The very best medicine (brief summary)
Petronella catches a couple of particularly big leeches in the stream. She needs them urgently for her grandma Anneliese. Her knee is aching, and Petronella happened to hear a woman on the radio this morning claiming “Leeches were my miracle cure! I’m healthy again thanks to these worms!” Since her grandma is asleep, Petronella proceeds with the treatment all by herself. “Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing!” thinks Petronella. “She’ll have even more of a surprise!” But then, which one was the bad knee? And do you just stick the leeches on?
Hello Tweety! (brief summary)
Petronella and her friend Claudia watch as the cat stalks silently along the ground, pounces and catches a little jaybird. Petronella and Claudia manage to save the little bird, but since Petronella knows that birds will no longer feed their babies if they smell of humans, she now needs to look after the little bird herself. “Jaay! Jaay, jaay!” Petronella’s father hears little Tweety’s calls coming from the children’s room. As he enters the room, even before he opens his mouth to speak, Petronella blurts out, “You don’t need to do anything. I’ll look after him all by myself, with Claudia! Besides, a jay isn’t really a pet. And anyway Mum has already said I’m allowed.” But it’s not that easy…
Petronella introduces a mole to the world (brief summary)
Petronella’s father is annoyed about a mole in the garden. He tries repeatedly to catch the mole, but only Petronella has any luck. “Well done! You’ve done a great job,” says Petronella’s father. “Now we need to take him to a meadow far away from here!” But Petronella feels sorry for the mole. After all, he lives in the dark and hasn’t experienced anything of the world, not even colours or music. Petronella has a bright idea and asks her father to play the mole a song on the harmonica. The whole family gathers together. Trying to guess where the mole’s ears are, they notice that it is quite fat.
“It’s a mummy mole!” realises Petronella at last. “She probably has a mate waiting for her underground!” “That mole is not coming back in my garden!” insists Petronella’s father. But Petronella finally gets her way and releases the mummy mole back into the garden. “I’d like to know who’s actually in charge here!” says Petronella’s father. Petronella’s mother hugs him and replies: “You are, of course!”But we all know it’s Petronella.
Late night concert (brief summary)
Petronella’s parents have been arguing, so Petronella goes off to the pet shop to buy crickets! She remembers how they put everybody in a good mood on their last holiday. The crickets chirped and her parents often hugged each other and were always happy. Petronella distributes a total of 27 crickets around the living room. But unfortunately they remain silent… until the night time, when they begin their concert. Petronella is woken by a door slamming loudly. “I can’t sleep with all this noise!” yells Petronella’s mother loudly throughout the house. Wrapped in a blanket, Petronella’s father also comes into the living room. Petronella and her parents set about recapturing every last cricket.
Luckily,it’s great fun and their argument is quickly forgotten. Petronella is very happy that her cricket trick did work after all.
Fly, fly, queen bee (brief summary)
In the little village where Petronella Fortune lives, there is a particularly beautiful overgrown garden. Hidden behind some bushes is a stack of brightly coloured boxes swarming with thousands, if not tens of thousands of bees. One day Petronella gets to know the beekeeper. He explains all about bee colonies and asks if Petronella would like to help him. “I’ve finished for today! But tomorrow I’ve got to clip the old queen bee’s wing!” he says. Petronella asks him why. “I do it so that she stays here in the garden, otherwise she and her colony would be long gone!” explains the beekeeper.
Petronella thinks this is really cruel and, together with her friend Claudia, she comes up with an exciting plan to rescue and liberate the queen bee…
When the cockerel crows
Over the last few days, a Siberian chill seems to have swept across Bergluch. The villagers of Bergluch have all withdrawn into their warm houses. Hardly any cars are out, and the streets are empty except for the bus, which continues to stop at the bus stops three times a day without fail, even though there are no passengers waiting to get on.
“Nobody could stand being outside in this cold for long!” decides Petronella.
“And it’s supposed to get even colder tonight,” announces Petronella’s father, reading out loud from the newspaper. “Please don’t let the fire go out, then it will be nice and warm when we get home tonight.”
Petronella’s mother has been beaming happily to herself all morning. Today she will be seeing her brother Bernhard again for the first time in three and a half years. He has been living in Canada for a long time and hardly ever visits Germany.
Petronella’s parents are collecting Bernhard from the airport. He is arriving in Frankfurt this evening. It will take them several hours to drive back from the airport. Philine and Petronella are allowed to stay at home on their own.
Since yesterday, Petronella’s mother has been busy baking, cooking, cleaning and preparing the guest room for her brother.
Both the girls are looking forward to seeing their uncle. Whenever he visits, there is always lots of fun and laughter.
When Petronella and Philine have said goodbye to their parents, Petronella puts on her thick down jacket and wraps her long scarf round her neck.
“I’m just going to see the chickens!” she says. “I think Gregory the cockerel is feeling the cold today. He hasn’t even been clucking or crowing. I’ve never known him so quiet.”
Philine is sprawling on the sofa and leafing through a catalogue. “Yeah, you do that,” she says, without the slightest interest.
