It has been a strange journey through the desert plains of Goldfish Lodge. We have had to contend with the strange mirages that appear and make ones inner most desires and fears come true.
For a long period Goodman believed he was the author of a number of detective stories and Noddy Ninety was convinced he was a railway magnate. At times it has become difficult to tell the difference between reality and dreams.
For a moment, I believed that the collapse of the world economy had merely been a nightmare come true. The Old Monkey was able to convince me that this was not an effect of the mirage - but then my fevered imaginings led me to think that I had raised tax rates for the wealthy! As if I would do any such thing to great entrepreneurs such as myself!
We have finally got to the bottom of the mystery of the disappeared rents from Goldfish Lodge, however.
Following the tube, that transports the shillings to the tap in my cupboard, we finally found a breech. The coinage gushed out of it in a fountain of silver.
Dancing around it, in a fit of ecstasy, was Old Whitebeard. As you know,he is detested by everybody and shunned even by the Badfort Crowd.
He sang in a raucous voice - "Rich, rich beyond my wildest dreams, I have struck silver!"
His detestable voice made us all feel dizzy, nauseous and depressed. There is something in the tone of it that engenders despair.
"You have not discovered a silver mine, you fool!" I thundered "These are my rents from Goldfish Lodge! and you are just a common thief!"
"No! it is all mine! I came prospecting in this desert and discovered this rich seam! I have laid claim to it - you can't have it!" screamed the old miser.
"I am afraid, Sir, there will be no reasoning with him." said the Old Monkey. "It is the effect of the mirage. It has seized on Old Whitebeard's dreams of avarice and given him his hearts desire. Wealth beyond imagining. He is convinced that he has discovered a silver mine!" he added.
"Yes," I mused "Getting rich quick, easy money - the dream that can so easily become a nightmare. When will people learn that the only way to succeed is to apply oneself to hard work - as I did, pulling myself up from lowly beginnings..."
"Yes, Sir - but what are we to do?" interrupted the Old Monkey "If we try to mend the breech Old Whitebeard is bound to put up a fight."
"We just need to think of something that he will find more attractive than silver - so the mirage effect will make him pursue a different desire." I suggested
Then it came to me. New carts for old. Knowing that Old Whitebeard's cart was an ancient ramshackle affair I felt sure that he would not be able to resist the idea of exchanging it for a new one.
"I say, old man - I'm offering £2,000 for old carts when you change up to a brand new one. Just pop along to the showroom at Lonely Tower and they'll fix you up with the latest model!" said I.
A gleam came into the old misers eyes and he scuttled off, muttering "A shiny new cart - rich beyond my wildest dreams!"
Cowgill effected a repair to the holed tube allowing the shillings to flow freely once more into the coffers of my Treasury.
But there were piles and piles of silver coinage laying around the vicinity.
"Will you and your troop of camels be able to manage this lot?" I asked Claudius.
"Hail Sultan, all powerful prince, demand and we do any bidding!" he declared.
"Yes, well, jolly good" I replied, somewhat abashed by this profuse show of loyalty.
As we set off on our journey home I admit to a tinge of guilt. I had felt sure that Beaver and his gang had been responsible for the theft of my rents - perhaps I have misjudged them.