Will Gatti & Daniel Finn


A Batty Story

A Batty Story

This was going to be a four part story but then it turned out to have five parts, which just goes to show you that stories don’t always do what you expect them to do. 

I wrote this for my grand children (4 and 6) and they were invited to answer the questions at the end of each episode. Their answers then helped to shape the story. 


‘Under my bed, is a bat.’

‘No, there is no bat under your bed, Dardo,’ Granny said.

Granny is usually right about everything. But she was not right about this, because under Dardo’s bed was a bat.

Of course the bat didn’t appear until Granny was asleep, which is a pity because he was a very polite bat. Dardo heard a little  cough: ‘Ahem!’ and then a : ‘I hope you don’t mind.’

Dardo was half a sleep but he opened one eye and said: ‘Not at all.’

Then there was a little scuffle and then a little tap tapping sound, and then from under Dardo’s bed appeared the bat. BUT  this was no ordinary bat. For a start he was dressed in a very smart suit, with a white bow tie, and marvellous cape lined with red silk, a shiny top hat and he also had a very smart cane, which he rapped on the floor as he walked across to the window.

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‘Would you mind opening the window, Dardo?’ he said.

Not at all,’ Dardo said. Dardo very often says this when he is half asleep, even when he does mind. But he got up and crept across the room. He didn’t want to wake Granny. And then he opened the window. There was a shiny full moon.


The Bat hopped up onto the windowsill, took off his hat and gave a little bow.

‘Thank you so much,’ he said. ‘I’ll be back before breakfast.’

‘Hang on a minute,’ said Dardo. ‘What is your name and where are you going?’


Decisions Decisions!

What is the bat called.

Is he a good bat or a naughty bat

Is he going to visit:

      John and Verette

      A very bored Princess locked up in a tower

      A dog called Pobble




‘My name,’ said the bat, ‘is Count Von DiddlyBongDerBongDerOopsyVinkleVinkle.’

‘Oh,’ said Dardo. ‘That is a tricky name.’

‘I am a tricky bat,’ said the bat, and gave another little bow, ‘as you will find out. However, you may call me Flappy, because I don’t think you will remember my real name.’

‘I will,’ said Dardo, but I am afraid he was not telling the truth because he had already forgotten the Count’s real name.

The bat smiled. ‘And now I must fly off to see two friends of mine who need my help.’

‘I suppose they are called BonglewongleDiddlyRumpleWumple,’ said Dardo. He couldn’t help being rather silly sometimes.

‘No,’ said the bat. ‘They are called John and Verette. Do you know them?’

‘Yes,’ said Dardo. ‘I think I do. Are they in trouble?’

‘Yes. Pobble has disappeared. And so shall I,’ said the bat, ‘I told  you I was tricky and this is one of my tricks.’

He swirled his cape round and round and  Dardo’s eyes went round and round, and then, in a blink, the bat had disappeared.

‘Wouldn’t you like my help?’ called Dardo through the open window.

He saw a tiny dark bat shape flying on his flappy bat wings towards the shining moon and he thought he could hear the bat’s faint voice calling back to him:’ Certainly not. You would be no help at all.’

‘Oh,’ said Dardo, to himself.

‘Who are you talking to?’ asked a very sleepy Granny. ‘And why are you over by the open window?’

‘Ah,’ said Dardo, wondering whether he should actually tell her that he had been talking to a bat called Flappy.


Decision time!

Does Dardo tell Granny the truth?

Why has Pobble disappeared?

Will Flappy the bat find Pobble?

Does Flappy have any magic power?




‘I suppose you are going to tell me,’ mumbled Granny because she was still very sleepy, ‘that you were talking to a bat.’

‘How did you know that?’ said Dardo.

‘Because you always make up such silly stories,’ and Granny promptly went back to sleep.

Dardo climbed back into bed and then lay awake wondering how the very polite and extremely well dressed Count Von Flappy the Bat would ever find Pobble the dog.

Where could Pobble be? Had he fallen down a hole, or into a river, or been chased by a cow into the next village, or perhaps Pobble had got on a train and gone up to London, or gone in a train from London to Margate to play on the beach…. Because, thought Dardo, Pobble likes playing on a beach and so do John and Verette and…’

Dardo was getting rather muddled and snoozy, or snoozy and muddled and you won’t be at all surprised to hear that he was quite wrong. Pobble had not got on a train and gone to the beach at Margate.


