Trik Sulap Menebak Umur Seseorang

Effects : Anda bisa menebak usia seseorang melalui perhitungan matematis.

Prosedur :

1. Panggil seseorang naik ke atas panggung, pastikan tidak ada rekayasa di antara anda berdua.

2. Suruh ia memikirkan usianya dalam hati(misal 51)

3. Kalikan dengan 3 (51 x 3= 153)

4. Tambah 1 (153+1=154)

5. Kalikan 3 (154×3=462)

6. Tambahkan dengan usianya (462+51=513) Suruh ia meneriakkan hasilnya pada anda.

7. Untuk mengetahui usianya, buang saja digit terakhir pada hasil akhir angka tersebut. Usianya dapat diketahui lewat digit yang tidak dibuang.

Jejak Astronot Terlihat di Bulan

Foto-foto terbaru dari wahana penjelajah Bulan milik NASA sepertinya bakal mengakhiri perdebatan, apakah astronot AS benar-benar pernah mendarat di Bulan. Foto-foto yang diambil dari kamera wahana Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) itu menunjukkan jejak-jejak kaki dua astronot Apollo yang berusaha mencapai sebuah kawah di Bulan.

Foto tersebut memperlihatkan dataran di sekitar lokasi pendaratan Apollo 14, tempat astronot Alan Shepard dan Edgar Mitchell menjejakkan kaki di bulan pada 5 Februari 1971 menggunakan pendarat Antares.

Foto yang diperlihatkan minggu lalu itu menunjukkan bahwa kedua astronot sempat mendekati bibir kawah Cone Crater pada jarak sekitar 30 meter sebelum mereka memutuskan untuk kembali lagi.

Sekilas, foto tersebut memperlihatkan permukaan bulan yang polos tanpa ada tanda-tanda kehadiran manusia. Namun, jika diamati lebih detail, terlihat beberapa jejak pendaratan Antares dan keberadaan astronot yang tampak di sisi kiri bawah foto. Jejak sepatu Shepard dan Mitchell terlihat sedikit lebih gelap dibanding dataran sekitarnya.

Wilayah bulan yang dieksplorasi Shepard dan Mitchell dalam misi Apollo 14 adalah daerah berbukit dan berbatu yang disebut dataran tinggi Fra Mauro. Misi ini adalah yang ketiga dari enam kali pendaratan Apollo ke Bulan antara 1969 dan 1972.

LRO sebelumnya sudah mengirimkan foto lokasi pendaratan Apollo 14 serta daerah yang dikenal sebagai Tranquility Base, lokasi pendaratan pertama di Bulan. Tranquility Base didarati astronot Apollo 11 pada 20 Juli 1969.

Perburuan Cone Crater

Pada 6 Februari 1971, pada perjalanan kedua dari kunjungan selama 33 jam di Bulan, Shepard dan Mitchell mencoba mencapai Cone Crater untuk melihat bagian dasarnya. Kawah itu berada sekitar 1,4 km dari Antares sehingga pendarat tersebut tidak terlihat oleh para astronot. Selain itu, kawasan yang berbukit menyebabkan perjalanan menjadi melelahkan.

Lebih parah lagi, Shepard dan Mitchell kesulitan mendaki di permukaan Bulan yang lembut. “Masalah lainnya, ketidakstabilan permukaan di daerah itu membuat mereka kesulitan menandai lokasi yang akan mereka lalui,” tulis Shepard yang meninggal tahun 1998. “Ed dan saya kesulitan memutuskan, jalan mana yang akan kami tempuh, seberapa jauh kami sudah berjalan, dan di mana kami saat itu.”

“Dan kemudian datanglah saat paling membuat frustrasi dalam perjalanan itu. Kami mengira sudah dekat dengan kawah. Namun ternyata, kami berada di tepi kawah lain yang lebih kecil, dan masih agak jauh dari Cone Crater,” tulisnya. “Saat itu kami menghubungi Houston (pusat pengendali misi) dan memberi tahu posisi kami meragukan.”

Keduanya akhirnya tidak melanjutkan perjalanan menuju Cone Crater dan kembali ke pendarat Antares.

Pada foto LRO, salah satu penanda lokasi yang disebut Saddle Rock—sebelumnya pernah difoto oleh Shepard dan Mitchell—bisa terlihat. Dari foto itu tampak betapa dekat sebenarnya para astronot dari tujuan mereka.

Saat Shepard dan Mitchell berjalan di permukaan Bulan, rekan mereka, Stuart Roosa, mengorbit Bulan dalam modul komando. Mereka meninggalkan Bulan pada 6 Februari 1971 dan kembali ke Bumi tiga hari kemudian.

