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John Charlesworth was born in 1941 and raised in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire. He worked both in the building trade and in textile industries. After being widowed twice, he married for the third time in June 2000. Lynne’s five grandchildren were an appreciative audience for his many stories and they encouraged him to start writing.
THE ADVENTURES OF THE GARDEN FAIRIES
THE LAND OF MOG
To Emily and Melissa – my inspiration. And to Lynne, for her help and support.
THE ADVENTURES OF THE GARDEN FAIRIES
THE LAND OF MOG
Copyright © John Charlesworth The right of John Charlesworth to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers. Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.
ISBN 978 1 84963 326 0
www.austinmacauley.com First Published (2013) Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd. 25 Canada Square Canary Wharf London E14 5LB
Printed & Bound in Great Britain
DEREK THE DORMOUSE GOES MISSING
It was a sunny morning in late Spring and at the bottom of a wild, overgrown garden, two fairies were organising a picnic. The garden, which belonged to a big house, had been home to the fairies for as long as they could remember. Their names were Sweetpea and Pumpkin. They had lots of friends with whom they shared their garden. There was Fergus the frog, who always liked to think that he was in charge of everything, Tommy the absent-minded dragonfly and Colin the bad tempered crow. There was also a chirpy little bird with a red breast called Robin, Willy the worm and Derek the sleepy dormouse. Sammy the snail and Sadie the spider were two more great friends of the fairies and lots of other creatures popped in and out of the garden all the time. So, there was never a dull moment.
Fergus had decided not to go on the picnic because he had a sore throat. He felt that it wouldn’t be fair to risk passing it on to the others. “Where did you say we were going to have the picnic?” asked Tommy for the umpteenth time. “We are going into the forest,” replied Pumpkin patiently. “You can carry the basket of fruit.” “I don’t know about that,” said Tommy doubtfully, “it looks a bit heavy. Perhaps Robin will help me.” “Of course I will,” chirped Robin, “we can eat some of it on the way, it will make the basket lighter.” “You’ll do no such thing,” laughed Sweetpea. “Here put these berries in the basket while I fill the flask with buttercup tea.” Pumpkin smiled to herself. Buttercup tea was Sweetpea’s favourite drink, she wouldn’t have dreamt of going on a picnic without it. Colin looked scornfully at Sammy. “You’re surely not taking that shell with you?” he asked, in the vain hope that Sammy wasn’t. Colin rather fancied a juicy snail to finish off his picnic lunch, but, he knew that if Sammy brought his shell along that would be impossible. “Of course I am silly,” replied Sammy, “it’s my home and I never go anywhere without it.” “This oak tree is my home, but I don’t take it with me everywhere I go,” retorted Colin. Pumpkin laughed. “Leave him alone Colin. That shell is Sammy’s caravan, he’s got everything he needs in there. Haven’t you Sammy?”
“Oh yes,” replied Sammy proudly, “you should see my new television set. It’s got a big screen.” “Alright Sammy,” murmured Sweetpea as she screwed the top on her flask. “There’s no need to show off. Some of us haven’t even got a television set.” “I’m sorry,” muttered Sammy and then added defiantly, “but I’m still taking my shell with me.” “Well don’t expect me to carry you,” said Sadie as she came from behind a bush, “you know how slow you are and besides, that shell is heavy.” “I wish you’d stop arguing,” cried Sweetpea crossly. “We are supposed to be going on a picnic to have fun and all you are doing is squabbling. We’ll take it in turns to carry both Sammy and Willy, after all Sadie, you’ve got eight legs and poor Willy has none.” “Yes, you’re right,” agreed Sadie, feeling rather ashamed of herself. “Right!” said Tommy. “We’re all friends again, is everything nearly ready Sweetpea?” The fairy nodded and gave Tommy and Robin the basket of fruit. Everyone said goodbye to Fergus and promised to save him some of their picnic. “Are you sure you can manage without me?” he croaked, sounding much croakier than usual. “Don’t worry about us,” smiled Pumpkin, “it will feel strange without you but we’ll be fine.” They set off towards the forest and prompted by Robin they all burst into song. “What a beautiful day,” Sweetpea exclaimed, “I
have a feeling that this is going to be a picnic we’ll never forget.” How right she turned out to be.
