The Great Escape

For the story from the beginning, click here 😀

Well done Mildred!

Mildred and friends will be back to rescue more animals in the future.

Make sure you follow the blog so that you don’t miss it 😀

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Wait!!!

Oh no!  Will Mildred get Daisy out in time? 😮

Or is the Flat-Capped Menace going to go back in and find them? 😮

Find out tomorrow!

or read the rest of the story now 😉

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Hurry Mildred!

Story continues from yesterday:

Come on Girl Scout Twins – think of something! 😮

Come back tomorrow to see what they come up with

or read the rest of the story now 😉

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The Flat-Capped Menace’s Lair

Story continues from yesterday:

Yay!  Mildred’s going in!  Join us tomorrow to find out what happens,

or if you don’t want to wait, you can read the whole story now 😀

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Happy Endings

For the whole of Reflecto Girl episode 7, click here 🙂

And in conclusion:

For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here,

and there’s lots more cool stories on the 8 and up page 😀

More coming soon!

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A number of things

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from Monday:

😮 To be continued.

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Intrigue

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from last week:

VEGAN CHILDREN'S STORY

😮 To be continued.

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Run!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from last week:

VEGAN CHILDREN'S STORY

 

😮 To be continued.

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Dangerous

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from Monday:

 

To be continued.  Watch this space! 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Only insects

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from last week:

To be continued.  Watch this space! 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Tickets please!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from last week:

To be continued.

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Look – it’s Wilbur!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues:

Story continues next week.

Have a great weekend! 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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What did they do to you?

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from last week:

 

To be continued …

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Bread winners

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from last week:

Story continues next week 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Giddy up!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues:

Story continues next week 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Day after day

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues:

To be continued, soon hopefully 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Future proof

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues:

Story continues next week.

Have a great weekend 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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The good life

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues:

To be continued – later this week hopefully 😉

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Extraction

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues:

**********************************

Story continues next week.  Have a great weekend 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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There he is!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from last week:

**********************************

Story continues soon (Friday I hope 😉 )

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Noooooo!!!!!!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from last week:

**********************************

Story continues next week.  Have a great weekend! 🙂

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Who’s there?!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from Wednesday:

Story continues next week.  Have a great weekend! 🙂

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Worker! Work!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from Monday:

RG7 page 8 reduced

Story continues on Friday 🙂

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Welcome to London

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from Friday:

Story continues on Wednesday 🙂

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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It’s been a long day

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from yesterday:

RG7 page 6 reduced

😮 Shiver

Story continues on Monday.  See you then! 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Rock-A-Bye Baby

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from yesterday:

RG7 page 5 reduced

😮 Story continues tomorrow

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Call an ambulance!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from yesterday:

RG7 page 4 reduced

 

Story continues tomorrow 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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Three months later …

Big Blue Sky continues:

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

Oh no Luca! Wake up!

Big Blue Sky continues tomorrow but if you can’t wait to find out if Luca’s ok, you can finish it now 🙂

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Are you sure there’s a way out?

Clarence’s story continues:

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

vegan Christmas story

Will Clarence get to see the Big Blue Sky?

Story continues tomorrow 🙂

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Getting it done!

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from yesterday:

In an effort to reproduce the events of the dream as faithfully as possible, the princess had notice of a public meeting announced as soon as she got home.  Then, as in the dream, she asked the people what she could do for them.  When they asked for cheaper food and cotton she wrote it all down in her blue book and told them she would do her best.  She then returned to the castle and summoned the duke.

fairy tale

However, unlike the dream, when the Duke of Aequitas arrived he brought with him a basket of fruit.

“Your Majesty,” he said, bowing, “please accept this gift from the people of Calidum Terram, with their compliments and best wishes for your twelve month reign.”

The princess smiled and indicated that should place the basket on the table.

“Thank you,” she smiled, “let’s talk trade.”

fairy tale

The princess argued with the duke, just as she’d dreamt, and Aequitas impressively stood his ground.  He showed her the king’s decree and she dismissed him.  Lady Beatrice, meanwhile, having resumed her miniature stature, was observing to ensure everything went to plan.  The wizard could be anywhere, watching, waiting for an opportunity.  He wasn’t stupid.  He was not stupid.

fairy tale

Suddenly the old fairy was struck by that frightening realisation – “He is not stupid.  He’ll know that that fruit is not natural – it doesn’t smell!  He’s not going to fall for it!”

By now the princess was slumped over the table complaining about her inability to give the people what they want.  And Venustus was climbing in through the window.

Lady Beatrice had to do something!

fairy tale

There was only one thing she could do.  She closed her eyes and spoke so quietly that even the mouse couldn’t hear:

“Power of the elements, I call on thee,

From air, earth and water, come forth, help me.

On fruits in the basket, I beg you bestow,

The scents they would have when in nature they grow.”

fairy tale

At the same time the princess was listening to Venustus’s claim that he could get her a better deal.

“I don’t know,” she said, reaching for an apple, “my people are used to top quality produce.  I want it cheaper but not if it’s substandard.”  She took a bite and smiled at him.  “Seriously,” she added, “your stuff can’t be as good as this.  Go ahead – try some, then you’ll know what I mean.”

fairy tale

Venustus returned her smile and, with the sweet, mouthwatering smell of fresh fruit in his nostrils, carelessly took a cherry.  As soon as it touched his tongue the princess spat out her apple and spoke swiftly:

“sutsunev sutsunev sutsunev”

The wizard’s eyes widened; his sharp intake of breath made him start choking on the cherry; then came a crash of thunder; and he was gone.

fairy tale

“We did it!”  The princess was jubilant.

“You were brilliant,” Lady Beatrice told her as the duke returned to the room, “but remember, no one else can know about this.  As far as the rest of the world knows – Venustus was never here.  There’ll be no public recognition.”

“That’s ok,” the princess smiled, “it’s enough just to know we set things right.  Thank you, both of you.”

fairy tale

The following morning, Princess Primrose told her people that she wouldn’t be able to get them cheaper food and fabrics after all.

“I have discovered,” she explained, “that we are already paying a fair price for those goods.  The only way for us to get them cheaper would be to cheat the growers out of their hard-earned money; to reduce their quality of life in order to improve ours.  And that’s just not right.”

