Page 1

ROOMS OF STORIES THE HARLEY GALLERY DECEMBER 2012


CONTENTS 3

10

18

25

31

38

44

51

The Black Dancer's Ring Dave the Wagon Man

Rumpelstiltscyn's Return Rosie vs Rumpelstiltskin The Magic Tears

Princess Rosie's Magic Key Cinderella’s Key

The Ice Necklace and the Fiery Dragon


THE BLACK DANCER’S RING BY

YEAR 3, CRESWELL JUNIOR SCHOOL AND PIPPA HENNESSY

3


O

THE BLACK DANCER’S RING

nce upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess. Her name was Chloe, and she lived in a castle in a sunny kingdom where the birds always sang and there was never a cloud in the sky. Her father was the king, and her mother was the queen, and although they were nice they didn’t bother Chloe too much because they were busy being king and queen, which is a lot of work. So Chloe spent a lot of time on her own, and a lot of time with her favourite donkey, who was called Cruncher. She would ride Cruncher all around the kingdom, and wave to all the people, and all the people would wave back. There was only one place she was not allowed to go, and that was across the blue river which ran alongside Cruncher’s meadow. In the distance, over the water, she could see a line of trees which marked the edge of a big dark wood. And in the middle of the wood, sticking up above the trees, was a tall tower. Sometimes she would ask people who lived in the tower, and sometimes they would say, ‘You should ask the king.’ Mostly though, they simply shook their heads and turned away. A stone bridge crossed the river, so she could have gone over to investigate if she’d wanted to, but the king and queen had always told her that Bad Things lived there. And Chloe was a good girl, so she obeyed the rule and never ever crossed the bridge. *****

One afternoon, Chloe was sitting in her favourite window-seat, which looked over the meadow where Cruncher was quietly crunching away on his grass, and over the river to the trees and the tower. ‘Maybe,’ she said, ‘there’s a monster who lives in the tower, and maybe he’s caught a handsome prince and is keeping him prisoner. Yes, that must be it. There’s a prince in that tower, and he needs to be rescued.’ The birds chirped noisily outside the window, and it sounded to Chloe as if they were saying, ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ She thought about this for a long time, and played with her ring. It wasn’t just any ring. It was a magic ring that had been made a long time ago for the Black Dancer. It was really lots of rings which you could wear all at once, or a few at a time. One of the rings had a magic heart-shaped crystal set into it, and the crystal’s magic gave her one wish every week. Sometimes she thought she might be able to work out a way to free the prince from the tower using the ring, but there was one problem with that. The wishes granted by the ring only lasted for a week, and she could only make each wish once. She’d already tried to wish for lots and lots of money. She’d spent it on toys and clothes and sweets, and had a lovely 4


THE BLACK DANCER’S RING week. Then she’d got into so much trouble when all the shopkeepers from the town came to see the king on Sunday morning, after the wish had run out and the money had vanished. She had to give all the clothes and toys back, and she had to give the sweetshop owner all her pocket money for a month because she and Cruncher had eaten all the sweets. Chloe hadn’t been looking out of the window very carefully while she’d been thinking. But, she suddenly realised, there was something odd going on. The river looked different somehow. It took her a few moments to work it out, then she had it. The water, which had been a clear crystal blue, was turning bright green. That wasn’t right. That wasn’t right at all. So Chloe went to get her telescope to have a closer look. And when she put it to her eye, she saw, sneaking over the bridge, a most strange man. This man had evil green hair, a white face, a huge red smile, big black circles round his eyes, and he was wearing a purple suit. He was obviously up to no good, because he was trying his hardest not to be seen, and Chloe became very worried when he started to scuttle towards the castle, stooping down behind the hedge as he went. She had to do something to stop him getting into her home. Her mother and father were away somewhere doing royal things, and the castle guards were having their afternoon nap, so it was all up to Chloe. She ran all the way down to the bottom of the stone staircase, and dashed in and out of all the rooms closing and locking every window and every door so the strange man couldn’t get in. Just as she closed the very last window, the man’s face appeared, pushed up against the glass, glaring at her with angry eyes. Chloe was so scared she could feel the hairs on her arms standing up, and her knees started to shake so much she almost fell over. Thinking quickly, she put her hand on the magic Black Dancer’s ring, and whispered: ‘I wish that strange man would leave my kingdom, and go back over to the other side of the river.’ Luckily, she hadn’t wished on the ring yet that week. So her wish came true, and the strange man turned round and scuttled back across the field and across the bridge, heading straight for the mysterious tower in the forest. Chloe watched him go through her telescope, and when he was completely out of sight she unlocked the door and ran outside to see Cruncher. She gave her faithful donkey a huge hug and told him all about the strange man. Cruncher made soft ‘hee-haw’ noises every now and then, because he understood exactly what she was saying, and he nuzzled her neck as if 5


THE BLACK DANCER’S RING to say, ‘There there, it’s all over now.’ And Chloe and Cruncher went for a ride in the sunshine, and waved to a few townsfolk, and by teatime Chloe had completely forgotten about the strange man. *****

At the end of the week, as the clocks were striking midnight and Sunday took over from Saturday, Chloe woke up. She knew, deep in the pit of her stomach and in the marrow of her bones, that something was very wrong. She lay in bed for a while, trying to get back to sleep, and she was just dozing off when there was a thumping on the castle door, so loud and heavy that even the thick stone walls shook. Chloe leapt out of bed and ran to her treasure room to get the Black Dancer’s ring, and when it was safely on her finger she rushed to the door to see what the commotion was. Even before she got to the door, she knew what she would find. Sure enough, outside the door was the strange man with evil green hair. He was making an enormous racket, banging on the door and shouting in his deep voice, ‘I am the Joker, and I want the Black Dancer’s ring. If you don’t give me the ring, I shall turn the whole kingdom green, and all the birds and the trees and the flowers will die, and the people will starve. So you must give me the ring, and give it to me now!’ ‘Oh,’ cried Chloe, holding onto her ring so tightly it hurt her hands, ‘I wish you would just go away!’ Then she remembered, she’d already made that wish once. And she realised that the Joker had come back just as soon as the power of the wish had vanished. So she thought and thought, so hard her head felt as if it would burst, and then an idea came to her. She clutched the ring again, and said, ‘I wish Cruncher would turn into a dragon for ever.’ Chloe ran upstairs to the very top of the highest tower in the whole castle, and flung open the window. She could still hear the Joker shouting, and feel the walls shake from his pounding on the door far down below. But above the din the Joker was making, she heard the fuzzy ‘thwack, thwack’ of great wings flapping, and soon Cruncher the dragon was hovering outside the window. Quick as she could, Chloe scrambled onto Cruncher’s back. ‘Chase the horrible Joker away, Cruncher!’ she whispered in the dragon’s ear. And the dragon swooped down, faster 6


THE BLACK DANCER’S RING than any rollercoaster there ever was or ever will be, and breathed furious flames at the Joker. Before the green-haired villain realised what was happening, his purple trousers were on fire! Realising he wasn’t going to get the ring by shouting and threatening, he turned tail and ran, shouting, ‘I’ll be back, just you wait!’ and, ‘Ouch, my bottom’s on fire!’ He kept on running and running, until he got to the river. And rather than going across the bridge, he jumped into the water and swam across so as to put the fire out. Chloe and Cruncher chased the Joker all the way to the riverbank, but they didn’t go any further, because Chloe remembered what the king and queen had told her. Even though she knew now that it was the Joker who lived in the tower, she was very good and almost always did as she was told. The princess and the dragon stood side by side on the riverbank and watched the dripping wet Joker run all the way to the edge of the forest, which swallowed him up like a huge hungry monster. By this time Chloe was terribly tired. So she gave her dragon friend a hug, said,’Thank you for helping me, Cruncher,’ and went back into the castle. She put the Black Dancer’s ring back in her treasure room and took herself off to bed. She knew the Joker would be back, but he would just have to wait until she was ready to deal with him. *****

The very next morning, when Chloe had only just sat down to breakfast, and Cruncher was outside in the courtyard munching on his morning snack of two hundred steaks, the Joker did indeed come back. Cruncher, being a very sharp-eyed dragon, spotted the bright green of the Joker’s hair, bobbing along behind the fence. When the Joker got to the end of the fence, he ran quick as a flash across the courtyard, dodging Cruncher’s blasts of flames, and dived for an open window. Cruncher lashed out with his tail and slammed the window shut, but the Joker just crashed straight through it and landed in a pile of glass inside the castle. Now Cruncher was too big to go into the castle, since he’d been changed into a dragon, but he was plenty big enough to raise the alarm. He roared as loud as he could, and blasted fire into the air so high it could be seen for miles and miles. Hearing this mighty roaring, Chloe pushed her porridge 7


THE BLACK DANCER’S RING away and leapt to her feet. ‘That’s Cruncher,’ she thought. ‘The Joker must have come back, and he must have got into the castle.’ By a stroke of bad luck, all the guards were having a half-day off that morning, as it was market day, so once again it was up to Chloe to defend the castle, and to stop the Joker stealing the magic Black Dancer’s ring. And this time Cruncher couldn’t help her! Chloe ran towards her treasure room. On the way she darted into the guardroom and put on a chain mail shirt and grabbed a sword, because she knew she would have to fight for her ring. The shirt came down to her knees and made it difficult for her to run, and when she skidded round the corner near the treasure room door, she saw the Joker making off in the other direction, towards the castle’s back door. ‘Oh no,’ she thought. ‘He must already have my ring!’ So she bunched up the shirt around her middle and ran after the Joker just as fast as she could. Up and down the long stone corridors they ran, and down and down the spiral stairs, until the Joker made a mistake and found himself in a small storeroom which had only one door. Chloe held the sword up before her, in both hands, and stood threateningly in the doorway. ‘I’ve got you now, you horrible Joker,’ she shouted. ‘ You might as well give me back my ring.’ ‘Never!’ cried the Joker. And he held the ring high up out of Chloe’s reach, and pulled a long thin dagger out of his belt. ‘You’ll have to come and get it!’ Chloe didn’t really know how to fight. She waved the sword around a bit, and moved a bit closer to the Joker. The Joker was an expert fighter, and he poked and prodded at her with the dagger, ignoring her clumsy sword-swipes, forcing her backwards out of the room and into the corridor. He might be a better swordsman than her, but there was no way Chloe was going to let him get away. She valiantly blocked the Joker’s dagger as much as she could, and when she let the sharp point get too close to her, the chain mail shirt saved her from harm. Then, when the battle had nearly got as far as the garden door, the Joker stopped. With a wide, cruel smile he clutched the ring tight in his hand and said, in the most evil voice you could ever imagine, ‘I wish I was far away from here, back home in my tower in the dark forest.’ 8


THE BLACK DANCER’S RING Chloe shouted, ‘No!’ ...and then she started to laugh. She’d already used up the wish for that week, so the Joker wasn’t going to get anywhere by magic. The Joker, desperate now, jammed the ring on his finger and lunged at Chloe, the point of his dagger mere inches away from her exposed neck. The sun, streaming in through the open door, glinted off the blade, almost blinding her as she dodged out of the way. And when she swung her sword in a wild circle, the sun shone from her weapon too. Chloe suddenly had an idea. It was a long shot, but if she didn’t try something the Joker was going to get away. She threw herself backwards, and the Joker, seeing his chance, ran for the door. Chloe stuck her sword into the sunbeam, and wiggled it frantically, trying to twist the light in just the right direction. Rays of bright sunshine shot from her blade, and when one of them hit the magic heart-shaped crystal on the Black Dancer’s ring, Chloe twitched the sword to and fro, to and fro, so the light beam flicked across the Joker’s eyes. And the Joker, hypnotised by the flashing light, fell down in a deep, deep sleep. Quick as anything, Chloe dashed forwards and grabbed the ring from the Joker’s finger. Then she kicked and kicked at his sleeping body until it was outside on the garden path, where Cruncher was waiting anxiously for her. She looked up at him and smiled. ‘You know what to do now, Cruncher,’ she said. Cruncher nodded once, lifted up his huge front foot, and brought it down hard on the Joker. When he lifted his foot again, the Joker was flat as a pancake and dead as a dodo. *****