For a whole week, Petronella has been going over to their neighbour’s little wooden shed every morning and evening to feed his hens and the cockerel Gregory.
Every year, their neighbour Mr. Schulze and his wife Gisela go off on their winter holidays “to get some southern sun”, as Mr. Schulze calls it. Petronella has to look after his hens until they return to snowy Bergluch.
In return, she gets to keep the fresh eggs from the nest every day. And anyway, she loves doing this job.
The moment Petronella opens the door, she is blasted by the icy cold air. Quickly, she runs across the frozen snow to the chicken shed next door.
The snow crunches beneath her feet. Petronella opens the shed door: The four hens and Gregory are sitting on the perch with their feathers all fluffed up.
Petronella fills the bowl with fresh grains and also tries to give the hens fresh water, but the water in the watering can is frozen.
She collects three eggs from the nests and notices that the shells are cracked.
Petronella is shocked. “Even the eggs are frozen.”
Feeling sorry for the chickens, she decides to lure them from the neighbour’s garden into her house so that they do not freeze to death in their shed.
“Cluck, cluck, cluck, come with me, sweethearts! It’s nice and warm in our living room!” she calls to the hens and the cockerel.
Petronella scatters a trail of grains on the ground, and all the hens really do follow her out of the shed, onto the street, up to the garden gate, up a step, into her garden and round the side of the house all the way to the patio door.
Stitch wags his tail as the hens and Gregory come into the living room, clucking cautiously.
Mira the cat jumps off the chair and disappears upstairs into Petronella’s room.
“Are you mad? What are the chickens doing here?” moans Philine.
“They’re warming up!” replies Petronella. “Because it’s so cold outside. And it’s supposed to get even colder tonight. Their drinking water and the eggs are already frozen!”
Philine sighs. “But there’s no space for them here!”
“And where else am I supposed to put them?” “In Schulze’s house!”
“Hmm.” Petronella scratches her head. “But I don’t have a key!”
“Then they’ve got to go back to the shed!”
At that moment, Gregory the cockerel makes a strange cooing noise. Or rather, it wasn’t his usual crowing noise. Petronella points at him and glares at her sister.
“There you are! Poor Gregory has caught a cold! Do you want him to get really ill?”
“No, no, I don’t!” protests Petronella’s sister. “But the chickens can’t stay here either!”
“Then we’ll put them in the bathroom!” suggests Petronella. And off she goes, leaving another trail of grains. “Cluck, cluck, cluck!”
“I can’t wait to hear what Mum’s got to say about this,” calls Philine after her. “She’s only just cleaned all the tiles.”
But nothing will stop Petronella. Using her trick with the grains, she lures all the hens and the cockerel away from the warm fire and into the bathroom.
To provide seating for her overnight guests, she lays a broom handle over the bath and then lifts the hens and the cockerel onto it one at a time. Their feathers feel nice and warm.
“At least you’re not cold any more!” says Petronella happily.
She cleans her teeth and washes her hands, as it’s now nearly bedtime. She then wishes them all a good night, turns off the light and closes the door.
The chickens and the cockerel remain still and quiet. They seem to feel quite happy in the freshly cleaned bathroom.
When Petronella’s parents are away, Petronella is allowed to sleep in bed with her big sister.
“You and your crazy ideas!” grumbles Philine as Petronella comes into the room.
“The cockerel and the chickens would never ever have frozen to death in the shed!”
Philine is old enough to have her own laptop and also knows how to use it. Snuggling up with Petronella, she surfs the internet and reads aloud everything she can find out about chickens.
“There, look! Like all birds, chickens can fluff up their feathers to keep themselves warm, even at very low temperatures.”
There is lots more to read and learn. “Penguins at the South Pole can even survive in temperatures as low as minus 40°C.”
Even so, decides Petronella, Gregory the cockerel and his hens should not go back to the cold shed tonight. Maybe they would not have frozen to death straight away, but it’s definitely much cosier in a warm bathroom.
When Petronella’s parents come home late in the night, Petronella and Philine are already fast asleep.
Petronella’s father is the first to need the toilet after the long journey. He switches on the light and groans:
“Oh no! I don’t believe it!”
Under the critical eye of Gregory the cockerel, he cautiously squeezes past the bath to the toilet. Petronella’s father is careful not to make any false moves that might provoke the cockerel, as Gregory seems upset at being woken up. But Petronella’s father urgently needs to go to the toilet.
“Just calm down! I’m not going to hurt you and I’ll be out of your way again shortly!” he promises the cockerel and his hens.
Back down in the living room, he tells the others about his strange encounter in the bathroom.
“A cockerel in the bathroom! Nothing surprises me any more,” laughs Petronella’s uncle Bertie.
During the journey home, Petronella’s parents were already telling Bertie about everything that had happened since they last saw him. And Petronella’s adventures were a particularly interesting topic of conversation.
They continue chatting happily about themselves and the children, all through the night until the dawn crow of the cockerel.
And this morning the cockerel produced a particularly fine crow, a “cock-a-doodle-do” which echoed deafeningly around the freshly cleaned bathroom!