They walked through the forest for what seemed a very long time, especially for Robin and Tommy who were carrying the basket of fruit. But no-one minded, as Sweetpea had said, it was a beautiful day. Sadie the spider looked over her shoulder and she could see Derek the dormouse following some way behind. “What is that around your neck?” she shouted to him. “Are you wearing a tie?”
“Don’t be daft,” squeaked Derek, “it’s Willy the worm, it’s my turn to carry him.” Everyone laughed at the thought of Derek wearing a tie, even Colin the crow thought it was funny. Presently they came to a clearing in the forest through which flowed a crystal clear stream. “This place is ideal,” announced Sweetpea. “We’ll stop here.” “About time,” cawed Colin, “I’m beginning to feel very hungry.” Sammy the snail looked at him suspiciously and went into his shell. Pumpkin giggled to herself and told Sammy to come out before all the food was eaten. The picnic was a huge success. Everyone ate until they could eat no more and Sweetpea drank every drop of her buttercup tea. The others were quite content drinking the delicious ice cold water from the stream. After their meal they all sat and talked, then laid back and listened to Robin as he sang to them. It suddenly turned cooler as the sun disappeared behind a large cloud and Tommy suggested a game of hide and seek. He said all the running around would keep them warm. “Good idea,” chirped Robin. And before long they were having great fun searching for one another amongst the trees. Soon it was Derek’s turn to hide. Pumpkin counted to twenty and they all went looking for him.
They searched in the forest; amongst the bushes and behind rocks, but try as they might they couldn’t find him anywhere. “Alright we give in,” cawed Colin irritably, “where are you?” There was no answer, so, they all searched again. “I can’t think where he might be,” frowned Sweetpea. “I hope he’s alright.” “Of course he’s alright,” retorted Colin. “Let’s pretend to go. He’ll soon show up if he thinks we are leaving him.” “Perhaps you’re right,” sighed Sweetpea. “It really is naughty of him. Come on then, let’s get our things together and head for home.” They set off walking really slowly, giving Derek every chance to catch up with them. After a while Sweetpea stopped. “It’s no use, he’s not coming. We’d better go back and search again.” “He’s a pest,” chirped Robin, “we ought to just leave him to find his own way home. It’s going to be dark soon.” “All the more reason to find him,” said Sweetpea. “He would be very frightened if he found himself all alone in the dark forest.” Pumpkin was beginning to get worried. “He could be lying injured somewhere. Why don’t we split up and meet by the stream in half and hour. One of us should have found him by then.”