Sumber : kompas.com

Bukan Hanya Bumi yang Mengalami…

Dalam 100 tahun terakhir, temperatur global di planet Bumi meningkat 0,6 derajat celsius. Yang mencengangkan, kondisi senada—pemanasan—ternyata juga terjadi di planet-planet lain dalam sistem Tata Surya dalam waktu yang hampir bersamaan.

Temuan ini merupakan hasil pengamatan yang dilakukan para ilmuwan: astronom dan astrofisikawan, selama dua dasawarsa terakhir pada planet-planet tetangga Bumi yang ada di orbit Matahari, sumber energi utama kehidupan di Bumi.

Neptunus, planet intersolar terjauh dengan jarak rata-rata 4.450 juta kilometer dari Matahari, adalah salah satu yang mengalami fenomena turbulensi iklim ini. Dari hasil fotometri rutin oleh Observatorium Lowell di Amerika Serikat, sejak 1980 hingga sekarang Neptunus makin terlihat cemerlang.

Dari hasil pemantauan inframerah, seperti diungkapkan HB Hammel dan GW Lockwood, permukaan planet berwarna biru ini terus memanas dalam kurun waktu dua dasawarsa terakhir. Fotometri menunjukkan kenaikan signifikan. Dari sebelumnya 7,97 magnitude (mag) pada 1950 menjadi 7,81 mag di 2004. Semakin rendah angka magnitude, semakin cemerlang planet yang diamati.

Gejala sama terjadi di Triton, satelit alamiah terbesar yang mengelilingi Neptunus. Terhitung sejak 1989, suhu di permukaan Triton memanas signifikan hingga 5 persen dari skala temperatur absolut planet ini—setara kenaikan 22 derajat Fahrenheit.

Berdasarkan pemantauan wahana Voyager pada 1989, Triton memiliki suhu dingin ekstrem, yaitu rata-rata minus 392-389 derajat Fahrenheit (minus 200-198 derajat celsius). Namun, tren pemanasan ini mengakibatkan sebagian permukaan Triton yang terdiri dari nitrogen beku berubah menjadi gas. Ini membuat atmosfernya yang terkenal tipis menjadi kian tebal.

Seperti dikutip dari jurnal Nature, James L Elliot, astronom dari Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), mengungkapkan, perubahan iklim di salah satu bulan Neptunus ini terjadi sekali dalam beberapa ratus tahun akibat perubahan absorpsi energi solar di kutub-kutub es Triton.

Badai raksasa di Yupiter

Tren perubahan iklim juga terjadi di Yupiter, planet terbesar tata surya. Science Daily, Mei 2008, melaporkan, dalam dua tahun terakhir sebelum laporan dirilis, terjadi peningkatan aktivitas badai raksasa di atmosfer Yupiter. Teleskop Hubble menangkap citra yang menunjukkan terbentuknya titik merah (red spot) baru di planet ini.

Badai besar berukuran hingga 0,5 miliar mil ini kemudian disebut ilmuwan sebagai ”Red Spot Jr”. Badai yang tergolong langka ini terbentuk dari hasil penggabungan tiga badai oval berwarna putih pada kurun waktu 1998-2000. Hal serupa pernah terjadi seabad lalu, yaitu ketika terbentuk ”Great Red Spot” berukuran dua kali Bumi.

Menurut Phillip S Marcus, profesor dinamika fluida dari University of California, Berkeley, Yupiter mengalami perubahan iklim, yaitu suhu permukaan meningkat sebesar 10 derajat celsius. Kawasan ekuator menghangat, sementara wilayah di dekat kutub selatan semakin dingin. ”Aktivitas awan di sana dalam dua setengah tahun terakhir menunjukkan hal yang dramatis, sesuatu yang tidak lazim telah terjadi,” ujar Phillip.

Saat belum ada penjelasan yang utuh dan menyeluruh soal benang merah terjadinya perubahan iklim di planet-planet intersolar ini, astronom juga mengungkapkan, planet kerdil (Pluto) mengalami tren perubahan iklim senada. Apalagi, Pluto yang dicoret statusnya sebagai planet terletak sangat jauh dari Matahari, yaitu 6 miliar kilometer atau sekitar 40,5 satuan astronomi atau sekitar 40 kali jarak Matahari-Bumi. Tekanan atmosfer Pluto diketahui meningkat tiga kali lipat sejak akhir 1980-an. Diperkirakan, suhu permukaan ikut meningkat rata-rata 2 derajat celsius.

Padahal, tidak ada aktivitas manusia yang menimbulkan efek rumah kaca di sana. Lantas, apa penyebab perubahan temperatur di sejumlah planet dan obyek tata surya ini dalam waktu yang hampir bersamaan?

