Inspector Winston and the Thieving Magpie

Uhr Icon Reading time: approx. 15 minutes
Inspector Winston and the Thieving Magpie

Winston the Dachshund was snoozing in the morning sun when he heard Mrs. Robertson’s excited voice coming from the kitchen. She was sitting by the window, holding up the daily newspaper so that her delicate figure was almost completely hidden behind it.

“If you didn’t know she was sitting there,” Winston thought to himself, “you’d think the newspaper was talking.” 

From his cozy spot in the hallway, he watched with amusement as Mrs. Robertson desperately tried to tame the many crackling and rustling pages in order to fold them back into their original state. 

Finally, she placed the newspaper neatly on the kitchen table next to a slice of jam roll and teacup. Only then did Mrs. Robertson notice Winston’s curious look.

“Oh Winston, if only you knew,” she said. “The things that have been happening in this place lately… hard to imagine. Those beautiful jewels. It really is a tragedy!” 

Mrs. Robertson took a sip of tea, took another bite of her jam roll and began to clear the table, lost in thought. 

“She could have expressed herself a little more clearly,” thought Winston, who was spending the weekend with Mrs. Robertson. His parents had been invited to a wedding in Italy.

“What does the newspaper say?” Winston wondered. “And what jewels is Mrs. Robertson talking about?” He paced back and forth in the living room, thinking to himself. 

“Jewels? In this small town?” he wondered. “And what could have happened to them?” It felt like Winston’s head was starting to spin.

He was still pacing back and forth, lost in thought, which was making Mrs. Robertson nervous. She had been watching the restless dachshund for a quarter of an hour and found his behavior very strange. 

“Maybe he didn’t eat breakfast?” Worried about the dachshund’s condition, she decided to call Winston’s parents in Italy as a precaution.

“Please excuse the interruption,” she said when his father answered. “You’re supposed to be relaxing in Italy. Is it as nice and warm as you hoped?” 

Mrs. Robertson tried to keep calm during the conversation, but her neighbor could tell that something was wrong. 

“Is everything all right with you and Winston?” he asked.

“You won’t believe what happened here in town last night!” Mrs. Robertson explained. “All the jewels were stolen from the old town museum. Now they’re probably gone forever. And the worst part is that nobody knows who did it or how they broke into the museum in the first place. It’s under surveillance day and night!” 

Now that she was talking, she couldn’t stop. 

“And I’m also worried about Winston,” she said. “He’s behaving rather strangely this morning, pacing and not settling down at all. I suspect he didn’t eat his breakfast. I made him an egg, was that wrong?”

Winston’s father tried to reassure Mrs. Robertson. “You certainly didn’t do anything wrong with the breakfast egg. On the contrary! If I know my dachshund, it was a real treat. In fact, I suspect he’s just as upset by the news as you are!” 

There was silence on the line for a moment. Mrs. Robertson was about to remind him that Winston was only a dog, but stopped when she saw Winston’s head peeking around the door frame.

“You’d almost think he understood us…” she whispered. 

Now Winston’s father was worried about Mrs. Robertson and asked her to keep calm for the time being. He reassured her that his dog was certainly fine and that he would be back in two days. Until then, she shouldn’t worry. 

After the conversation, Mrs. Robertson dropped into her wingback chair.

Meanwhile, Winston sat down on the steps that led down to Mrs. Robertson’s small garden and let the warm wind blow through his shaggy fur. He dozed off thinking about what it was like in Italy. 

He missed his father and briefly wondered whether he shouldn’t have gone along after all. But he quickly came to the conclusion that he would then have missed the mysterious jewel robbery. 

Just then, he was torn from his thoughts by something shiny up in the sky. He could hear a soft clinking sound in the wind and realized it was being held in the beak of a bird. 

He couldn’t see what kind of bird it was, only that it was heading straight for Mrs. Robertson’s old apple tree. When the bird landed, Winston made his way over. He sat down under the tree and barked loudly a few times. The bird looked down from the branch. 

“Aha, a magpie,” Winston thought to himself and wondered what the glittery thing was that had just been transported to the nest. “I’ll be sure to keep an eye on you, after all, magpies are said to have a certain preference for shiny things.” 

Winston spent the whole afternoon in Mrs. Robertson’s garden watching the magpie tirelessly transport objects to her nest. 

“Are you the thief we’ve been looking for?” he wondered. “I’ll find out in time. I’ll have to set a trap for you.” 

Winston devised a plan to trick the magpie. He wandered through the house and searched for shiny objects. And sure enough, in Mrs. Robertson’s bedroom he discovered several pearl necklaces and a bracelet with shiny ornaments. 

“Mrs. Robertson would certainly never forgive me for risking her jewelry…” he thought.

Looking for another idea, he let his gaze wander around the room one last time and then smiled. 

“I’ve got it!” He walked to the chest of drawers on which a few craft items and scraps of fabric lay. There was a beautiful silver tiara with colorful, glittering stones glued to it. 

He knew that the tiara wasn’t real because Mrs. Robertson was passionate about carnival and had been working on her costumes. 

“I’m sorry Mrs. Robertson,” he thought. “It’s a nice tiara but I’ll have to use you to catch the thief.” 

Winston grabbed the tiara with his snout and positioned it by the kitchen window. He was pleased to see that the sun’s rays made the tiara sparkle in a number of beautiful colors. 

“Now I just have to open the window and wait,” Winston thought confidently.

He lay down in his basket on the kitchen floor and watched the window. But the warm rays of sunshine also made Winston very tired. His eyes became heavier and he fell asleep and began dreaming. 

A while later, he was startled awake. He rushed to the open window and saw that the tiara was gone. He stuck his head out and saw the magpie flying away. 

