Every year at Christmas Uncle sets up a giant Christmas tree outside the gates at Homeward, and every year there is a truce between the owner of Homeward and the crowd from Badfort. But, as can be seen from this extract from 'Uncle and the Battle for Badgertown', a giant Christmas tree laden with presents proves too much of a temptation for Hitmouse's brother.... "There's somebody up in the big tree,sir," said Brass."Somebody up in the big tree!' Uncle was outraged.He came out of the house and stood below and shouted up into the darkness and starriness of the branches:"Come down, whoever you are!"But nobody came down, and the star at the top of the big tree was now quite still."I'll go up and have a look, sir," said the Old Monkey."Be careful, my friend," said Uncle. "It would be most unusual for the Badfort Crowd to try anything on just before the party, but no friend of ours would hide in that tree now.""I'll climb up too, sir," said Goodman. "And I'll fly up," said Lucy.The Old Monkey was up the inside of the tree in a flash, Goodman following. Lucy fluttered up and hovered near the star which had begun to wave wildly to and fro again. The watchers below heard a few squeaks, and then a shower of pointed silver things fell into the snow."Skewers! That means Hitmouse!" said Uncle "This is disgraceful!"Brass, hearing the ominous name, began to bark, and so ear shattering was the din that it was impossible to know what was happening."Be quiet, Brass!" said Uncle sternly."It's not Hitmouse!" screeched Lucy, swooping down."Nobody but Hitmouse carries skewers!" said Uncle, puzzled. There was a lot more squeaking and moving of the branches, and the Old Monkey crept out from beneath the lowest branch holding by the collar a little bedraggled creature who was smaller than Hitmouse, but very like him.

"Who are you?" thundered Uncle. The little creature winced. Uncle was so enormous that he had to put his head right back to look up at him."Adolphus Hitmouse," the creature muttered. "Brother of Hitmouse over at Badfort. I'm staying with him for Christmas.""Indeed! And what are you doing in my Christmas tree?""Finding out where the best presents are for my brother. I was going to stay up in the tree till he got here and then point them out so he could get a good haul!"Uncle frowned down heavily. "I am sorry to see you set on evil ways so young. Don't you know that we try to have one day of the year free from fighting?""I wasn't fighting!" said Adolphus. "I was just sitting quietly on a branch no trouble to anybody.""With a beltful of skewers!" said Uncle."Well, that horrible monkey and cat took those!" said Adolphus. "And they took a lot of collecting!""I have a good mind to shut you up in my castle so that you can't come to the party!" said Uncle sternly."But you won't, will you?" said Adolphus. "You've just said you've got to be nice to everybody today, so that means being nice to me too.""be off with you," said Uncle, "and join your friends, and see you aren't brought before me again."The little creature made a face at Uncle and then ran as hard as he could for the drawbridge."He is as detestable as his brother," said Uncle. "well, after that regrettable little interruption let us press on. It's getting dark and we must have the cauldron of Hot Joey ready. It will be a cold walk from Badgertown."When darkness fell the scene was delightful. There was no more snow. The moon was like a bright silver plate and the sky was full of glittering stars. The fire made the snow for yards around rose coloured, and the lights on the big tree made a great pyramid of colour against the wall of Homeward.Soon many dark figures, some on skis, some with toboggans, were to be seen moving down the white slopes from Badgertown. Many of the guests were carrying lanterns, and these made moving points of light.

Even the Badfort Crowd, for once, added a picturesque touch, for they had made torches out of old rags wrapped around bits of wood and dipped them in scob-oil before lighting them. They smelt rather awful, but made lovely blazing lights across the snow.
And for once Hateman had something quite nice to say. Uncle was standing by the Moat Bridge with his great steaming cauldron of Hot Joey and he heard Hateman say to Sigismund as he shuffled up in the queue:
"The old gaffer has got a good flare-up, anyhow. It's as warm as summer! I wonder where he got all that coal and wood from!"
When Hateman received his mug of Hot Joey he growled: "Ought to have been Black Tom, but Joey is a fair-to-middling drink and I can lace it!"
Hateman was wearing a huge dirty coat made out of an old sheepskin hearthrug, and he produced from an inner pocket a flask, the contents of which he poured into the mug.
Uncle ignored this.
When everybody had arrived Uncle made a short speech.
"Friends," he said, standing on the steps before the great door of Homeward, 'I welcome you all to the Big Tree and the Big Fire and wish you all a very Happy Christmas. There are one or two new things this year. I want you all to climb and get your presents from the branches of the Big Tree, and for those of you who can't climb there is a Little Tree. I do ask you to remember what day it is and only take one parcel each. They're all good ones, and I am giving everyone who is at this party a sack of good coal."
The cheers were almost deafening.
"Good news, Sigismund," muttered Beaver Hateman in the crowd. "We won't have to burn any more doors for a bit, and when we fetch our little lot we'll see we get plenty!"
"I suggest," said Uncle, "that before we start climbing the tree, or have supper, we have a singing march round the fire. Anybody willing to give us a song will stand aside on the steps here, so that all can see and hear."
"Sigismund and I will sing first!" shouted Hateman.
It wasn't quite the beginning for the singing march Uncle wanted, but for once Hateman was behaving well, and Sigismund has a good voice, so Uncle beckoned them forward.
"Come on, Sig, strum on the bucket guitar, will you!" shouted Hateman.

Luckily the song had quit a lively tune and the hundreds of guests began the singing march round the fire. Lots of them didn't hear the words - which was just as well, Uncle thought.

"Turn out your pockets and raise a little dough

For Your good friend Hateman at The Tom Shop;

He makes you feel so happy he puts you in a glow

When you stand him a treat at The Tom Shop

He will tell you of the battles he has fought for all of you

As you pour down flagons at The Tom Shop

Don't listen to the idiots who say this isn't true

But join Beaver Hateman at The Tom Shop.

Tell him all your troubles. Get them off your chest

To sympathetic Hateman at The Tom Shop;

You pay the bill and let him do the rest

As you drink to the Revolution at The Tom Shop."

Uncle felt sure that each verse would be more obnoxious than the last, so after the third verse he held up his trunk.

"Short songs tonight!" he shouted.

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