The Miraculous, Spectaculous Courtyard Pond is an unforgettable, hilariously funny, rip-rollicking tale of friendship, love and community devotion of all the creatures in this beautiful pond environment.

Gilford and Vernon are the best of goldfish friends. They live in a very big pond which they share with all the amazing creatures of this wonderful, marine environment. However, not all is peaceful in this spectacular world.

In a bumper spawning season, the Koi, commanded by Sir Kingston Koi, demand an expansion to their territories. The leader of the Frog Fellowship, Sir Filbert Frogmore, opposes this radical action, leading to the emergence of a rebellion. A battle seems inevitable when Queen Bea, Sir Filbert and Lord Koi negotiate the terms for their existence.

All the while, Gilford and Vernon are hounded by the school bully, Buster Brownfin who goes one step too far when Gilford's life lays in the balance. Would Gilford survive such needless and thoughtless provocation?

Meanwhile, up above the pond, the dragonflies and butterflies amaze as they fly effortlessly in the wind. Up in the treetops the ravens squawk and argue amongst themselves whilst the pretentious Wise Council of the Owls hoot and debate the sensitive issues surrounding the pond's future. By invitation, Ernie ‘The Aussie' Eagle arrives to settle their differences before a great celebration ensues. Would life in this incredible world return to some resemblance of normality, or would the Koi reign? Welcome to the inspirational and wonderful world of the Miraculous, Spectaculous Courtyard Pond.

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Excerpt from The Miraculous, Spectaculous Courtyard Pond © Copyright 2023 Damien M Casey

Vernon wasn’t happy. It was a cool day, and the dragonfly nymphs were in abundant supply. From the bottom of the pond, he watched with bated breath for his chance to take the bait when the order came in.

“Don’t do it, Vernon. Mrs Googlyeyes has been watching you, and she’s put the word out. You’ll have to settle on the mosquitos and the tadpoles for now,” said his best friend, Gilford.

“Oooh, she makes my blood boil. Who does she think she is bossing us around all day? Hmmm? One day I’m going to show her what for. Schmakko! ̶ right in the kisser. That’ll put her fins in a twist. Oh, I’m sorry, Gilford. It’s just…well….it’s just that I’ve tried so hard to fit in.”

“I know you have, and believe me, you’re not the only one that feels that way. Better to not poke the bearfish, Vernon, wouldn’t you say? Besides, rumour has it that she’s heading off for the duckweed soon.”

“The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned. Let the frogs deal with her.”

“Sir Filbert won’t take any of her nonsense. I can assure you of that,” said Gilford.

“Yes, you’re right. Oh, I shouldn’t get so upset, but she has been yanking my chain lately. Oh, this pond just isn’t big enough for the both of us, is it?”

“Come. There’s no point floating around feeling sorry for ourselves, but I have to tell you that she wants to see you.”

“Oh, yes. I wonder what that old blubber fish wants now.”

“Now, now. I know she’s a trifle interfering, but she means well.”

“She should just mind her own business. What, with the cricket choristers singing their annoying songs at dusk and with her warbling antics, I can never get any peace ̶ none at all.”

“My, we have got up on the wrong side of the seabed today, haven’t we? Come along. There’s no point salivating,” said Gilford.

“Oooh, they do look tasty though.”

“Come along, Vernon. I’ve had quite enough conflict for one day.”
Reluctantly, Vernon and Gilford meandered away from the tasty morsels up above through the slimy backwater trails of the agglomerated silkweed and algae proliferation towards the glamorous goldfish gathering at the gloomy globule gardens located far away in the south western province of the pond. Busy as usual, Mrs Googlyeyes chatted away incessantly when Vernon and Gilford approached.

“Ah, there you are. Mrs Toadfish and I were just discussing how inappropriate the accumulation of the snail sludge trail and slime infestations are around our grotto. I was under the impression that the both of you had been selected for that task. Now, I don’t want to cause a fuss, Vernon, but of late, I find this wilful neglect of your duties to be quite unacceptable.”

“Oh, yes, entirely unacceptable. If the local Goldfish Government were to hear of this, there’d be hell to pay,” said Mrs Toadfish.

“Be that as it may, I don’t want to cause a fuss. Now, I expect that the both of you should have it as clean as a whistle weed before the day is out. Do I make myself clear?”

Vernon and Gilford shrugged their pectoral fins when they accepted Mrs Googlyeyes direction. She was not a goldfish to be messed with. After all she was a sitting member for the Duckweed Electorate, a single heralded honour for any blue-blooded goldfish of the Carassius line.

“Yes, Missus Googlyeyes,” said Vernon.

“Oh, by the way, I bumped into your mother and father, Vernon, and I informed them that we were not happy at all. He’s going to have a quiet word with you.”

Vernon rolled his orbital eyes. “Will that be all, Missus Googlyeyes?”

“Hmmm, well, I’ve heard that Percy Tench is applying for an internship with Doctor Sturgeon.”

“He’s going places you know. You should think about joining the medical program, Vernon. Infections are everywhere,” said Mrs Toadfish.

“No thanks. I’ll leave the bootlicking for Percy. He seems to be an expert at it.”

“Oh, ho, ho, ho. You do have a sense of humour. Oh, yes, well, run along now, dear, and wish your mother well from me,” said Mrs Googlyeyes.

Vernon and Gilford nodded their understanding as they swished their pectoral fins before they made their way for home. Sunlight streamed in from up above. Its cosmic energies penetrated the water of the pond with a radiating warmth. It was quiet, so beautifully quiet that a stillness hung in the air. Paused to perfection like a perfect oil painting, the glorious silence was maintained until, if one listened well enough, you could hear the crickets chirping amongst the bullrushes and sedge fields. Listen again, and the croaking of the frogs could be heard amongst the rustling of the leaves and the chirping of the thrushes in the trees. Nothing is ever truly silent, is it? Vernon liked it here in the middle of the pond. He was able to escape the annoying chattering of the goldfish fraternity and the clumsy schools of larger Koi that gobbled everything up in sight. After negotiating their way back through the slimy, weed-infested growth of the watery abyss, Vernon and Gilford eventually found their way home. Vernon was in a somewhat sullen mood.

“Why can’t they see that I’m just as worthy as Percy? What does he have that I haven’t got, Gilford?”

“Hmmm, well, for one thing his father is a member of Whistleweed Hospital’s Committee, and Mrs Tench is highly regarded on the social scene. It’s just the way things are, Vernon.”

“Well, I don’t like it, not one little bit. I’ll show them. I’ll show those trumped-up snobs that a lowly goldfish can do anything and more. Why, they’ll come to me begging for forgiveness. I’ll be the toast of the town at the Grand Fish Ball. Oh, Gilford, I can see it now ̶ Vernon Carassius ̶ hunter and conqueror. Oh, yes. Once they realize that I’m different, they’ll come knocking at my door.”

Vernon was a dreamer. He liked to think big in his small pond. However murky life became amongst the caliginous sludge of the pond, Vernon’s dreams remained pure and defined.

“One day, they’ll listen to me, Gilford ̶ one day!”

“I must be off, Vernon. I can hear father chomping at the bit.”

“Is he all right?”

Gilford brought his pectoral fin up to his chin.

“No, not really. Ever since he lost his job at the mussel cleaning factory, he’s been a right pain. I mean, it was his life, Vernon.”

“Hmmm. It seems that we’re never truly happy, are we? See you tomorrow then, Gilford.”

“Tomorrow then.”

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