“Good idea Pumpkin,” cried Sweetpea. “Come on everyone let’s get searching.” Sweetpea and Pumpkin went off together shouting Derek’s name, but there was no reply and he was nowhere to be seen. After half an hour they gave up the search and were just about to return to the stream when Sweetpea stopped and put a hand to her ear. “I thought I heard something,” she whispered. “Listen! There it is again.” “It’s Tommy,” said Pumpkin. “He sounds to be over there somewhere, on the far side of those bushes.” The bushes were quite a long way off and although the fairies flew as quickly as they could it took them quite a while to get there. The others had been much nearer and by the time Sweetpea and Pumpkin arrived Tommy was showing them what he had found. “It’s a cave,” he said excitedly, “and Derek must be in there because his footprints are all over the soft earth outside.” “Have you been inside Tommy?” asked Sweetpea. “No, not yet,” replied Tommy, “I thought I’d wait until you all arrived. I’ve tried shouting his name, but he hasn’t answered.” “I expect he went in there to hide and fell asleep.” said Willy. “He had no right to,” snapped Colin as he peered inside the dark cave. “Wait till I see him, I’ll give him
what for!” They all trooped into the cave to look for Derek. After a few minutes it became obvious that he wasn’t there and they turned to go. As they approached the cave’s exit Pumpkin screamed and stepped back in alarm, almost treading on poor Willy. They all gazed in horror as an enormous spider began weaving a thick sticky web over their only way out. “Samson!” shrieked Sadie. “What are you doing here?” The big spider stopped weaving his web and frowned. “Who’s that?” he grunted. “It’s me, your cousin Sadie,” she replied. Samson was taken aback. “I’m sorry Sadie,” he mumbled, “I didn’t know you were here. You can come out if you want to, but the others will have to stay where they are. It’s my job to see that whoever comes into this cave never leaves it.” Sadie folded her arms and glared at her cousin. “I won’t leave this cave without my friends,” she vowed. “Now let us out or I will tell your mother.” Samson sighed. “Sorry Sadie, but I’ve got a job to do. Wanda will punish me if I don’t seal the cave up. If you want to stay in with the others that’s your choice.” Samson then quickly covered the rest of the cave exit with his web and ambled off with Sadie’s angry shouts following him. Sammy the Snail started to cry and everyone else
except Sweetpea felt like doing the same. “Don’t worry,” she said patting Sammy on the head, “I’ve got my magic wand, I’ll soon get rid of that nasty web. Everyone held their breath as they waited for it to disappear. Nothing happened. Sweetpea frowned and waved her wand again, but still the web remained intact. “It doesn’t seem to be working,” she muttered as she tried for the third time. “Perhaps the battery has run out,” suggested Sammy, “haven’t you got a spare?” “Don’t be silly,” said Pumpkin, “wands don’t run on batteries.” “Then we are stuck,” sobbed Willy, “we’ll never see our garden again.” “What’s that?” cried Tommy in alarm. There was a loud rumbling noise and the cave walls started to shake. Everyone yelled in terror as the ground beneath them opened up and swallowed them.
IN THE CAVERN
Earlier, when Derek had found the cave, he knew that it would be a very good place to hide in. ‘They will never find me here,’ he thought as he went in. He yawned and decided to have a short sleep whilst the others were searching for him. Curling up into a little ball he closed his eyes, only to open them a few minutes later when he was disturbed by a noise outside. Derek thought he’d better see what all the noise was about and got the surprise of his life. The biggest spider ever was weaving a web over the cave exit. ‘Oh well,’ he thought, ‘it’s only a web. I’ll think about it when I’ve had another nap. He closed his eyes again and was soon fast asleep and snoring like a little piglet. He didn’t feel the ground give way beneath him and he didn’t know that the spider had removed his
web and was even now waiting for his next victim. He didn’t feel himself falling deeper and deeper underground. He didn’t even wake up when he landed with a bump on the soft ground of a huge underground cavern. He did wake up however when, sometime later Colin landed with a loud squawk right on top of his head.
