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The Most Beautiful View in the World... (and other stories)

by Kathleen Nelson Illustrated by Janet King

Blank Screen Publishing

BLANK SCREEN PUBLISHING 3 Blue Anchor Yard London E1 8LR A Paperback Original Printed in the United Kingdom © Copyright 2013 Text Kathleen Nelson 2013 Illustrations Janet King The rights of Kathleen Nelson and Janet King to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted or saved without written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1956 (as amended). ISBN: 978-0-9574715-1-1 A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library OTHER CHILDREN’S BOOKS FROM BLANK SCREEN PUBLISHING The Princess in the Purple Tower by Ellie Crowe & Janet King What Will Dr. DooLots do Today? by Jodie Rudge & Keeno Baker Stories I read to my daughter at bedtime by Patris Gordon & Janet King

For David and Roy Nelson and Candida Spencer

The Most Beautiful View in the World... (and other stories)



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The Most Beautiful View in the World


ortimer  G.  Opulent  was  the  richest  man   in  the  world.  He  was  wealthier  than   any  King  or  Emperor,  and  his  money  –  

carefully  invested  by  clever  bankers  –  made  him  richer   every  day.  Even  when  he  sat  around  doing  nothing  he   was  making  money.  He  had  made  his  fortune  by  being   cruel  and  ruthless,  and  now  he  intended  to  enjoy  all  the   beautiful  things  in  the  world  around  him.    

Mortimer  G.  Opulent  became  greedy  for  beauty  the   way  he  had  previously  been  greedy  for  money.  He   surrounded  himself  only  with  people  and  objects  that   were  beautiful.  He  was  a  man  of  exquisite  taste,  and   was  offended  by  anything  that  was  not  perfect.  His   wife  of  the  moment  was  always  young  and  pretty,   and  as  soon  as  she  grew  older,  or  less  perfect  in   DSSHDUDQFHKHZRXOGGLYRUFHKHUDQGÂżQGD\RXQJHU more  attractive  woman  to  be  his  wife.   “We  are  told  not  to  judge  by  appearances!â€?  he  would   exclaim.  “What  nonsense!  Appearance  is  all  that   matters!  Appearance  is  everything!â€? He  collected  art  and  sculptures  by  old  masters,   diamonds  and  emeralds  large  as  eggs,  and  priceless   porcelain.  His  many  houses,  with  their  famous  gardens,   were  situated  in  the  world’s  most  spectacular  places.   Above  all  else  Mortimer  G.  Opulent  loved  a  house  with   a  beautiful  view.  As  his  collection  of  treasures  grew  he  

became  bored  with  objects  and  found   himself  turning  more  and  more  to  the   beauties  of  nature.       He  employed  specially  trained   9LHZÂżQGHUVWRVHHNRXWWKHZRUOGÂśVPRVWZRQGHUIXO views.  He  would  sigh  with  greedy  joy  at  each  new   vista  and  buy  a  house  beside  it,  where  he  could  gaze   at  his  surroundings  until  he  grew  restless  again.   +RZHYHUPDJQLÂżFHQWWKHVFHQHU\ZDVVRRQHURU later  he  grew  bored.  He  lived  beside  hills  and  valleys,   waterfalls  and  glaciers,  jungles  and  tropical  islands,   DQGGHHSLQKLVKHDUWKHZDVGLVVDWLVÂżHG+HORQJHGWR ÂżQGDSODFHZKLFKZRXOGEHVRSHUIHFWWKDWKHZRXOG never  need  to  move  again:  a  place  he  could  call  home   at  last. “There  must  be  a  place  somewhere,â€?  he  told  the   9LHZÂżQGHUVÂł7KHUHPXVWEHDSODFHZKLFKKDVthe  most   EHDXWLIXOYLHZLQWKHZRUOG,QHHG\RXWRÂżQGLWIRUPH´