There were some nods of agreement and some grumbles of discontent.

“I thought you would put your own people first,” someone shouted.

“As one young lady said yesterday, my people already have everything they need.  They work hard for it, and they don’t have much left over, but they are not short of any essential.  Do not the people who grow your food deserve this much?  Fair is only fair if it’s fair for everyone.”

fairy tale

The crowd began to disperse and the princess smiled as she noticed Grandfather, still alive, talking cheerfully to one of his neighbours.  There were a few disgruntled faces but the princess, understanding her father’s advice now, was not disheartened.  As she walked away she overheard a snippet of conversation:

“What is she wearing?!  I don’t like her hair.”

“That’s okay,” she said to herself, “I like it.”

fairy tale

And they all lived happily ever after.  For the most part 🙂

*********************

Have a great weekend! 😀

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A bad dream?

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues:

At that moment Princess Primrose sat up in bed.  Lady Beatrice was sitting close by, smiling.

“Did you have a bad dream my dear?” she asked.

The princess was dazed.  “A dream?  It was just a dream?  I imagined it all?” she reached for her blue book.

“Well,” said the old lady, “yes, and no.”

fairy tale

“It’s hard to take in, I know, but as you can see from your book, this is your first morning in charge of the kingdom.  None of what you dreamt about has happened yet.”

The princess was bewildered.  She looked at her last blue book entry and realised that her mother’s friend’s explanation was the only one possible.  Relief began to wash over her.  Then she tensed.

“Yet?”  she asked nervously.

fairy tale

Lady Beatrice explained.  “The queen was very concerned about leaving you in charge, given your inexperience and eagerness to please.  So I simulated, in your dream, what would happen if you proceeded as she expected.  But the monks’ memory rhyme, the fire-damaged arrest record, and Gertrude’s book, all really do exist in the archives.  Venustus is horribly real.  He just hasn’t come here yet.”

fairy tale

The princess was confused.  “But how did you simulate my dream?  How did you know what would happen?”

Lady Beatrice hesitated before answering.  “Your mother is the only other person who knows this.  I hope I can trust your discretion.”  The princess nodded and she went on, “I am a fairy, the last of my kind here because the others were long ago poisoned by an evil wizard.”

“Fairies can take any size.  When I was a young girl, one thousand years ago, I was as small as a dragonfly.  We helped with pollination and feasted on flowers and fruit.  It was a beautiful, enchanting, wild life.  Then I fell in love with a sailor, assumed human size and travelled the world with him.  Being human, he aged much faster than I, and when he passed away I returned home.”

fairy tale

“My exquisite ancestral home had become a contaminated wasteland.  Hardly anyone was living there any more so it was difficult to find out what had happened but eventually an old owl, who had been watching me for some time, took pity on me.  He described a situation very similar to that depicted in Gertrude’s book, which led to the death of all the pollinating insects and fairies, and the exodus of many other species.”

fairy tale

“Possessed of the knowledge of all of his ancestors, the owl was able to give me some hope.  He said that when such a wizard was vanquished, all their evil was undone.  But, he said, there was only one way to do it: the wizard must be tricked into tasting his own potion and, while he is doing so, his name must be repeated to him, three times, backwards.  Then the world would be as if he had never been born.”

fairy tale

********************************************

Story continues tomorrow, but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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My goodness girl!

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from last week:

They pleaded with Venustus to let them have the potion on credit, promising to pay him out of the profits from the sale of their produce.  Then he tells them that he will sell their produce – as they agreed in the contract they signed – and take his cut before passing to them whatever’s left!

What contract? they said, and he shows them the paper with their signatures on it – the contract had been added above their names.

fairy tale

My goodness girl, there were many there at that moment who could have throttled him but, as the first man lunged, Venustus smiled and said, “Perhaps we can make a deal.”

He ummed and ahhed for a few moments before adding, “Give me your children in return for as much potion as you need,” and while they still reeled from shock he said, “If you starve, they starve.  With me they’ll live.”

fairy tale

I swear on my life Gertrude, that’s what he said!  Well, according to Elsie, there was no holding people back after that.  Many of them flew at the wizard in their desperation at the thought of losing their children, and their anger at having been so cruelly tricked.  But Venustus didn’t flinch.  He smiled smugly as a glow of light surrounded his body and every strike just bounced off it.  He was untouchable.

fairy tale

What could they do?  It was too late in the season to sow the seeds from last year which, by next year, would be too old.  They had to do as the wizard told them.  All children over ten years old were taken to a cocoa farm where they worked from sun up to sun down; slept in windowless sheds; and ate a very poor diet.  They were beaten if they didn’t work fast enough.

And Venustus just got richer.

fairy tale

And as if that wasn’t enough for these poor people to cope with, they started to get sick.  After eating produce grown from the magic seeds, fed with the magic potions, this normally healthy community began to develop illnesses they’d never seen before.  Contamination by magic potions killed the fish in the rivers and the insects of the air and soil.  Birds and animals died or moved away.  Everything stank.

fairy tale

“Oh stop!  Stop!”  The princess snatched the book from the duke’s hand and slammed it down.  “I can’t listen to any more!  It’s horrible!  This is the price of our cheap food!  This is why my people are sick!”  She dropped to the floor, full of remorse, and just sobbed.

“It’s all my fault.  I wish I’d listened to you.  I wish I’d listened to my father.”

fairy tale

The story continues tomorrow.

Or you can read it here now 🙂

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Elsie’s story

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from yesterday:

The fruit and vegetable growers were having troubles.  They had had some bad weather which led to their harvest being poor, and some of them were worried that they wouldn’t have enough food to get them through the winter.

Luckily they have a good community and they had a meeting and realised that if they shared what they had, evenly between them, they would each have enough to scrape by.

fairy tale

They also agreed to distribute equally what seeds they had between them for the following year.  They wouldn’t be able to sow as much as usual but, again, they knew it would be enough.  They would manage.

Satisfied and relieved, they were about to return home when a kindly stranger called their attention back to the meeting.  He said he thought he could help.

fairy tale

Oh my word!  It would have been better for them if they had pretended not to hear him and walked away!  But they didn’t.