Derek looked up and was alarmed to see that it seemed to be raining bodies, and then he realised that his friends were dropping in on him. Pumpkin sat up and rubbed a bump on her head as she looked around her. “Is everyone alright?” she asked in a shaky voice. “We seem to be,” answered Sweetpea. Derek was confused. “Where are we?” he squeaked. “Where’s the cave’s exit gone?” “You should know,” chirped Robin, “it’s you who got us into this mess.” “We seem to be in some sort of underground cavern,” said Tommy looking round. “Look! There are passages leading off everywhere, one of them could be a way out.” Sweetpea rubbed her chin thoughtfully. She knew that something was very wrong. Why had the cave floor collapsed? Why didn’t her wings stop her falling so quickly? She had tried to flap them, but nothing had happened and Robin seemed to have been having the same problem too. So did Tommy, Pumpkin and Colin. Another thing, why hadn’t her wand worked in the cave? She seemed to have lost all her magic powers. Something else wasn’t right. If they were deep underground where was all the light coming from? She peered closely at the walls of the cavern which were glowing with little specks of light. Robin was wondering much the same thing, then realised the light was coming from hundreds of little
glow worms. Pumpkin was also very thoughtful. She was thinking about what Samson the spider had said. He had obviously been working on someone’s orders. What was that name he mentioned? Wendy? Vanda? Wanda? That was it, Wanda! But who was Wanda and why would she do this to me and my friends? “What are we going to do?” wailed Willy. “I want to go home.” “We all want to go home. I’m beginning to feel hungry again,” cawed Colin. Sammy slid back into his shell. “He needn’t think he’s eating me,” he muttered as he locked his door behind him. Sweetpea took control. “Right!” she said firmly. “The first thing to do is get out of this cavern. One of these tunnels could lead us out of here as Tommy said. The question is, which one?” “We shall have to try them all, one at a time,” said Sadie. Everyone agreed that it was the only way and they set off cautiously down the first passage. After only a few metres the tunnel came to a dead end and they all returned to the cavern and set off again to explore another one. This time the passage went on for quite a long way, but eventually they came to another full stop. Sighing wearily they trudged back to the cavern and sat down for a rest before starting again. The third tunnel seemed much more promising. They
rounded a bend and the ground began to rise steeply – which of course is what they wanted. The only way out of the deep cavern had to be upwards and the higher they climbed the more hopeful they became. Suddenly Sweetpea – who was leading – gave a cry of disappointment. “It doesn’t go any further.” “Oh no,” exclaimed Tommy, “that means we shall have to go back to the cavern and start again.” “Just a minute,” cawed Colin, “why don’t you try prodding the roof with your wand. We can’t be far from the surface and maybe we can break through.” “Yes, go on,” urged the others. “Prod the roof.” “Alright,” said Sweetpea. “After all, it seems that’s all my magic wand is good for.” Sweetpea prodded hard and wiggled the wand, bringing a shower of loose earth down on her upturned face. “Go on,” yelled Tommy, “try again.” Sweetpea prodded even harder and blinked as a drop of water splashed her in the eyes. She pulled her wand out and stared numbly as water began to flow through the hole. “Oh no!” shouted Sadie jumping up and down on her eight legs. “You’ve prodded into the bed of a stream!” “Run or we’ll all be drowned,” squeaked Derek. Robin picked up Willy in his beak and started to run as the roof caved in and gallons of water came pouring into the tunnel. Everyone fled in panic before
the rushing water, reaching the cavern in a matter of minutes. But even there they weren’t safe; the water was already up to Robin’s knees and was still rising. “We’ve got to try one of the other tunnels,” cried Sammy, who was sitting on Derek’s back. “Well there are only two left,” cawed Colin, “let’s hope we choose the right one because we won’t be able to return to the cavern this time.” Sweetpea knew he was right. Very soon the cavern would be flooded. “Come on,” she cried, “we’ll take that one.” “I hope you’re right,” murmured Pumpkin, “it’s our last chance.” The tunnel was even steeper than the last one and they soon left the floodwater far behind them. “We seem to have been walking for a long time,” complained Derek, “this snail is heavy.” “I’ll carry him,” said Colin. “No you won’t,” shrieked Sammy, “I’d rather walk.” “Look! We’ve stopped climbing. The floor is level now,” said Pumpkin thankfully. Everyone sighed with relief. That had been really hard work. After a while the passage began to slope downwards. “We don’t want to start going down again,” said Tommy fearfully. “Why don’t we prod the roof again.” “You silly dragonfly,” snapped Sweetpea. “Can’t you remember what happened last time?” “Oh yes,” replied Tommy vaguely, “we got a bit
wet.” Soon the slope got steeper and steeper. Before long they couldn’t stand up and had to slide down the tunnel on their bottoms. Faster and faster they went, deeper and deeper underground. Then all at once the floor levelled out again. “Where are we now,” wailed Willy, “I don’t like being underground.” Pumpkin giggled. “Whoever heard of a worm who didn’t like being underground?”
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