One of Algy’s Tumblr friends, Thierry, lives in an exotic location on the other side of the world – a place very different from Algy’s northern home. Recently, Thierry has been reporting a sequence of strange events in his tropical garden. Unlike the gentle mosses and ferns in Algy’s mild environment, Thierry’s plants have grown alarming and dangerous, and now seem to have minds of their own.

Algy was keen to help his friend regain control over the evil plants, so he flew over to the old oak woods, to ponder the matter by an ancient woodland waterfall. The constant flow of the tumbling water in such a peaceful setting can be a great aid to clear thinking and inspiration, and there is much wisdom there …

(You can catch up with Thierry’s story and photos to date at thierry-facon.)

When night fell, Algy woke up and found that he was no longer alone. Some of his little forest friends had seen the bright star shining on his Christmas tree, and had crept up quietly in the darkness to join him. They had brought him a very special present for Christmas Eve – a beautiful German tin full of spicy lebkuchen. Algy was astonished and thrilled, but he was even more surprised when he turned the lid to open the tin and heard the lovely melody of Stille Nacht!  It sounded so enchanting, tinkling softly in the depths of the forest with the wind rustling through the great trees in the background. Algy and his friends sat there spellbound, listening to the gentle music by the light of his Christmas tree star, while from time to time a few flakes of snow drifted down silently around them.

Listen to the sound of Algy’s musical tin, playing in the forest.

Algy and his friends wish you all peace and joy at Christmas time xx

By the early afternoon, Algy had carried every one of his baubles to the forest, and had hung them all on his Christmas tree. Poor Algy was utterly exhausted! It was getting very chilly now, and a typical West Highland mixture of hail and sleet had started to fall, but Algy was too tired to care. Making sure that his feathers were well fluffed up, to keep out the cold and damp, he tucked himself under the shelter of his tree and quickly fell asleep, happy that he had managed to decorate the little tree in time for Christmas Eve.

As soon as Algy had found his Christmas tree, he rushed back to the place where he had stored his baubles. It was almost Christmas Eve now, and he had very little time left in which to dress the tree. He knew that it would be quite impossible for him to drag the whole bag of baubles to the forest on foot, so he decided to bring them two or three at a time by air. If he flew very carefully, he could carry them by grasping their ribbons in his beak. So Algy spent the whole day flying backwards and forwards from the burn to the forest, and gradually he began to decorate the little tree…

The next morning, Algy got up as soon as it was light and started his search. At first he found nothing but massive trees, very handsome but far too large for his tiny baubles. Suddenly, he saw a gleam of light shining through a dense stand of spruces: there was a clearing beyond those trees! Algy pushed his way eagerly through the scratchy, low branches, and emerged into a very wet boggy area. At first he could see nothing but a patch of sodden grasses, with more big trees beyond, and he resigned himself to disappointment. But then he looked about more carefully, and realised that the clearing continued around a bend. Algy felt rather strange; although he had never been in that spot before, he was almost certain that he was about to find what he was looking for. Trying not to get too excited, he flew to the corner and peeked round the trees… and there it was. Algy had found his Christmas tree!

Algy flew up to the top of the ridge, and perched there to survey the landscape around him. In most directions the familiar rocky landscape extended to the sea, with very few trees of any kind in sight, and none that were evergreen. But when he looked to the south-east, Algy saw something different – a small, green mountain with a swathe of dark forest draped like a skirt around its lower slopes. Algy was thrilled, and wasted no time in heading for the mountain. It was only a couple of miles away, as Algy flies, but by the time he reached the edge of the forest the light was fading fast, and the weather had become decidedly more wintry. The snow did not worry him, as there was plenty of shelter for the night, but he was concerned that there was still no sign of a wee Christmas tree suitable for his baubles.

There were many rocky outcrops to the sides of the burn in this area and it didn’t take Algy very long to find what he was looking for: a deep cleft in the rock with a good overhang to keep the rain out. He pushed his bag of baubles as far back into the wee crevice as he could manage, and carefully readjusted the stalks of dry bracken and heather to cover the opening.

And then Algy flew up into the air: it was such a relief to be rid of the weight of that sack! He circled slowly for a few minutes, taking note of the shapes of the rocks and their position by the burn so that he would be able to find the spot again. He knew that one place could look very much like another in this landscape. But as soon as he felt confident that he would recognise the place when he returned, he set off towards the ridge. It wasn’t long until Christmas now, and he had to find a tree to hang his baubles on …

As Algy made his way up the burn, the sky clouded over rapidly: he could see that it would be wise to take cover soon, before he got pelted with hailstones or sleet. Algy had now reached a spot where the ground started rising again, and the burn tumbled over wee waterfalls as it carved out deeper channels in the rock. There was green heather here too, which made a welcome change and would provide a nice, soft bed for the night. Algy felt sure that he would be able to find a hiding place for his baubles somewhere amongst the rocks…

After he had stumbled slowly across the rocky terrain for a while, Algy found that the ground levelled out and became much more soggy. He had reached the peat bogs. Algy knew better than to try to cross the bogs on foot in winter: that was the way to be sucked down into oblivion forever… The only safe path through the bogs was to follow the burn, as it carved out its own course through the marshy ground, leaving banks of rock and wee beaches of gravel where the peat had long since washed away. It was by no means an easy route to follow, however, so Algy was determined to find a place to store his baubles as soon as he possibly could. Before he set off up the burn, he rested for a while in the sunshine, watching the peaty water trickling its way steadily down to the sea.

Algy travelled on a wee bit further, and paused again to survey the scenery around him. This was evidently no place to look for Christmas trees! The landscape was comprised almost entirely of bare rock, scrubby grasses and peat bogs – and to make matters worse, it was not at all easy to proceed on foot. He would have to find a hiding place for his sack of baubles, and then fly further afield to search for trees from the air.