Matahari disalahkan

Mencoba memberikan benang merah, Habibullo Abdussamatov, Kepala Bidang Penelitian Luar Angkasa di Observatorium Astronomi St Petersburg, Rusia, mengklaim, aktivitas Matahari-lah yang memengaruhi perubahan temperatur di Bumi dan sejumlah planet.

Efek rumah kaca yang ditimbulkan manusia berkontribusi pada pemanasan di Bumi dalam beberapa tahun terakhir. Tetapi, itu tidak bisa menyamai dampak akibat meningkatnya iradiasi Matahari,” tuturnya.

Abdussamatov merujuk kepada pengalaman di Mars untuk memperkuat dalilnya yang kontroversial ini. Puluhan tahun terakhir ini permukaan Mars diketahui memanas dengan sangat cepat, yaitu empat kali dari laju pemanasan global di Bumi.

Mars, seperti halnya Bumi, diketahui pernah mengalami zaman es. Namun, lapisan es yang menyimpan karbon dioksida (CO) dalam jumlah besar di wilayah dekat kutub selatan Mars telah mencair sangat cepat. Dari 1970 hingga 1990 tercatat, temperatur udara di Mars meningkat 0,65 derajat celsius.

Hammel dan Lockwood juga ikut memperkuat koneksi faktor iradiasi Matahari dengan gejala perubahan iklim di Neptunus. Menurut mereka, koefisien relevansi antara tingkat iradiasi Matahari dan angka kecemerlangan Neptunus mencapai 0,90 atau nyaris sempurna.

Korelasi ini ikut dihubungkan dengan gejala anomali perubahan temperatur di Bumi. Data yang mereka peroleh menunjukkan, variasi perubahan iradiasi Matahari ternyata berbanding lurus pula dengan tren kenaikan suhu di Bumi.

Perubahan energi yang dipancarkan Matahari termasuk beragam variasinya, baik ultraviolet, kosmik, dan inframerah, sangat berkorelasi dengan perubahan temperatur di tiap planet, termasuk Bumi.

Dampak di tiap planet ditentukan faktor lokal, yaitu variasi kemiringan orbit, albedo (kemampuan merefleksikan kembali radiasi sinar ke atmosfer), dan aktivitas geologis seperti erupsi gunung berapi. Aktivitas manusia, yaitu efek rumah kaca, termasuk faktor lokal ini.

Meskipun demikian, mayoritas peneliti menolak anggapan sesuai uraian di atas.

Michaell Mann, meteorolog dari Penn State, Amerika Serikat, menuturkan, perubahan aktivitas Matahari dan segala variasinya hanya memengaruhi 0,1-1 persen iklim di Bumi. Tak cukup kuat untuk memicu perubahan iklim dramatis di Bumi.

Apalagi, tingkat keaktifan Matahari memiliki periode tiap 11 tahun dan saat ini masih dalam fase nonaktif. Sangat jarang terlihat bintik Matahari, salah satu indikator turunnya keaktifan Matahari, akhir-akhir ini.

Mereka yang tidak bisa menerima eksistensi faktor antropologis (aktivitas manusia) terhadap perubahan iklim, terus mencoba mengarahkannya ke aktivitas Matahari,” ucap Penn.

Sumber : kompas.com

Melancong dan Mendulang Emas di Ballarat

Berkunjung ke Melbourne, Australia, kurang lengkap tanpa mengunjungi sebuah kota tua yang terletak sedikit di luar kota Melbourne, yakni Ballarat. Untuk wisatawan, kunjungan ke Ballarat adalah salah satu prioritas utama, sejajar dengan tempat-tempat seperti Phillip Islands dan Great Ocean Roads. Bahkan, apabila setelah berpuas diri menikmati kota Melbourne dan hanya punya satu kesempatan lain melancong sedikit di luar kota Melbourne, pilihan pertama sangat pantas untuk disematkan pada kota Ballarat.

Dengan sistem transportasi yang sangat memanjakan wisatawan, kita dapat mengunjungi Ballarat dengan beberapa pilihan transportasi. Yang pertama, dan yang paling banyak dipilih wisatawan, adalah melalui biro perjalanan. Pilihan ini sangat pas untuk wisatawan yang baru pertama kali berkunjung ke Melbourne dan tidak mengetahui persis seluk beluk transportasi di Melbourne.

Yang harus kita lakukan hanyalah mendatangi Tourist Information di Federation Square, tepat di depan stasiun utama kota Melbourne, Flinders Station. Di tempat ini, segala informasi tentang wisata di kota Melbourne dan sekitarnya bisa didapatkan dengan mudah, termasuk pelayanan transportasi yang diperlukan.

