Sally’s Sunflowers

Sally started on her list. 1. Keep Bubbles out of the way.

She put a nice comfy cushion on the sunny windowsill in her bedroom, next she placed Bubbles on top of the cushion.

“Now number two, the birds,” Sally whispered.

It was a tricky thing to do but Sally placed five fat seed balls on the bird table in their garden along with a full net of peanuts.   Crossing her fingers she hoped the table wouldn’t break.

“Number three,” she said and went to collect his post from the postbox.  Sally walked to  Mr. Blunts door.

Bubbles ran up to her as Mr. Blunt opened his front door.

“Shoo cat!” He shouted.

“Bubbles came to say hello. She likes people.”

“Well,  I don’t like her. Why have you got my post?” Mr. Blunt asked in a loud voice.

“I was being nice!” Sally whispered.

Just then, Bubbles ran in to the kitchen.

Mr. Blunt chased after her. Sally followed. Luckily for Bubbles, Sally was smaller and faster than Mr. Blunt. Diving under the table she caught Bubbles in her arms and dashed home.

“My teacher says practice makes perfect, we will make him smile.” Sally said hugging Bubbles to her.

Number four was – mow his lawn. But, Mr. Blunt had already mowed it.

Sally shook her head. “It is very hard to help some people.”

Number five: wash his car.

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Sally took out the buckets and sponge for washing the car. She wanted the car to sparkle so she squeezed an extra dollop of liquid into the bucket.

She was washing the windows, when she heard a strange noise. She discovered there were dogs licking the car. Great big dollops of dog slobber were flying about and landing on the nice clean car.

“Shoo go away,” she said. They started barking.

Mr. Blunt came outside. “Who is making all that noise?” He stopped and stared at his car, which was covered in dogs of many shapes and sizes.

He was still shouting as Sally and the dogs ran away.

Mum asked her, ‘Is this what you washed his car with?’

“Yes. It said, it will give the greatest shine all week long.” Sally said scratching number five off her list.

Number six: buy him some sweets.

Sally shook her piggy bank. She counted out loud, ‘four euro and two cents. I could buy an awful lot of chocolate for that.”

Scooping the money into her blue purse Sally walked along beside her mum with a hop and a skip. The money rattled as she moved.

The sweet shop with its rows of rainbow jars of sweets was her favorite shop. “He is a really old man so perhaps I should buy him soft sweets.”

The shopkeeper said,  “that is a kind thought, yes jellies are over here.”

Sally scrunched up her face. Mr. Blunt reminded her of a shark. “What would a shark like?” she asked.

“Something strong and hard, I think, to crunch on.”

‘Well, he is an old shark so perhaps, some bulls eyes, chocolate candy, jelly babies and some soft jellies, just in case.’

“Good idea.”

Sally bought some chocolate mice for Bubbles and herself.

On the way home Sally said, “I don’t know how to give Mr. Blunt these sweets without making him mad.” She sighed. “How can I make him smile if all he does is get madder and madder?”

“Maybe he just doesn’t smile.” Mum said.

Sally grinned. ‘That is silly. Everyone smiles, even Bubbles smiles.’

Back home Sally walked to Mr. Blunts front door. She rang the doorbell. When the door opened Sally shoved the bag of sweets at him saying, ‘these are for you,’ and ran back home.

Mum asked, “did it work?”

“I don’t know.”

Mum bent down and gave Sally one of her extra special hugs.

“Number seven will make him smile, a great big toothy smile!”

Sally spent hours working on her picture. The bird table looked just like the one in her back garden, the birds looked like birds. Sally went to bed saying, “tomorrow I am going to see Mr. Blunt smile.”

That night Sally dreamed that Mr. Blunt smiled so much, he out shone the sun. It hid behind a cloud. The birds didn’t like his smile, they flew away. The dogs were frightened by it and howled like wolves.

On the way to his house, the next morning, the wind pulled the drawing from her hands. It landed in a puddle. She gave it a shake and continued to his door.

