Here at Homeward we are very proud of the fact that our health services are free of charge. After all, all those dwarfs and animals who pay my rents deserve to be well looked after.
I established the HHS (Homeward Health Service) and the Hoof-&-Clawing-Trimming Clinic at the same time as the Dwarfs’ Drinking Fountains. Another one of my good deeds that I wish people would not keep going on about.
My castle is so vast that I am apt to forget where things are, but I was keen to check up on the Clinic’s progress and so a asked Will Shudder to bring up the great volume called A.B.C.Guide to Homeward to find our way.
It was a long journey, but eventually we came out of the lift which went down to Wolf Meadow. Before us was a small wooden hut in the middle of a bright green meadow with fir trees growing around it. On the roof was painted, in white, BRANSTON CLINIC.
“It should say FREE not BRANSTON!” I muttered disapprovingly.
When we got near the hut we saw that a number of wolves, badgers and goats were sitting on a bench near the door. Most of them had bandaged feet. All at once the door of the hut opened and a big black wolf with a knife in his paw looked out.
“Next,” he shouted, in a rancid voice “No sixpence, no treatment!”
Then he saw me.
“If that big lump of an elephant is coming for treatment,” he shouted, “let me thell him that it will be a shilling for him! Elephant nails need some paring!”
I had had enough. I said sternly “What is your name?”
“Ricardo Branston, M.D.” replied the black wolf. “Medical Doctor?” I queried. “No, Managing Director!” he smirked “And what is your name, fatso?”
“I am Uncle, the owner of this castle,” I said coldly, “and I am a Batchelor of Arts, but I don’t mention it every time I say who I am. I am here to make a thorough investigation of this clinic.”
Ricardo Branston seemed to shrink. “All is in order, Sir” he faltered.
“This clinic was started”, I continued, gravely, “to give free hoof-and-claw treatment to those in need of it., yet I find you demanding sixpence for each treatment!”
“I am an entrepreneur – it’s free enterprise!” screamed Branston.
“It is nothing of the kind!” I shouted back “It is opportunism of the worst kind! – now I’m going to clean up this clinic and I propose to give back any money I find to your patients!”
“You won’t find any,” said Branston “I’ve spent it on Black Tom.”
“Black Tom! The foul drink manufactured by the Badfort Crowd! And you a medical man! I don’t believe you. Search the place, boys.”
“No need to search. Sixpences are under carpet, Sir” interjected the One-Armed Badger.
“This is a sad sight, Branston. You have lied to me and robbed all these people.” I declared.
“I was saving up to buy a rocket and go into space!” sobbed Branston.
“I have a rocket, you only needed to be a good citizen and you would have had a friend in Uncle. Your wish could have come true without stealing from the taxpayers of Homeward. These sixpences must be returned!”
The money was distributed and shouts of joy resounded everywhere.