Pobble was in very, very, very serious trouble.

The most serious trouble he had ever been in. More serious than when he had taken Daddy’s special socks and chewed a big hole so that Daddy’s toe stuck out; more serious than when he had jumped up on to the table and taken a big bite out of Mummy’s special coffee and walnut birthday cake; and even more serious than when he had stolen a whole string of sausages from the butcher, and run all the way down Market Street with them, trailing the sausages behind him like a giant sausagie tail until he bumped into a policeman, who luckily only pretended to be cross and then brought him home, letting Pobble eat three of the sausages while the policeman took the other three sausages back to his home and then had them for his tea.

This time was very different to any of those adventures that Pobble had had, because this time Pobble had been caught by the BAD BADGERS and the bad badgers had gone: ‘HAR HAR!’ (Because bad badgers think they are being funny when they are not being funny) and they had squashed Pobble into a cage and dragged him to their dungeon, which was right at the very bottom of the bad badger’s underground castle, which was called DEEP AND SMELLY-HOLE CASTLE. And that castle was, as I’m sure you know, deep under the Lido in London Fields.

Pobble was not at all happy. He barked and he barked. And he howled and he howled. And the badgers laughed and they laughed because they knew that nobody could possibly hear Pobble’s barking.

But what the badgers didn’t know was that Count Von Flappy the Bat had the most extraordinary magic ears, more extraordinary and more magic than any other bat in the world and, even when he was under Dardo’s bed, he had heard Pobble’s barking for help, which was why, he was now flying, right at this moment, to Pobble’s rescue!


Decision time!

Why have the bad badgers captured Poddle?

What other naughty things do the bad badgers do?

Who is King or Queen of the bad badgers?




Count Von Flappy the Bat flew up high in the night sky so that he was almost as high as the bright and shining moon. Then having made sure his top hat was firmly on, he stopped flapping his wings and instead glided along, with his cape flowing out behind him and his smart cane gripped tight, and, most importantly, his fantastic bat ears listening to the very far away sound of poor Pobble’s barking.

This way he glided and then, with a swoop and a dip, he glided back again, flying in a wider and wider circle and all the time listening, because, as I’m sure you know, Flappy’s ears weren’t just fantastic bat ears, they were MAGIC!

And right now, those magic ears told him, that Pobble was in the great city of London.

So, down and down and down he dived. He was going so fast, he almost lost his hat; he was going so fast his eyes were watering; he was going so fast his cape with its wonderful red silk lining made a terrific flapping noise.

But Flappy didn’t worry about any of that because he now knew exactly where Pobble was and he knew exactly why Pobble was where he was.

‘Badgers!’ he said to himself, and he landed on a tree in London Fields and hung upside for a moment, just to have quick rest and a quick think as to how he was going to sneak into King Pootie and Queen Lootie’s Deep and Smelly-Hole Castle.

A moment later he not only had thought up a cunning and very special Count Von Flappy plan but he also had everything he needed in order to rescue John and Verette’s dog, Pobble. So, without wasting anymore time, he walked straight towards the Lido and the entrance to the Bad Badger’s castle.

There were two huge dirty black and white badgers standing guard at the great gate down into Deep and Smelly-Hole Castle. ‘Oy, Oy,’ they both said when they saw Count Flappy walking towards them, twirling his cane in one hand and whistling to himself as if he didn’t have a care in the world. ‘Oy Oy,’’ they repeated. Bad badgers are not very smart and they are not very good at conversation, what they are good at, however, is eating and what both these dirty bad badgers were thinking was: ‘Is this bat in a top hat good to eat, or not?’

‘Good evening, my very fine badger friends,’ said Count Flappy, ‘and how are you both this evening?’

‘Hungry,’ said both badgers. Actually what they really said was : ‘Ungry.’ But we won’t worry about that because, before they could lunge forward and grab him with their huge and muscly badger jaws, Flappy swept off his cloak and twizzled it round in the air, which made the badgers’ eyes twizzle around, and then, when he’d stopped swirling his cape and the two badgers were leaning up against each other and un-twizzling their eyes,  he produced a plate with sandwiches stacked up so high the badgers couldn’t even see Count Flappy the Bat anymore, just the sandwiches.

‘Wha’s this?’ they both said (Do you notice that they always speak at the same time and say the same thing? That is exactly what bad badgers do).

