and waving to everyone. The Rescue Girls let KFC have his moment of fame and then they asked Hunter where they could find Stomper.
“He’s generally hangs out at the end of the pasture by himself. He doesn’t fit in with the other goats so the farmer just lets him do what he wants.” Hunter told them and then added, “Follow me and I’ll take you to him.” The Rescue Girls and Sugar followed after Hunter and KFC had to run to catch up with them. When he reached them KFC exclaimed, “Wasn’t that amazing – being a hero is really neat.” KFC pranced and swung his cape around like a real super hero. “Earth to KFC.” Susie said, trying to get her brother to target on the task at hand.
Hunter stopped at the end of the pasture and pointed to a small white goat standing at the end of the fence staring off into space. “Thanks.” Sugar told Hunter and then he hurried over to the small lonely goat. “Hi Stomper, do you remember me? It’s Sugar, from the state fair.” Sugar waited for the miniature goat to recognize at him. The little goat turned his head and looked at Sugar and then his eyes lit up. He asked, “Sugar. Is that really you?” Sugar laughed and nodded his head. “What are you doing here?” Stomper exclaimed.
Sugar replied, “It’s a long story.” And then he told Stomper about KFC’s visit to the circus, seeing Bugle and how sad he is, about having to bribe an overweight hamster with peanuts, following the clues that led to Happy Hill Farm, and all the help the Rescue Girls and KFC have been.
“What a story. I’m so happy to hear about Bugle. I wish I could go see him. I really miss him too.” Stomper loudly sighed.
“Why don’t you come back to the circus with us?” KFC asked as he jumped up on the fence beside Stomper. “We could be there in time for today’s matinee.” He added. Stomper looked at his new friends, “I really wish I could; it would be a dream come true.”
“Is there any reason you have to stay at Happy Hill Farm? On the bill of sale, the farmer didn’t pay anything for you; just the other goats. He probably won’t even miss you.” KFC told the small goat. Stomper wasn’t sure what to do and said, “I don’t do anything all day but stand at the fence and stare.” He thought about it some more and came to a decision. “Since the farmer didn’t but me, he shouldn’t miss me. Let’s go to the circus.”
Chapter 6 – Bugle Bugles
Saying good bye at Happy Hill Farm had taken more time than expected because everyone wanted to meet the Rescue Girls and KFC. All the animals had wished Stomper good luck on finding his friend Bugle. When the group finally reached the circus, it was almost time for the afternoon matinee and the Big Top tent was full of anxious children and parents waiting for the show to begin. The band started playing the entrance march and all the animals were led into the large tent. The crowd cheered as the horses and riders paraded by and laughed at the clowns all trying to ride in one small red car. Then the ring master announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen. It is my pleasure to introduce Bugle the elephant that plays with the band.” Clapping hand and cheers filled the huge tent as Bugle entered the Big Top.
The Rescue Girls, KFC, Sugar, and Stomper crowded into the entrance and watched as Bugle stopped in the center of the big tent. The band loudly played the introduction to Casey Jones, the little train that saved the circus. Suddenly Stomper high stepped into the center of the tent drawing laughs from the crowd at seeing the small marching goat. Stomper stopped next to the large gray elephant, then he lifted his right foot and shouted as he stomped the ground, “1 – 2 – 3 – 4 HIT IT.”
Bugle couldn’t believe his large ears and turned to make sure that it was really Stomper counting out the beat to Casey Jones. Bugle stood up straight, lifted his large trunk, and with all his might perfectly blew the notes to Casey Jones. It was an awesome performance and at the end of the march Bugle and Stomper received a standing ovation from the crowd. The ring master couldn’t believe his eyes or his ears. It was the first time Bugle had played with the band.
Stomper marched out of the Big Top with Bugle following behind. When they were outside Bugle wrapped his large trunk around the small white goat and gave him a huge hug telling him how much he missed him. The Rescue Girls, KFC, and Sugar had tears of joy in their eyes at seeing Bugle and Stomper reunited.
Back in the elephant tent, Bugle thanked the Rescue Girls, KFC, and Sugar for finding Stomper and told them if they ever needed anything to let him know. Like a light bulb going off KFC said, “Well there is one thing. That fat hamster Ernie demanded a month’s worth of peanuts to be delivered to his cage before he would help us.”
Bugle nodded, “I’ll see he gets his peanuts and then some.” Everyone laughed at the idea of Ernie’s cage being shot full of peanuts from Bugle’s large trunk.
After more goodbyes and thank yous, the Recue Girls, KFC, and Sugar headed home. The girls couldn’t wait to tell Mother of their circus adventure and about their new friends at Happy Hill Farm. KFC couldn’t wait to get to the barn and tell all the animals about his part in finding Stomper and Bugle playing with the band. Sugar couldn’t wait to get back to his stall and lay down; he was tired, in the past two days his short legs had trotted more miles than he ever did at the state fair pulling the pony carts.