Chloe and Cruncher breathed a sigh of relief, and as they were now very hungry after their interrupted breakfast and hard-fought breakfast, they settled down to a celebration feast of tea and crumpets. And once they’d filled their stomachs, Chloe jumped onto Cruncher’s back, and they flew off to the forest to find the prince. Sure enough, a prince was locked in the Joker’s tower. And he was a very handsome prince. And when the princess and the dragon rescued him, he fell deeply in love with Princess Chloe, and she fell deeply in love with him, so they were married. And they all lived happily ever after. THE END

9


DAVE BY

THE

WAGON MAN

YEAR 3, CRESWELL JUNIOR SCHOOL AND PIPPA HENNESSY

10


O

DAVE

THE

WAGON MAN

nce upon a time, in a land very far away, there lived many people who had many dilemmas. And all those people trusted two men above all others to help them solve their problems. These two men were Dave the Wagon Man, and Steve with the Diamond Sword. Dave was clever. He could see the answer to any question, and he could always work out the best way to make things right. He was called ‘Dave the Wagon Man’ because he owned a big wagon, which was pulled by a big horse, and this was where he lived. He didn’t have a house made of stone or bricks, like you or me, and quite often he was cold at night, but he liked it that way. He liked to travel around solving people’s problems. Steve was not as clever as Dave. In fact, he was a little bit stupid. But that didn’t matter, because what he lacked in brains, he more than made up for by being an expert fighter. He could take on any enemy with his Diamond Sword, and they wouldn’t stand a chance. Dave was no good at fighting, so the two of them made a perfect pair of heroes. No-one knew how long the pair had been travelling the land, helping everyone with their problems. Even Dave didn’t remember. All anyone knew was that if they had a dilemma, chances were good that Dave the Wagon Man and Steve with the Diamond Sword would be along to sort things out. *****

One fine day, Dave and Steve were sitting on the wagon, trundling through the countryside. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and Steve was whistling loudly. Dave was holding the horse’s reins and daydreaming about the next problem that they might come across. Perhaps it would be a distressed damsel under attack from a flock of geese, or it might be a farmer whose sheep kept turning themselves upside down and lying there with their legs stuck up into the air like sticks. ‘I tell you what, Steve,’ said Dave. ‘What?’ said Steve. ‘I’ve got a feeling that it won’t be long before we have to solve another problem. Things have been a bit quiet lately.’ And sure enough, around the very next bend, Dave and Steve came upon a poor traveller being set upon by a gang of seven thieves. Dave snatched up his knife, Steve grabbed his Diamond Sword, and they 11


DAVE

THE

WAGON MAN

leaped off the wagon, laying about the thieves, slashing left and right, up and down and round and round. The thieves, who had thought they had an easy job as they outnumbered the poor traveller by seven to one, weren’t ready to be attacked by two fierce warriors. They screeched and screamed, ducked and dived, and eventually ran and ran. Once the battle was over and the thieves had vanished into the distance, the traveller introduced himself. ‘I am so pleased to meet you. My name is John Garfield, and you have saved me from a horrible fate. I can’t thank you enough.’ Dave said, ‘We’re only too pleased to help. I’m Dave, and this is Steve.’ John Garfield realised this must be Dave the Wagon Man and Steve with the Diamond Sword, and was overcome with awe. He clasped Dave’s hand and said, ‘All the people of this land say you are the best at solving problems, but I never thought I would have the honour to meet you, let alone have need of your help. I’d like a chance to thank you properly. Where are you headed?’ ‘We just travel the roads wherever they take us,’ said Steve. John Garfield said, ‘Well, in that case, you must come with me, for the next town is not so far, and I plan to stay there tonight in an inn I know well. I am sure the landlady would be happy to find a room for Dave the Wagon Man and Steve with the Diamond Sword, and I will buy you dinner .’ ‘That’d be very kind of you, Mr Garfield,’ said Steve, who liked to have a good meal that he didn’t have to catch and kill and clean and cook once in a while. And if John Garfield was willing to pay for it, it was only polite to accept. So Dave, Steve and John Garfield all set off together along the road. *****

In the meantime, the thieves ran as fast as they could back to their camp in the forest, down all the dark paths, past all the dark bushes and dark trees until they reached the dark clearing that was their home. Seven rickety shacks stood in a semicircle round a big fire, and over the fire hung a huge black cauldron. On the other side of the fire was a small cottage, built of black bricks for its walls and black thatch for its roof. And standing next to the fire was a witch. She had hair like night, and a cloak like a raven’s feathers, and her tall pointed hat was as dark as coal. On her finger she wore a ring, which was in fact more than one ring, and was the only flash of colour about her. The ring was made of bands of purest gold, each with a deep blood12


DAVE

THE

WAGON MAN

red crystal set into it. The crystals were all different shapes, and together they made a ring which was spiky and angry and fierce, and it was clearly magical. The thieves slunk to the fireside, each trying to hide behind the others. ‘Oh, Mistress Jessica,’ cried the bravest of them, ‘ we have not brought you any gold and silver today. For we were set upon by the most fearsome warriors, who drove us away from the road.’ ‘Well, I shall not be angry with you for running from an unfair battle,’ said the witch. ‘Tell me, what army was it that threatened you so?’ The thieves all shuffled uneasily and stared at their feet. None had the courage to speak. ‘Come now,’ said Jessica, seizing the arm of the thief who had spoken earlier. ‘It must have been a mighty band of warriors to frighten seven fearless men like you.’ The thief’s eyes bulged with fear. He looked around at his fellows, but none of them spoke out to save him. So he opened his mouth without any thought of what he was going to say, and gabbled, ‘Mistress Jessica, there were only two of them. But they were indeed mighty warriors, and one of them was a really big man and he had this sword that sparkled in the sunlight and seemed to cut through the air itself, and the other one only had a normal sword but he was pretty good too, and there wasn’t anything we could do, honestly, we’re not cowards...’ He stopped talking. The witch’s face, which was already thunderous, had grown even darker. The Red Queen’s ring started to flash red from each crystal in turn. The thief started to gibber and plead, for he knew what would happen next. Jessica tightened her grip on his arm, and lifted the jabbering man into the air as easily as if he were a feather. Then she muttered a few words under her breath, to call on the strength of the ring, and swung her arm in a circle. She released the thief at just the right moment to send him sailing up and over the treetops. Then she turned to the other six thieves and said, ‘Right, that’s him out of the way. I’m sure you’re not as cowardly as he was.’ ‘No, Mistress Jessica,’ they chorused like naughty schoolboys. ‘Good,’ said Jessica. ‘In that case, I will take my revenge on these two meddlers, and you will help me.’ ‘Yes, Mistress Jessica,’ came the reply. ‘I will not have heroes interfering with my plan to take all the gold and silver in the land for my own. I will not! Do you hear me?’ 13


DAVE

THE

WAGON MAN

‘Yes, Mistress Jessica,’ was the reply again. *****

Dave the Wagon Man, Steve with the Diamond Sword and John Garfield were having a most enjoyable evening in the pub in the town. John Garfield had treated them all to the best roast dinner they had ever tasted, and they were settling down for a long night of storytelling and singing. The first story John Garfield told was of a local maiden, who had hair as black as night, and had been the sweetest and loveliest young woman he had ever known. The name of this maiden was Jessica, and John Garfield had been deeply in love with her, and she with him, and John Garfield thought they might be married one day. However, an evil sorceress had come through the land some months before, and on a whim she had given Jessica a magic ring made up of many other rings, which had once belonged to the Red Queen. Jessica had been very flattered by this gift (for of course she did not know the sorceress was evil), and had promised to wear the ring for as long as she had a finger to wear it on. As soon as she put the ring on that one finger it fitted, she became evil herself, and set about trying to amass as much power and money for herself as she could. Of course, as she was now evil, she was no longer interested in the love of such a man as John Garfield, who was nothing more than a travelling salesman. Steve wiped away a tear. ‘That’s so sad,’ he said. Then he asked, ‘So do you still love Jessica, even though she’s turned evil?’ ‘Of course I do!’ said John Garfield. ‘I will love her till the day I die, no matter what she does.’ Not one of the three men noticed a woman who had come silently into the inn, propped a broomstick in the corner, and was now standing at the bar, close to their table. This woman had drawn her black hood down over her face, so she could not be recognised. She asked for a small dry sherry, and when she was served with her drink she sipped very slowly at the reddish-brown liquid. *****

After a while, the men ran out of beer, so Dave went to the bar to replenish their glasses. He tried to strike up a conversation with the mysterious stranger, but she studiously ignored him, sipping slowly on her sherry. When a musician struck a few notes, then started to play, Jessica (for it was she) had her chance. Steve turned his back to the bar to watch the musician’s performance, and 14


DAVE

THE

WAGON MAN

Jessica took a small black bottle out of her pocket and slipped a drop of the contents into each of the three pint glasses. The drinks immediately became darker, and faint wisps of smoke rose from their surface. Dave, remembering what he had come to the bar for, turned round again and started to pick up the drinks. Then he noticed the beer seemed odd, so he picked up one of the glasses and held it up to the light. He put it down, picked up the second glass and did the same. The third glass received the same inspection. The landlady said, ‘Do you think you might get round to paying for that beer? I haven’t got all day, you know. This bar is full of thirsty people, and I’m not having them serve themselves.’ Dave looked at the beer, which by now was nearly black and was emitting clouds of smoke. Then he looked at the landlady. ‘Take it back, I’m not paying for that!’ he cried. ‘How dare you try to poison us?’ ‘I’ve never heard such a thing,’ screeched the landlady. ‘Get out of my inn right now, and take your no-good friends with you.’ ‘With pleasure,’ said Dave. ‘At least if we drink fresh water from the fountain we won’t get poisoned.’ And with that, the three friends left the inn. Once they were out in the cool night air, Dave sighed. ‘Just once, it would have been nice to sleep in a proper bed. Oh well, I’m sure we can all fit into my wagon.’ *****

The witch, who had grabbed her broomstick and followed the men outside, continued to follow them back to Dave’s wagon. She slipped from shadow to shadow without being noticed, all the while staring at Steve’s Diamond Sword and thinking about how rich she would be if she could just steal that one object. Dave, Steve and John Garfield sat round their campfire for a while, telling stories and singing songs, and Jessica hid in the bushes and watched them. Eventually the men finished their last song and climbed into Dave’s wagon. And as they’d had a long and exciting day, they went to sleep very quickly, and the tuneful sound of their snoring soon came from the wagon. ‘Right,’ thought Jessica. ‘Now’s my chance.’ And she crept very quietly right up to the wagon, and put her head through the doorway to see what she could see. Three men were sleeping, two on the floor and one in the chair. She thought she recognised John Garfield, asleep in the chair. But the sparkle of Steve’s Diamond Sword distracted her, and her eyes grew bright with greed. She reached out and seized the sword, quietly and smoothly pulled it out of the wagon, and started to creep back to the edge of the clearing, where she’d left 15


DAVE

THE

WAGON MAN

her broomstick. It was all going well for Jessica... until she trod on a twig, which broke with a loud snap. Steve sprang to his feet and reached for his Diamond Sword. Realising it had gone, he dashed out of the wagon to see what was happening. Quick as a flash, Jessica bashed Steve on the head with the flat of the Diamond Sword’s blade, then she stuck her broomstick underneath him as he folded up, unconscious. She hopped onto the broomstick behind Steve’s folded-up body and set it going. It wasn’t used to carrying a witch and a big heavy man, so it didn’t manage to get up much speed, but at least it was faster than running. *****