He said his name was Venustus and he could provide them with plenty of seed for next year, so that they wouldn’t have to scrape by.  He said he had more than he could use in a huge barn on his property, and they could have it for nothing to prevent it going to waste.

fairy tale

Well, he looked so kind, and had such a warm smile, Elsie said, that they couldn’t help but trust him.  He asked everyone who wanted his seeds to sign their names on a sheet of paper so that he would know how much to ship to them.

The following spring, as promised, the seeds arrived and everyone was thrilled.  They sowed so many seeds that they looked forward to a bountiful harvest.

fairy tale

So, green shoots began to grow and everyone was hopeful until, after a few weeks, they started to wilt.  They couldn’t understand why because the weather had been perfect – sunshine and showers and just the right amount of each.  So they contacted Venustus to ask his advice.  Well!  That’s when he tells them he’s a wizard!  He made them seeds special so they grow much bigger and faster but …

fairy tale

…. only if they’re fed with his magic potion!  Without it they would not survive at all.  Of course the people asked if they could have some of his potion and he says: ‘course you can – it’s 20 pieces of silver per vat!

Oh my goodness!  You can imagine how the people felt.  They had no money.  They couldn’t pay for the potion.  And they would have no harvest at all without it.

fairy tale

*********************************************************************

😮

Story continues on Monday (unless you don’t want to wait)

Have a great weekend 😀

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The Duke continued …

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from yesterday:

When he finished, Aequitas paused and looked at the princess.  He hesitated to continue burdening her when she looked so defeated, but there was more, and he had to go on.

fairy tale

Aequitas went on to explain that he had found a record of Venustus among the surviving documents of the Procul County Gaol fire, one hundred and forty seven years previous.  It was slightly fire-damaged but the charges made against him were still clearly legible.

“It is uncertain how the fire started but Venustus was the only prisoner not accounted for after it was put out,” the duke added.

fairy tale

“But by far the most useful information I have found is contained in this book,” he said as he placed a small, tattered volume on the table.  “It belongs to the estate of an elderly lady who recently passed, named Gertrude.  She was deaf her whole life and when she was a little girl her mother would write down every piece of news and gossip for her to enjoy in this book.  There is here a detailed account of Venustus.”

fairy tale

Aequitas leafed through the book to find the story of Venustus, as told by Gertrude’s mother, while Princess Primrose looked upon the list of Venustus’s crimes with horror.  She nodded sadly at him, and he began to read:

Elsie from across the sea says they’ve had troubles over there.  She told a sailor, who told his uncle, who told his wife, and she told me.

fairy tale

*****************************************************

Oooh.  Find out what troubles Elsie and friends have suffered, tomorrow.

Or read it now 😀

********************************************************************

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More bad news

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from yesterday:

The Duke of Aequitas stood before the princess for the first time in many months.  After an embarrassed pause she forced herself to ask: “Worse?”

“When I heard you were dealing with Venustus I tried to find out more about him.  He is very hard to track down and I could find only three references to him in our archives, one of which dates back four hundred years.”

fairy tale

“Four hundred years?  That must have been a different Venustus.”

“No.  There are no others.  He’s a wizard Your Highness, he changes his appearance to appeal to whomever he’s attempting to fool.  But, apparently, he is unable to change his name, it’s the only thing he’s truthful about.”

The princess was exasperated.  “That’s absurd,” she said, “How do you know this?”

fairy tale

The duke continued, “The four hundred year old reference to Venustus was written by the monks of the ancient Lunam Monastery.  It is in the form of a rhyme so that everyone would recite it and remember it.  When I read it I became very concerned indeed.  The monks only created memory rhymes for things they considered extremely dangerous.  It was vital to them that this be remembered generation after generation.”

fairy tale

The princess listened apprehensively as the duke read aloud.

“Venustus he was,

Venustus he is,

Venustus he’ll always be.

He’ll lie about everything else in the world,

But truthful ’bout that he’ll be.”

fairy tale

“Venustus is wicked

Venustus is false

Venustus will use and abuse.

Remember his name, remember his name,

Keep thyself safe from his ruse.”

*************************************************************

Gasp! 😮

Learn more about the evil Venustus tomorrow.

Or read it here now 😀

*******************************************************

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Flabbergasted

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from yesterday:

The old man had no family of his own but everyone called him Grandfather.  He was kind and cheerful and loved to talk.  He could talk for hours but no one minded because talking to him always brightened their day.

When news of Grandfather’s death reached the castle, the princess was saddened, but when she then learned that more people were falling ill, a cold chill shivered through her body.

fairy tale

Princess Primrose desperately hoped that this was not her fault; that the sickness afflicting her beloved people was not caused by the cheap fruit and vegetables she had imported through Venustus.

But she couldn’t find Venustus.

The only thing she could do, she decided, was to tell everyone to stop eating the cheap produce; to admit that it might be the cause of their illness.

fairy tale

But the people took no notice.  They dismissed as ridiculous the suggestion that the cheap produce might be unhealthy.

“Sickness comes and goes,” they said.

“It’s probably the weather,” they said.

“It will pass,” they said.

The princess was flabbergasted.

“It’s as if they’re under a spell!” she exclaimed.

“It’s worse than that,” said a familiar voice.

fairy tale

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What???!

Story continues tomorrow – or you can read it here now 😀

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An Alternative Deal

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from Friday:

The princess seethed.  The duke was nervous but stood his ground.  They looked at each other in silence for several moments until she, unable to counter his argument, dismissed him.  She slumped over the desk and felt very sorry for herself.

“The first thing they ask me for and I can’t deliver!” she said out loud.

“Perhaps you can,” said a strange voice.

fairy tale

“Ahhh!  Where did you come from?”  The princess jumped and stood up straight, embarrassed to have been overheard and alarmed to be looking at a strange person who had apparently appeared from nowhere.

“I’m sorry Princess, I didn’t mean to startle you.”  He smiled warmly.

“Who are you and where did you come from?” she asked again, calmer now but wary.

fairy tale

“I apologise.  My name is Venustus.  I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation with the duke and I believe I can help.”

“First tell me where you’re from and how you got into the castle!”

As Venustus’s smile broadened, the princess’s mistrust faded away and she forgot her question.