The door opened. “What? You’ve come to give me another tooth ache?”

“I drew a picture to make you smile, here it is.”  She held the picture out for him to see.

He took the soggy picture and gave a nod of his head.

Sally was sad but she said, “I’m not giving up. I’ll write down my funny joke.”

Sally’s joke was:

A cheeseburger walked into a bar and said, “hello, can I have a pint of beer please?” The bartender replied “Sorry, we don’ t serve food”

Sally wondered how she could deliver it to him without him seeing her. Dad said, “Let’s send it by airmail.”

He showed Sally how to make and fly paper airplanes. Soon the kitchen was full of paper planes whizzing about.

Sally and dad planes

“I can do this.” Sally said. Walking outside she took the empty bird food bucket and placing it upside down stood on it. She saw Bubble’s sitting in Mr. Blunts garden chair. The back door opened. Sally held her breath, pointed the nose of the plane in the direction of the back door and threw the plane.

It flew straight. Then with a – smack- it hit him on the nose. “Ouch! Who did that?”  He roared.

Sally hid behind the fence. With a sigh Sally sat down on the bucket. Now she had to bake a cake. Sally didn’t like baking but she did like eating cakes.

She baked the cake with mums help. While it was cooling Sally made the icing. “This is the best bit”, she told Bubbles as she drizzled some icing on his paw. He tasted it. Sally went to clean her face and put on a clean tee shirt.

When she returned she discovered Dad had left just one piece of the cake.

“Sorry Sally but it was delicious.” He said.

Sally had one chance left. But she didn’t know what to do. Mum gave her an idea. ” Mr. Blunts wife was a great gardener. ”

“Really?” Sally said. They were watching a tv program about gardening.

“She loved bright flowers.”

The man on TV was talking about Sunflowers. ” They are very smiley flowers, aren’t they?” Sally said. She went to find her dad.

“The trouble is real Sunflowers take months to grow, Sally,” he said.

Sally had a plan. First, she drew a huge sunflower.  Then she and her Dad to his workshop.  Days later they were finished. The flowers had bright yellow and orange faces. They had leaves for arms. The petals made a soft clicking sound that she knew the birds wouldn’t like. Her mum helped her paint the flowers.

“It will keep them away from Mr. Blunts garden and Bubbles too.”  Sally said.

Next morning, Sally and her Dad went to Mr. Blunts house, very early to plant their sunflowers. “Don’t worry Sally, if he shouts, I’ll shout back.” Sally crossed her fingers.

Mr. Blunt was grumbling as he walked to the door. He opened it. “You!” he said to Sally.

“Follow us, Mr. Blunt, you have to see this.”  Dad said.

Mr. Blunt followed them. They stood together and waited. Sally heard a strange sound. She felt sad, Mr. Blunt’s bottom lip was wobbling. She knew what that meant.

“I’m sorry, these were supposed to make you happy,” she whispered.

Mr. Blunt walked over and bending down hugged her lightly, ” Thank you. Can I touch them? My wife loved sunflowers, these are smashing!”

Sally did a cartwheel and laughed aloud. Her miles of smiles worked.

 

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“Well done! Sally. I’ve made some gingerbread, can I bring it over?” Mum asked Mr. Blunt. He answered with a smile.

After that, Mr. Blunt became the smiliest man in the neighborhood. He even suggested they start a business. From then on every Saturday morning Sally, and Mr. Blunt sold sunflowers in the market. And every Sunday morning Mr. Blunt arrived at Sally’s house to hand her a small bag of chocolate mice for Sally, just to make her smile.

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Christmas and the magical mince pies

It was snowing and yet the huge green ogre named Breeze was asleep. He was tucked onto his favorite branch high in the tallest oak tree in the wood. His excuse was – he was keeping watch for Santa.