Moments later, Dave the Wagon Man woke with a start. As soon as he saw that Steve and the Diamond Sword had disappeared without leaving a note, he knew something was most definitely wrong. He stuck his head out of the wagon door just in time to see Jessica wobbling off into the distance with Steve and the Diamond Sword. ‘John Garfield, wake up!’ he shouted as he pulled some clothes on. ‘Jessica has stolen my friend and his sword.’ John Garfield was up and out of the chair in no time, and the two men ran as fast as they could after the witch and her prisoner. Luckily the broomstick was moving so slowly that they soon caught up. Dave knew his knife wouldn’t be any use against a witch on a broomstick, so he seized a long stick from the roadside to try and knock her off. A couple of good swipes, and he’d done it. Jessica was flat on her face in the dust, and the broomstick had done a loop-the-loop, dumping Steve in a ditch, then whistled off into the distance. Jessica leaped to her feet and started to wave the Diamond Sword around. At the same time she twitched the finger that was adorned by the Red Queen’s ring, and lightning bolts flew out of one of the crystals towards Dave and John Garfield. ‘Stay back,’ shouted Dave to John Garfield, as he ducked the lightning and tried to weave his way closer to Jessica. ‘You stay back,’ screamed Jessica. ‘This sword is mine now! You can keep your friend, I don’t want him.’ Then she unleashed a stream of flashes and bangs that were for all 16


DAVE

THE

WAGON MAN

the world like a firework display that had come far too close, Desperate now, ignoring the smouldering patches on his clothes and the horrid burning smell coming from his hair where a stray spark had caught it alight, Dave surged forwards. He threw himself at Jessica, knowing it was his last chance. His knife slashed out, missed. Again it slashed. And it got stuck in the broomstick’s bristles. Jessica laughed. ‘Can’t even get that right!’ she crowed, and let loose another lightning bolt. Suddenly, Dave’s knife came free, and quick as a flash he struck out and chopped Jessica’s finger off. The finger with the ring. Everything became quiet for a moment, then Jessica dropped the broomstick and the Diamond Sword, stared at the blood pouring from her hand, and started to wail. ‘What did you do that for?’ she sobbed. ‘I never did you any harm. I don’t even know you!’ Then she spotted John Garfield, and sobbed even harder. ‘John Garfield, I thought you loved me!’ she cried. *****

It took Dave a while to sort everything out. He had to stop Jessica’s finger bleeding, get Steve out of the ditch, revive John Garfield (who had fainted at the sight of blood), and explain to Jessica what had been going on since she’d put the ring on. She had lost her memory of the whole sorry episode. It took rather less time for John Garfield to propose marriage to Jessica, and for her to accept his proposal. And it wasn’t long before John and Jessica became husband and wife, watched proudly by Dave the Wagon Man and Steve with the Diamond Sword. And they all lived happily ever after. THE END

17


RUMPELSTILTSCYN’S RETURN BY

YEAR 2, WOODSETTS PRIMARY SCHOOL AND PIPPA HENNESSY

18


O

RUMPELSTILTSCYN’S RETURN

nce upon a time there lived a king, and his name was James. King James lived in a land where the sun shone every day, and when the crops needed rain to grow it only ever rained at night. He was a clever, tall, handsome and strong king, and he was always kind to his people even when they behaved badly. Because of this his people loved him dearly, and they would fight to the death to defend him. And because of this, no enemies were foolish enough to attack King James and his kingdom. The only cloud in the sky over the kingdom was the king’s sadness – he had been married to a beautiful princess, but she had died in childbirth, and James missed her greatly every single day. And so their baby, Prince Owen, was the most precious among the many precious things in the king’s castle. James loved Owen more than any man has ever loved a child. He spent all his time when he wasn’t busy ruling the kingdom playing with his son, and bringing Owen up to be an even finer king than he was himself. And he knew that Owen would be a good king, because when Owen was first born he had a lush curly beard, and everyone knows that the sign of a good strong king is a good strong beard. *****

Now, King James did have one enemy who was so consumed with hatred that he was not afraid to wage war on the kingdom. James did not know this, but when he was a baby himself, his mother had nearly been forced to give him up to a wicked sprite named Rumpelstiltscyn. And Rumpelstiltscyn had been sitting in his little forest hut for years and years and years, getting more and more angry and resentful. And now that James had a baby of his very own, Rumpelstiltscyn decided that he would take Prince Owen away from King James. So he started to dig. Rumpelstiltscyn dug and dug and dug, day after day, night after night, making a tunnel that led all the way from the forest under the fields, under the houses, and under the walls of the palace. Eventually, one dark night, the tunnel broke through into the palace cellars, and up popped Rumpelstiltscyn with a cruel smile on his face, ready to find baby Owen and steal him. Unfortunately for the evil sprite, King James had been given a magic necklace by his mother, which was made of spun gold. This necklace gave him three powers of protection, and the first of these powers was to warn the King when any danger threatened. So when Rumpelstiltscyn broke through into the cellar, the necklace started to buzz loudly, which 19


RUMPELSTILTSCYN’S RETURN woke the King. At once, James leaped out of bed, and without even stopping to get dressed he put the magic necklace round his neck and ran down the cold marble stairs to the cellar to see what was threatening his palace. Outside the cellar door, King James stopped to listen. And he heard the soft slaps of Rumpelstiltscyn’s feet on the cellar floor as he danced round, singing: It’s time for my revenge I will steal the King’s son James will be so sad And I’ll be having fun!

Rumpelstiltscyn is my name A royal baby I will take Prince Owen will be mine To pay for James’s escape!

James was shocked and surprised, but he wasn’t afraid. He used the necklace’s second power of protection, and made himself invisible. Then he sneaked through the door, crept up behind the dancing sprite, and bashed Rumpelstiltscyn hard on the head. The sprite fell to the floor, stunned, his eyes spinning round in their sockets, his ears wiggling backwards and forwards, and his nose twitching up and down (that’s what happens when you stun a sprite). James looked around, and saw the tunnel. ‘Oho,’ he said. ‘That’s how you got in, is it? Well, that’s how you shall go out!’ And he used the necklace’s third power of protection, which was to cast a forcefield. He put a forcefield around Rumpelstiltscyn so that he couldn’t move, and kicked the wicked bundle back down the tunnel. Then he called his guards and together they filled the tunnel with stones and rubble and junk, so the sprite could never get back into the palace that way. *****

After a little while Rumpelstiltscyn recovered from being stunned, and after another little while the forcefield wore off, and the evil sprite dragged himself to his feet and limped back down the tunnel to his little hut in the forest. There, 20


RUMPELSTILTSCYN’S RETURN he made himself a nice cup of tea and sat down to think. ‘The King has a powerful necklace,’ he thought. ‘And if I’m going to get hold of his son, I’m going to have to get hold of the necklace first, or the King will surely defeat me every time.’ So he made another plan, which used of one of Rumpelstiltscyn’s own magical powers. Being a sprite, he was already small, but he had the power to make himself even smaller. The next night, Rumpelstiltscyn put a thick felt hat on his head so the king wouldn’t be able to stun him so easily. He left his little hut, ran all the way to the edge of the palace grounds, and then he stopped. He started to turn round and round, faster and faster, and each time he turned round, he grew a little bit smaller. He spun and spun, until he was the size of a tiny beetle. The tiny Rumpelstiltscyn scuttled through the beautiful gardens, past the twinkling fountains and the beds of sleepy flowers, until he reached the palace door. Even though the door was locked, he was small enough to creep underneath and make his way into the grand entrance hall. Once he was there, he spun round and round the other way, and grew back to his normal size. After unlatching the front door to make sure he would be able to escape, he crept up the marble staircase and sneaked along the hallways to the King’s bedroom. Carefully, quietly, he opened the door and tiptoed in. There, on the bedside table, was the King’s magic necklace, shining golden in the moonlight. Before it had a chance to start buzzing its warning, Rumpelstiltscyn dashed across the room, grabbed the necklace, and ran back through the door and along the hallway towards the nursery, where Prince Owen was fast asleep. He knew there would be guards on the door of the nursery, so he put the necklace around his neck and tried to use the second magic power. ‘Make me invisible, magic necklace,’ he whispered. Unfortunately for Rumpelstiltscyn, he didn’t know that the necklace would only work for King James. So when he tried to use it, the magic necklace zapped him with a bolt of blue electricity. It zapped him again and again, and Rumpelstiltscyn screeched and tore the necklace from his neck, flinging it 21


RUMPELSTILTSCYN’S RETURN away down the corridor. The necklace didn’t fall to the ground, it kept on going, back towards the King’s bedroom, where it told King James what had happened. Rumpelstiltscyn knew at once his plan had failed, so he ran as fast as he could down the stairs, out of the door, through the palace grounds, through the fields, through the dark forest, back to his little hut. And once he’d got there, he made another cup of tea and sat down to think of another plan. *****

In the meantime, King James was also sitting down with a nice cup of tea and thinking hard. He couldn’t work out why Rumpelstiltscyn was so determined to take Prince Owen away. The lines of the song came back into his mind: Prince Owen will be mine To pay for James’s escape!

He couldn’t remember having escaped from an evil sprite. ‘It must have happened when I was a baby myself,’ he thought. So he went to the palace library, and opened up the cabinet where his mother’s diaries were kept. He found the diary for the year of his birth and started to read, until he found the following entry:

Today the little man who spun straw into gold and saved my life came back to take away my son. I cried so hard that he said if I could find out his name I could keep James. I guessed all the names I could think of, but none of them were right. I don’t know what I shall do if I can’t guess the horrible little man’s name. I can’t give my son away.

James carried on reading, and then he went back to the diaries the queen had kept when she was only a miller’s daughter, until he knew the whole story. ‘If I don’t do something to stop this Rumpelstiltscyn,’ he thought, ‘the wicked sprite will keep coming back, and he won’t give up until he’s taken my beloved son.’ So King James set to work, and he made a huge black rubbish bin out of wrought iron, and he fixed seven strong locks to the lid, and wound it round with seven strong chains. He put the bin just outside Prince Owen’s nursery, ready to catch Rumpelstiltscyn. Then he made sure his magic necklace was fastened tightly around his neck, turned himself invisible, and settled down next to the black rubbish bin to wait for the sprite to return. 22


RUMPELSTILTSCYN’S RETURN *****

Rumpelstiltscyn had spent the whole day sitting at his kitchen table, drinking endless cups of tea, waiting for a new idea to come to him. By the evening, he had still not thought of a foolproof plan, but he was so eager to get hold of the baby prince that he set off for the palace anyway. On his way through the forest he decided it was time for a change of approach. As he’d tried to enter through the cellar and through the front door, this time he would try to get into the palace through the attic. It would be closer to Prince Owen’s nursery, and he’d have more of a chance to snatch the baby and escape. When he reached the palace grounds he found a garden hose, and cast a magic spell so it rose up the side of the palace and stood there like a rope. Rumpelstiltscyn grasped the hose and started to climb. Unfortunately for Rumpelstiltscyn, it was a windy night. The wind caught on a not-quite-shut window just as the sprite was climbing past, and the window swung open with such force that it sent him flying through the air, and blew him all the way back to his little hut in the forest. Rumpelstiltscyn was so cross by this time that he wasn’t going to let little things like bumps and bruises, or even big things like howling gales, stop him getting into the palace. He stormed into his kitchen and sat at the table, thinking furiously. As he looked around the room, his eyes lit on the magic ladle he’d used to escape from the palace many years before. ‘Of course!’ he shouted. ‘I’m a complete idiot!’ And with that he seized the ladle, jumped astride it, flew out of the door, over the trees and fields and gardens, and landed safe and sound on the palace roof. Quick as a flash, he pulled the attic window open, dropped into the attic and ran down the wooden stairs to the prince’s nursery. He noticed the black rubbish bin, but didn’t think anything of it, so eager was he to get his hands on the baby prince. Of course, he didn’t see King James, who was still invisible even though he’d dozed off. Rumpelstiltscyn opened the nursery door, darted inside, snatched up the baby and ran back into the corridor. Prince Owen was not happy about this treatment. He started screaming as loudly as he could, and at exactly the same time the king’s necklace started buzzing. King James woke up immediately, leaped to his feet, and thumped Rumpelstiltscyn over the head. 23