Cara kedua untuk pergi ke Ballarat adalah dengan menyewa kendaraan. Apabila kita pergi bersama rekan atau keluarga, menyewa kendaraan bisa menjadi pilihan yang lebih ekonomis dibandingkan pergi melalui biro perjalanan. Tentunya pengetahuan tentang kondisi jalan di Melbourne menjadi keharusan. Umumnya, dengan cara pertama ataupun kedua, Ballarat dapat ditempuh dalam waktu kurang lebih 1,5 jam.

Cara ketiga menuju Ballarat adalah dengan menggunakan transportasi umum. Ini cocok untuk para backpackers, karena sedikit lebih menantang dan tentunya paling ekonomis. Satu hal yang sangat perlu diperhatikan dengan cara ini adalah jadwal kereta dan bus yang akan membawa kita ke Ballarat. Mengingat Ballarat adalah kota kecil, setiap hari hanya terdapat dua jadwal keberangkatan bus menuju lokasi wisata tersebut, pagi dan sore. Apabila terlambat mengejar bus tersebut, mungkin terpaksa harus mencari hotel untuk menginap.

Lokasi tujuan wisata utama di kota Ballarat adalah yang dikenal dengan nama Sovereign Hill. Di tempat ini, kita dapat melihat berbagai lokasi saat terjadi perburuan emas besar-besaran (gold rush) di Victoria. Terkhusus di Ballarat, gold rush terjadi sekitar tahun 1851.

Hebatnya, pemerintah kota Ballarat bersama pemerintah negara bagian Victoria berhasil menjadikan Sovereign Hill sebuah lokasi yang membawa pengunjung ke situasi saat terjadi gold rush. Bangunan tua bernuansa abad 18 masih sangat kental, seperti hotel, saloon (atau lebih dikenal dengan bar), kantor pos, dan tentunya juga lokasi untuk mendulang emas berikut segala perlengkapannya, baik peralatan manual maupun mesin-mesin sederhana ala abad ke -18.

Untuk membawa wisatawan lebih tenggelam ke masa silam, Sovereign Hill juga dilengkapi dengan orang-orang yang berpakaian khas abad 18. Mereka berdandan seperti penduduk biasa, penambang emas, penjaga bar. Anak-anak pun berdandan seperti anak di masa 1800-an. Selain itu, terdapat juga satu pasukan tentara yang secara rutin mengadakan upacara, lengkap dengan senapan dan meriam.

Hal ini menambah kesan yang tak akan terlupakan bagi wisatawan, tentunya. Pada jam-jam tertentu bisa pula kita mengabadikan diri dalam kostum di masa gold rush itu. Lokasi ini menyediakan penyewaan kostum lengkap dengan fasilitas berfoto.

Yang lebih menarik, di sini kita bisa mencoba sendiri mendulang emas. Berbagai peralatan sederhana yang dulu digunakan untuk mendulang emas tersedia untuk dicoba. Dengan ketekunan dan berjuta keberuntungan, kita bisa membawa pulang emas hasil mendulang sendiri. Bukan lagi menjadi rahasia, bahwa beberapa wisatawan berhasil membawa sejumput emas hasil mendulang di tempat ini.

Setelah berpuas diri menikmati kota tua di zaman modern, kita bisa mengakhiri perjalanan di Sovereign Hill dengan membeli sejumlah suvenir khas gold rush. Persis sebelum pintu keluar, berbagai suvenir khas Sovereign Hill dan juga khas Australia tersedia dalam berbagai ragam dan harga. Selamat melancong!

Sumber : kompas.com

Fun for the Secret Seven Part.13

Thirteen

What an excitement!

Janet decided to go and get Peter before all the excitement was over. He’d never, never forgive her if she didn’t. So she flew upstairs at top speed, and shook him awake. ‘Peter! Come quickly! We’ve got horse-thieves in the stable! Tolly fought them, and now the police are here and Daddy and Mother and everybody’s fighting in the stables!’

Don’t be silly! You’ve just had a bad dream!’ said Peter, astonished and cross. ‘Go back to bed. Fancy waking me with a silly story like that!’ And he turned over to go to sleep again. Janet shook him hard.

Sit up, sit up!’ she shouted. ‘Then you can hear the row. You’ll miss all the excitement. Anyway. I’m going to watch from the window!’

By this time Peter began to think there might be something in what Janet was shouting about. So he leapt out of bed and ran to the window with her. Good gracious! What a row — what shouts — what bids and scuffles — what barks from Scamper and excited neighs from the horses!

Come on!’ said Peter, and without waiting to put on his dressing-gown or slippers he fled downstairs, out into the yard, and into the stable. Whew, what an excitement!

