Three years have passed, a little neglected house on the edge of the village became tidied up with the tiles replaced on the roof and a new front door and a tidy garden. No-one ever saw who lived there but occasionally a shadowy cloaked figure was seen going out in the dusk and coming back with a bag of groceries or other supplies.
However, this did not happen that often for any one who needed anything mended would drop it outside the little house and the next morning it would be back outside fixed! The villagers either left some money or groceries on the step in payment for it.
This had started just after the little house had been tidied up, a little boy had cried when his mother had thrown out his special chair because it had been broken and that night the stranger – yes you’ve guessed – Frankie had rescued it and repaired it and left it outside his door with a note saying that the owner could leave whatever payment they thought was right for the job.
One evening a pretty young lady dog was walking through the village when she saw the mysterious cloaked figure of a dog furtively creep out of the grocers and into the deepest shadows, this made her curious and so she went into the shop to find out what this was all about.
The shopkeeper was just about to lock up but being a polite dog, he answered her questions. He explained to the young lady that no-one knew his name or saw his face, but if anyone wanted anything mended they left it outside his door and the next day it was repaired and was as good as new. He told the young lady that the “Fixer” as they called him never spoke to anyone and even his shopping was written on a list and handed over with the money, so no-one knew him at all!
This intrigued the young lady so to see how it worked, she fetched a chair that needed a repair and put it outside Frankie’s door, but instead of leaving she waited and as the door opened, she smiled and said “Could you mend my chair please”
This surprised Frankie and he replied “Yes, I will mend the chair, come back tomorrow and it will be waiting for you”
The next day, the young lady came back and sure enough the chair looked as good as new and was standing outside Frankie’s front door. She knocked on the door and again Frankie opened it and the young lady said “Thank you for repairing the chair, but how much do I owe you?”
Frankie was surprised and just shrugged “People pay me what they think” he said.
“Well that’s not right” she insisted, “Let me come in and we can discuss a price”
Frankie reluctantly let the young lady in, keeping his cloak wrapped round himself so that only his eyes could be seen through the mask. Looking round, she noticed how dark it was, only two little candles, no mirrors and the heavy curtains closed against the light.
“Oh it’s so dark in here”; “Light enough for me to repair things” replied Frankie.
The young lady introduced herself as Tinkerbelle and asked if she could bring other items to be repaired as she lived in quite a big house and her father just threw stuff out when it was broken. Frankie replied that he would mend anything that she brought round, little realising that Tinkerbelle intended to come in with each item.
Over the next few months they became quite good friends, but Frankie kept his cloak wrapped round himself and Tinkerbelle could not see him properly at all. His voice was soft and gentle – so what was he hiding?
Then one day she found the ideal way, she knocked on Frankie’s door and exclaimed “Look what I’ve got!”
Frankie looked and saw it was an invitation to a masked ball and it was tomorrow night!
“I can’t go” panicked Frankie,
“I don’t know anyone and I don’t mix with people very well”
“Nonsense! You know me and we get on very well and I’m insisting that you go, it will let me pay you back for all the times I’ve been here” stated Tinkerbelle “And you will not let me down”
Frankie finally agreed, he did not want to lose her friendship so they arranged to meet up at 8 o’clock the following night at the palace.
Desperate not to let her down Frankie found a good suit to buy and made himself an elaborate mask. The villagers were all talking, the fixer was a good enough dog, but what on earth did such a beautiful young lady see in him?
Frankie heard none of this as he joined the throng of all those going in, he still had a cloak on over his suit as he felt protected from prying eyes. He showed his invitation at the door and was allowed to pass into the palace.