RUMPELSTILTSCYN’S RETURN This time the sprite wasn’t stunned, as he was still wearing his thick felt hat. ‘Haha!’ he cried. ‘I have your baby now, and nothing’s going to stop me getting away this time!’ And he held Owen tightly to his chest and started to run up the wooden stairs. ‘Not so fast!’ roared King James. He grasped the golden strands of his magic necklace, and used the third power of protection to once again surround Rumpelstiltscyn with a forcefield. The evil sprite froze on the stairs, then slowly started to topple backwards. Prince Owen fell from his arms and tumbled through the air. King James leaped forwards, caught his son in one strong arm and lifted the lid of the black rubbish bin with the other. Rumpelstiltscyn fell into the bin, his eyes wide with horror as the king slammed the lid down. The palace guards, woken by all the commotion, came running. Seeing what had happened, they locked the black bin tight shut with all seven locks, and wound all seven chains around it so there was no way that Rumpelstiltscyn could escape. Then they picked up the bin, took it out into the palace gardens, and buried it in a deep deep hole. James took Owen back into the nursery, and tucked him in to his cot. ‘Sleep well, my son,’ he whispered. ‘You’ll be safe for ever now, I promise.’ And they all lived happily ever after. THE END

24


ROSIE VS

RUMPELSTILTSKIN BY

YEAR 1, WOODSETTS PRIMARY SCHOOL AND PIPPA HENNESSY

25


O

ROSIE VS RUMPELSTILTSKIN

nce upon a time, there lived a queen. She was called Rosie, and she was very pretty. Queen Rosie was married to Good King Wenceslas, and they had a beautiful baby daughter called Josie Lucy, whom they both loved very much. Sometimes Queen Rosie felt a bit sad, because she was afraid her baby might be taken away. She knew that when she herself was a baby, her mother almost lost her to an evil sprite called Rumpelstiltskin. It was only by luck and cunning that she had not been stolen by Rumpelstiltskin, and she knew that the little sprite was still out there somewhere, plotting his revenge. One day, in the middle of winter, the snow lay deep and thick and even on the ground even though the sun was shining. The king was off somewhere delivering food and wine and firewood to the poor people of the kingdom. Rosie had just settled Josie Lucy down for her afternoon nap, and she decided to have some fun. So she went out into the snow and had snowball fights with the palace guards, and built an enormous snowman in the middle of the front garden. It was the best snowman ever. It had a carrot for a nose, lumps of coal for eyes, a banana made a smiley mouth, and Rosie had given it her own scarf and King Wenceslas’s crown to wear. As it started to get dark, the maid came out and told Rosie that her afternoon tea was ready, so she went inside and had hot buttered crumpets with Josie Lucy by the fire. Afterwards, she wrapped herself and Josie up warm, and took her daughter out to show her the snowman. No sooner had she opened the door, than she knew something was wrong. Where the snowman had stood tall and proud before teatime, there was a pile of snow, with a carrot, a banana and one lump of coal sitting on top. There was no sign of the other lump of coal, or Rosie’s scarf, or the king’s crown. ‘Oh no!’ cried Rosie. ‘Who can have knocked the snowman over?’ She looked around, trying to see through the darkness. 26


ROSIE VS RUMPELSTILTSKIN Suddenly, in the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of something moving. She swung round, and was horrified to see a little man with enormous teeth and the ugliest face she’d ever seen hiding behind a bush. She let out a scream, and the man leaped out and ran towards her, his long claw-like fingers stretching out to grasp Josie. And as he moved, he sang: My name is Rumpelstiltskin And your baby I will steal You cheated me when you were small My anger you shall feel

Rosie held on tightly to Josie Lucy, and backed away, still screaming. Rumpelstiltskin quickly reached her, and pushed her over into the snow. He was just about to snatch the baby when the palace guards came running, their armour clanking and their spears and swords waving in the air. Rumpelstiltskin let out a screech of rage, leaped to his feet and faced the guards. Realising there were too many for him to fight, he turned tail and ran towards the forest. The guards ran after him but he was too quick for them. One strong guard threw his spear after the speeding sprite, and hit Rumpelstilstkin a glancing blow on his bottom. The sprite screamed, ‘Ouch, my bottom!’ He ran even faster, and it wasn’t long before the forest swallowed him up and the guards gave up the chase. *****

Queen Rosie was very worried by Rumpelstiltskin’s threat to steal her baby. She wished King Wenceslas was at home to protect them, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to get back to the palace because the snow had blocked the roads. That evening she put Princess Josie Lucy to bed as usual, and then sat by the fire, staring into the flames. As she sat there, she put her 27


ROSIE VS RUMPELSTILTSKIN hands to her neck and felt the necklace that she had worn ever since she was a baby. It was a magic necklace, made out of gold threads that had been spun by Rumpelstiltskin himself, and it had the power to give magic to other objects, or take magic away. It did this by storing magic in tiny boxes and beads that were attached to it. After a while she realised there was nothing she could do, so she made herself a cup of cocoa and went to bed. Rosie was just about to fall asleep when she felt a strange tingling around her neck. The magic necklace felt as if it were giving her tiny electric shocks. She jumped out of bed and looked around her, confused and worried. Then she looked out of the window, and saw a dark shadow moving slowly and stealthily across the front garden. And attached to that shadow was none other than Rumpelstiltskin. Rosie left the warmth of her bedroom and ran down the cold hallways to the guardroom, where Mike the Knight was on watch. ‘Mike,’ she whispered, ‘Rumpelstiltskin’s back, and I think he’s going to try and steal Josie Lucy again.’ Mike leaped to his feet, knocking over his cup of tea. He had a determined look on his face as he snatched up his sword and headed for the door. He said, ‘Don’t worry, your majesty. I’ll sort him out.’ Rosie had a thought. ‘No, wait,’ she said. ‘You won’t be able to kill him with an ordinary sword. Use this knife.’ And she picked up the breadknife from the table and used her necklace to make it into a magic knife which would kill Rumpelstiltskin so they would never see him again. ‘Thank you, my lady,’ said Mike, and he went out into the cold night air to do battle with Rumpelstiltskin. It was a fierce and fearsome battle. Rumpelstiltskin, being magic himself, was much stronger than Mike 28


ROSIE VS RUMPELSTILTSKIN expected. So although the brave knight towered over the tiny sprite, he found it difficult to even touch him with the magic knife. And Mike was also quick and strong, so Rumpelstiltskin could not land more than a few blows despite his magic powers. Their weapons clashed together though, loudly and often, crashing and clanging and making a huge racket. This noise brought the other guards running. After fighting for a few minutes, Rumpelstiltskin realised he was becoming surrounded by soldiers, and even if he managed to defeat Mike the Knight, he would surely be taken prisoner, or even worse, killed. So after a last flurry of blows, he once more turned tail and ran. Mike took advantage of this to stick the breadknife into Rumpelstiltskin’s bottom. Mike hoped the magic would kill the sprite, but sadly the evil little man’s magic protected him, and all he suffered was a sharp pain in the bottom. Once more, Rumpelstiltskin screamed, ‘Ouch, my bottom!’ He ran very quickly, and although the guards chased him it wasn’t long before the forest swallowed him up, and again he had escaped. *****

When he had got back to the safety of his lair, Rumpelstiltskin finally stopped running. He was out of breath and his bottom hurt. He was even angrier than he had been before, and he was determined to take Princess Josie Lucy away from the king and queen. But how to do it? Once Rumpelstiltskin had calmed down, he realised that Mike the Knight had been fighting much better than a mere knight should have been able to. And he remembered that the knife had felt strange when it had poked his behind. ‘Oho,’ he said. ‘So the queen is using magic, is she? Well, two can play at that game!’ He was secretly cross with himself that he hadn’t thought of it before, but that didn’t stop him feeling confident that this time he would succeed in taking his revenge. Now that Rumpelstiltskin had a plan, all he could do was to sit down and wait. And so that is what he did. 29


ROSIE VS RUMPELSTILTSKIN An hour later, when he guessed that everyone in the palace would have gone back to sleep, he took up his magic ladle on which he had escaped from Queen Rosie’s mother all those years ago. He cast a spell to make himself invisible, and he jumped onto the ladle and off he flew to the palace. This time Rumpelstiltskin was much more clever. Rather than just creeping up to the front door of the palace, he flew slowly round and round the walls, looking in all the windows until he found the room where Princess Josie Lucy was fast asleep. Then it was a simple matter of casting a spell to open the window, and in he flew. As soon as he entered the palace, Rosie’s necklace tingled again. She wasn’t asleep, because she was too scared that Rumpelstiltskin might return. And now her magic necklace was telling her that her fears had come true. She ran to Josie’s room, just in time to see Rumpelstiltskin snatch her baby daughter up in his long spindly fingers, jump back onto his magic ladle and fly out of the window, laughing. ‘No!’ shouted Rosie. Without a thought, she ran downstairs, out through the palace door, into the garden, and clutching her magic necklace, she concentrated hard and took all the magic away from Rumpelstiltskin’s ladle. Time seemed to slow down for Rosie then. The ladle started to fall from the sky. So did Rumpelstiltskin, and so did Josie Lucy. Rosie ran forwards, as fast as she could, and just managed to catch the baby before she hit the ground. By then Josie was screaming so loudly that Rosie didn’t hear the quiet thump as the ladle landed, or the louder thud as Rumpelstiltskin fell to his death. And what’s more, she didn’t care. All she knew was that her beloved daughter was safe. The next day, King Wenceslas came home. He was horrified to hear what had happened while he had been gone. He ordered that Rumpelstiltskin’s body should be burned and that the ashes should be scattered to the four corners of the kingdom. Then he helped Rosie and Josie Lucy build an even bigger snowman than the one Rumpelstiltskin had knocked down, and they shared hot buttered crumpets by the fire at teatime, looking out of the window at their snowman and the happy smiling guards having a snowball fight. And they all lived happily ever after. THE END 30


THE MAGIC TEARS BY

YEARS 3 & 4, TEMPLE NORMANTON PRIMARY SCHOOL AND PIPPA HENNESSY

31


O

THE MAGIC TEARS

nce upon a time there lived a beautiful girl, and her name was Alice. She had very long hair which was all the colours of the rainbow, and all the colours in between. When Alice sang, her rainbow hair glowed, and it cast a soft light over everything around her. She would sing often, because she loved to see the colours rippling over the walls of her room, and sometimes the birds would line up outside her window and sing along with her. Alice lived on her own in a tall tower. As far as she knew, she had always lived there, and she had never even been outside through the only door at the foot of the tower. It was a comfortable home, and she was visited regularly by Barbara the witch and her son Hulk. They brought her food and clothes and books and anything else she desired. Barbara and Hulk travelled in a flying boat, which they would moor at the top of the tower before coming in through a special door in the roof. One of Alice’s most prized possessions, which she wore at all times, was a necklace of glass tears. Each tear was a delicate droplet, coloured blue or green or turquoise or indigo, or any of the colours in between. Sometimes she matched up each glass tear to a strand of her rainbow hair, or held the tears up to her hair while she sang and watched the lights shine through the glass. This necklace had a magic power, which Alice never told anyone about. It could make the wearer look like someone else. Alice didn’t know many people – just Barbara, Hulk, and a few of Barbara’s knights – so she didn’t use the power very often. *****