Breeze adored the magic of Christmas. So when the very first flake landed on his nose, he stopped snoring and woke in a hurry, slid down the trunk of the wrinkly crinkly old tree and raced through the wood shouting “it is snowing. Christmas is coming, Santa is getting ready to leave the north pole.”

His friends, shook their heads and said, “he is never unhappy at this time of  the year.”

However when Breeze bumped into Lovisma, he lost his happiness. For she had hold of a wooden santa claus and was dangling him upside down. “I’ think I should fly up to the moon and drop him, lets see him fly then, ” she giggled at her own joke.

Lily, was sobbing “Please, don’t do it, he is only made of wood he can’t fly. He needs reindeer and magic.”

Breeze frowned.  “Lets see if Lovisma would fly if we took her broomstick away and tied her up nice and neat like a Christmas pudding.”

Lily stopped sobbing and looked at him. “Could you do it?”

“I would if you asked me.”

Lovisma instantly dropped the wooden Santa and flew away. Breeze told Lily some jokes to cheer her and then they made a giant snow rabbit before they both went home for tea.

All evening long Breeze thought about the nasty witch. “Time I scared her good and proper,” he decided. He needed to think long and hard because Breeze knew that every witch has something she is terrified of.

It was Christmas eve and the wood was looking sparkling and festive. The trees were wearing their best winter coats and the birds had decorated some of the lower branches with holly, though the berries were missing.

Elegant witch had solved the problem by asking the knitting group to knit holly berries and attach them to the branches. She added her own dash of magic then making the berries twinkle with bright lights.

Breeze had baked. This was an event in itself and the mince pies did smell awesome, which he kept saying. However, Lily wondered why he had put a box of six pies to one side.  The label on the box said, For Lovisma, “Mr Breeze why did you give that nasty witch six mince pies and there will only be one for everyone else.”

He winked at her and said, “these are special pies just for her. Don’t let anyone touch them or there will be trouble.”

She wondered why he sounded a little cross but decided one of his mince pies would be enough for her. Besides Santa was coming.

The table for the midnight party was set and suddenly there was a cold rush of air. A cackle of laughter announced Lovisma’s arrival. She was looking really nasty in a purple and silver pair of leggings and a huge purple flouncy dress.

Yuck, you look like a giant blueberry. Matt announced.

Her answer to him was with a flick her wand to turn him into a snow ogre. Breeze said, “Be nice or no Santa.” She flicked Matt from snow ogre back to green ogre.

Ooh mince pies, Lovisma said. I want one.

You can’t have one, Breeze told her. But you can have six to take home to Elegant witch. I made them for you both.”

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Lovisma smiled sweetly and said, “I think I will have one, just one now.”

However, once she started she couldn’t stop. Lovisma kept stuffing mince pies into her mouth until the box was empty.  “I feel a little odd.” She said.

Lily smiled. “YOu do look a little odd.” And she moved further away.

Not a moment too soon as Lovisma began to shake like a jelly, then spun around so fast she was a purple blob. Suddenly there was a loud pop and when everyone looked she appeared to have vanished leaving the purple dress in a heap on the ground then it began to move in hopping movements. Lily was the first to spot the new improved Lovisma. “OOh a frog I love frogs, can I pet her?”

“I can’t be a frog. I hate slimey frogs.” Lovisma the frog shouted.

Lily said ” but you are, look in the reflection in the glass. This is you a cute purple frog. ”

Each time Lovisma attempted to jump onto her broom she slid off, instead she hopped away screaming in horror.  “I hate you Breeze almost as much as I hate frogs.”

After that everyone was happy she had left but they were a little afraid of eating any of his mince pies.

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The boy that water hated.

 

Noah,  collected his name as he was born during a rainstorm.

The rain pounded down on his parents. If you had been able to wring their clothes, you would have collected enough to fill three barrels.  Everyone except Noah was wet that night.

As his mum held him close to her, she noticed that the rain did not land on him or her. So it continued as he grew, water did not linger on him. Bathing Noah was a puzzle until the accepted a simple truth – water did not like him!

