Pepi the paddle.

Born in French Canada, there lived two young twins, Thierry and Pepi. The pair lived and grew with one another and were never seen apart. Though identical in most respects, Pepi grew to be the taller of the pair, something he cherished since he was, in fact, younger by some 37 minutes.

In central Canada the boys were crafted into fine young men and with their slim, slender build they were shown how to work shifting water. Before they were fully adult their strength shone through and they became known through the nation as two of the hardest workers in all the land. Word spread rapidly and, before long, a letter came from overseas, neatly sealed with a Union Jack imprinted upon the wax.

The pair had been summoned by two famous voyageurs, by the names of Wilkins and Warner, who planned to undertake an epic adventure across Europe. Willing to serve these noble masters the twins bordered a ship bound for England.

However, shortly after pledging their services to Master Wilkins and Master Warner, the twins fell pray to great differences. Torn apart from their identical lives, Thierry was finely treated by his master, Master Wilkins, who appreciated the great work his laborer did. He showered Thierry with gifts, dressed him in fine clothes and kept a careful watch, guiding Thierry as he worked. Pepi on the other hand struggled beneath the angry figure of Master Warner. Though he worked as hard as his body would allow he found his master would beat him against the rocks and throw him upon the ground. Rarely addressed by his own name, Pepi grew used to hurtful nicknames and the regular hammerings he would receive.

At night the twins would sleep side by side, just like their masters. Pepi, sad and tired, would sleep solidly from the moment his head touched the earth but Thierry would lay awake miserable at his own contentment. He was content with the life he received and the pleasures he had, but miserable that he could feel this way while his brother suffered. To watch his twin battered upon the rocks caused Thierry such pain that even here the twins, it seems, were identical.

Yet as time drew on and Master Wilkins and Master Warner made progress on their voyage, a shift in atmosphere became apparent. Master Warner became aware of a bond between Wilkins and Thierry that united them in the work they undertook. Looking down upon Pepi, dirty and disheveled, Master Warner felt a surge of pity and remorse as he realized it was entirely his doing. Master Warner would watch as Thierry would whittle away the hours happily whistling or humming beneath his breath, meanwhile, hard at work, Pepi would not utter a word, head bent low with a dark shadow cast across his face. As he reflected Master Warner realized what he had done, the twins, once identical in all but height, looked wildly dissimilar as Pepi showed the scars of his masters abuse. Master Warner felt ashamed.

Then one evening in the city of Würzburg, Master Warner went with Pepi, hand in hand, to the Cathedral of St Kilian and there he knelt down, bowed his head and vowed to change his ways. He vowed to never beat Pepi, to call him by his true name and to take Master Wilkins as an example. He vowed to make Pepi as happy as Master Wilkins made Thierry. And he vowed to reunite the brothers in a spirit of mutual contentment.

But suddenly, with not even a day gone past, Thierry, working hard as usual, split his head open against a rock. Master Wilkins, terrified and shocked, lifted Thierry out of the water and nursed the wound. Master Warner looked on deeply confused. Not a day had passed since his vow in the Cathedral and now this! Was it a bad omen? Was he wrong to aspire to Master Wilkins and his bond with Thierry? Had fate brought about these happenings or sheer bad luck? What would this mean for Pepi? In the turmoil, Master comforted Master just as twin comforted twin.

Thierry now lies awake at night, not in misery, but in numb pain with the split on his head cleaned, bandaged yet throbbing all the same. Master Warner lies awake too, gazing at the stars and pondering what the recent drama means. Was it a sign? How should he treat young Pepi? Should he keep his vow?

Will Thierry survive? Will Pepi find the master he deserves? We'll just have to wait and see...