One day, Alice was looking out of the window, singing softly to the birds perching on the windowsill. Then Barbara’s flying boat arrived with a clattering and a whirring, and the sudden noise startled the birds so they flew away. Alice watched them sadly as they disappeared into the distance. She wished she could fly with them. And as she followed their paths through the air over the gardens and fields and trees and rivers, she thought to herself, ‘Why shouldn’t I go outside and see all the wonderful things there are to be seen?’ Then she wondered why she’d never thought of this before. Without further ado, Alice ran down the spiral staircase, past the bathroom, past the living room, past the kitchen, to the very foot of the stairs. She darted across the stone floor to the huge ironstudded oak door, seized the big black doorknob, turned it, and pulled. The door didn’t move. She pulled again, then tried pushing, and finally she threw her whole weight against the door, but still it would not open. 32


THE MAGIC TEARS Being a sensible girl, Alice didn’t get upset. She just thought to herself, ‘That’s OK, I’ll ask Barbara for the key,’ and she trotted back up the stairs with a spring in her step, full of excitement about the adventures that awaited her on the other side of that big oak door. When she reached the kitchen, she found that door was shut too. She could hear Barbara and Hulk talking. She was about to open the door, when Barbara’s voice suddenly rang out loudly. ‘What do you mean, you want to tell Alice who she really is?’ Alice snatched her hand from the doorknob, and crept closer to the door so she could hear what the pair in the kitchen were arguing about. Hulk’s voice came next. ‘I’m sorry, Mother. I didn’t mean to upset you. I just think it isn’t fair to steal a baby and then keep her prisoner for ever and ever, and not even tell her why you’re doing it.’ ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ screeched Barbara. ‘If you tell her she’s a princess, and that the king and queen are still looking for her, she’ll want to leave. At the very least she’ll stop singing, and then what will I do?’ Hulk said, ‘Is it really so important to look young?’ Barbara screeched again, making no words this time. There was the sound of a chair scraping back on the stone floor, and Hulk whimpering, ‘I’m sorry, Mother, I didn’t mean it.’ For a moment Alice couldn’t move. Then she found her feet and ran upstairs, round and round the spiral staircase, to her room at the top of the tower. She threw herself down on her bed and thought furiously. ‘So I’m a princess, and I have parents who love me so much they’re still looking for me. And my singing makes Barbara look young, and that’s the reason she stole me.’ She cried for a little while, thinking about all the years she’d been living in the tower, and all the years her mother and father had missed her dearly, and all the years she hadn’t even known who she was. Then, being a sensible girl, she pulled herself together. ‘I must get away from here as soon as possible,’ she said aloud. So she took a hairpin from her dressing table and crept back down the spiral stairs, all the way to the bottom. And she poked the hairpin into the keyhole of the big oak door, and started to wiggle it around. She’d read about clever children who managed to pick locks that way and escape from all kinds of prisons. But before she’d managed to open the door, she heard footsteps on the stairs. And before she could back away from the door, Barbara and Hulk reached the hallway and saw what she was doing. ‘What do you think you’re up to?’ said Barbara, in a quiet, dangerous voice. 33


THE MAGIC TEARS Alice was struck dumb with fear. Barbara’s face had become as black as thunder, and her eyes were flashing red fire. The witch approached Alice slowly, towering over the crouching girl. ‘I think we shall have to teach you a lesson,’ she said. ‘Hulk, I want you to take Alice upstairs to her room, and beat her until she’s sorry for being so naughty.’ Alice and Hulk spoke at once. Alice said, ‘But-but-but I just wanted to go outside...’ and Hulk said, ‘I don’t want to hurt her...’ Barbara cut them both off with a fierce stare. ‘You, girl, need to learn that doors are locked for a reason. And you, son, need to learn to do as you are told!’ Hulk shuffled forwards and picked Alice up, quite gently, considering he was over seven feet tall and his muscles were so big he looked like an ugly ogre. He started up the stairs with her, looking back at Barbara every other step, and muttering under his breath. Alice was terrified. She didn’t want to be beaten, and it was obvious Hulk didn’t want to beat her. ‘There must be a way out of this,’ she thought. She clutched her hands together at her neck so her arms wouldn’t dangle in an undignified manner as Hulk carried her round and round and up and up. Her little finger touched one of the beads on her necklace, and suddenly she knew exactly what to do. ‘Make me look like the nice knight who works for Barbara,’ she whispered, ever so quietly. And then Hulk almost dropped her. He put her down carefully, and patted her shoulders as if to calm her down. ‘Sir Archibald, I’m so sorry... how did you...? Where’s Alice?’ In her deepest gruffest voice, Alice said, ‘What are you talking about, Hulk? Get back downstairs immediately!’ Looking very confused, Hulk turned round and ran down the stairs, calling Alice’s name as he went. Alice marched up the stairs to her room, trying to walk as much like a knight as she could, just in case Hulk came back. *****

For the rest of that day, Alice lay on her bed and thought and thought. She had to find a way to escape, to get back to her family. Eventually, as evening fell, she heard Barbara’s flying boat depart. And as she hadn’t come up with any better ideas, she took her hairpin and crept downstairs to try to pick the lock again. However, when she poked the hairpin into the big dark keyhole, she felt a jolt of intense pain, and was thrown backwards against the stone wall opposite. As she lay there, stunned, she heard heavy footsteps on the stairs. She tried to move, to crawl away and hide, but she found she couldn’t. All she could do was to lie still and wait to be discovered. 34


THE MAGIC TEARS Hulk appeared at the bottom of the stairs, and understood what had happened immediately. ‘Oh, Alice, you shouldn’t have tried to escape,’ he said. ‘Mother has cast a spell on the lock so it’ll give anyone who touches it an electric shock.’ ‘Yes, I know that now,’ groaned Alice. ‘Come on, let’s get you a nice cup of tea,’ said Hulk. And with that, he picked Alice up tenderly and carried her to the kitchen, where he sat her on a chair and busied himself with kettle and teapot. Once Alice felt more like herself, being a sensible girl, she started thinking again. Hulk didn’t seem to be completely on Barbara’s side, so maybe he would help her escape. It was worth a try. ‘I heard you talking in here earlier,’ she said. ‘Am I really a princess?’ ‘You are indeed,’ said Hulk. ‘And you’re a very beautiful princess, if I might say so.’ ‘Thank you,’ Alice said. ‘You’re... quite handsome... too,’ she added. Hulk replied, ‘It’s all right, I know I’m as ugly as sin. You don’t have to be nice to me. I do wish I was as handsome as Sir Archibald though.’ Alice smiled, because she didn’t quite know what to say. Then she had an idea. Why shouldn’t Hulk look as handsome as any knight? She carefully took one of the glass tears off her necklace, and held it out to him. ‘Here, try this,’ she said. Hulk took the grey-green tear from Alice and looked at it curiously. ‘Thank you, but what should I do with it?’ His green face had a worried frown, creasing his forehead above his sludgy brown eyes. He ran his hand through the wisps of greenish hair that clung to his scabby scalp, then looked up at Alice. ‘Oh, I don’t know,’ said Alice. ‘Maybe swallow it, like a pill?’ And Hulk did, because he had fallen in love with Alice, and he would do anything she asked of him. Alice gasped. Then she put her hands to her face. Then she smiled, and then she laughed. ‘What? What’s the matter?’ cried Hulk. ‘Just look in the mirror!’ said Alice. Hulk went over to the wall where a large mirror hung. And he stared, and stared, and stared. The ugly face he’d lived with for as long as he could remember was gone. His eyes were deep blue, his nose strong and perfectly shaped, his hair was shiny black with just a hint of a curl, and his mouth was grinning widely, showing off teeth that were whiter than white. He turned, ran across the room, and swept Alice up in an enormous hug. ‘Thank you, thank you so much!’ he whispered. Then, realising his behaviour was not respectful, he put her back down, and stroked her hair 35


THE MAGIC TEARS clumsily. ‘I can never thank you enough. What can I do to help you?’ ‘Well,’ said Alice, ‘I still want to get out of here. Perhaps we could escape together? Unless you’d rather stay here with your mother?’ Hulk replied, ‘No, no... and do you know what? I can remember now. She’s not really my mother. I’m the prince of a country not far from yours. Barbara stole me from my parents as a small child and enchanted me. By giving me that tear, you’ve broken the spell. And the best thing is, this is what I really look like!’ Alice was delighted. She had done something to help Hulk, and at the same time, it was something that would really make the wicked Barbara angry. Now all they had to do was escape with their lives. Hulk carried on talking. ‘We should get away as soon as we can. But I don’t know how we could escape. Barbara has got all the keys for all the doors and windows. She only left me here to keep an eye on you, to make sure you didn’t try anything.’ Hulk and Alice sat at the kitchen table all night, drinking gallons of tea and talking about ways to get out of the tower. By the time the sun rose above the horizon and shone its rosy light through the kitchen window, they still hadn’t come up with a foolproof plan. *****

All of a sudden, Alice noticed a quiet clattering and whirring sound that was getting louder and louder. And she had a brilliant idea. ‘Come on!’ she cried, as she jumped to her feet. She grabbed Hulk’s hand and pulled him up the stairs to her room, at the very top of the tower. She flung the door open, and pushed Hulk underneath the bed then dived in after him. As they heard Barbara’s footsteps thump past the open door, they huddled together, trying not to make a sound. The witch’s footsteps started slowly down the stairs, and Hulk breathed a huge sigh of relief. Unfortunately for him, Alice hadn’t cleaned under her bed for a while, and the dust got up Hulk’s nose. Alice saw that he was about to sneeze, and tried to pinch his nose to stop him, but she was too late. Hulk let out an enormous sneeze – ‘ATCHOOOOOO!’ – and the sound of Barbara’s feet on the stairs stopped. Alice pulled herself out from under the bed, and dragged Hulk out after her. ‘Quickly!’ she yelled. ‘We need to get to the flying boat.’ Hulk immediately realised what she meant. He could hear Barbara coming back up the stairs now, moving very fast. So he picked Alice up and threw her over his shoulder, saying, ‘Sorry, your majesty,’ as he did so. 36


THE MAGIC TEARS And he ran out through the bedroom door, up the last flight of stairs to the attic door, out through that door and onto the roof. He leaped upwards, grabbing the flying boat’s ladder with one hand and heaving Alice over the side into the boat. He followed her over the side, pulled the ladder up, and started the boat’s engines, pulling away just as Barbara emerged onto the roof. ‘Where now?’ he cried. ‘Upwards,’ said Alice. So they went up and up and up, all the way into space. And Alice leaned out of the boat and grabbed some chunks of meteorite. ‘Down again now,’ said Alice, and Hulk did as she asked. Down and down went the boat, until it was hovering over the tower. By now Barbara was on the front lawn, jumping up and down with rage. Alice took a chunk of meteorite and threw it at Barbara. It missed by a couple of feet. In response, Barbara cast a spell and a lightning bolt only just missed the flying boat. ‘Try again,’ shouted Hulk. She took another chunk and heaved it over the side. This time it missed by several yards, but it hit the edge of the tower’s roof on its way to the ground. Several lightning bolts flew towards them, all of them too close for comfort. Seeing the tower sway from side to side when it was hit by the meteorite, Alice had an idea. She aimed the next chunk of meteorite directly at the tower. It was a direct hit. The tower shook, and crumbled, and with a massive crashing and roaring it fell to the ground, completely squashing Barbara the wicked witch. As she died, Barbara let out a long scream, and shouted, ‘I’m vanquished!’ Alice and Hulk started to cheer, and they danced around the flying boat, singing. And Alice’s hair glowed brightly, but the witch could not grow younger any more, as she was quite dead. *****

Hulk flew the boat all the way to Alice’s country, where her mother and father were overjoyed to see her. Then he returned to his own country, where his mother and father were also overjoyed to have their son back. When he told them about Alice’s magic necklace, they told him its story. It had been made from the tears shed by their family when Hulk had been stolen by Barbara, and they had given it to baby Alice when she was born, as a gift of friendship between their two countries. That was why the single tear had the power to break the enchantment Barbara cast over Hulk. The two countries became even firmer friends after Hulk and Alice’s return. And before long, Alice fell in love with Hulk, and they were married. And they all lived happily ever after. THE END 37