Most of the trouble was over now. But what a fight it had been! Tolly had gone for the thieves with a pitchfork, and made them dance in pain. They had tried to let out the horses, but the brave beasts had stood their ground, and Brownie had done quite a bit of snapping and kicking. The men were terrified of him. He had got one of them into a corner, and the man did not dare to move, and was glad when a sturdy policeman came up to handcuff him! ‘Take that horse away from me,’ begged the man. ‘He’s just about broken my ankle with a kick, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s bitten my ear off.’

I hope he has,’ said the policeman, grimly, and pushed the man roughly into the next stall, where two other men had also been imprisoned. One had been lucked on the arm, and was nursing the wounded limb, his face angry and fierce. The third man had been knocked down when Tolly had flung himself on him, and had a badly cut head.

Are the horses hurt?’ Janet asked Tolly, who, breathless with the fight, was standing holding on to one of the thieves.

No, Miss — not hurt at all,’ panted Tolly. ‘Old Brownie’s enjoyed the shindy. My, my — the way he pranced about, and kicked out with those big hooves of his! I began to feel sorry for these horse-thieves! I was knocked down once, but old Brownie came up and almost snapped the man’s arm off. Good old Brownie. He wasn’t a bit afraid, Miss. He was clever too. He never so much as snapped at a policeman — only at the thieves!’

With a lot of shoving and pushing the horse-thieves were taken to the police cars. They were difficult to handle, and, to Peter’s delight, he saw that every thief had a good stout policeman sitting down hard on him. There certainly would be no escape for them!

Everything seems very quiet suddenly,’ said Mother. ‘My word, what an adventure! What a good thing you were awake, Janet, and heard the thieves.’

Er — well, actually I was still reading,’ confessed Janet. ‘And the moonlight was so lovely I decided to go out in it with Scamper — and heard the noise in the stables. Are you hurt, Tolly? Fancy — you thought horse-thieves might be coming some night, and you were right. What a good thing you sleep with the horses!’

I wouldn’t sleep anywhere else if I knew horse-thieves were about!’ said Tolly, brushing himself down.

The horses were restive and uneasy. ‘I think, sir, if it’s all right with you I’ll take them all out for a quiet canter,’ said Tolly. Then they’ll probably settle down quietly for the rest of the night.’

Right, Tolly. And thanks for all your help tonight,’ said Peter’s father. ‘I’ll see you get some reward for it. It’s good to have a man like you on the job.’

Tolly — what exactly happened?’ asked Janet, excitedly.

Well, Miss, I bedded down in the straw on my old mattress, in the stall next to old Brownie, see? And the horses, they went to sleep, seemingly, because I didn’t hear much stamping or whinnying. And then, some time later on, old Brownie here he whinnied right in my ear — leaned over my stall and whinnied, he did. Quiet-like, as if he wanted to whisper.

Well, I sat up, of course, and there he was looking down at me anxious-like. The moonlight was shining into the stable and it was as bright as day, Miss. Then I heard another noise — and that wasn’t a noise made by any horse, Miss. It was a man sneezing, and trying to stop his sneeze. And I thought to myself, Oho, Here we go! Horse-thieves, or I’ll eat my old cap!’

What then?’ asked Janet, breathlessly, her heart still beating fast.

Well, then up I gets, pushes open the half-door, and stands up to see what was what. And I saw a man undoing the latch of Major’s stall, up there, see. And old Major he began to carry on alarming. He snorted and whinnied and stamped till I thought he’d bring the stable down. How that man got him out of his stall, I don’t know — but I do know that as soon as Major had room to kick out, he did — and that fellow went flying from one end of the stable to the other! Then I saw more chaps and I went mad. I picked up that there pitchfork and they struggled with me like madmen. They didn’t want to get pricked by that sharp old fork. But there’s one of them won’t be able to sit down for a fortnight, that he won’t!’

And old Tolly went off into a hoot of laughter that made all the horses turn round and look at him.

Go on, Tolly. This is a tale worth telling,’ said Peter’s father, looking grim and amused at one and the same time.

I don’t rightly know what I did next,’ said Tolly, scratching his head. ‘I do know I saw one of them with my old Brownie again, and I caught hold of Brownie’s head, swung him round and told him to kick the fellows out — send them flying. And old Brownie, he’s always obedient, you know. My word, he sent two of them flying! One cracked his head on a door — and didn’t he howl! “Shame on you,” I said, “you’ll wake up all the bobbies in the district” — and bless me, sir, at that very minute the police came and joined the fight. Like magic, it was!’

Well, you’ve done a grand and a brave job tonight, Tolly,’ said Peter’s father. ‘I hope you’ll regard yourself as on my permanent staff now — head of the stables — and over any of the younger staff. I can do with a man like you here! Why that fellow Dinneford let you go, I don’t know! Well — see to the horses for a while and quieten them and then bed down yourself. Good night.’