“I can get you what you’re looking for,” he said, “make your trade with me.”

fairy tale

“My father decreed that only Aequitas can make the trade.”

“With Calidum Terram.  But what’s to stop you from trading with another party?”

The princess hesitated.  “Nothing … I suppose.  But we’re already getting a fair deal, so I won’t be able to do better.”

“So says the duke, but how can that be true if I can get you those goods for half the price?”

fairy tale

So Princess Primrose made a deal with Venustus and very soon the cheap goods were on the market.  Her people were delighted to find what they needed at such low prices and, as she’d hoped, loved her for listening to them and getting them what they wanted.  The princess was very pleased with herself and basked in the adoration of the populace which she read about almost every day.

fairy tale

But not everyone was happy with the new arrangements.  The duke was very concerned as the produce from Calidum Terram went bad on the shelves, and he discovered that the princess was dealing with Venustus.

He urgently begged an audience with her but when she refused to see him he wrote to her, daily.  The first few letters she binned, but after a while she didn’t even bother to read them.

fairy tale

After all, hadn’t her father told her that it wasn’t possible to please everyone?  Well, if the Duke of Aequitas wasn’t pleased then that was something she’d just have to live with – and, since he seemed to be the only one who wasn’t happy, she could  be pretty satisfied that she’d done a good job.

And she was.

For a while.

Until Grandfather died.

fairy tale

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Oh no!

Story continues tomorrow – or you can read it here now 😀

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Summoning the Duke

Story continues from yesterday:

That very afternoon the Duke of Aequitas stood before the princess in her father’s study.

“From whom do we buy cotton, cocoa, fruit and vegetables?” she asked him.

“From the Calidum Terram nation Your Highness.  We have traded with their people for many years,” he replied.

“Well it’s time you got us a better deal!”

fairy tale

Aequitas was taken aback.  

“Forgive me Your Highness, but we already have a good deal.  We pay a fair price for top quality produce.  It’s a good deal for us and a good deal for them.”

“My people want it cheaper, so that they can afford more.  And I intend to give them what they want.  Sir, I insist that you make it happen!  Renegotiate the deal!”

fairy tale

Aequitas took a deep breath.  “Your Highness, I have in my possession a decree, written by your father, which gives me complete discretion in our trade agreements with Calidum Terram.  The king has put his trust in me and I will not be persuaded to betray it.  Our trade agreements are long-standing, fair and amicable and I will not renegotiate.”

fairy tale

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Story continues on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

Have a great weekend 😀

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First thing’s first

The princess’s story continues from yesterday:

Princess Primrose awoke the next morning to the sound of birdsong as sunlight streamed through her open window.  She smiled broadly.

“The first thing I’ll do,” she said to herself, “is call a public meeting and ask the people what they want.”

fairy tale

So, right after breakfast, she summoned the town crier and instructed him to announce the meeting.

“At ten o’clock,” she said, “on the green beyond the lake.  And I will ask them how I can best serve their needs.”

Thus he announced.  And they came.

fairy tale

Princess Primrose addressed the people by simply asking them,

“What can I do for you?”

At first the only response was one small voice.  

“Nothing, thank you Princess, we already have everything we need.”

The princess smiled at the child who stood among the sunflowers and smiled back at her.

fairy tale

Then more voices spoke up from the crowd:

“I wish I could afford to buy enough cotton to make two nightdresses, but it is expensive so I can only afford enough for one.”

“I work hard to support my family but most of my money is spent on food.  It would be nice if I was able to save some.”

“I have to save up two weeks’ pocket money to afford a bar of chocolate.”

fairy tale

And so the princess wrote it all down in her blue book – her blue book where she kept a record of everything.  Everything she did, and everything she planned to do.  

She didn’t want to forget a thing.

fairy tale

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Story continues tomorrow but if you want to read it now it’s right here 😀

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Incognito

The story continues from yesterday:

Unbeknown to the princess, her mother saw her expression and guessed what she was thinking.  So, Queen Evangeline, on the eve of her departure with her husband, visited her life-long friend and confidante – Lady Beatrice.

Lady Beatrice was very old, very wise, and mostly kept to herself.

fairy tale

She lived in her cottage by the lake at the edge of the woods and the queen, not wanting anyone to know where she was going, visited her incognito.  When she returned home later that night, her mind had been put at ease and she was able to set sail happily with her husband the next day.

vegan fairy tale

On Princess Primrose’s first night in charge of the kingdom she went to bed very happy.  There were so many changes she wanted to make; so many ways she thought she could improve the happiness of her people; and therefore so many potential opportunities to increase their love for her.

fairy tale

As she closed her eyes a mist rose from the lake and engulfed the castle, causing everyone in it to slip into a sleep so deep that nothing could disturb them.  Then Lady Beatrice arrived.  She walked past the guards who didn’t wake up.  She walked past the dogs who didn’t wake up.  She walked through the corridors, past all the bedrooms, and no one woke up.  And so, with the ease and confidence of someone who knows they won’t get caught, she entered the princess’s chamber.

fairy tale

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Story continues tomorrow but if you want to read it now it’s right here 😀

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“We’re doomed!”

The End 😀

If you missed the beginning you can read the whole story here

And if you like rhyming stories generally, there are more on this page 😀

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“We’re doomed!  We’re doomed!”  cried a pink panicked pig.

The other was mute in distress.

“Listen to me,” came a voice down a tree,

“I’ll get you both out of this mess.”

***

“The answer is simple, you need to be brave,

Keep going, walk on, don’t look back.

The forest will feed you and shelter you too.

You will find that for nothing you’ll lack.”

***

So the two little pigs changed direction at last

As they chose to live and be free.

Their salty tears dried on their pink rosy cheeks,

Ever after they lived happily.

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At last they found it!

The story of The Two Little Pigs continues:

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Oh no!  Poor piggies 😦

Join us tomorrow to see how the story ends 😀

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At last the pigs found it, the place of their dreams,

Their home with the farmer they loved.

But their joy was short-lived when they saw what she did.

Just in time her true face was revealed.

***

“What’s wrong?” asked a magpie who watched with her mate,

“Tell us what makes you so sad.”

“The farmer,” said one pig with tears in his eyes,

“We thought she was good but she’s bad.”