PRINCESS ROSIE’S MAGIC KEY BY

YEAR 2, ANSTON BROOK PRIMARY SCHOOL AND PIPPA HENNESSY

38


O

PRINCESS ROSIE’S MAGIC KEY

nce upon a time, in a country far away, there lived a princess with long golden hair. Her name was Rosie, and she was not only beautiful but she was very clever. Rosie’s mother had died long ago, but her father, King John, was a good man who looked after her as a father should. One day, when Princess Rosie and King John were having their breakfast, the king said to his daughter, ‘I think it’s about time you got married, my dear. Shall I look for a prince to be your husband?’ Rosie was horrified. ‘Don’t you dare!’ she cried. ‘I know what all the princes in this part of the world are like. They’re stupid and feeble, and they sit around all day playing computer games. I’m not going to marry anyone who isn’t clever and strong. And it would be nice if they were handsome too.’ Her father was a bit surprised by this, because he thought it was every princess’s dream to marry a prince. But he agreed with Rosie that being married to someone stupid who played computer games all day wouldn’t be much fun. So he spent the whole of that day planning a grand contest to find the cleverest and strongest man in the kingdom. He thought he’d better leave it up to Rosie to decide whether the winner was handsome enough. The next day, King John sent his messengers out to all four corners of the land, with instructions to make the following proclamation: To all clever and strong young men. King John is seeking a husband for his daughter, the beautiful Princess Rosie. Come to the castle next weekend for a Grand Contest of Wits and Strength. The first event will be a fiendishly hard quiz. Any young men smart enough to answer all the questions correctly will then fight each other for the honour of the Princess’s hand in marriage.

There were many men, young and old, who thought they were both clever and strong enough to win the Princess’s hand. And so when the first day of the contest dawned, dozens of men queued up at the castle gate to enter the competition. This queue included two men who were both clever and strong. The first of these was a very brave knight called Sir Spike, who had fought in many battles and outwitted hundreds of enemies of the kingdom. Spike was tall and handsome, and he wore a suit of shining armour with a helmet topped with brightlycoloured feathers. Rosie secretly hoped Spike would win, as he had made her laugh when she chatted to all the contestants before the quiz. The second of these men was a vampire named Spooky. He was smooth and sophisticated, used to mixing in royal company from his time at the Transylvanian king’s court, and 39


PRINCESS ROSIE’S MAGIC KEY he’d been to all the best schools so he knew an awful lot of stuff. Like all vampires, he had six arms, which meant he was good in battle. Spooky was convinced he was the smartest and strongest of all the men in the kingdom, and he was determined to marry the princess. By sunset on the first day, most of the men who had entered the contest had given up. The quiz questions were so difficult that only a few of them could answer half of the questions, let alone all of them. So the roads leading away from the castle were full of sad men on their way home. Only eight men altogether could answer all the questions in the quiz. So the next morning, they all fought each other, and by lunchtime it was clear that Spike and Spooky were the cleverest and strongest men in the kingdom. As everyone tucked in to their Sunday lunch, King John announced that there would be one final battle that afternoon between Spike and Spooky, and the winner would marry his daughter. And so Spike and Spooky fought each other hard and bravely. Sometimes it looked as if Spike would win, other times Spooky had the upper hand. But in the end, Spike’s experience and strength won out, and Spooky was defeated. To loud cheers, King John pronounced Spike the winner, and told everyone to prepare for a grand ball that evening to celebrate Spike and Rosie’s betrothal. Before the clapping and cheering had died away, the king leant over and gave his daughter a tiny key on a gold chain. ‘This is the key of the kingdom,’ he whispered. ‘Take great care of it, for it will open any door.’ Rosie thanked him prettily, then put the key in her pocket so she could carry on clapping. She was far too excited that she was to marry Sir Spike the brave knight to worry about a silly key. And she didn’t even realise when, a few minutes later, the key fell from her pocket and lay unnoticed on the ground. *****

After the contest had ended, Spooky the vampire was rather upset. He knew he was stronger than Sir Spike, it had just been bad luck that he’d lost the battle. It was obvious that he should be the one to marry Princess Rosie. Why could no-one see that? Spooky trudged off towards the castle gate. He wasn’t going to stay around to watch Sir Spike the so-called brave knight sitting next to Princess Rosie. Oh no, he was going back to his house to plan how to win the princess back for himself. The vampire looked down at his feet as he walked, so he didn’t have to meet the eyes of all the people who were so happy that Spike had won. And suddenly, he spotted something flashing on the ground. He bent down and picked 40


PRINCESS ROSIE’S MAGIC KEY up a tiny golden key on a long golden chain, which was flashing with a soft glow. It was the very same key that Princess Rosie had so carelessly lost. ‘This must be a magic key,’ thought Spooky, and he wondered which door it would open. It would have to be a very special door, to have such a key for its lock. And what was behind that door would also be very special, Spooky guessed. He looked around, and found a door in the castle wall that looked promising. It was painted black, and had a big sign on it saying, ‘KEEP OUT!’ So he put the key in the lock and started to turn. The key flashed brighter, and the lock magically opened. But when Spooky opened the door and looked inside, all he found were stacks of chairs that had been used by the audience for the contest. He re-locked the door, and thought for a while. Eventually he decided that the key must open any door. There would be no point using a magic key just to shut away a load of furniture. So he put his idea to the test, by trying it on the next door along the wall. Sure enough, the key flashed brighter, and the lock magically opened. This time, behind the door were the castle dungeons. Spooky shut the door quickly before the guard noticed the locked door had magically opened itself. He tried the next door, and was surprised to see a whole new country on the other side. ‘Must be a magic door, that one,’ he thought. ‘I’ll have to check it out later.’ Behind the next door, he found a rack of ballgowns with a sign saying ‘PRINCESS ROSIE’S BALLGOWNS’. The dresses were beautiful, and he knew that whichever dress the princess wore she would look stunning. And she would be dancing with Sir Spike, not with Spooky. The vampire grew very angry. ‘If she’s not going to the ball with me, she’s not going at all,’ he said. Then he gathered up all the gowns and ran out of the door, out of the castle, and away towards his own house. He thought he’d got away without anyone noticing, but he didn’t know about the security cameras that King John had installed after catching a burglar trying to rob the castle. Spike just happened to be passing the guardroom when the officer on duty shouted, ‘Hey, that spooky vampire has stolen all the princess’s ballgowns, and he’s running away.’ ‘Don’t worry, I’ll get him,’ cried Spike, and he set off in pursuit, with Rosie running along behind shouting, ‘Come back with my ballgowns, you horrid vampire!’ Spooky noticed that when Rosie was nearby the key flashed more quickly, and he remembered that piece of information just in case it might come in handy later. Although Spike was a very fast runner, the vampire was even faster, so Spooky got clean away. Princess Rosie was furious. ‘How can I go to my very own ball without anything to wear?’ she cried. 41


PRINCESS ROSIE’S MAGIC KEY *****

Spooky sat in his favourite armchair in the cellar of his house, looking at the pile of crumpled ballgowns. ‘If only the contest had ended with a race rather than a battle, I’d have won the princess’s hand in marriage, and I’d be the next king,’ he thought. ‘It’s not fair. I deserve to be king. I deserve all the riches and treasure of the kingdom.’ And then he realised he had the magic key, so all he had to do was to sneak into the bank and steal the money and jewels and precious objects, and then he would indeed have all the riches and treasure of the kingdom. So that evening, when everyone in the castle was having fun at the ball (except Rosie, who had to wear jeans and t-shirt, which made her very cross), Spooky sneaked back into the castle and made his way to the treasury. He took a huge sack with him, and filled it with gold and silver and diamonds and rubies. And when Spike and the king’s soldiers chased him, as he knew they would, he ran through a house that had two doors. Once the knight and the soldiers were inside the house Spooky quickly shut both doors and locked them with the magic key, and made his escape. *****

Once again, Spooky sat in his favourite armchair in the cellar. This time he had a vast array of shining treasure spread on the floor before him. But he still felt cheated. ‘I shouldn’t just have the riches,’ he thought. ‘I should have the princess too.’ And he recalled the way the princess had called him ‘horrid’, and how the key had flashed more quickly when Rosie was nearby. After midnight, when the ball was over and the whole castle was asleep, Spooky sneaked into the castle once more. He crept very quietly through the corridors and hallways, wrapping his black cloak around him and keeping to the shadows so he wouldn’t be seen. Every now and then he looked at the key, and when it started to flash more quickly he knew he was close to Rosie’s bedroom. Finally, he stopped outside one particular door, and the key was flashing so quickly it looked as if it might explode. He fitted the key into the lock, turned it, and opened the door very carefully. Unluckily for Spooky, the door hinges hadn’t been oiled in years, and the door squealed louder than a screaming baby. Rosie woke up immediately, and when she saw Spooky she squealed even more loudly than the door hinges. Spooky leaped across the room and snatched Rosie up in his arms. The princess did not take kindly to this treatment, and she struggled and scratched like a tiger. Even though she fought bravely, Spooky was too strong for her. He wrapped all of his six arms around her and ran, faster than the wind, through the castle, out of the gate, through the sleeping town across the fields, and back to his house. He didn’t notice that he’d dropped the key in Rosie’s bedroom while he was fighting the princess. 42


PRINCESS ROSIE’S MAGIC KEY As soon as he got home, he shut Rosie into a large cupboard and barricaded the door shut. ‘No magic key’s going to get you out of there, Your Highness!’ he shouted. And he went downstairs to his cellar to plan his wedding. *****

As soon as Spike heard what had happened, he rushed to Rosie’s room. There he saw something flashing on the floor, and when he bent down to pick it up, he saw it was the tiny key. King John arrived at that moment, and said, ‘Use that to find Rosie, my boy. It’ll flash more quickly when she’s nearby.’ ‘Yes, your majesty,’ said Spike, and he set off in search of his beloved. He ran through the town, holding the key up before him like a torch, but the flashing would not speed up. It was not until he left the town and headed out into the fields that the key flashed more quickly, and once he was on the right path it didn’t take him long to find Spooky’s house. By this time the soldiers weren’t far behind, but Spike didn’t wait for them to arrive. He didn’t know what horrible things Spooky might be doing to the princess. With one mighty blow of his sword he broke down the front door, and following the key’s flashing signals, he quickly found the cupboard where Rosie was imprisoned. Spooky’s barricade was no obstacle to Spike, who was, after all, the strongest man in the kingdom, and before long he had rescued his princess. When the soldiers arrived they searched the house and found Spooky, who had fallen asleep in his favourite armchair after his tiring adventures. They took tight hold of him and marched him back to the castle, where they intended to put him in the dungeon. But Spooky was too quick and cunning for them. He pinched the magic key from Spike’s pocket on the way, and when he was being dragged past the door to the magic land, Spooky quickly broke free, unlocked the door, slipped through and locked it behind himself. Sir Spike, Princess Rosie and King John were cross that Spooky had escaped justice, but at least he would never dare to come back to bother them again. So they celebrated with a feast, and before long Spike and Rosie were married. And they all lived happily ever after. THE END

