"Sometimes, I swear, Joey Owl, I don't know what I'm gonna do with that brother of mine!" Princess Rosie stomped out the front door of the palace, Joey Owl flapping along, wondering about the huff his best friend was in.
"What did Prince Joseph do now?" Joey Owl asked.
"He scared the wits out of me, that's what!" Princess Rosie said.
Joey Owl couldn't exactly smile with his beak, but inside he was all grins. "However did he manage to frighten you, Princess Rosie?"
"He flipped backwards off the chair! I kept telling him to stop pushing, but did he listen? Oh no! He's such a… such a…"
"…boy." Joey Owl finished the sentence for her. "He's a boy."
"Brothers! They can be so infuriating! He scared me so much I cried! Did he care? Nope. Just got up and went on his merry little way. Right onto the next catastrophe!"
"You did silly things like that when you were toddling around too, I'm sure," Joey Owl said. "Everybody scares their parents and relatives when they're just learning to walk around."
"Queen Mommy said I didn't pull the stunts that Prince Joseph does," Princess Rosie said, plopping on the garden bench. A moment later, Gary Gargoyle joined Princess Rosie and Joey Owl, kathunking on the back of the bench, making it shake.
"Good morning, Princess Rosie," he said softly, then nodded at Joey Owl. "Good morning, Joey Owl, I hear Prince Joseph landed on his little noggin this morning."
"Yes Gary, and I was just telling Princess Rosie that all little kids fall and are a little klutzy when first learning to walk and move around by themselves. And no matter how careful you are and how much you try and protect someone, sometimes accidents can't be helped. Once, before my feathers were grown in, I fell out of the nest! Nearly gave my mother a heart attack!" Joey Owl said, clutching his wing to his feathered chest with the drama.
Princess Rosie's eyes widened. "I guess so! You could have been killed! Why were you goofing off on the edge of the nest, anyway!" Princess Rosie scolded.
"I was trying to see if my daddy was sitting in the tree somewhere or off looking for food," Joey Owl said.
Then Gary piped up: "I fell off the church one time. Landed on a bush below, bounced off the branches of it, hit the sidewalk and cracked it to smithereens!" Gary said, blushing just a little, through the grayness of his face.
"When you were a baby?" Princess Rosie asked.
"About a year ago. I was practicing my guard stance, and with the sun beating down on me I got dizzy and fell right over the edge. My mommy flipped out! And it was scary because my parents had to wait until the church custodian checked to see if I was alright, and could be returned to the church roof," Gary explained.
"I remember when that happened! Was that you? They had to pour a whole new sidewalk!" Princess Rosie said.
"Yeah, it was a big deal, guys with jackhammers tore out the old sidewalk, and then a big cement truck came and poured a new one. If you look all the way in the back corner of the sidewalk next to the church, there's a gargoyle footprint. That would be mine." Gary said.
"But you weren't goofing off, you just got dizzy." Princess Rosie said to Gary then turned to Joey Owl. "It's bad enough when accidents happen without boys pulling stupid stunts they know they shouldn't be doing and scaring the daylights out of their parents and sisters!"
"Well, my mommy wasn't mad that I was looking for my daddy, Princess Rosie. She knows that part of my being able to take care of myself when I have a nest of my own will be to keep good watch at all times, so when she was sure I wasn't hurt, and had told me to be more careful next time, she also told me that I was doing a good job keeping an eye on things," Joey Owl said.
"Yes, my mommy said the same thing to me," Gary said, then added: "Once she knew I wasn't cracked."
"Well, Prince Joseph was just goofing off! I mean, what does he think he is, anyway? A slinky? A bubble? A bouncy ball that can't break? Princess Rosie said.
"He's just trying things on for size," Joey Owl said. "The only way to find out if you can do something or not is to try it out."
"And he knows his big sister, and mommy and daddy are there to help him and keep him from getting really hurt," Gary said.
"But I'm not much bigger than Prince Joseph," Princess Rosie said. "I can't catch him like a grown-up can."
"And that's why sometimes accidents can't be helped," Joey Owl said, "and why Queen Mommy and King Daddy keep a very good watch over you and Prince Joseph, and make sure that doors are closed, and dangerous things are put away out of Prince Joseph's reach so he can't get hurt too badly."
"Also, Princess Rosie, you have to remember that getting hurt a little bit shows us that there are things that are dangerous that we shouldn't do. A little bit of pain is sort of a lesson not to keep doing something that hurts," Gary said.
Princess Rosie nodded, getting the point. "You'd think Prince Joseph would have learned that, all the times he's been banged up."
Gary and Joey Owl played follow the leader across the back of the garden bench, Joey Owl leapt up off the end of it, did a loop de loop and landed in the apple tree. Gary followed him, did the loop de loop and whacked his head on the branch above him when he landed next to Joey Owl.
"Ow!" Gary yelped.
Princess Rosie rolled her eyes, "Boys!" she said. But once she realized Gary was okay, she danced around the tree trunk. "Would one of you guys toss me an apple?"
"You wouldn't want us to lean over and maybe fall would you?" Gary said, smiling and almost cracking his face.
"Very funny!" Princess Rosie said, and jumped back when an apple missed hitting her nose by less than an inch. Joey Owl laughed as Princess Rosie chased it as it rolled across the grass away from her.
When she finally caught up to it, she took it to the bench and sat down to eat it, soon joined by her friends, who had their own apples.
"See, you would have to wait for the apples to fall on the ground if it wasn't for us goof-offs who like to play follow-the-leader into the tree!" Joey Owl said, munching happily.
"Yeah, I guess you're right." Princess Rosie said.
"Just wait till Prince Joseph tries to follow us up there to get his own apple!" Gary giggled.
Princess Rosie's eyes got as big as apples as she looked at Gary and Joey Owl is horror at the thought of Prince Joseph climbing the big tree! "Brothers!' she said.