But this time the sun was so blinding that Winston couldn’t see exactly what she was carrying in her beak. 

Annoyed by his unexpected nap, Winston called out: “You’ve been caught red-handed, you thieving magpie! Whoever stole this tiara probably stole the real jewels!”

At that moment, Mrs. Robertson entered the kitchen with a bunch of tulips. “The sun’s finally making an appearance again, isn’t it Winston?” she said.

She picked out a vase, placed the tulips on the table and then asked: “What do you say we take a walk to the museum today in this beautiful weather? The whole town is talking about the robbery. Maybe we’ll find something out!” 

Winston was delighted. He wouldn’t have expected Mrs. Robertson to be so curious, but her interest in the case worked well for him. 

“I can finally start my investigation at the crime scene,” he thought happily. 

Now, as Inspector Winston, he who would take a close look around the museum and carefully scrutinize the scene of the crime. His plan was to prove it was the thieving magpie and perhaps even catch him in the act of another robbery. 

Once at the museum, he looked closely at the large, bright room. He discovered a glass display case that was closed off with red plastic tape. A note with a photo was attached to it. 

“Look at that!” Mrs. Robertson said softly. “So this is where they were… the beautiful jewels.” 

Winston looked at the photo and imagined the magpie flying in the sky, laden with a heavy bag of museum jewels. But when he looked at the photo again he realized that the stolen jewels might be a bit too heavy for a bird like the magpie.

He looked around the room and noticed that there were no windows or ventilation shafts that the magpie could have used to make her escape either. 

At that moment, he became aware of a clanking noise. It was quiet and apparently the human museum visitors couldn’t hear it. Mrs. Robertson was quietly looking at a painting on the wall. 

Winston became curious and followed his fine canine hearing, which was far superior to that of the humans. He walked along the corridor unnoticed and turned left into the hall. Even from a distance, he could see a shadow on the wall. 

He stalked silently and very carefully, then peered around the corner and… he saw a museum employee standing at the display case. 

Winston recognized the uniform that all the museum guards wore here. He had been here before with his father to see art exhibits.

“Oh, nevermind,” Winston thought. “Something’s probably just broken and the employee is replacing it.” 

Surely Mrs. Robertson had also noticed by now that she had lost her dachshund. 

“The old lady doesn’t need any more excitement,” he thought and started to turn back. But there was the noise again. It clanked and rattled even more loudly now. 

He turned around again and saw the man tipping all the silver coins, some shiny cups and trophies from the display case into a brown velvet sack and then stuffing it into a rucksack. A few pieces fell to the ground, which he tried to gather up again quickly.

The man turned around, visibly agitated, and apparently checked whether anyone might have been watching him. Then he took his phone out of his pocket and Inspector Winston heard him say: “I’ve got everything now. I’ll bring the delivery right over.” 

Then he hung up, closed his rucksack and walked quickly toward the exit. 

Winston didn’t have much time now. He frantically thought about what to do next and decided to bark as loud as he could. His plan worked. 

Mrs. Robertson was already looking for him and ran as fast as she could towards the loud barking. The other museum visitors also became aware of the sudden noise and gathered in the corridor. 

When Mrs. Robertson finally reached the dachshund, she said nervously: “Winston, please stop barking! What’s going on?”

Winston had been waiting for this opportunity. He sprinted after the man, barked and yelped again as loudly as he could and then jumped up at the man’s rucksack. The man tried to shake him off. 

Winston heard Mrs. Robertson call out in embarrassment: “Winston! Please leave the poor museum attendant alone. This isn’t like you!” 

She was just about to pull the dachshund back by the collar when the man’s rucksack fell to the ground with a loud clatter, causing everyone to cover their ears.

A few coins rolled towards a museum employee and landed with a loud clink. She had interrupted her tour because of all the commotion and rushed over. 

“Those are the Roman silver coins!” she said. “What are they doing in your rucksack? Who are you anyway?” 

The zipper of the rucksack had burst open and, in addition to the silver coins, they could all see the valuable trophies and cups from the display case. 

Mrs. Robertson put two and two together in her mind and said loudly: “You are the jewel thief we’ve been looking for!”

The next moment, an employee pressed the alarm button on the nearby pillar and all the exits to the museum were automatically locked. Escape was now impossible until the police arrived. The dachshund looked up at Mrs. Robertson with satisfaction. 

***

Back at home, both Mrs. Robertson and Winston were exhausted from the exciting afternoon. Mrs. Robertson was full of praise for Winston. In the end, the thief was only found and caught thanks to his excellent ears.

As a reward for the dachshund, she took a few sausages and placed them on the wooden bench under the old apple tree. 

“Come here, Winston!” she called happily to the dachshund. “You’ve really earned these treats today!” She proudly patted him on the head and they enjoyed the warm afternoon sun. 

Once again, their attention was caught by something shiny. Mrs. Robertson got up from the bench and picked up some sparkling scraps of silver foil from the lawn. There was also a silver tin can and a few strips of old tinsel. 

She looked up at the old apple tree. “Look at Winston. The magpie seems to be busy padding her nest up there. The way it shines in the sun, you’d almost think it was fine jewelry!” 

Amused, Mrs. Robertson collected the magpie’s treasures and placed them carefully on a tree stump. “Maybe she can still use them,” she said to Winston.

The dachshund looked at the kitchen window, which was still open, and then spotted the tiara on the lawn. “So the magpie hadn’t stolen the tiara after all. It must have been carried off the window sill by a gust of wind,” Winston thought. 

He looked up into the treetops and watched the magpie as she tirelessly fixed something in her nest with her beak. “I’m sorry, dear magpie. I was wrong! You aren’t a thief after all.”

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