The Tailor's Workshop, by Quiringh Gerritsz van Brekelenkam 1661
FREDDIE'S FRIEND LULU MAKES A RESCUE
“Of all things!” exclaimed the fire chief. “Unbelievable and unbeatable!”
Freddie's eyelids fluttered open.
“Is there an emergency, chief?” he asked. “Where are the firemen?”
“Oh, no emergency, Freddie” replied the chief. “Though the tailor thinks there is one. I can take care of it myself." "With Lulu.” he added.
“Oh.” said Freddie and drifted back to sleep.
Lulu was the big ladder truck. She carried a very long ladder, neatly folded on her back. Sometimes she helped the fire trucks make rescues in a fire. Today, she and the chief drove out of the station and through town to a beautiful house in the suburbs. The tailor was outside his door waiting anxiously for them.
“Its up there.” he said in greeting, pointing to the top of a tall tree outside his terrace.“Oh do hurry and get it down.”
“What is it?” asked Lulu. “I can't see that far and it doesn't look urgent to me.”
“Quiet please.” whispered the fire chief. “I'll go and find out.”
“I was just finishing these sleeves.” said the tailor waving some cloth he held in his hand.
He needed no prompting to explain his story.
“The King's ball is in three days and he is expecting a new suit. I have very little time to finish it and now this happens! I took a small break this morning, to make some tea. When I got back, I saw my cat running off with the thread. I chased that silly cat all through the house. He wouldn't let go of that ball of thread. Its a special gold color and there's no more to be had anywhere. It was a special order from the city. The more I chased that cat, the farther he ran, until he finally jumped off the window sill, ran across the lawn and up that tree. There he is now with the ball still in his mouth!”
The fire chief had climbed out of Lulu's cab during the course of the story and had begun to crank up the ladder.
“Looks to be about 30 feet up.” he said to Lulu. He began to count."5-10-15-20-25-30.” he stopped cranking and watched the markings on Lulu's extension ladder. “35” he added. “That will give me some extra height if I need it.”
When the cat saw the ladder getting so close, he dropped the ball of thread on a limb of the tree, and scrambled down the tree backwards.
The fire chief began his climb. Fortunately he was strong and unafraid of heights, like the workers who climb right up into the sky to build towers and skyscrapers.
“Please unravel the thread carefully.” said the tailor.“I must have every inch of it to complete this suit. I have to finish the sleeves, and there's still the pants and waistcoat pockets to sew too!”
The fire chief wound the thread up as carefully as he knew how, then slowly made his way down – 35-30-25-20-15-10-5... and he was on the ground again.
“I think you can finish it from here tailor.” said the fire chief, looking at the long string trailing over bushes and hedges, ending at an open window to the side of the house.
“Please don't tell the King.” begged the tailor. “He would not like to know that part of his suit was up a tree.”
“Or in the mouth of a cat.” added the fire chief to himself, but aloud he said.
“Where is that puss anyway? You had better watch him until you have finished.”
“You won't tell the king?” asked the tailor again.
“He must know if it.” said the chief. “We bill him for all the firehouse expenses so he will hear.”
The tailor looked agitated.
“All right.” the chief relented. “I'll tell you what. It is a funny story and I won't bill for my time. Lulu and I can keep a secret can't we? But it is a good joke. Perhaps you'll laugh about it soon too!”
“Thank you.” said the tailor.
“Well, I am glad it wasn't an emergency.” said Lulu on the way back.
Three days later, the suit was done and the King looked splendid at his ball. I'm sorry to say, the silly cat spent those three days closed up in the kitchen, while the tailor finished his sewing. The cat ate up the butter and cream, and half a loaf of bread...“But at least the thread was safe.”sighed the tailor.
When the tailor had some extra time he drove to the fire station and mended all the fire men's work pants and coats. The firemen were very surprised to find their things so neatly fixed.