The shout went from house to house like watch fires lighting from hill to hill, and the Hairy Hooligans rushed out of their front doors like a crowd
of jubilant sea elephants, and they swooped on the three companions and lifted them onto their muscly shoulders with great happy shouts of, "They're ALIVE! They're ALIVE! THEY'RE ALIVE! THEY'RE ALIVE!"
Snotlout was already furious to find that people had been more concerned about mourning Hiccup and Fishlegs than congratulating HIM on being the Hero of the Hour on the Isle of the Skullions.
Hiccup, who was quite clearly, yet again, NOT dead, NOT drowned, NOT safely out of the way.
The happy Hooligans reached the door of their Chieftain's house and banged on it, crying, "Open up, open up, they're alive, they're alive!"
Stoick the Vast lifted his great hairy head as if he was dreaming, staggered to the door, and there, on the doorstep, was HIS SON, Hiccup.
Stoick the Vast, Terror of the Seas, Most
High Ruler of the Hairy Hooligans, O Hear His Name and Tremble, Ugh, Ugh, picked up his son and hugged him, while the crowd cheered and cheered. And that was how Toothless found and lost a marvelous treasure all in the space of an afternoon ...
... And how Hiccup finally got himself a sword and learnt how to use it...
... And how Fishlegs discovered that you don't always have to be a Hero to get a Hero's Welcome.
As soon as I awoke, I got up and brought out that uninspiring sword that Toothless had picked for me in the cavern of the Treasure, the one with which I had fought Alvin the Treacherous. I turned it over and over, and inspected the dull little object for quite half an hour. And eventually I found that by twisting and twisting it, the knob at the end fell off and there was a small piece of paper rolled up in a little hollowed-out compartment inside. A small fragment of paper on which was written the following words:
Now I am an old, old man, the same age as Grimbeard the Ghastly when he got his dragons to swim down to the cavern with the treasure. Toothless and Fishlegs and I have kept the secret of what really happened on that terrible day all those years ago....
But because I am writing my memoirs I find I have to write it down, as it is such an important part of my journey to becoming a Hero. Even though I know I will never be able to show it to anyone of my own time.
As soon as I have finished writing these papers, I shall lock them in a box. I shall throw that box into the sea.
And I shall throw it hoping, like Grimbeard the Ghastly, that someday it may be found by someone who will be a better Leader than I have been.
Someone living way, way in the future, in times more civilized than those in which I have lived, where men can own beautiful and dangerous things and use them wisely.
Alvin the Treacherous?
[Image: A question mark.]