And with that he put his arm round his wife’s shoulders, motioned to the two excited children to go on in front and shepherded everyone back inside the house, including a most excited Scamper.

How any of us are going to sleep tonight, I don’t know!’ he said. ‘Too exciting for words! Well — we’ll yarn about it in the morning — and now — good night, Peter, good night, Janet. Sleep well!’

The children didn’t want to go back to bed. They wanted to stay and talk and talk about all that had happened. They wanted to go and speak to each of the horses, they wanted to talk to Tolly — in fact, they wanted to do anything but go to bed.

But their father was determined. ‘I said “Go back to bed” and I meant it. You’ll catch frightful colds staying out here with so little on, after being in warm beds — and you’re missing your night’s sleep. If you don’t go back to bed straight away now I shall forbid you to go near Tolly or the stables tomorrow, and that you won’t like at all!’

All right, Daddy — we’re going,’ grinned Peter. ‘Goodness, what a night! I’ve never had an adventure like this before — in our very own home. What in the world will the other members of the Secret Seven say when we tell them tomorrow!’

Off you go, for the last time!’ said his father, giving him a firm push. ‘Go and think about it in bed.’

At last the two children were safely in bed, shouting remarks to one another from their different rooms. Then suddenly Peter had no answer to his questions and knew that Janet was asleep!

Both children slept late when morning came, and didn’t even hear the breakfast gong. Their mother let them lie in bed, remembering how late they had been the night before. But they were cross when they got up at last and found that quite a bit of the morning had gone. ‘Oh, Mother! We wanted to go round and call the Secret Seven to another meeting!’ grumbled Peter. ‘They must know all that happened last night. It was so very, very exciting.’

Will you please finish your breakfast and stop grumbling, Peter dear?’ said his mother. ‘You’ve the whole day to call a meeting. I shall clear away your breakfast in exactly ten minutes’ time, so if you want a good breakfast you’d better get on with it.’

It was exciting to talk about the night before. Immediately breakfast was over they went to talk to Tolly. He was rubbing down one of the horses, whistling between his teeth. He grinned at the two children.

Well — we had a night of it, didn’t we?’ he said. ‘They nearly got my old Brownie! Ah, they didn’t know how loudly he could hrrrrrrrrumph! Woke me up at once, he did.’

They didn’t know that you slept in the stable with the horses, either, else they’d have been more careful,’ said Janet. ‘You’re very fierce, aren’t you, Tolly? I felt quite scared of you last night when I saw you with that hay fork.’

I reckon they feel scared of me this morning too,’ said Tolly, wringing out his cloth in the horse-pail. ‘I keep thinking of that chap that won’t be able to sit down for a week — and the other one, he won’t be able to walk for a fortnight!’

A jolly good thing too!’ said Peter.

Well, it’s what horse-thieves deserve!’ said old Tolly. ‘I remember the last tune I had to do with a horse-thief. He came stealing past my cottage into the stables I was in at that time, and I saw his shadow on my blind. Well, me and Codger, we got up at once, and I took my old pail with me — and I told Codger to chase the man to the old pump — and my, when I got there too, I worked the pump and filled my pail, and over the fellow’s head went the icy-cold water. He couldn’t get away — Codger saw to that — and I threw five more pails of water over him. Laugh! I had to sit down on the old wall to get my breath, I’d such a stitch in my side.’

Tolly knew how to tell a story very well, and the children could have listened for ages. But Tolly had work to do.

Wait a minute, Tolly, wait,’ said Peter. ‘We’re going to spend some of that money on a birthday party for Brownie, and all of us — you too — are to come. We’ll get some very special oats for Brownie, and a whole pound of sugar lumps and . . .’

Now look here, Master Peter, nobody’s going to give my Brownie a pound of sugar lumps!’ said Tolly, in alarm. ‘He’d be as fat as an old cow in no time — and his poor back legs would have even more weight to carry. He . . .’

It’s all right, Tolly. We shall give you the sugar lumps to dole out to him!’ said Peter. ‘Or you can dole them out to us to give him. We promise not to make him fat. He’s exactly right as he is!’

No notes needed to be written to call the Secret Seven to a meeting. When the news ran round Peterswood that horse-thieves had been to Peter’s house, the rest of the members came rushing down to find out what had happened! Peter took them all down to the little meeting-shed.

The members sat down expectantly, all agog to hear everything. ‘The milkman told me,’ said Pam. ‘And I rushed round and told the others — but most of them knew, Peter, what happened? Are the horses safe?’

Perfectly,’ said Peter. ‘But I have a fresh piece of news for everyone. The night before they came to us, they went to Mr Dinneford’s — and took his three best horses! And nobody knows where they are yet.’

