Paddlefoot (A story for the little ones)

Paddlefoot was feeling glum. He was tired of being the biggest dragon in the world. His enormous feet broke boulders every time he walked. When he sneezed, he blew trees right out of the soil. Worst of all, his wings were so big and heavy, he couldn’t lift them off the ground. Which meant he couldn’t fly. Whoever heard of a dragon that couldn’t fly? It was a terrible shame.

A tiny magician heard of Paddlefoot. He came to Paddlefoot’s cave, with his wand held high.

“I am Fionn the magician,” he said, “I’ve heard tales of your troubles, and I wish to help you.”

How can a tiny magician like you, help a huge dragon like me?” Paddlefoot asked, puffing steam out of his nostrils like factory chimneys.

“I will cast a spell, and swap you my size. If I was the biggest magician in the world, everyone would respect me. In return you will become as small as I am. You will enjoy the world without the fear of knocking it apart.”

“I really am tired of being so big,” Paddlefoot said, “Let’s do it.”

The magician waved his magic wand and whispered a spell beneath his breath. He didn’t want anyone to hear his words, in case they stole them. After all, words are very precious; especially magic ones.

A great flash of light made Paddlefoot close his eyes tight. He felt himself shaking and bubbling and shrinking. When the shaking stopped, he heard a loud swishing noise. He opened his eyes again, and realised the swishing was just the wind, now so much louder in his tiny ears. He coughed and coughed, until he got the hang of taking tiny breaths, now that he needed much less air.

He looked down at his body. His wings were as small as daisy petals. His tail was like a blade of grass, and his legs as thin as strands of hair. He laughed and yelped, for he was now the smallest dragon in the world. No matter how hard he walked, he would no longer cause any hurt to the world.

As he was dancing on his little legs, the ground began to shake, and he was thrown from his feet. He couldn’t see what was causing it to shake, so he spread his leaf sized wings and flew into sky. At last, he was a dragon that could fly. He twirled and whirled in the wind. He had never felt so free.

But then he heard thunder. Loud and roaring, it smashed through the air. He looked around, and saw Fionn the magician in front of him; a huge giant tumbling about. His footsteps were the cause of the ground shaking, and the thunder was his laughter. Fionn blew out a great puff of air, and a gust of wind threw Paddlefoot into a cluster of trees, that were almost ripped from their roots. Fionn knelt down to a river and slurped it all up, leaving the fish jumping on the dry land.

“Stop!” cried Paddlefoot, “You’re ruining the world!”

Fionn laughed louder, and the mountains crumbled to the ground. He inhaled deeply, and swallowed all the clouds.

I said STOP!” Paddlefoot shouted.

“I’m the most powerful being in the world,” roared Fionn, and Paddlefoot had to hold onto a branch to stop himself being blown away, “You can’t tell me what to do.”

Paddlefoot knew he had made a mistake. He loved being small more than anything. But he knew that if he stayed small and Fionn stayed big, then the world would be in terrible danger. When Paddlefoot was big, he had moved gently. He had learnt to be careful as he grew, to protect the world around him.

“Where is my wand?” Fionn asked, “I must have dropped it when I was growing.”

Paddlefoot scanned the ground until he saw the wand, gleaming from the grass. Fionn bent down and tried to pick it up, but his fingers were too big and he couldn’t grasp it.

“Who needs magic when you’re as big as me anyway?” Fionn said, walking away and knocking over a hundred trees.

Paddlefoot flew down and picked up the wand. He hid it behind his back and flew up to Fionn’s ear.

Your magic is so clever,” Paddlefoot said, “Please tell me the words of the spell so I can admire your greatness.”

Fionn smiled and puffed up his chest with pride, causing such a wind, that a passing seagull was knocked into space.

“I can’t tell you the spell,” Fionn said, “You might cast it on us and reverse everything!”

“Oh no, I want to stay this small and free forever. Besides, there can be no magic without a wand. And a little dragon shall never have a wand.”

You’re right,” said Fionn, “In that case, the words were:

Tricks Trocks Hicks Hocks,

Put me into that man’s socks.

With the words fresh in the air, Paddlefoot waved the magic wand with all his little might.

Back came the flash of light, the shaking and bubbling. This time Paddlefoot felt himself stretching and growing. Very quickly, he was back to his old enormous self. Fionn the magician had shrunk, and was shrieking and shaking his fist at Paddlefoot.

“You tricked me!” he cried, his face as red as lava.

Paddlefoot laughed, very carefully, the way he knew how to, so that he wouldn’t knock any birds out of the sky.

Power is safest with those who don’t crave it,” Paddlefoot said, throwing the wand on the ground.

He lifted his huge foot and stomped down on the wand, cracking it in two. A little earthquake cracked the ground just beneath Fionn and he ran away, moaning and sobbing. Fionn the magician was never again seen in that part of the world. And Paddlefoot never again wished to be smaller.


Holly Hen (A Story for Children)

Holly hen pottered out for breakfast. She ate her grain and drank her water. It was a cold rainy day. Holly knew the warm summer days were over for another year. She puffed up her feathers to keep warm and went back inside her cosy coop.

Lily hen was sitting quietly and still.

“Are you already laying your egg?” Holly asked Lily.

“Indeed I am, bright and early as always. I like my egg ready for Sarah and Dave’s breakfast,” said Lily.

Holly tried to lay an egg but felt too cold and too tired.

“I don’t think I can lay an egg today,” said Holly, “It’s too cold for me.”

“You Bantams,” said Lily, “You always go broody too early. I’m well able to keep laying for another few weeks.”

“That’s because you’re bigger with more feathers to stay warm.” said Holly. Bantams were the smallest of hens and Holly couldn’t help it if she couldn’t grow bigger.

