Whilst A.B.Fox continued his investigations to discover how Beaver intended to make use of the Wizard's Dressing Gown, we decided to continue our tour of Homeward with a visit to the Homeward Art Gallery.
It is reached via a cupboard at the bottom of the back stairs at Homeward. Once through one enters an open space between immense towers. The gallery is in a tower opposite a very strange-looking castle called Crack House.
As we arrived the curator, a small shabby man called William Snowjuice, came rushing up to us. "Oh Sir, calamity, calamity - all your paintings are gone. They came to life!....they literally floated out of the gallery of their own accord!" he cried.
We rushed into the gallery and it was true - it was empty apart from one crude picture of myself. "Oh yes Sir, as the other paintings all left this one floated in and hang itself upon the wall - It is by the artist J von Tussle." explained Snowjuice.
Jellytussle is one of the Badfort Crowd, he's thickly covered with jelly of a bluish colour, and he's a very spiteful character.
It did not take much thinking to work out how Beaver had made use of the Wizard's Dressing Gown. By rendering him invisible it had enabled Beaver to remove the paintings undetected - creating the impression that the paintings had taken on a life of their own.
At that point, the artist, Waldovenison Smeare arrived. He is very thin, with long hair and a thin straggly beard, and he was wearing paint-stained trousers and a coat made out of a worn hearthrug.
Looking around at the empty gallery he let out a groan and collapsed. "My Masterpieces!" he moaned "Breakfast at Homeward. The Owner of the Castle and Friends, The Stolen Sandwich...and one of my earliest works - Still Life.One melon on a cracked plate....all gone." he cried.
Overcome by the loss of his precious work, Smeare fainted.
The One-Armed Badger carried him to a couch and sat near him with a tray of delicacies in case he recovered enough to nibble a few of them.
It was indeed a black morning.
I inspected the caption that had been pasted alongside the Von Tussle. The Tyrant of Homeward - hit him where it hurts! it said.
"A bad day, Sir, indeed" said A.B.Fox "...but it gives us a clue to where they might strike next. They have struck here for a purpose. Most of the stolen pictures depict the glorious events in your life - you opening the Dwarfs' Drinking Fountains, opening the Hoof and Claw Trimming Stall, and the many illustrations of your battles with the Badfort Crowd - their aim is to take the objects most dear to you. To wipe your deeds from history and humiliate you. There is only one other thing they could do to bring you down - hit you in your pocket."
I looked at the Old Monkey and we both nodded, at least we knew Beaver's next target.