Then he saw her, Tinkerbelle looked so beautiful that Frankie felt breathless! She took his cloak and handed it to a passing footman and said “My, my don’t you scrub up well, you look positively handsome, Frankie”
Frankie lowered his head, he knew that could never be true, but mustering up some courage from behind the mask, he replied jokingly, “If only, Tinkerbelle, if only! But you look gorgeous”
Theevening passed swiftly and although there was a buffet, Frankie did not risk taking any food and suddenly it was midnight and the band leader stopped the music and announced “My Lords, Ladies and Gentlefolk, it is midnight – the time to unmask”
Frankie was petrified – he couldn’t take the mask off, he just couldn’t do instead he turned and ran from the room, ran from the palace and seeing a horse borrowed it and reached the safety of his own home.
Next morning, a loud hammering woke Frankie from his restless sleep and gong to the door he was confronted by the County Sheriff, who barged in and accused him of stealing the horse. Frankie tried to explain that he’d only borrowed it and had meant to return it this morning.
However the Sheriff would not listen and dragged Frankie out of his house into the street, “The punishment for stealing a horse is 12 lashes” grinned the Sheriff and Frankie looked at him horrified. It was Billy!
“You were always a bully, weren’t you Billy?” gasped Frankie.
Billy laughed, “Yes maybe I was, but it’s me who’s in charge here and there’s no matron to save you.”
Two of his deputies grabbed Frankie to tie him to a tree and Billy raised the whip as he was about to bring it down on Frankie for the second time, a carriage drew up with a clatter.
“Stop” came the voice from within and Tinkerbelle rushed from the carriage and shouted “On the command of the Princess you are not to do this”
Billy bowed before her and said “But madam, he stole a horse”
Frankie shook his head, “I borrowed it, I tried to tell them that I was going to return it today”
Tinkerbelle went up to Frankie and ordered them to untie him as they did he slipped to the ground and Tinkerbelle knelt down beside him and nursed his head in her paws.
“What have you done to him?” she cried;
“Only what he deserved” said Billy defiantly as his cohorts backed away from him.
“Always was a bully” mumbled one of them “He always picked on Frankie in the orphanage and he’s bullied his way to be top dog as Sheriff”
“Well that’s got to stop, we don’t tolerate bullies in this kingdom and you, Billy, will be taken and put in a re-training centre and kept there until you’ve learnt the error of your ways, which I think will be for a long, long time”
Looking down at Frankie, Tinkerbelle noticed that he was very pale and blood was trickling from his mouth under the mask. She took hold of the laces that held the mask in place and started to untie it, Frankie’s paws grasped her to stop her.
“But you are bleeding, I must see where it is coming from to clean it up and stop the bleeding” insisted Tinkerbelle.
Frankie pleaded with her but she shook his paws off and gently removed the mask. Frankie’s paws went straight to his face and tried to cover it.
Tinkerbelle laughed and said “Silly boy, let me see where the blood is” and she gently lifted one paw at a time to clean him up. “I can see why you wore that mask” she smiled “without it you would have had all the girls in the kingdom chasing you!”
Frankie gaped at her; what on earth can she mean, he was ugly! Tinkerbelle bent down and placed a gentle kiss on the cut, “You are the most handsome dog I have ever seen. I am so glad I got to know you before or people would be saying I only loved you for your looks”
The servants with her helped him into the carriage and they went back to the palace, where Tinkerbelle introduced him to her father – the King!
The King looked at him and said “You have a resemblance to the late Lord Toby whose only son disappeared mysteriously years ago. His wife went out one night with the baby and ended up in a convent without him. No-one knows what happened, but it looks like we may have solved the mystery!”
Frankie still could not believe it all was happening as several months later a church full of dignitaries and villagers watched Princess Tinkerbelle walk up the aisle to her husband to be, Lord Franklyn Toby.
Two elderly ladies sat in the congregation, both with tears in their eyes as they watched them take their vows. One looked at the other and whispered “You were right Alex, he did grow into his face – and what a handsome face it turned out to be”
Alex nodded through her tears and watched the happy couple walk down the aisle and followed them out into the sunshine where she was gathered up into a big bear hug; “Oh Alex, I’m so pleased you could make it, you are the nearest thing to a mother I’ve ever had”
Alex just smiled happy at her “ugly pup” with the handsome face and wished them all the joy in the world.