“Nonsense, you’re just lazy,” said Lily.

Holly didn’t want to be lazy so she tried again to a lay an egg but she just couldn’t.

They heard footsteps and the coop door opened, spilling in light. It was Sarah.

“Good morning ladies,” said Sarah, “Have you any eggs today?”

Sarah lifted Holly up to look under her. Sarah’s hands were warm and Holly liked it when she lifted her. It felt like a little hug.

“No eggs from you Holly, I hope you’re not going broody already. Winter has only just arrived.” said Sarah.

Holly clucked and Sarah put her back down. Then Sarah lifted Lily.

“A fine big egg Lily,” said Sarah, “Dave will enjoy that.”

Sarah closed up the coop and Lily went outside for her breakfast.

Holly tried to lay an egg all day long. By bedtime she felt very sad and went to sleep early.

The next morning it was even colder. When Lily laid her egg she got up and went out for breakfast. Holly wasn’t hungry today. She was never hungry when she couldn’t lay an egg.

Lily’s egg was lying all alone in the straw.

“Poor egg, it must be very cold. I’ll keep it warm,” said Holly.

Holly sat on the egg and it felt nice under her. She even pulled out a few of her feathers so the egg would be closer to her warm skin.

Holly heard Lily start to cluck outside. Lily liked to cluck loudly so Sarah and Dave knew she had laid an egg.

After a while Holly heard Dave’s heavy footsteps and the coop opened.

“Morning Holly, anything under there for me?”he said lifting her up. “I see you’re cheating. That egg is too big to be from a little bantam hen, it must be one of Lily’s. Sarah’s right, you’ve gone broody. I was hoping to get another few weeks out of you yet. My nephew Brian is visiting tomorrow and Sarah wanted more eggs to bake him a cake.”

Dave closed the coop and Holly went out to see the morning.

“Some hen you are,” said Lily, “You’ve made poor Dave very disappointed.”

Holly felt disappointed with herself but knew there was nothing she could do to lay an egg.

The next morning Holly stayed hidden in the coop, too embarrassed to go out. She sat on Lily’s egg again to keep it nice and warm for Dave. Lily didn’t mind her sitting on it. Then they heard footsteps and the door opened.

“The big white one is Lily and the little brown bantam is Holly,” said Dave to Brian.

Brian crouched down and peered in.

“Can I pick them up?” Brian asked.

“You can, but be gentle and hold their wings into their bodies,” Dave said.

Brian tried to pick Lily up but Lily squawked and clucked so loudly that Brian nearly dropped her in fright.

“It’s okay Lily, calm down,” said Dave, “Lily is a great layer but not so tame. She gets frightened easily and isn’t always great on being handled.”

“Sorry Lily,” said Brian.

“Why not try Holly? She’s an old dote,” said Dave.

Holly relaxed totally and allowed Brian lift her, even though he was holding her too tight and pinching her wing a bit.

Brian had a great big smile now and gave her head a gentle rub.

“I love this one,” said Brian, “And look! She was sitting on an egg!”

“That’s one of Lily’s eggs,” said Dave, “Holly has stopped laying for the winter now. She won’t start again until Spring.”

Dave picked up the egg. Brian put Holly back down and she shook out her brown feathers.

“Wow,” said Brian, “Look at all the colours in Holly’s feathers.”

“She’s a beauty alright,” said Dave.

“I’d rather have Holly with no eggs than Lily with lots of eggs,” said Brian and Holly saw Lily look sad.

“Ah now,” said Dave, “They each have their own qualities. Holly is gentle and sweet and lovely to look at. Lily makes lovely eggs and is consistent and loyal. We don’t have favourites, we love them both. No need to pick when together they give us the best of both worlds.”

The coop door closed and Dave and Brian walked away with Lily’s egg.

“I’m sorry for calling you lazy,” said Lily, “I know now how it made you feel.”

“It’s okay,” said Holly, “Sure, aren’t we a fine team?”

“We are indeed,” said Lily, “And you just wait until spring. Together, we’ll make so many eggs they won’t know what to do with them.”


Sally’s Wriggley Worms : A toddler story

Sally puts on her wellies.

“Wrong feet,” says Mum.

Sally puts her wellies on the right feet. That feels better.

Mum opens the door and Sally hops down the steps. One, two, three.

Mum puts on her garden gloves and kneels down by the vegetable patch.

Sally kneels down next to her and pulls out a big huge weed.

“That’s not a weed!” says Mum.” That’s an onion!”

“Oops,” says Sally and tries to put it back in the ground but it doesn’t fit anymore.

Sally finds her red shovel. She starts digging under the tree.

“Don’t dig there. I planted daffodil bulbs in the ground there.” says Mum.

“Oops,” says Sally.

Sally picks up her watering can and turns on the tap. Water splashes all over her and her dress gets wet. Sally doesn’t mind getting wet. She fills her watering can.

“Don’t give the flowers too much water Sally, we don’t want them to drown,”says Mum.

Sally puts down her watering can. She sits on the grass and looks around for something to do. She sees a big long worm sliding towards Mum.

Sally picks up the worm and shows it to Mum, “Look, a wriggley worm!”

“Yuck,” says Mum.

Sally sits down on the grass again.

“I don’t like worms but the soil loves worms,” says Mum, “Maybe you could find me lots of worms and put them in this soil. Worms make the soil really healthy. Then it will grow great vegetables.”

Sally jumps up again and finds loads of worms and spends the rest of the morning putting them in the vegetable patch.

“You’re a great helper Sally,” says Mum when it’s time to go in for lunch.

“So are you Mum,” Sally says, “Even if you are afraid of wriggley worms.”