43


CINDERELLA’S KEY BY

YEAR 1, ANSTON BROOK PRIMARY SCHOOL AND PIPPA HENNESSY

44


O

CINDERELLA’S KEY

nce upon a time there was a beautiful girl named Cinderella, who had long golden hair and wore bright ribbons on every one of her fine hats. She was the very same girl who had been helped by her fairy godmother to defy her wicked stepmother, Jane, and go to the ball. When Prince Charming had found the girl whose foot fit so perfectly into the glass slipper she had left behind, he had wasted no time in marrying her. And so Cinderella became a princess, and lived at the palace with the prince, and his parents, the king and queen. For one whole year, she enjoyed the freedom from her wicked stepmother’s endless chores and complaints and nagging. No scrubbing the floor, no cooking meals, no cleaning the chimney. The palace had servants to do all that work, and they were treated much better than Cinderella had been, so they went about their tasks gladly, smiling and singing as they worked. Sadly, during that year Cinderella’s father and Prince Charming’s mother both died. And, seeing her chance to do well for herself, Jane pretended to be kind and caring for just long enough to trick the king into marrying her. This was a difficult task, because the king knew of Jane’s wickedness, as he had passed judgement on some of her misdeeds a long time before. She and her ugly daughters had been so mean to the maids and manservants who worked for her that the king had confiscated all her worldly goods. But Jane was a very good actress, and she was determined to regain her good position in society. She sent her daughters away because they were so stupid they would ruin everything. And she flattered the king outrageously, laughed at all his jokes even when they weren’t funny, and offered him endless tissues and cups of tea when he wept over the loss of his queen. It wasn’t long before the king was taken in, and asked her to marry him. So there was another wedding at the palace, and she became Queen Jane. It wasn’t long before she was back to her old self, making the servants’ lives a misery. Jane was determined to find her lost fortune. She knew the king must have it somewhere, but when she asked him where it was, he said, ‘It’s behind a door which you will never open, my dear,’ and then refused to say any more. *****

In the spring, the king decided to put on a hunting party for all the noblemen and noblewomen in the kingdom. Prince Charming couldn’t wait to ride out into the forest to kill stags and boars and wild birds. Cinderella decided not to go hunting, because although she knew she would miss her handsome prince for the seven days he was to be away, she didn’t like to kill wild animals. Queen Jane also chose to stay at the palace, as it would be a perfect opportunity to search for her treasure. As soon as the noblemen and noblewomen had left for the hunt, hallooing and sounding their horns, Princess Cinderella settled down to read a book, and Queen Jane started her search. She began with the king’s bedroom, checking every corner and crevice, tapping the walls and examining the fireplace, examining anywhere a door might be hidden. She found nothing. So she moved on to the rest of the bedrooms, which she 45


CINDERELLA’S KEY searched just as thoroughly. She even checked the spare bedrooms and the servants’ dormitories. Again, she found nothing. She tried the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the bathroom and the cellar. Still nothing. She was starting to get desperate now, so she went out into the palace grounds and searched the carriage park, the stables, and the caves that were down by the lake. Nothing. As she was walking back to the palace, she heard some birds singing. She looked up and saw seven blackbirds sitting on the roof, singing their hearts out. ‘What have you got to be so cheerful about? Get away with you, stupid birds!’ shouted the queen. Even the birds knew that it was not a good idea to be near Queen Jane when she was angry. They flew off, chirping cheekily. Then Jane thought, ‘Perhaps they weren’t so stupid after all. I completely forgot to check the attic.’ So she ran inside, up all the stairs to the very top, and pulled down the ladder to climb into the attic. She was so excited she could hardly hold on to the ladder’s rungs. She knew this was the right place. Sure enough, once she’d shifted a few boxes out of the way, she found a bright yellow door. Slowly, hardly believing she’d found it at last, she reached out, turned the handle and pulled. The door did not open. Then she pushed. She shook the door, pushing then pulling with all her might, but no matter how hard she tried, the door remained firmly shut. After hitting it a few times in frustration, Queen Jane had a good look at the door. There was a tiny keyhole next to the handle, and the lock looked as if it were made of pure gold. ‘Right,’ she thought. ‘If there’s a lock, there must be a key. It must be tiny, and it must be golden. Shouldn’t take too long to find it.’ So she went back down the ladder, and back into every single room in the palace. This time the search took even longer, because she was looking for something much smaller than a door. And by suppertime, she still hadn’t found the key. Queen Jane ate silently, staring at the table, thinking dark thoughts, until Cinderella asked her to pass the salt. Jane looked up, about to snap that Cinderella could very well reach it for herself, but then she stopped. Around Cinderella’s neck, on a thin golden chain, hung a key. A tiny golden key. A key that glowed exactly the same shade of yellow as the door in the attic. Jane could hardly believe her eyes. She’d spent the whole afternoon searching for the key, and there it was, around that pesky Cinderella’s neck. She thought quickly, and decided that it wouldn’t hurt to try being nice to her stepdaughter for once. So she passed the salt, and made conversation about the weather, and chattered and smiled and was as pleasant as she could be. Cinderella was surprised by this, but she was happy that Jane was finally being friendly, so she responded in the same pleasant manner, and the two 46


CINDERELLA’S KEY women talked together as if they were the best of friends. At last, when they finished their roast lamb and pushed back their plates, Queen Jane said, ‘Cinderella, my dear, I wonder if it would be possible for me to borrow that beautiful little key hanging from your necklace?’ ‘Why, Queen Jane?’ replied Cinderella, growing suspicious. ‘Oh, it’s so pretty. I thought I might paint a picture of it,’ said Jane, smiling innocently. Cinderella wished to believe the best of everybody, but she wasn’t stupid. She knew the only reason Queen Jane might want the key was to retrieve her lost treasure. So she refused to hand the key over, ever so politely, but ever so firmly. Jane grew very angry with Cinderella. But she did not show her rage. She simply smiled and said, ‘No matter. I will paint a picture of a different key. Now, my dear, can I get you some apple pie for dessert?’ And off she went into the kitchen, where she lifted the pastry top off Cinderella’s portion of pie and added a few drops of a powerful sleeping potion. Cinderella gratefully accepted the pie, poured a little cream over it and tucked in. Before she could lift the second mouthful to her lips she fell backwards in her chair and started snoring gently. Queen Jane tore the necklace from her, and almost flew the stairs and up the ladder into the attic. The yellow door was still there. And as she approached it, the tiny key started to glow the exact same shade of yellow. Jane let out a squeal of delight. She thrust the key into the golden lock, and turned it as quickly as she could. The door swung slowly open, and a yellow light shone through so brightly that for a moment Queen Jane was blinded. As her eyes got used to the light, she squealed once more, this time in wonder. For there was not just a room beyond the door. There was a whole land, where the sun was shining cheerfully even though it was already night outside the palace. A magical country, full of beautiful gardens, flowers sleeping in their beds, toys and Lego everywhere, a village with the most gorgeous little houses and shops, and happy smiling people walking around and talking to each other. ‘Well,’ said Jane. ‘I wasn’t expecting that. But it must be where my fortune has been hidden.’ And she set off to search for her treasure. *****

Meanwhile, in the dining room, Cinderella woke up from her poisoned sleep. She was surprised to find herself face down in a portion of apple pie, and wasted no time in wiping cream and pastry and stewed apple from her face. As she cleaned her chin and her neck, she realised something was wrong. ‘My golden little key has gone,’ she cried. ‘The wicked queen has stolen it!’ Cinderella didn’t know what Queen Jane was up to. But she knew the key would open the door to a magical land, because Prince Charming had told her about it when he gave her the key 47


CINDERELLA’S KEY as a wedding present. And she knew that whatever her stepmother was doing, nothing good would come of it. So Cinderella flew up the stairs and up the ladder into the attic, just as Jane had done not two hours earlier. Fortunately, Queen Jane had been too surprised by the magical land to remember to close the yellow door behind her, and Cinderella followed her into the bright sunshine. She had never visited that country before, so she too looked around her in astonishment and delight. ‘All those toys!’ she cried. ‘When I have children, I shall bring them here to play every day. And look, that pub over there would be the perfect place for Prince Charming and me to sit and watch them. The food even makes its own way to your table when you order dinner!’ Then she stopped. She couldn’t even think about her future family before she’d sorted out the family she already had. Or the wicked member of that family, at least. Cinderella realised she needed help. If Jane was willing to go as far as poisoning Cinderella, who knew what else she would do? The princess looked around her for ideas. She thought about asking some of the happy smiling people, but how could she know who to trust? She considered looking for a weapon, but she didn’t even like squashing flies, so she didn’t think she’d be any use with a sword or a knife. ‘Perhaps I should go back to the palace and wait for the king and Prince Charming to return,’ she thought. Then she remembered they weren’t due back for seven days. ‘Who knows what mischief Queen Jane could get up to in that time!’ she wailed. And she sank to the floor, sobbing, for it seemed that there was no hope. *****

Suddenly, a cloud of sparkling lights appeared before the crying princess. In just the same way as before, when Cinderella had been heartbroken that she would not be allowed to go to the ball, her fairy godmother had come to help. ‘Why, child, what on earth is the matter?’ she said, in a tinkling musical voice. Cinderella sniffled and snuffled, and wiped her eyes. ‘It’s my wicked stepmother again,’ she said. ‘She’s stolen my tiny key and got into this magical land and I don’t know what she’s planning. She’s such a nasty person.’ ‘Oh dear,’ said the fairy godmother. ‘We can’t have that, can we? Let me see what I can do.’ And the fairy godmother walked over to one of the flowerbeds and tapped a sunflower sharply on its tall stem. ‘Wake up, you lazy slug-a-bed!’ she cried. To Cinderella’s surprise, the sunflower raised its head and stretched towards the blue sky. Now she could see that it had a small face in the middle of its ring of golden petals. Its brown eyes opened wide, and to Cinderella’s amazement, the sunflower spoke! 48


CINDERELLA’S KEY ‘What? Can’t a flower get a decent day’s sleep now?’ it said. The fairy godmother tapped her foot and looked sternly at the flower, which wilted under her gaze. ‘You’re always sleeping,’ she said. ‘Now I need you to help me, for our land is in danger. You must ask all the flowers to find a wicked queen, and you must tell me at once where she is.’ Cinderella was impressed by this plan. There were flowers everywhere in the magical land, and one of them would surely know where Queen Jane was. Indeed, it was not more than a few moments before the sunflower bent over to listen to a pansy’s whisper. Then the flower straightened up and said, ‘The queen you’re looking for is at the bank. It must be her, for she is shouting at the poor bank clerks, which is not the sort of behaviour we expect here.’ The fairy godmother grabbed Cinderella’s arm and ran off down the road towards the village. Being a polite girl, Cinderella shouted, ‘Thank you!’ over her shoulder to the sunflower, which had already gone back to sleep. When they reached the village, it was clear where Queen Jane was. They could hear a loud commotion coming from a building across the village green. In just a few long strides, the fairy godmother reached the door of the bank and flung it open. ‘What is going on here? I think we’ve had quite enough of this disturbance,’ she trilled loudly. Queen Jane spun round, and when she saw the fairy godmother and Cinderella she flew into a rage and started to scream. ‘How dare you try to stop me? I know my money is here, and you know the king stole it from me for no good reason. I want my fortune back, and I don’t care who I hurt to get it.’ With that, she pulled a magic wand from her belt and pointed it at the princess. ‘If you don’t give me what is mine, I shall kill your precious Cinderella!’ she screeched. The fairy godmother looked sad for a moment. ‘I wish I didn’t have to do this,’ she said. Then she lifted her own wand, and flicked the end of it in a strange way. Before anyone could react, a bolt of black fire shot out at Queen Jane. When the smoke cleared, Cinderella could see Jane was stone cold dead. She looked at the fairy godmother in wonder. ‘Thank you!’ she cried. ‘I wish I didn’t have to do that,’ said the fairy godmother quietly. ‘But I couldn’t have her threatening my very own daughter, could I?’ ‘Your daughter?’ asked Cinderella, stunned. ‘Yes,’ said the fairy godmother. ‘Your wicked stepmother banished me from the world you know with her evil powers when you were a baby, because she wanted to get her hands on your father. And even though this is the most wonderful place to live, I have been sad every minute of every day, because I have been separated from you, my beautiful daughter.’ ***** 49