Serve him right,’ said George, and the others nodded in agreement. ‘Horrid man! Well, he lost Tolly through his bad temper and meanness — and now he’s lost three of his horses. Will the horses be all right?’

Oh yes — they are too valuable to be ill-treated by the thieves — they’ll be all right except for a fright. But goodness knows where the thieves have taken them to — or who has bought them!’

Well — I just can’t feel sorry for Mr Dinneford,’ said Peter. ‘When I think how he spoilt dear old Brownie’s hind legs through making him work with an overloaded cart, I just think to myself, “Well, serve him right!” ’

I think we all feel like that,’ said Barbara. ‘Peter, did you find out when Brownie’s birthday is?’

Oh yes — that’s really what I wanted to call a meeting about,’ said Peter. ‘It’s on Friday. I’ve spoken to Dad about it, and he says he’d like to join in too, and make it a real good day for Brownie and Tolly. And don’t you think we ought to ask Bob too? It was he who told us about Brownie and Tolly.’

Yes — of course ask him — fine!’ said George, and the others nodded in complete agreement.

Dad says that he thinks it would be a good idea to spend most of the money we have left on helping to buy a decent saddle for Brownie,’ said Peter. ‘Then Tolly can ride him in comfort, and Brownie will love that. Dad also said that we must get a really good one, and so he will put some money towards the saddle too, as he feels so grateful to Tolly for saving our horses last night.’

Good idea!’ cried everyone, very pleased, and Colin added, ‘Jolly decent of your father!’

Well, there’ll be plenty of money left for a very fine party,’ said Peter. ‘I vote we have it in the stable yard, so that all the horses can look out of the stable — and see us — and we can give them sugar lumps so that they can feel they’re in the party too.’

Hurray!’ cheered everyone, getting really excited. ‘Hurray!’

And that is why they are now all sitting down to a long table set out in the stable yard. Brownie’s birthday has arrived. He is thirteen years old today, though he doesn’t know it. He can’t imagine why everyone is making such a fuss of him — and look at the garland of flowers he’s wearing — doesn’t he look fine! Dear old Brownie — everyone loves you!

Hanging in the stable is a fine new saddle, just right for Brownie to wear. That’s what Peter’s father and the children bought for Tolly — and he’s so proud of it that he can hardly wait to put it on Brownie’s back and ride him.

There’s a birthday cake too, with ‘Happy Birthday, Brownie!’ on it. Well, well — if ever a horse could be proud, Brownie could be today!

But he’s not at all conceited. There he stands, look, his big brown eyes as kind as ever, his coat shining beautifully. Ah — sugar lumps! Good! And a slice of iced cake — even better! And a fine handful of the very best corn from Tolly’s horny hand — a very nice titbit indeed.

Hrrrumph, hrrrumph, hrrrumph!’ says Brownie, and everyone laughs as Brownie nods his head politely.

He says “Thanks, thanks, thanks!” ’ says Janet. ‘Tolly — I really do think he’s the nicest horse in the world!’

You’re right there, Missy you’re right!’ said Tolly, taking Brownie another piece of cake, and look, Brownie is nuzzling into his ear, just as if he is whispering to the old man.

He says he reckons there’s no children like you!’ reported Tolly, and that made everyone laugh.

Well, I think Brownie’s right, Secret Seven. I really do think he’s right!

to be continued…

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Fun for the Secret Seven Part.12

Twelve

In the middle of the night

Everyone went to bed early that night. Peter’s father was tired for he had been helping with the farm-work, as one of the men was on holiday. Mother was always sleepy at night, and glad to go early. Only the children wanted to stay up to finish their books, but they were sent off to bed in spite of their complaints.

And you’re not to read in bed for hours and hours, see?’ said Mother. ‘You’re to put out your lights in good time. Be good children, now.’

So off they went, grumbling. Their bedrooms were next to each other, so they could call to one another easily. They settled down with their books. Janet had a very, very exciting one, about smugglers’ caves, and she read on and on, quite forgetting the time.

You’ll get a jolly good scolding in the morning when you own up to the time you put out your light!’ called Peter, putting his out. ‘Good night, bookworm.’

Janet’s book was certainly very exciting. She forgot all about the time. In fact, she forgot that she was in bed, she was so sure she was in the smugglers’ caves with four children and their dog Timmy.

The clock downstairs struck very solemnly indeed. It was the big grandfather clock, and he had a deep, grave note. Janet listened, and counted. Good gracious — eleven o’clock! Whatever would Mother say when she had to own up in the morning that she had heard old Grandfather strike eleven? Guiltily she put her book on the floor, put out her light, and drew back the curtain. At once the room was absolutely flooded in bright silver moonlight!

How beautiful!’ whispered Janet. ‘Oh, how beautiful! Just like extra lovely daylight with a sort of silver sheen.’ She stood and looked out for a while, and then made up her mind.