His world was different to yours, soaps and creams were his way of bathing. Drinking was not a problem. He loved to drink water but whenever he held his hand out to catch some it skirted around his outstretched hand.

At four years of age he was walking with his mum. They watched other children splashing about in puddles on the ground. Noah tried to do the same and the water simply jumped away from him.

“I don’t like water.” He moaned.

“It might not always be like this, Noah, things happen for a reason.” She consoled him.

When Noah was six he went to swimming lessons. His instructor stood on the side of the swimming pool and asked everyone of the new swimmers to sit on the edge of the pool. They did. When Noah dipped his foot in, the water ran away from him. He scratched his head and tried again. Where is the water going? He wondered.

A loud shout from beside him answered that question, “Hoi, Stop splashing me!” The boy scowled at Noah.

“I didn’t do anything.” Noah told him as he got up and left the class.

Noah envied the other children. He never arrived at school with wet shoes or clothes, he was always dry.  His hair was shiny because it was washed in shampoo and conditioner with a thimble full of water added. Dogs loved to follow him and lick his skin because they loved the fruity taste of the creams he used.

He was ten years of age when it happened.

However one afternoon on his walk home from school he heard a cry for help. It was coming from the river that ran close to the road. Noah raced to the bank and stared in horror. A tiny girl had fallen in and was being pulled away by the current. Without thinking Noah ran along the bank until he reached the bridge, then he watched until he saw she was being carried close to the bridge. With one jump he fell from the bridge and landed on the soft muddy riverbed. The water had stopped flowing and a giggling sound alerted him that he was no longer alone. Noah opened his eyes and saw the very wet smiling toddler lying on the muddy river bed before him. He scooped her up and carried her to the bank.

Much later he walked home feeling very happy. He could not wait to tell his mum, but he did wonder what other adventures were lying in wait for him.

A rainbow called Ernest

 

Large grim clouds rolled past, Ernest but he didn’t listen to their grumbling. He was tired of the sameness of his days. He wanted an adventure. No, he decided I want to do something wonderful for someone.

Then to his dismay he heard laughter around him. Stars peeped out from their hiding places to mock him,  birds joined in as they flew high into the sky to see what was happening, “you can’t do anything more wonderful than existing. You are a mish mash of colours. A rainbow to brighten peoples days.” On and on went the comments all insisting he was crazy to dream of doing great deeds.

“Not deeds,” he mumbled. “Just one act of kindness, to help someone somewhere.”

As the moon rose and sank to be replaced by the sun over and over again, Ernest began to believe he was wrong and they were correct. He would never be more than a blur of colours flitting about the earth. So, he learned to stay quiet to keep h is dreams hidden, afterall they cannot mock me if they don’t know what I am thinking, can they?

Feeling a little sad and useless he hovered above the earth only appearing when the sun bellowed for him to come out from his hiding place. Then one day he grew tired of this manner of behaviour. He decided to go off on his own and see what he could do.

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He used the large grumbling clouds as his cover. This allowed him to zip past huge mountains, vast cities which frightened him with their loudness and false lights. He wondered about people. He didn’t understand them but still he stuck with his idea. Somewhere, he thought someone is looking for help and maybe I am the one to do it.

What this it was he had no idea but it was a comforting thought that he might only know it when it happened.

A child sitting on top of a bale of hay caught his attention. The child was crying. Not a loud harsh cry but a soft whimper, as an animal would do if it were in pain. Ernest let the clouds go on without him he went lower and lower until he could see the child. It was a young boy. He was  talking to himself.

“I am not stupid. Someday I will get it right. Anyway they are only sums, not important stuff like bringing Annie home from school safely with me. I didn’t mean to get them wrong. No, I am not stupid or an idiot.”

Ernest felt sad for the young boy. He whispered to him. “No one is truly stupid, I mean some of us are silly sometimes we do the wrong thing without thinking, I think they are called accidents. Anyway I think you are clever if you manage to get Annie home safely.”