***

“Ah yes,” said the magpie, “we’ve seen it before.

She’s lovely to piggies like you.

She keeps them well fed and happy and fat

Till she sends them to him, two by two.”

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Happy Birthday Luke

Chapter 24 continues from last week:

As soon as the red car turned out of the cul-de-sac Luke ran home to get his rucksack.  He grabbed harnesses and leads from the hook in the kitchen and tossed them to Joe.

“Can you put these on Curly and Squirt?”  Dudley started barking and wagging his tail.  “Sorry boy, not this time.”  He hitched his heavy rucksack onto his back and returned to the garden for the sheep.  He was in such a hurry he didn’t close the door properly and Dudley followed him out.

Joe handed Luke the leads.  “Are you sure about this?”

“Got no choice,” he said sadly, “gotta keep Curly and Squirt safe.”  Dudley jumped up and pleaded to go with them.

“Not this time boy, I’m sorry.”  He crouched down to give his dog a hug.  “Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon.  Look after Scratcher for me okay?” Dudley licked his knee.  Luke looked at Joe. “Stay in touch on the walkie-talkies.”

He led Dudley back into the kitchen and closed the door properly, but before he could make his getaway, he heard Dad’s car.

“They’re home!” He snatched up the leads and looked frantically for somewhere to hide.

“The garage!” said Joe.

Thankfully the side door wasn’t locked but getting them all in was easier said than done.  Partially blocking the doorway was some kind of large structure, covered in an old sheet.  They heard Mum and Dad’s voices; they heard the gate hinges squeak.  There was nothing they could do but give up.  Luke tucked his rucksack behind the rose bush just as his parents entered the garden.

“Oh, you’ve seen it!” said Mum, disappointed.

“Seen what?”

“He hasn’t,” said Dad, peering over their heads through the open door, “it’s still covered.”

Luke looked back at the mysterious structure.  “What?”

Mum and Dad smiled at each other and then at Luke.  “Happy Birthday.”

Luke looked at Joe.  He’d completely forgotten.

“Happy Birthday Luke,” said Joe with a big grin.

“Did you remember?”

“No,” he laughed.

Luke looked back at his parents, “but it’s not my birthday ’til tomorrow.  Is it?”

“No, but we thought we’d do it today because I’ve got to work tomorrow.  Is Jared home?”

“Yeah, he’s upstairs.”

“I’ll get him,” said Mum.

“I’ll get the stuff out the car,” said Dad.

“Presents from Aunt Clara?” asked Luke.  He was surprised because Aunt Clara usually just sent a card.

“Not exactly,” said Dad as he disappeared through the open gate.

Luke didn’t know what to think.

When everyone was back, Dad put two boxes on the ground in front of him.  “Happy Birthday Luke,” he said again, and stood back.  “Open them.”

Luke stepped forward and did as he was told.  Inside each box were two red hens.  He stared at them in disbelief. “But you said no.”

“I had to,” said Mum, “we wanted it to be a surprise.”

The chickens climbed out of their boxes and one of them chased Dudley back into the kitchen.

“And that’s not all,” said Dad. “Marian, Jared, Joe, follow me please.”

Joe looked at Luke, shrugged and then followed the rest of them into the garage.  Luke removed the sheep’s harnesses and crouched down to introduce himself to the new chickens.

“Try to herd them to the bottom of the garden,” said Mum, “I’m opening the gate wide.”

Luke did his best but with little success.  He could get one to head in the right direction, but as soon as he returned for another the first one would run back towards the house.  As it turned out, though, that didn’t matter.  What happened next sent them all running towards the damson patch at top speed, closely followed by Curly and Squirt. Through the wide open gate came four people slowly carrying a large, wooden triangular prism. They bent their knees and lowered it onto the concrete base vacated by the old greenhouse.

“It’s a chicken house!” said Mum excitedly, “Dad made it.”

“You made it?” Luke was overwhelmed.  “All by yourself?”

Dad laughed.  “Yes.  It took me a while but, yes, all by myself.”

“It’s marvellous,” said Luke, walking around the new house, running his hand along the smooth wood.  “Absolutely marvellous.”

“Glad you approve,” said Dad.  He looked at Mum and smiled.

“Thanks Dad,” said Luke warmly.  “I love it!”

“Can we see inside?” asked Mum.

“Yes.  Okay.  You unbolt these and then you use these handles to lift this off.”  Dad detached one end of the house so that a person could climb inside if he crouched.  “These shelves are the nesting boxes – you fill them with soft wood shavings – and they can perch on the front of them when they go to bed.  They’ll be able to see out the window from there.”  Dad was proud of the house, Luke could tell.  “Put shavings on the floor as well and then it’ll be easy to sweep out in the mornings.”

“Easy,” Luke agreed.

“When it’s all clean you put the end back on by slotting it in like this.  Here, you have a go.”

Luke tried but it was too heavy.

“That’s alright, I’ll help you,” Mum promised.

“And then, when that’s bolted back on, you leave the hatch open all day so the chickens can come and go as they please.  Close it at night when they’ve gone to bed to keep predators out.”

Luke nodded.  “I will.”  He couldn’t stop grinning.

“Now, about Curly and Squirt,” said Dad, and Luke’s face fell.  “I’ve spoken to Fred and you were right, they can’t go back to the allotments.” Luke held his breath.  “So they’ll have to stay here.”

Luke could hardly believe it.  “Really?”

“Yes. We’ll make the old shed into their stable.”

Luke looked at Joe.  “Good idea,” he said tentatively.

“And the damson patch really isn’t big enough for them so they can share the whole garden with the chickens.”

“Really?  What about your flowers?”

“Well, as your mum pointed out, I’ve still got the front garden.”  Mum squeezed his hand.

“Thank you thank you thank you,” said Luke, “this is the best birthday ever!”

Dad nodded.  “You’re very welcome.”

Luke gazed at the new chicken house.  “How many chickens would fit in here?” he asked.

“The plan said up to twelve,” said Dad.

“Marvellous,” said Luke, “absolutely marvellous.”

And they all lived happily ever after 😀

If you’re late to the party and want to catch up, you can find all the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er chapters here 🙂

Have a great day ❤ 

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Ten past four

For the whole story click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues:

Isabel peered through the shed window and smiled.  “Looking good!” she said.