CINDERELLA’S KEY And now, since the wicked Queen Jane was dead, Cinderella’s mother was able to return to the world, and she came to live in the palace with the king, Cinderella and Prince Charming. The door between the two lands was never locked again, and Cinderella did indeed bring her children to play in the beautiful gardens with all the toys and the Lego, and the fairy godmother, the king, Prince Charming and Cinderella sat outside the pub in the sunshine and watched over the children. And they all lived happily ever after. THE END

50


THE ICE NECKLACE AND THE

FIERY DRAGON BY

YEAR 3, BARLBOROUGH HALL SCHOOL AND PIPPA HENNESSY

51


O

THE ICE NECKLACE

AND THE

FIERY DRAGON

nce upon a time, in a castle in a land full of storms, there lived a king and his two sons. The king was a good man, and he was kind and just to his countrymen. The king’s favourite son, Spike, had his father’s kindness and sense of justice, although he did not take after his father in appearance. Spike was a dog. He was a most unusual dog, for not only could he talk, but he could also fly. And he was covered in spikes, just like a hedgehog. Not content with the spikes that covered him, he wore a collar that also had pointed spikes. So, you see, he was Spike by name and spike by nature. The king’s other son, Terror, was a dragon. Terror could also talk, and of course he could fly. Like all dragons, he could breathe fire. And like his brother, he had spikes, although he was not covered in them. Terror’s spikes ran in a line along his back and down to the tip of his tail. Despite the hat and bow tie that Terror wore most of the time, he was no gentleman (or gentledragon). He was selfish and mean, taking what he wanted from the people of the land and threatening to burn down the houses of any who refused him. So he, too, was Terror by name and terror by nature. As the king was growing old, he knew that one day he would die, and he was training Spike to rule the kingdom when he was gone. The people loved Spike as much as they loved the old king, and they were grateful that Spike and his father did their best to keep Terror under control. Even though there are many things any good king or queen should do, in this land there was only one rule that had to be obeyed. The person (or dog, or dragon) who was in possession of the Ice Necklace would be king. The Ice Necklace was a magical object that had the power to freeze anything in its path. It had been passed down from one generation to the next by the Royal Family, and had been used by kings and queens to defend the country for hundreds and hundreds of years. *****

One day, the event that almost everyone in the land feared came to pass – the old king died. Spike was more upset than anyone, but he carried out his duties, as was expected of the heir to the kingdom. He ordered his father to be laid out in the chapel, and he declared that there would be three days of mourning 52


THE ICE NECKLACE

AND THE

FIERY DRAGON

before the funeral. Anyone who wished to see the king’s body and say farewell was permitted to do so, and a long line of men and women filed past, quietly and tearfully. This was the last time they would see the old king wearing the Ice Necklace – according to tradition, after the funeral it would be given to the next king by the lords of the land. Not everyone was sad about the king’s death. Spike’s brother Terror could hardly hide his pleasure at finally being freed from his father’s disapproval. The only problem he could see was that Spike was likely to rule the kingdom in exactly the same way his father had, and would also stop him eating sheep and setting fire to haystacks. The dragon spent a day pretending to be miserable, but all the time he was thinking furiously about how he could stop Spike becoming king. He told himself it was in the country’s best interests to have a strong leader, someone who was good at fighting, rather than someone who spent all their time with their doggy nose in a book. Eventually he persuaded himself it was his duty to make sure he was the next king. And he knew just how to do it. Late in the evening, when everyone had left and gone home to their families, Terror crept into the chapel where the king lay. He unclasped the Ice Necklace from around his father’s neck (quite clumsily, because it’s fiddly to unfasten a necklace when you have claws instead of fingers), and put it around his own. Then he admired himself in the mirror for quite some time, before sneaking back to his own room. There was a commotion next morning when people realised the necklace had gone. And there was even more of a commotion when Terror appeared before the gathered lords and ladies and townsmen and women, wearing the necklace. ‘As you see,’ he announced. ‘I am now your king. So I expect you to stop feeling miserable about the old man lying dead in the chapel, and start getting on with your lives again. The first thing I want from you is the fattest sheep from every single farm in the land to be brought here by dawn tomorrow.’ Everyone shouted in dismay. But there was nothing they could do about it, because the rule was that whoever was in possession of the Ice Necklace was 53


THE ICE NECKLACE

AND THE

FIERY DRAGON

the rightful king. And so off they went about their business, and all the farmers prepared to bring their fattest sheep to the castle. Spike watched and listened, and hid in the shadows, saying nothing. This was not because he was a coward. It was because he was clever, and had been taught by the old king to stay calm and use his brains rather than his muscle to solve problems. His idea this time was to keep out of Terror’s way until night-time, and then when his brother was asleep, to take the necklace from the dragon and claim the throne for himself. He knew if Terror continued to rule the country, he would make life miserable for everyone, and his beloved land would descend into chaos. And that is what he did. So when dawn came, and Terror flew over the castle looking for his big breakfast of fat sheep, Spike appeared on the battlements wearing the Ice Necklace, and he declared that he was now the king. Everyone was relieved, and they clapped and cheered so loudly that people in the neighbouring kingdoms wondered what was happening. Terror was very angry. He let loose a huge blast of fire, but he didn’t dare attack Spike when everyone was watching. So he went off to a quiet corner of the kingdom to plot his revenge. Although he was nasty, he wasn’t stupid. He knew that Spike would be protected by guards while he slept. Even if he wasn’t, there would be no point in the brothers taking it in turns to steal the necklace from each other, night after night. No, Terror wanted to get his brother out of the way for good when he became king again. *****

Later that day, Terror returned to the castle and asked to see his brother. ‘What do you want?’ asked Spike. ‘I just wanted to say sorry,’ said Terror, looking down at the floor. ‘I was sad about our father’s death, I didn’t know what I was doing. I see now that you should be king, and I’ve brought a bottle of wine so we can drink your health.’ Spike was surprised, but being such a good and honest dog himself, he couldn’t see that Terror might be tricking him. He thanked Terror, and poured them each a glass of wine. 54


THE ICE NECKLACE

AND THE

FIERY DRAGON

‘Long life and happiness,’ said Terror, and he started to lift the glass slowly to his lips. ‘And to you, brother,’ said Spike. He drank all his wine in one gulp. Terror put his glass down untouched, and watched as Spike slipped to the floor, unconscious. Once more, he took the Ice Necklace and fastened it around his neck. Then he picked Spike up and flew off to a river bank in a distant part of the kingdom. He used the necklace to build a prison from frozen river water. This ice prison had no windows and no doors. He built the walls, then put his brother inside, and built the roof over the top of him. Leaving Spike trapped with no way to escape, the dragon flew back to the castle and once more proclaimed himself king, and set about organising his breakfast of fat sheep for the next day. *****

Some time later, Spike woke up. Once he worked out that Terror had tricked him, he knew he had to escape and save the country from his brother’s wicked ways. He stuck all his spikes out and threw himself against the walls of the ice prison. Again and again he hurled himself at the glassy walls, but as far as he could see he was making no difference. Soon he hurt all over, and he knew he’d have to give up. Furiously, he cried, ‘Oh, if only I was a dragon! Why is Terror so powerful and why am I so weak, when we are brothers?’ And he let out a huge sigh. Spike was startled to see a small flash of flame escaping from his mouth. Perhaps he wasn’t as weak as he thought. Maybe he only had to be angry, like Terror always seemed to be, to become powerful. He focused his mind on how cross he was with his brother, and tried a few strong puffs towards the ice walls. Sure enough, more flames came out. But they weren’t anywhere near big enough or hot enough to melt the ice more than a little, not even when he focused them on one spot. The little dog was really starting to get angry now. It wasn’t fair. Terror didn’t deserve to be king, and the country certainly didn’t deserve to have him as king. 55


THE ICE NECKLACE

AND THE

FIERY DRAGON

Spike stopped breathing his feeble flames, and stamped his feet hard in frustration. He was astonished when all the spikes shot out from his skin, and where he’d been focusing his flame-breath, the spikes broke right through the wall of ice! As he leaped through the gap and into the open air, he felt tingly for a moment. Wonderingly, he looked at his front legs. Then he turned and looked at the rest of his body. His spikes had grown back, exactly where they had been before. ‘Well,’ he thought. ‘That’s a useful power.’ And without further ado, he set off for the castle to confront Terror. *****

When Spike reached the castle, he could see that Terror had already started munching his way through the farmers’ fat sheep. The courtyard was a real mess, as the dragon was not a tidy eater. Spike flew up to the battlements, and shouted a challenge to his brother, ‘Terror, you don’t have the right to be king. Our father wanted me to rule after him, and even though you wear the Ice Necklace, you got it through trickery.’ Terror looked up and laughed. ‘Oh, brother, I don’t care what you think. I have the necklace, that’s all that matters. And I’m going to put you back into that ice prison and this time I’ll make sure you never escape.’ With that both brothers launched themselves into the air and the battle began. Terror wasted no time in launching huge tongues of flame towards Spike, who dived behind a tower to get out of the way. ‘Oh no,’ Spike thought to himself. ‘Yet again, I’m going to be beaten by Terror’s strength.’ Then an idea came to him. ‘Terror!’ he shouted. ‘What?’ Terror replied. ‘There’s no true strength without wisdom,’ shouted Spike. And while Terror was puzzling over this remark, Spike darted out from the shelter of the tower, fired all his spikes towards his brother and immediately after they had left his skin he breathed one of his feeble flames. The dry spikes caught fire as they passed through the flame, and before Terror realised what was happening he found himself stuck with lots of little burning spikes. He wasted 56


THE ICE NECKLACE

AND THE

FIERY DRAGON

precious time beating the small fires out with his tail. In the meantime, Spike was growing in confidence. In fact, he was growing in size as well. As he unleashed attack after attack on Terror, and dodged the dragon’s fiery breath, Spike became bigger and bigger, more and more scaly, his feeble fire-breath turned into jets of flame as big as Terror’s. Before long, he realised he’d turned into a dragon, just as big and powerful as his brother. Both dragons sent enormous fireballs at each other at the same moment. The missiles met in between them and exploded with an enormous bang. The dragons were thrown backwards, and as Terror’s claws had stopped him fastening the Ice Necklace round his neck properly, the clasp came undone and the necklace flew up into the air. The brothers raced towards it, and for a moment it looked as though Terror would reach it first. However, Spike sent another volley of burning spikes at Terror, and in the time it took Terror to dodge out of the way, Spike had caught the necklace and put it on. Quick as a flash, Spike built a massive shield of ice to protect himself from Terror’s fire attack, The wicked dragon breathed so much fire at the ice shield that he quite ran out of puff within a few minutes. And like Spike in the ice prison earlier, Terror’s flames had made no difference to the ice. For the last time, Terror let out a great gout of angry flame, and flew off into the distance to think about how to deal with this new powerful Spike. When the immediate threat to the kingdom was over, Spike returned to his more familiar dog shape. He declared himself to be king once more, and being a wise dog, he realised he needed to put the Ice Necklace beyond the reach of Terror, and any other evil person, dog or dragon who might want to become king. He used the freezing powers of the necklace to build an ice-shield over the necklace itself, and he made the shield so thick and strong that it could not ever be broken. And as he built it in the castle courtyard, and he was officially king at the time and therefore owned the castle, he remained in possession of the Ice Necklace for the rest of his life. There was nothing Terror could do about it, so he flew away across the sea and was never heard from again. Spike was the best king the land had ever had, and in time, he got married and had a daughter who he trained to become an even better ruler than he 57


THE ICE NECKLACE

AND THE

had been. So the people of the country were happy, and Spike and his family were happy. And they all lived happily ever after. THE END

58

FIERY DRAGON

Rooms of Stories  

Read the stories written by local schoolchildren and writer Pippa Hennessy in our workshops inspired by exhibition 'Wendy Ramshaw: Rooms of...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you