Percy Perkison was a jolly decent sort of a boy, as boys go. He was 13 years and five months old. He was a boy of stout frame, a freckled face and had a particular interest in beetles. Percy Perkison studied beetles and he looked to himself as a professional beetle studier.
Percy was also jolly fond of dogs. Although his mother would not allow him to own a dog, Percy spent many a wild and carefree afternoon roaming the surrounding countryside with his loyal, dare-devil and highly invisible doggish companion, Rufus, dancing, gleefully at his side. The two of them would get up to all sorts of smashing things together; building a barricade in the woods out of twigs and cardboard; fighting vicious and blood-thirsty scarecrows in Famer Merrybutter’s field; participating in hair-raising great-escapes across said fields; and throwing small and muddy stones into a small and muddy river that ran behind his house.
But the summer holidays were drawing to an end, much to Percy’s disappointment. As much as he valued the boarding-school’s blind eye toward midnight feasts, food fights and impersonations of Master Dicklock, the boy’s unfortunately named biology teacher, Percy was feeling pretty rum as he surveyed the end of the hols without having achieved any real adventures. He’d built a home for a couple of black beetles, yes; he’d cooked potatoes on an outside fire, yes; he had even made a bow and arrow and shot the neighbour’s cat but it simply hadn’t been enough.
Percy stuffed his fists into his pockets, as he trudged down the sunny road. The shaggy greenness of the meadows, which fringed the path, sagged over their boundaries as though the whole countryside felt the same limp despondency.
Percy passed one of the sandy-stone cottages and noticed Janet Parson, in the front garden, hanging out washing for her mother. Janet Parson waved, a round smile spreading over her round face. Percy ignored her. As girls went, Janet was alright, but Percy was too dejected to talk to anyone.
If only something would happen!
He’d spent the whole of the holidays looking for an adventure and found nothing. Rufus gambled happily ahead of him, Percy knew he wanted an adventure just as much as Percy did.
If only an adventure would find me, thought Percy dully, in books boys and girls are always having adventures, practically every day. If only that could happen to me.
Eve Wersocki Morris