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"Uncle Erestor."

"Yes, Lindir?"

"Am I a naughty boy?"

"Well, sometimes you are naughty."

"And the other times?"

"And the other times, you are not naughty, but good. Sometimes very good."

"Those times that I am naughty, am I very naughty?"

"Yes, sometimes you are very naughty. Do you remember that time you put ink in Glorfindel's hair oil and turned his hair black? That is very naughty."

"Oh, but he looked good with black hair."

"That is irrelevant; the fact is that..."

"But I suppose Glorfindel always looks good."

"Lindir, do not interrupt me."

"Sorry, Uncle."

"No matter. What made you come here to ask me if you were naughty?"

"Oh, well Glorfindel called me naughty."

"Did he? Why did he call you naughty?"

"I do not know. He simply passed me this morning and said, with a scary look on his face, that I was very naughty and deserved a hard spank."

"Really? Well, have you done anything to him recently that could be regarded as naughty?"

"Well, no."

"Well, then maybe he thought you did something naughty, but was mistaken. I shall talk to him anyway. Now run along, Lindir. I said run along!"

"Well..."

"Is something the matter, child? Was there something you wanted to add?"

"Well, I found a spider yesterday."

"I see. And what did you do with it?"

"I found it in the stables. It was one of those big ones that you always tell me not to touch. It had long legs so I picked it up by one of its long legs. I know I should not have because of what you said, but I did it anyway."

"Mm-hm. And what did you do with it?"

"Oh, well, I found it in Asfaloth's stall - at the window. Asfaloth - the big white horse that belongs..."

"I know that Asfaloth is Glorfindel's stallion, Lindir. Tell me - what did you do with the spider?"

"Well, Asfaloth was swishing his big long tail at the flies in there and on my way out of the stall, I stopped to watch it. I thought it was very funny, the way it goes swish swish swish and bats the flies away from its bottom so I put the spider on Asfaloth's bottom because I wanted to see the spider go whee!"

"I... see. And what happened?"

"Well, the tail came down, but instead of the spider getting swished away, the spider ran down to Asfaloth's big balls and then Asfaloth started to neigh and turn around and kick and buck and look very scary so I ran out of the stall and back to the house. That is why I was late to supper yesterday."

"Was anyone else in the stables?"

"Oh, the stable hand was there, but I do not think he saw me. I do not think anyone saw me."

"Lindir, I think the stable hand saw what you did and he told Glorfindel and that is why Glorfindel is very angry with you."

"Is that why he called me naughty?"

"I think he would have liked to have called you a lot more things than naughty, Lindir. Asfaloth is Glorfindel's favourite horse and his pride and joy and also the chief sire of the colts that are bred in the stables. And as it happens, I know that Asfaloth had to be neutered last night because of what you did to him."

"Neutered? You mean they cut his balls off?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because the spider was very frightened and it bit into Asfaloth's balls and infected them. Asfaloth is lucky to be alive and is still unwell. And you are lucky to be alive as well. Come here; let me hug you, my dear."

"You are not going to spank me?"

"No, I am not. I do not believe in spanking children. Also, I am simply relieved that you are alive and well. I also know that you are very sorry that you made Asfaloth unwell and hurt Glorfindel because you like both of them very much, do you not?"

"Yes."

"However, I think you should go and apologise to Glorfindel and tell him what happened in your own words."

"Oh, but I do not want to; he looked so scary this morning."

"And he will look scary when you go to tell him that you are sorry, but it is better than making him think you purposely made Asfaloth sick, is it not?"

"I suppose so. Uncle?"

"Yes, Lindir?"

"Can you come with me?"

"No, Lindir. You are big enough to stand on your own two feet. Besides, if I was with you, Glorfindel might think that you are only apologising because I told you to and that would not make him appreciate your apology as much."

"Should I say anything else to Glorfindel besides what really happened and that I am sorry?"

"If you wish, tell him that you would like to do some chores for him."

"Okay. I am going to see him now, Uncle."

"Good boy, Lindir."
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