Âł,WKLQN6LU´EHJDQRQHRIWKH9LHZÂżQGHUVWLPLGO\ “I  don’t  employ  you  to  think,  you  imbecile!â€?  he  said.     “I  employ  you  to  ¿QG!â€? The  thought  of  this  perfect  view  began  to  obsess   0RUWLPHU*2SXOHQW:KHQWKH9LHZÂżQGHUVFDPH to  him  with  pictures  of  yet  another  sandy  beach  with   palm  trees  or  some  glittering  mountain  range,  he   swept  them  away  impatiently. “This  beach,  Sir,  is  the  most  amazing...â€? “I’ve  seen  all  this  before!â€?  he  would  bellow.  “What   am  I  paying  you  for?  I  want  the  very  best  in  the  world!â€? +HVDFNHGKLVÂżUVWWHDPRI9LHZÂżQGHUVDQG employed  a  more  expert  and  ruthless  bunch  of  men,   ZKRSURPLVHGWRÂżQGKLPZKDWKHGHVLUHG “I’m  tired  of  all  the  moving  around,â€?  he   told  them.  “Surely  I  pay  enough  for  you   WRÂżQGPHZKDW,ZDQWWKHPRVWEHDXWLIXO view  in  the  world!â€?

“Of  course,  of  course,  Sir,â€?  soothed  his  new  head   PDQÂł:HVKDOOÂżQG\RXWKHPRVWEHDXWLIXOYLHZLQWKH whole  world  and  you  will  never...â€? “Then  get  on  with  it!â€?  he  screeched. 6RPHPRQWKVODWHUWKHKHDG9LHZÂżQGHUFDPHWRKLP with  news  from  his  secret  sources  that  the  world’s   most  beautiful  view  was  in  Wales. “Wales!  Where  on  earth  is  Wales?â€? A  map  of  the  world  was  produced  and  Wales  was   pointed  out. “Well,  well.  Who’d  have  thought  it?  Great  Britain!   Do  you  have  reliable  information  on  this?â€? “Oh  yes,  SLU´VDLGKLVKHDG9LHZÂżQGHUÂł0\VRXUFHV DUHTXLWHGHÂżQLWHWKDW´ “Then  to  Wales  we  shall  all  go  at  once!â€?  interrupted   the  world’s  richest  man.  He  was  also  the  world’s   UXGHVWPDQIRUKHFRXOGQHYHUOHWDQ\RQHÂżQLVKD sentence.  He  happened  to  be  in  one  of  his  many  

American  homes  at  the  time,  so  he  ordered  the   3UHVLGHQWLDO6XLWHRQWKH¿UVWOX[XU\OLQHUDFURVVWKH Atlantic.  He  spent  much  of  the  crossing  in  a  state  of   impatient  excitement,  pacing  up  and  down  the  decks,   VKRXWLQJDWHYHU\RQHLQVLJKW:KHQWKHVKLS¿QDOO\ arrived  in  England,  he  chartered  a  stagecoach  to  take   him  to  Wales.  He  bellowed  at  his  coachman  not  to  

spare  the  horses,  and  brandished  the  whip  himself  on   VHYHUDORFFDVLRQVXQWLO¿QDOO\WKH\UHDFKHGWKHERUGHU between  Wales  and  England. The  problem  was  that  no  one  knew  exactly  where  in   Wales  this  beautiful  view  was.  Mortimer  G.  Opulent   VHWKLV9LHZ¿QGHUVWRZRUNZKLOVWKHWULHGWRWDONWR the  local  people.

“No  one  will  tell  us  anything!â€?  he  wailed,  after  yet   another  day  spent  tramping  around  in  the  rain.  “Their   language  is  quite  impossible,  and  I  can’t  believe  we   ZLOOÂżQGWKHZRUOGÂśVPRVWEHDXWLIXOYLHZKHUHLQWKLV damp  climate.   “The  trouble  is,  Sir,  that  the  people  won’t  co-­operate   ZLWKXV´VDLGKLVKHDG9LHZÂżQGHUÂł,ÂśPVXUHWKDWWKH\ know  where  it  is,  but  they  won’t...â€? “Then  they  shall  be  made  to  tell!â€?  shouted  Mortimer   G.  Opulent.  “Haven’t  you  offered  them  money?â€? “Oh  yes,  Sir,â€?  the  head  man  said.  “They  are  not  rich   people,  yet  they  refuse  our  money,  however  much  we   offer  them.    They  seem...â€? Âł7KH\VHHPZKDWH[DFWO\'HÂżDQW6WXEERUQ Stupid!â€? Mortimer  G.  grew  white,  then  red,  then  purple  in  the   face.  He  stamped  his  foot  several  times. “How  dare  they  defy  ME!â€?  he  roared.  At  last  he  