‘Why,’ said Count Flappy, ‘your favourite, of course, squishy eyeball sandwiches.’

‘Eyeball sandwitchers!’ they both roared and dived at the plate knocking it out of Flappy’s hand. Then they both snapped and gobbled and swallowed and belched and swallowed and bit and snuffled and burped and when they had finished they looked around to see if that funny bat in a top hat had any more yumptious squishy eyeball sandwiches, but they couldn’t see him anywhere at all.


This was meant to be the end of the story but, oh no, it isn’t so……Decision time!

Were the sandwitchers really made from squishy eyeballs or were they made from something else disgusting?

Are Prince  Dudie and Princess Pudie as bad and naughty as their parents, the king and the queen of all bad badgers?

Will Pobble be eaten by the badgers before Flappy can find him?

And the reason the bad badger guards couldn’t see Count Von Flappy the bat was because he had wrapped himself up in his cloak and now, gripping his black bag with important things in it, he   slipped, easy as a slippery shadow, through the great iron gates of Deep and Smelly-Hole Castle… and then ….he just had ….to stop ….and take a deep breath …. because in front of him was a dark and very pongy passage and the passage was pongy because Badgers stink of maggots and old socks and dirty pants, which is why the castle has the name that it has.

While Flappy was fumbling for his pale blue silk handkerchief and tying it over his nose, the two greedy badger guards were snuffling about looking, not for Count Flappy, they had already forgotten about him, but for more ‘delishers yumptcher sandwitchers ‘which they thought were made of the most more-ish eyeballs they had ever tasted; though of course they weren’t made from eyeballs at all but from something much more cunning and disgusting: orange slugs in jellied maggot and sprinkled with Flappy’s magic ingredient, naughty sugar.

‘Ave yer found one yet, Gummer,’ said the first guard.

‘Nar Nar Nar, I aven’t found nuffin at all, Scabwort,’ said the second guard. ‘I promise on my badger belly I ‘aven’t.’

And so they started to fight.


Because badgers never believe each other, especially when it comes to food, especially when it comes to delicious eyeball food, and especially when someone says: ‘Nar Nar Nar, I aven’t found nuffin at all’.

While the bad badgers biffed and boffed, Count Flappy, with his top hat wedged down tight on his head, his silk handkerchief over his nose, and his cape keeping him invisible,  dashed down the dark, and winding pongy passage, following the sound of Pobble’s desperate barking, which, if you speak ‘dog’ which of course Flappy did, was Pobble shouting: ‘Help! I’m here! I’m Pobble the dog and I am about to be a gobbled Pobble the dog, and that’s not funny!’ which of course it is not.

And what was also not funny was the sound of pots and pans being banged and clashed, and the horrible raspy sound of badger claws being sharpened and the even worse sound of twenty seven hungry badgers singing in their grunty and growly voices their special ‘We-are-about-to-eat-a-dog’ song’:

‘Dog! Dog!

Boiled and chopped

Bones and tail

We’ll eat the lot!

Get the pan!

Get the pot!

If it’s dog

We’ll eat it hot!’

And when they reached the last word ‘hot’ they roared even louder, and banged their pots and stamped their feet.

At that moment, Flappy reached the badgers’ big smoky hall and immediately flew up to a little sticky out ledge where he could see absolutely everything and where he could plan his next move.

There at the end was the badger king, King Pootie, the dreadful, and the badger queen, Queen Lootie, the also dreadful, and their two children, Prince Dudie and Princess Pudie. Flappy had never seen the prince and princess before but while he could instantly tell that Princess Pudie was as horrible and beastly as her parents, he wasn’t quite sure whether the Prince was the same. You cannot always tell with badgers because not all of them are quite as bad as these bad badgers.

In front of the badger throne, there was a big fire burning with a big black cooking pot hanging over it and twenty three badgers, wearing dirty aprons and tall dirty chef hats, all ranged round the fire stamping their feet and banging their pots. Over in the far corner was an iron cage and inside the iron cage was poor, frightened Pobble.

One very large badger lifted up a huge chopper. ‘Ready,’ he shouted, ‘Steady…’

But before he could shout ‘Go!’, Count Von Flappy the mysterious bat, using his ability to sound just like a badger, roared: ‘Let’s ave annuver song. Worrabout FROGS’.

‘FROGS!’ they all roared and started to sing almost exactly the same song as the one they had just finished but it went like this:

‘Frog! Frog!

