Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a little girl, whose name was Emily, and she had a shop. It was a rather unusual shop because it didn’t sell anything, everything in the shop was something that Emily had found, and brought into the shop to Bagpuss. Emily’s cat Bagpuss, the most important, the most beautiful, the most magical, saggy old cloth cat in the whole wide world.
When Emily brought something, she would set it down in front of Bagpuss, and say some magic words:
Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss,
Old furry cat-puss,
Wake up and look at this thing that I bring,
Wake up, be bright, be golden and light,
Bagpuss oh hear what I sing.
Slowly Bagpuss would stretch, and look at the thing which Emily had brought, and when Bagpuss woke up, all his friends woke up as well.
One day Emily brought something large and heavy, and left it in front of Bagpuss, she said the magic words, and, as usual, left the shop. ‘What is this thing that Emily has brought us?’ Bagpuss asked in a slow puzzled voice. A sudden movement and the heap on the floor was surrounded by small mice, poking.
‘It’s a suitcase’ said one, ‘No, it’s a very strong tent,’ said another, whilst a third poked the other side and declared the thing to be a mop.
‘No, no, no!’ said Professor Yaffle, the wooden woodpecker bookend on the shelf. ‘That black leather is clearly not a suitcase or a very strong tent, it is a duster.’
‘To go with the mop!’ squeaked an excited mouse.
‘No, no, no, it’s what Americans call a duster – Emily would call it a coat,’ the woodpecker replied, ‘and the white stuff at the other end is hair! What we have here is definitely a vampire!’
‘A vampire!’ squeaked another mouse, ‘What is a vampire?’
‘If you will keep quiet I will explain’, said Madeleine the rag doll. ‘Gabriel, play me a tune if you please.’
At the other end of the shelf from Professor Yaffle a cheerful green toad struck a chord on his banjo, but found himself drifting into a rather melancholy tune, with a chorus going ‘Let Me Rest in Peace.’
As the tune finished, and Madeleine finished her explanation, Charlie Mouse said ‘I will go and fetch some blood’, and the other mice all started to bustle around, with leather polish, and hair gel, singing ‘We will mend it, we’ll undead it’ to the musical accompaniment of The Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ.
Soon the vampire was looking as good as new, but before the mice could put him in the front of the window, in case his owner passed by and recognized him, Madeleine reminded them that sunlight was not good for vampires. They just had time to put him safely at the back of the shop, before Bagpuss yawned, and settled himself down, and went to sleep, and when Bagpuss went to sleep, all his friends went to sleep; and Spike waited until sunset, and crept out of the back door.
Bagpuss and friends are the property of Peter Firmin and the late Oliver Postgate. Spike is the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. If they’d been quicker off the mark they could have collected him from Emily’s shop before he sneaked out.