“What time is it?”  Luke was slightly anxious.

“Ten past four,” said Isabel.

“Where the heck is Tania?  She said she’d be here by three!”

“Actually, you told her to be here by three.  What she actually said was, I don’t know how long it’ll take.”

“Well she didn’t say it would take this long!”

Joe came out of the house.  “I’ve just seen Jared from your bedroom window.  He’s at the bottom of the cul-de-sac!”

“Quick! Into the shed!” said Luke, panicking.

Isabel didn’t move.  “We haven’t done anything yet,” she said, “there’s no need to hide.”  At that moment her phone received a text.  “It’s Tania.  She says they’re five minutes out.”

“Joe, go and see where Jared is!”

“You go and see where Jared is.”

Luke went to see where Jared was and got to the back door just in time to hear the front door slam.  He stepped quietly into the kitchen and listened.  Jared’s heavy boots took the stairs two at a time and within seconds of them reaching the top, loud music blared from his room.  Luke ran back to the damson patch.

“It’s alright.  He’s in his room with his music on.“

“What if he looks out his window?” asked Joe.

“He won’t.  Look, his curtains are drawn.  He’s obivlious.”

Isabel resisted the temptation to correct him and smiled.  “I can hear a car!”

They all ran out into the cul-de-sac.  Tania’s dad’s car had just pulled up.  Mr Spriggs and Tania got out and Luke approached them hurriedly.

“Hello.”

“Hello,” said Mr Spriggs brightly, “you must be Luke,” and he stretched out his right hand.  Luke smiled and shook it without saying anything.

Tania was beaming.  “Shall we take the chickens through?” she asked.

“Yeah, quick as we can,” said Luke, “this way.”  Tania handed one box each to her eager friends and they carried them carefully up the drive towards the back garden gate.

“Would you mind if I use your toilet?” asked Tania’s dad.

“Daaad!”

Mr Spriggs ignored his daughter and looked hopefully at Luke.

Luke couldn’t risk anyone going inside and alerting Jared.  “Er, sorry,” he said, “I don’t have a key to the house.”

“You don’t?”

“No.  I did have one, but I dropped it when I was … when I went…” he said, awkwardly.  “I don’t know where I dropped it.”

“Oh.”

Joe felt bad for the man.  “I saw on telly that it’s good for compost heaps.”

Mr Spriggs raised his eyebrows, “and you’ve got a compost heap?”

Luke pointed to the far end of the garden and Mr Spriggs ran down there.

“Oh good grief!” said Tania to her shoes.

Isabel looked at her watch.  Half past four.  “Come on,” she said, “let’s show the chicks their new home.”

They were beautiful.  Three of them were orange and gold, with red crowns.  One of them was a soft grey and the other a dark red-brown with black at the tips of her feathers.  As soon as they were out of their boxes they ran away to explore.  The one with black-tipped feathers seemed to be the boldest.  Wherever she went the others followed, but if any of them got too close to her she reprimanded them with a quick peck to the head.

“We should call her Boudicca,” suggested Tania.

Curly and Squirt were very interested in the newcomers but when they approached for a closer look, Boudicca saw them off with a squawk and a frenzied flap of her wings.  The grey hen kept getting told off too.

“Aw, poor baby,” said Isabel, “they’re picking on her.”

“She’s alright,” said Joe, “Look – she’s keeping her distance from Boudicca and Frosty now.”

“Frosty?”

“The one with the white face.”

“Okay,” Isabel smiled, “and the grey one’s Millie.”

“Why?”

“I just like it.”

“What shall we name the other two?”

Everybody looked at Luke.

He grinned.  “Kes and Neelix.”

“Neelix is a boy’s name,” said Tania.

“Doesn’t have to be,” argued Luke.  “Neelix is the speckled one.  She looks like Neelix.”

Mr Spriggs watched from the other side of the fence.  “A splendid bunch,” he said smiling.  “You’ve got them a nice set-up here.”

“Thanks,” said Luke, “thanks for pickin’ ’em up for us.”

“You’re very welcome.  I hope your mum feels better soon.  Is she back from the hospital yet?”

“Er, no.”  Luke glanced anxiously at Isabel who mouthed ‘ten to five’.  “But I think she might be home any minute an’ she told me in no certain terms that I have to be quiet and not have any friends round when she gets back.”

“Quite right!” said Mr Spriggs, “come on Tania, let’s make a move.”

“Er, can I cadge a lift?” asked Isabel.

“Of course.”

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This chapter concludes on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can finish it by clicking here now 😀

Have a great weekend 😀 

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Getting the chickens

For the story so far click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues:

Tania’s dad pulled in to the car park at Butcher’s Field, the ironically named rendezvous for the chicken rescuers.

“You wait here,” said Tania, “I’ll go and get the chickens.”

“Where from?”

“I’ll ask the woman with the clipboard.”

“Alright.  I’m going to look for the toilets,” said her dad, “I’ll be back in a few minutes hopefully.”

“A toilet Dad, not a tree,” she reminded him.

He laughed and they went their separate ways.  When she reached the clipboard woman, Tania waited a polite distance behind the man who was talking to her, but she still couldn’t help overhearing their conversation.

“You a bit thin on the ground this year?” he asked.

“Yeah, because of the charge,” the woman told him.

“What charge?”

“She’s charging for them now.”

“Really?”

“Yes unfortunately.  She didn’t charge before.  Just wanted to save them.  But now she says she can’t afford to keep letting them go for nothing.”

“Why?  What brought that on?”

“She says she’s losing money ’cause she could get at least 50p each for them if she sent them to slaughter.”

“No!”

“Yep.  Nine thousand birds at 50p each is £4,500!”  The man just frowned and shook his head.  “So she tells us she wants to charge people for them, thinks it’s perfectly reasonable, and who can’t afford 50p?  But of course that’s not what we signed up for.  We don’t want to fund animal farming.  You pay to release one animal and that money’s used to enslave another.”

“Exactly.”

“But if we say no, there’s thousands of birds we could have saved going to slaughter.  So we had a vote and decided, fourteen to six, in favour of going ahead.  The six who voted against it resigned from the group.”