calmed  down,  and  smiled.  It  was  a  particularly  nasty   smile. “Very  well,â€?  he  said.  “We  shall  make  them  talk.â€? +HFRPPDQGHGKLV9LHZÂżQGHUVWREHJLQNLGQDSSLQJ local  children.  Soon  he  had  brought  terror  and   confusion  to  the  land.  Desperate  parents  offered  to  tell   him  anything  in  return  for  their  children,  and  he  was   GLUHFWHGDOORYHU:DOHVEXWVWLOOKHFRXOGQRWÂżQGD YLHZWKDWVDWLVÂżHGKLP “The  information  is  being  kept  from  me,â€?  he  snarled.     “They  think  they  can  keep  this  view  for  themselves.  I   shall  show  them.  I  have  been  too  lenient  up  until  now.   Kidnapping  children  hasn’t  worked  so  I  am  going  to   try  torturing  them!â€? +LV9LHZÂżQGHUVZHUHLQVWUXFWHGWRFDWFKWKHÂżUVWWZR children  they  came  across  and  bring  them  back,  tied   up  and  blindfolded. ,WVRKDSSHQHGWKDWWKHÂżUVWWZRFKLOGUHQWKH\FDPH

upon  were  a  brother  and  sister  called  Morgan  and   Megan.  Morgan  was  nine  and  little  Megan  was  only   four.  She  was  dragged  screaming  and  sobbing  in  front   of  Mortimer  G.  Opulent. “Shut  the  brat  up!â€?  he  instructed  his  head  man. “Wait,  Sir!â€?  said  the  boy.  “I  shall  calm  my  sister   down.â€?  He  spoke  rapidly  to  the  little  girl  in  Welsh  and   KHUZDLOVWXUQHGWRVQLIĂ€HVÂł1RZKRZFDQZHKHOS´ “I  am  more  inclined  to  think  it’s  your  parents   who  might  be  able  to  help  us  if  they  hear  you  two   screaming  loudly  enough.â€? “We  don’t  have  parents,  Sir,â€?  said  Morgan  politely,   tugging  at  his  blindfold.  “We  live  in  the  cottage   further  down  the  valley  with  our  grandfather,  who  is   our  only  relative.  He  is...â€? “Really?  And  does  your  grandfather  know  the  area   well?  Does  he  know  where  the  best  views  are  round   here?â€?

“No  one  better,  Sir,”  said  the  little  boy.  “My   grandfather  knows  the  hills  and  sea-­cliffs  round  here   better  than  any  man  alive.  Views  are  his  speciality.  He   loves  a  good  sea-­view,  and  in  particular  he  knows...” “Lead  us  to  him  at  once!”  commanded  Mortimer  G.   Opulent.

“Certainly,  Sir,  if  you  could  just  take  this  blindfold  off.â€? 7KH9LHZÂżQGHUVWRRNWKHEOLQGIROGVRIIDQG marched  the  children  roughly  ahead  of  them.  Little   Megan  whimpered  and  her  brother  continued  to  talk   soothingly  to  her  in  Welsh. Before  long  they  came  to  a  shabby  looking  cottage.   “Push  the  door  open  and  take  the  brats  inside!â€?  ordered   Mortimer  G.  Opulent. $IUDLOROGPDQVDWE\DQHPSW\ÂżUHSODFHDQGWXUQHGWR them  with  eyes  that  looked  half  blind.   “Please  untie  my  sister,  Sir,â€?  said  Morgan,  “and  my   grandfather  will  tell  you  all  you  want  to  know.  I  can   translate  all  that  my  grand...â€? “Do  as  he  says!â€? 7KH9LHZÂżQGHUVXQWLHGWKHOLWWOHJLUODQGVKHUDQ trembling,  into  her  grandfather’s  arms. “Explain  to  your  grandfather  that  we  are  looking  for  the   Best  View  in  the  World,â€?  said  Mortimer  G.  Opulent.  “If  

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