My Dear Mudskipper

Dear Mudskipper;

Your proclamation is sincere, yet I feel you have somehow misunderstood my position here. Perhaps I am more rugged than you, or maybe the climate here is more agreeable, but I vastly prefer the great outdoors. You might have noticed in my book that, at five months old, I was already spending most of my days in the garden, and almost all of my nights under the stars.

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My flock of jesters eagerly await their turn in the hot tub.

I have a hot tub, a swimming pool, assorted mudholes, and access to them at all times. I have many loyal subjects who fly in to join me in addition to an entire court of jesters whose greatest joy in life is to entertain me.

Most days are damp and my feet are continually bathed in smooth silky mud. Indoor wall-to-wall carpeting, tile, and slippery wood floors are a distant memory. I do not miss them.

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If you lived here, you could change your name to “Mudslipper!”

I have claimed a portion of the kitchen for my buffet, but only because the squirrels and crows steal my food. When I enter, bells automatically chime to call the servants. Fresh milk and corn are served promptly, and the buffet items are refreshed throughout the day.

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The buffet and my pristine furnishings.

I do have one problem I have not been able to control. It is called Winter. Winter can be cold and it can be white. The white is particularly distressing. When I am angry, I click and white Winter makes me click.

It’s called snow, but white is what it is. White covers everything. The white also makes everything cold. And cold makes me want to take a nap.

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The white can be thick and fluffy, or dense and crunchy.

When it’s white outdoors, it’s green indoors. The buffet suddenly sprouts leafy greens as if my kitchen area has instigated a turf war with the rest of the house.

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Bamboo flows from the bucket like a vegetative volcano.

This is my turf: bamboo foliage, a romaine carcass, assorted rugs and blankets, a splatter of mud. Is it mud? Of course that’s mud. This time.

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A romaine lettuce carcass amidst bamboo bucket overflow.

When it’s white outdoors, I choose to spend the night indoors amidst the remains of the daily buffet. After all, I already have my napping bed indoors, and some of the best toys and blankets are stored here. It’s quite deluxe, and I don’t like the Farm Manager’s furniture, anyway. That’s why I bite it.

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My frog blanket is so precious that I have never eaten more than a few small holes in it, after all these years.

Sometimes in winter it’s cold outdoors even when it isn’t white. My hens live in this palace, and when it’s super-duper cold they have heat lamps. When I was little, I wanted to rub my morillo on them. With age comes wisdom and appreciation for luxury items.

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Some no-white winter nights I decide to sleep in the kitchen on a whim. No reason in particular, but I usually get my way. It is one of my princely privileges.

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There is not even one tiny bite hole in my Disney Princess blankets. They are priceless.

Mostly I like to be outdoors, grazing. When the ground isn’t frozen, you can find me grazing most afternoons on the puny winter grass and the single piece of corn that waits for me there. I have a couple of elegant grazing jackets that make me look professional.

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It isn’t a pumpkin costume. It is a suit jacket with pinstripes.

I love to graze at night, and with night starting a couple hours before bedtime, sometimes it happens accidentally. The Farm Manager likes the orange jacket best for night grazing.

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Wait, what? Where’s my jacket?

It’s easy for her to find after I snag it on the blackberry vines or lose it in a mud hole.

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Why don’t we go in the front door?

Hot tubbing is fun on winter nights, too. I love my ducks, but at night they aren’t all staring at me, waiting for me to get out. I can loll about in privacy.

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I love a steamy hot tub after dark.

So you see, dear Skippy, when you are a prince, life is grand. I do believe I would find your lovely home to be stultifying. The great outdoors is my destiny, and it suits my demeanor in the same way that linen settees suit yours.

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See? They’re staring at me.

Not to worry, my love! The life of a Prince is a life of pampering.

Yours, truly,

Prince “Dobby” Dobalob

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