The man shook his head again.  “So you’ve had to raise another four and a half thousand on top of your usual costs?”

Clipboard woman nodded.

“You’re an amazing woman Sheila,” he said, “I don’t know how you work with someone like that.”

“When you have to, you do,” she said, smiling.

He started to turn away but she reached out and touched his arm.  “Er, Mike.”

“Yeah?”

“That’s just between us okay?”

He nodded, “see ya Sheila,” and walked away.

Tania approached.

“Hello love,” said the woman.  She looked tired but she smiled.

Tania smiled back and gave her name.  The woman looked down her list.

“You’re taking five?” she asked.

“That’s right.”

The woman looked around.  “You on your own?”

“No,” said Tania, “my dad’s here.  That’s our car over there.  The red one.”

“Have you brought carriers?”

“No sorry, we didn’t know …”

“That’s okay, we’ve got boxes,” the woman smiled again.  “You wait by the car and someone will bring them over in a minute.”

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, you can read it here now 😀

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“You said left!”

For the story so far click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues:

“No! Not this one!”

“You said left!”

“I said second on the left.”

“All I heard was ‘left’.”

“You’ll have to turn round and go back.”

“I know!”  Mr Walker was in miserable mood.  He pulled in to a lay-by and waited for the traffic to clear.

“Are you going to be like this all day?” asked his wife.

“Like what?  There’s nothing wrong with me.”

She took a deep breath and counted to ten while she looked out the window.  “Did you get through to Fred?” she asked eventually.

“Yes.”

“And?”

“He won’t budge.  Says the committee’s votes are final.  No more animals on the allotments.”

“There you go then, Luke was right.”

“He still shouldn’t have spoken to me like that.”

“No he shouldn’t but put yourself in his shoes.  He was protecting his animals.  You should be proud of him for that.”

“I’m sick of being treated like the enemy.  I do my best for him.  And the animals.  It’d be nice if he gave me the benefit of the doubt sometimes.”

“Okay, maybe he did go off the deep end, but he was panicking.  And he was livid about that horrible boy next door.”

“Did you speak to his mum?”

“Yes but she’s no use.  She thinks the sun shines out of him.  He can do no wrong as far as she’s concerned.  She said Simon says Luke’s a liar and maybe we shouldn’t be so gullible.”

“Ha!  What did you say to that?”

“I admitted Luke can be trying at times but, unlike one child I could mention, he’s not a shallow, slimy, arrogant, little toe-rag.”

“Ha ha ha!  Did you really?”

“No.  But I wanted to.”

Dad made a U-turn and got back on track.

“That’s it,” said Mum, “left, ……… and then left again.  Yes – look: Wixham 36 miles!”

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, you can read it here now 😀

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A matter of life and death

For the story so far click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues:

In the garden Luke led Curly and Squirt away from Dad’s flower beds.

“We might not be able to stay here,” he told them apologetically, “but don’t worry, I’ll come with you, wherever you go.”  He stroked the back of Curly’s neck while he considered their options and very soon it came to him.  “We could live at the country park!” he said, “there’s trees to climb and woods to hide in, and plenty of grass for you to eat.  It’d be like livin’ in Sherwood Forest!”  It was a brilliant idea.  He wondered why he hadn’t thought of it before.  “On’y thing is,” he added, “the chickens are comin’ tomorrow.”  He sat on the lawn and pondered.  He was sure he could figure something out but it would require more thought.  Squirt laid down next to him and put his head on Luke’s lap.  Luke looked at him and smiled.  “It’s alright,” he said, “I’ll think of something.”

****

SATURDAY 14 JUNE
C-DAY

When Luke woke up at half past eight the house was quiet.  He was greeted by Dudley when he went downstairs but everyone else was out.  Dad had left a note on the fridge.

Luke called Joe.

“Hello.”

“Can you come round?”

“Now?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay.”

As soon as he put down the phone Luke let Dudley into the garden and checked on Curly and Squirt.  They’d made themselves at home and were enjoying the abundance of dandelions in the damson patch.  Joe arrived five minutes later and Luke took him upstairs to help look for his tent.

“What d’you want the tent for?” he asked.

“To live in.”

“Why?”

Luke put Joe in the picture.

“So you and Curly and Squirt are gonna run away and live at the country park?”

“Yeah.”

“What about school?”

“I won’t go to school.”

“It’s the law.  You have to go to school.”

“I’m an outlaw.”

“Oh yeah.  But how will you live?  What will you eat?  And what about the chickens?”

“Don’t worry,” said Luke with a conspiratorial smile, “I’ve got it all worked out.”  He took his walkie talkies out of the wardrobe, opened the box and handed one to Joe.  “I’ll keep in touch with you on this – channel six – and then if I need anything I’ll tell you and you can bring it.”

“Like what?”

“Food for a start.  You’ve got your own food allowance.”

“It’s only enough for me.”

“Yeah but if you look for stuff that’s buy one get one free, you can give the free one to me.  And if you go to the Co-op at the end of the day when they’re sellin’ things that are goin’ out of date – like bread for 10p a loaf – you can get stuff cheap so your money’ll go further.”

Joe nodded slowly.  “Yeah, I s’pose I could do that.”

“Good.  Oh, here it is!”  He pulled out a bundle of grey nylon fabric from under the bed and spread it out on the carpet.

“You’re not going to be very well camouflaged with that picture of Spiderman on the side,” Joe pointed out.

Luke was unconcerned.  “I’ll hide that with twigs and leaves.”

After checking nothing was missing he rolled the tent back up and went to the airing cupboard for his sleeping bag.

“Your mum and dad are gonna be pretty upset about this,” Joe told him.

“Well they’re not ezzactly givin’ me a choice are they?  My first duty is to protect Curly an’ Squirt.”

Joe nodded.  “Yeah, okay, but what about the chickens? Your mum and dad don’t know they’re coming so if you’re not here to look after them …”

Luke grinned.  “It’s alright, I told you, I’ve got it all worked out.”

“How?”

“I’ll come back when they’re not here.  Simple.”

“How will you know when they’re not here.”

“I already know.  Dad goes to work at seven every mornin’; Jared’s gone before eight; and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays Mum works at the Co-op.”