I must go out in it, I must, I must! she thought. It’s a fairy sort of night. I’ll put on my dressing-gown and go and dance in the moonlight. I shan’t tell anyone though — they’d think I was mad!

She pulled on her dressing-gown, called Scamper in a whisper from Peter’s bedroom, and set off down the stairs. It all seemed very exciting, and not a bit frightening. The moonlight was so very, very bright!

She went out of the back door, and stood in the yard gazing up at the moon sailing along in the sky. It looked very big indeed.

I can’t go back to bed when the moon is shining so beautifully! thought Janet. I know! I’ll go and see if Brownie is awake! I’ll whisper in his ear and tell him I’ve come to see him, because the moonlight is so bright. He’ll be so pleased to see me.

She was afraid to walk round the yard in the moonlight just in case her mother or father happened to be awake and standing at the window to look at the moon. So she went quietly all round the yard in the shadows, Scamper close beside her.

And then Scamper suddenly gave a growl and stopped. He pulled at Janet’s night-dress and gave another little growl. She stopped absolutely still in the dark shadow of a tree, and listened. What was Scamper growling at? A rat? A mouse running into its hole? She could hear no sound at all, and see no mouse or rat. So on she went again, still keeping in the shadows.

And then she heard a noise. It sounded like an exclamation — somewhere in the stables. Who could be there? Well, Tolly, of course. He always bedded down in straw or hay in the stables, his old mattress beneath him. He couldn’t bear to leave his beloved horses!

Janet’s heart began to beat very loudly indeed, and very fast. She put her hand on Scamper’s collar, and whispered in his ear. ‘Don’t bark or growl. Keep close to me. I’ll find out what’s going on. I’ll peep in at one of the stable windows. Now be quiet, Scamper, be quiet!’

Together they kept in the shadows and came to the big stables. The horses were restless, and were stamping their feet and moving about. One gave a little whinny.

And then a great noise sprang up! At least, it seemed a great noise to Janet, crouching in the shadows! There were shouts — yes, shouts in Tolly’s voice. There were excited whinnies. There was the sound of men’s feet. Then Tolly’s voice came, ‘Help! Help!’

Janet could now see into one of the stable windows. She looked down into the stables, and saw a fight going on. There were three men there, one holding Brownie, one holding another horse, and the third fighting poor Tolly! Crack! Bang! Biff! What a fight. Janet was terrified and couldn’t help giving a scream. Tolly heard her, but the others didn’t. He called out to the frightened girl peeping down at the fight from the window just above him. ‘Get help quickly! Save the horses!’

No good calling for help, old man!’ said one of the thieves, roughly. ‘There’s no one near these stables!’

Janet, really frightened, raced back to the house in her dressing-gown and slippers. ‘Daddy! Mummy! Quick, the horse-thieves are there! Tolly’s fighting them! Daddy, daddy!’

Her father and mother awoke at once, and her father raced downstairs in his pyjamas. When Janet ran into the house, her mother was already telephoning the police!

She sobbed out about Tolly being attacked, and her mother comforted her. ‘The police will be here in a minute,’ she said. ‘You go into the drive and wait for them, and take them to the stables. I must go and see if I can help your father!’ And, taking a large kitchen poker with her, she fled outside in her dressing-gown. How brave! thought Janet, proudly, waiting in the drive. Oh dear — why doesn’t Peter wake up!

Just then the police drove up in their car. ‘Hey, Miss — where’s the fuss? Quick, tell us!’ called a voice, and a big, strong policeman ran up to her.

I’ll take you,’ cried Janet. ‘Someone’s stealing our horses. I saw them. Daddy’s gone to stop them and Mother’s gone too.’

What with shouts and yells, and whinnies and barks, a tremendous noise was coming from the stables! Janet began to tremble, but she bravely trailed behind the police in her old dressing-gown! Were her mother and father all right? What had happened to Tolly? Were the horses hurt — or Scamper?

She didn’t want to go to the stables to see what was happening, but she had to. Good gracious, what a turmoil!

There was Daddy firmly on top of one horse-thief. And there was Tolly on top of another, hitting him well and truly. And dear me, there was a third one, down on his knees in front of Mother, begging her to let him go!

Codger and Scamper were having a simply wonderful time. They kept darting at the men and snapping at them, and the men were scared stiff. All the horses were upset and excited, scuffling and stamping and whinnying in their stalls. Janet felt as if she simply must sit down. Everything was much too exciting. So she sat on the cold stone wall outside the stables and waited for the fight to die down. Good gracious — what a thing to happen! Oh, poor Peter — he was in bed, out of all this excitement. She really, really, must fetch him!

to be continued…