This is Gary’s third story. It is a short story for children:
The Way to Freedom
It was the six-week summer holiday from school. Twins, Peter and Pauline, woke up to an absolutely beautiful, warm July morning. Their mother was already up and making breakfast as the two 12-year-olds rushed into the kitchen for their scrambled eggs on toast
‘Mother?’, asked Pauline in pleading voice.
‘Yes, what do you want, Pauline?’ Mother replied warily, no sure what would follow.
‘May Peter and I go out for a picnic? It is such a lovely day for one?’, Pauline asked, very politely, in a voice that made it difficult for anyone to say no.
‘Well I don’t see why not, but I suppose you want me to make sandwiches for this escapade, am I not right?’, she retorted laughingly.
‘Oh, yes, please’, said Peter all excited, ‘jam sandwiches and orange squash would be wonderful’.
The pair rushed to their bedrooms to get ready for their adventure, and before long descended to the kitchen to see mother holding their back packs with their picnic goodies.
‘Remember to not upset farmer Duggan by walking across his cornfield’, she shouted as they set off on their journey.
‘We must find a really good spot to have our picnic’, said Peter, ‘it will make all the difference’.
Pauline agreed. ‘I think the meadow overlooking Dumble Wood will be super. What do you think?’
‘That’s okay by me’, said Peter, as they hurried over the style into the rainbow coloured meadow of poppies, marigolds, clover, harebells and dandelions shining at their very best. The bees hummed over the clover, gloriously patterned butterflies delicately fluttered from bloom to bloom, and a skylark serenaded them overhead with its exquisitely trilling notes as the twins sat down and opened their back packs.
Everything was just right. ‘ooh, mum has put in some home-made fairy cakes as well’, exclaimed Pauline. ‘Wizzo’, echoed Peter.
Just as they were about to begin they heard a very loud booming voice coming from within the wood. ‘What was that’, the twins said in unison, and quickly repackaged their back packs and made their way cautiously towards the wood.
The noise became steadily louder, and finally, after parting the branches of an oak tree they saw a very curious scene in the glade. A very large man was sitting in front of a group of pixies and elves. He had his back to the twins and they can only hear his booming laughter as the pixies and elves danced round in circles in front of him. But they looked far from happy and from their expressions the twins thought they were thoroughly fed up.
Eventually the man got to his feet. The twins shrank back into the shadows as he turned. He was incredibly ugly, so much so that the twins gasped with horror. He stretched his arms and stomped off out of the wood.
Peter and Pauline called out to the pixies and elves. ‘Who was that, and why were you performing for him?’
The pixies were surprised that someone had been watching but eventually their leader, Elfyn, realised they were quite harmless and told them, ‘that was Donno the Ogre. He makes us do this every day to entertain him, and if we fail he will destroy our houses with his big feet. Some days we have to entertain him for hours and it is very tiring indeed’.
‘Then something must be done about it’, said Pauline, who was a very organised little girl and did not like to see things that were unfair. ‘What can we do?, said Elfyn, ‘look at how big he is – and the size of his feet’. ‘Give us some time to think about it,’ said Peter, ‘and we will try and find a way of helping you. We will return when we have worked out a plan’.
The pixies and elves thanked them and Peter and Pauline headed home, ruminating about how they could stop the ogre.
When they returned their father was hard at work digging the garden and then afterwards painting the new fence. He had to finish before they can all have their tea. While watching her father, and seeing her mother in the kitchen, Pauline had an idea. It was an odd idea – but quite a good one – and she needed a bit of luck if it was going to succeed. She told Peter about her idea and he agreed it was a good plan.
Over the next few days they went out the wood every morning quite early. Their mother was quite curious when she asked what they were doing, but they only replied mysteriously, ‘to find some treasure’. ‘When you find some please bring it home. We could do with some here’, she laughed. So what was going on? The twins were looking for something special who would be able to help the pixies and elves. And one day, in Brookhill Wood, they found what they were looking for. There are in the middle of the wood, hanging out her washing, was an Ogress. An Ogress? Yes indeed, a female ogre.
Peter and Pauline couldn’t believe their luck and the next phase of their plan moved into action. They wrote a message on a large sycamore leaf ‘I am a lonely ogre in Dumble Wood’ and hid it in her washing when she wasn’t looking.
Sure enough, the ogress, whose name was Pogli, was very interested in the message, and before long, on one morning when they were watching the pixies in front of Donno, Pogli appeared, and to the twins’ amazement, seemed to be attracted to this very ugly man. ‘There’s hope for you, Pauline’, teased Peter, and, not surprisingly, received a slap on his face. Peter could go too far and, anyway, Pauline was really quite pretty. But the pixies were far from pleased either. ‘Now we have two ogres instead of one’, said Elfyn. ‘How is that going to help us?’
‘Just wait and see’, said the twins mysteriously.
The plan worked wonders. After a few months the two ogres were wed and Pogli moved into Dumble Wood to set up house. ‘Just be patient’, said the twins to the elves.
For the first week the little people still had to perform their dances and acrobatics for Donno.
‘What sort of plan is this?, said Elfyn, ‘we are no better off than we were before’.
‘Have patience, little ones’, said Pauline, ‘you will soon see things change’.
Two mornings later the twins were again watching the pixies and elves performing for Donno, and suddenly there was a noise in the bushes and Pogli strode up looking extremely angry.
‘So this is where you are all day’, she growled, ‘get home now, the fence needs painting, the garden neeeds digging, and you know the roof is leaking. Get to work, you have no more time for frippery’.
The pixies and elves never had to perform for Donno again. Pogli made sure of that, and so the little people were free. Peter and Pauline had found the treasure that they were looking for.