“What about Tuesdays and Thursdays?  And weekends?”

“Well she’ll have to walk Dudley won’t she?”

“But you don’t know what time she’ll go.”

“That’s where you come in.”

“Whaddaya mean?”

“Well, you can keep watch and then tell me when she leaves, with the walkie talkie.”

“But I’m s’posed to be at school!”

Luke frowned.  “We all agreed to rescue the chickens together.  They’re all our responsibility, not jus’ mine.  We’ve all got to work together.”

“I know but how can I do it on school days?”

“Look, I’m riskin’ prison by not goin’ to school at all,” Luke reminded him, “so the least you can do is risk bein’ marked late!  That’s not askin’ too much is it?  I mean, it’s life and death for the chickens don’t forget!”

Joe nodded.  “Yes, you’re right.  Sorry.”

“It’s okay.  Now then, Tania should be here with the chickens by three.  That should give us plenty of time to get them all settled in to the damson patch before Mum and Dad get home.”

“When will they be back?”

“They said they’d be gone all day so I s’pose that means after five.”

“You suppose?”

“Yeah.”

“What about Jared?”

“We haven’t gotta worry about him.  He always disappears on Saturdays.”

“Where to?”

“Nobody knows.  Skate park prob’ly.”

“So you don’t know when he’ll be back.”

“Late.  He’s always late back on Saturdays.”

“How late?”

“Joe!  Don’t worry about Jared!  We just need to make sure we’re out of here before Mum and Dad get back.”

“Before five?”

Luke nodded.  “Yeah. But I’d like to be away by four.”  The two boys sat in silent agreement for a moment before Luke added “oh, but you’ll have to come back when it gets dark.  I’ll give you a gate key.”

“On my own? Why?”

“To lock the cat flap on the chicken house so a fox doesn’t get ’em.”

“Why can’t you do it?”

“Well I can’t leave Curly and Squirt in the park by themselves can I?  And I can’t bring ’em with me – they’re not ezzactly stealthy!”

Luke stuffed his tent, sleeping bag and walkie talkie into his rucksack.  “I’d better get some rations,” he said, “come on.”  Downstairs he crammed every pocket and crevice of his bag with food and a couple of bottles of water.  “Now let’s go to the allotments and get some straw!”

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, you can read it here now 😀

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Feet off the seats!

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

Story continues from yesterday:

When they arrived at the station the ticket office was closed but the side gate to platform one was open.  Joe cupped his hands around his eyes and peered through the waiting room window.  A man sat on one of the benches, reading. Above him on the wall was a large painting of a steam train.  Nothing else.

“Better check the other platform,” said Luke.

Over the bridge, at platform two, a four coach train sat idle and empty.  The doors were all open so Luke climbed aboard.  After looking over his shoulder to make sure no one was watching, Joe followed him.

The girls checked out the waiting room and found a large rack full of leaflets.  They removed and bagged everything advertising zoos, aquariums and farm parks before dividing a huge pile of Action Medical Research leaflets and sitting down to add some unemotional statements of fact.  When they were about half way through they were startled by an announcement that the train now standing on platform two was the 13:55 service to London Euston. Tania stood up and looked out the window.

“Are they there?” asked Isabel.

“Can’t see them but they must have heard that.  Mustn’t they?”

***

“I can’t reach.”

“Stand on the seat.”

Luke checked the carriage was still empty before doing as Joe suggested.  “There,” he said, “that looks good doesn’t it, as though it was meant to be there.”

A fast repeating pinging sound preceded the whoosh of the closing doors.  “This is the Urban City Link service to London Euston, calling at Antsworth, Merton Abbot, Furling, Furling Airport Parkway and London Euston.”

“Uh oh,” said Luke.

Joe rushed to the door and repeatedly pressed the OPEN button.

“It’s not gonna open now,” said Luke, “the train’s moving.”

“I don’t wanna go to London!” said Joe, “what shall we do?  Pull the cord?”

“It’s alright,” said Luke, “we’ll just get off at the next station and catch another train back.”

“But we haven’t got a ticket!  Have you got any money?”

“No.”

“Nor have I!  So we can’t buy a ticket!”

Luke laughed.  “Stop panickin’.  There’s prob’ly not even a ticket checker on here.”

“Isn’t there?”

“I haven’t seen one, have you?”

“Well I didn’t see a driver either but I’m guessin’ there’s one of them on here.”

“First thing’s first,” said Luke, “we need to check the other three carriages for ads like that one.”

They walked from the fourth to the third carriage where a woman sat with her dog at one end, and a man watched telly on his computer half way down.  There were no ads that needed fixing so they continued on to the second carriage.  The second carriage contained a family of four at a table in the middle and a couple of teenagers at the far end.  Again there were no ads that needed fixing so they continued on to the first.  As they opened the connecting door the automated announcement informed them that they were now approaching Antsworth.  Luke saw an ad the same as the one in the fourth carriage so he pulled out his stickers and labelled it while the train slowed down and the platform came into view.

“Come on, we’d better get off,” said Joe, very relieved that there hadn’t been a ticket checker and a little embarrassed that he’d panicked for nothing.  When the train stopped the OPEN button lit up and Joe pressed it. They were about to step off when Luke noticed another of the same ads at the front of the carriage and rushed down there to deal with it.

“Luke!”

“Don’t say my name!”  Within seconds Luke was up on the seat affixing a sticker.

“Hey!”  The conductor appeared out of nowhere.  “No feet on the seats!”

“Sorry,” said Luke, jumping down.

“Quick!” called Joe.

Luke ran back to Joe as the fast repeating ping told them the doors were about to close.

“No running!” commanded the conductor.

“Sorry,” said Luke again before exiting sideways between the closing doors and landing safely on the platform.

Joe took a deep breath and exhaled.

“When’s the next train back?” asked Luke.

“I dunno, we’ll have to go over the other side.”

There was a twenty three minute wait for the next train to Belton which was put to good use in the Antsworth waiting rooms.

“You know they have CCTV cameras on trains,” said Tania when they finally got back.

“Really?” Luke scratched his chin. “Oh well.”

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For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

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vegan, vegan children, vegan activists, animals, animal rights, short story, children’s story, juvenile fiction, vegan children’s story