Boiled and chopped

Legs and heads

We’ll eat the lot!

Get the pan

Get the pot

If it’s frog we’ll eat it hot!’

And just as before they stamped their feet and roared so loudly that Queen Lootie put her claws over her ears and King Pootie roared louder than all the badgers put together: ‘Silence you scurvy badgers! We haven’t got frog to eat; we’ve got dog!’

The badgers looked at each other and nodded. ‘True. That’s true. E’s clever fer a king, that one is’.

‘And you can boil the dog, and you can chop the dog, but who’s going ter eat the dog?’

‘We will!’ shouted all the badgers.

‘But we get the best bits,’ said King Pootie standing up and slapping himself on his hungry tummy.

‘Oh no you won’t,’ shouted Flappy, still using his best badger voice.

‘Oh yes we will,’ shouted the King and the Queen joined in.

And although Count Flappy knew that Badgers loved this ‘yes we will no you won’t’ business, he was now completely ready to put his plan into action. ‘Oh no you won’t,’ he shouted, ‘because what Badgers like better’n than dog, is yumptcher squirly snails with cruncher shells’ and from his black bag he dug out handfuls of yumptcher snails, dusted with more naughty sugar and scattered them down among the badgers.

‘It’s bloomy rainin squirly snails!’ shouted a baffled badger.

And it was.

‘Bloomin lishers!’ shouted another badger, having scoffed three in one mouthful.

‘Here we go,’ said Count Flappy to himself. And as soon as the feeding frenzy started, with badgers barging and shoving and diving for the snails and even biffing Princess Poodie on the nose, and King Pootie being knocked backwards so he burnt his bum on the boiling pot, so there was even more yelling and roaring, Flappy swooped down to the iron cage where poor Pobble was cowering. ‘Sorry for being a little on the late side,’ said Flappy, taking out his set of pick locks (little poky things a buglar might have for opening locked doors and which Count Flappy always carried in his black bag), he set to work.

‘Ere,’ said a voice, startling Flappy, ‘them snails are almost gobbled. Use this.” And there was Prince Dudie, the dude, offering Flappy the iron key to the cage. ‘Urry up now little matey mate,’ he said, ‘if you an’ dog wanner gerrout of ere in one mumbly,’ and with those strange words he dived back into the snail scrum.

‘Now!’ said Flappy. ‘Jump!’ and he stretched out his batwing arms and Pobble jumped and Flappy caught him and wrapped his cloak around them both and then before you can say twizzle the wizzle, they were speeding up the pongy passage, through the great iron gate and out into the fresh air of London Fields, and high up towards the shining moon and then with a ‘whoops’ they swooped down so fast that Pobble’s tummy lurched and he thought he was going to burp but he didn’t, he just went ‘woof!’ instead, which of course means ‘thank you very much!’ and Count Von Flappy because he was going so fast and his cloak was flapping so loudly, shouted ‘You are most welcome. Any chum of Verette and John’s is a chum of mine,’ and with that he landed on the balcony of number 35 Wilton Estate, put Pobble down, and then rapped on the window until a sleepy Mummy pulled back the curtain and peered out.

‘Pobble! What are you doing out there!’

Pobble, having said goodbye to the elegant bat in a top hat, wagged his tail.

As  for Count Flappy, he flew back to Wanstrow and tapped on the window and a sleepy Dardo got up and let him in. ‘Where have you been?’ asked Dardo. Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 19.36.13

‘Oh here and there,’ said Count Flappy, sweeping off his top hat and folding his cloak over his batwing arm, ‘I’m a trifle sleepy so if you don’t mind…’ and he walked over to the bed and disappeared underneath.

‘Aren’t you going to tell me about your adventure?’ said Dardo.

‘Tomorrow,’ came the sleepy reply.

‘Oh,’ muttered Granny,’who are you talking to now, Dardo?’

‘The bat,’ said Dardo, climbing back to bed.

‘Of course. Why don’t you make me a hot lemon and honey,’ she murmured and went back to sleep.

But Dardo didn’t make hot lemon and honey, he went back to sleep too.

But what none of the grown ups, and  not even Count Von Flappy, the most Mysterious Bat in the Universe, knew was … where were John and Verette, because they were NOT in their beds and they were NOT asleep….


This is the end of Part Five of The Batty Story in Four Parts … so what has happened to your maths you muddle wumpsters?