The boy stopped sniffling and looked about him. “Where are you?” When he didn’t see Ernest he said, “I am not only stupid I am crazy, talking to myself and answering myself.”

Ernest chuckled and as he did his colours began to grow stronger until the boy could see him.  He looked at Ernest and said, “I am Steve, how do you do?”

 

Ernest didn’t answer for a minute. He was thinking. Steve interrupted his thinking time by asking, “What are you doing here.”

“I came to help you feel better.”

How can you do that? I am stoopid and that is the end of the matter.”

“No you are amazing most people don’t see me unless the sun shines on me. They think the colours just appear they don’t know it is my job to make them appear.”

Steve asked, “can you feel colours.”

Ernest replied, “I do but I don’t know about you but we can test it.”

“How?”

“Like this.” Ernest gathered all of his colour bands close to him and swooped gently down beside Steve then very slowly Ernest wrapped his many colours around the tiny boy.  As he worked he asked, “Well can you feel anything?”

“I feel wonderful, happy and warm. I feel ….” Steve was struggling for a word.

Ernest whispered in his ear. “Remember you are clever to have spotted me, clever to have felt the warmth of the rainbow colours, hold that warmth within you and take these feelings and memories out on days when you feel sad.”

From then on Steve learned to smile from the inside out.

Breeze and the thief.

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It sounded like the sky was grumbling but Hamish knew it was Breeze shouting. He decided to visit Breeze.

Hamish was huffing and puffing when he arrived at the cave to find Breeze staring at a fairy cake.

“Thank you.” Hamish said.

Breeze said, “It’s not for you. This is the last one. A thief stole the rest along with my peppermint tea.”

“Maybe they were lost or hungry,” Hamish suggested. “You know you should always give to those who have less than you do.”

“Hmm.  When they steal my stuff they have more than me. ” Breeze bent low and looked into Hamish’s eyes. “So what do I do?”

Hamish smiled. “We should ask someone smart like Elegant or Tulip. ”

“Perhaps Elegant is the one to visit first.” Breeze suggested.”Tulip usually has a Fairy Group Meeting on Wednesday afternoons. Today is Wednesday.”

They found Elegant sitting on her  front step reading a book. It was called, “How to be  the nicest witch ever.”

Breeze said, “You can’t get any nicer Elegant.”

She was delighted and said,” Thank you. Tea and cake?”

They accepted.  As he munched on caraway seed cake, Breeze asked, ” Can you make Lovisma become kind and nice?”

Elegant said, “I hope so. Why did you come to  see me?  Are you sick?”

Breeze explained his problem adding, “I think it is Dandelion Bear.”

“I don’t know this bear.” Elegant said. “She keeps to her self.”

“Ahh  a t-r-o-u-b-l-e-m-a-k-e-r  .” Breeze said.

“No, we don’t know that.” She looked at Breeze and Hamish. They looked at their feet.

Elegant was considering the problem. “Have you asked her why she is doing this?”

“I have.” Breeze said.

“And?”

“She says she didn’t do it. But Spike saw her.” The frog popped out of Breeze’s shirt pocket and said “Ribbit.”

“We need a plan.” Hamish said.

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Hamish and Elegant hid in the cave as the sun peeped over the edge of the earth. Breeze was asleep.

“He sleeps too much.” Elegant muttered.

A dark shape entered the cave. Elegant flicked her wrist and a soft light came on.  It was Dandelion.  Hamish opened his mouth to shout but Elegant said “SSssshhhh.  Follow me.”

Elegant  stood before Dandelion who was choosing six cupcakes and a handful of peppermint leaves. The bear didn’t see Elegant. Dandelion walked out of the cave.  Elegant said.  “She doesn’t know she is doing it.”

Hamish said, “Rubbish I saw her. You saw her.”

“She was asleep. Dandelion bear sleepwalks.”

Hamish looked towards Breeze. “He won’t believe you.”

“Don’t worry I can make him believe.”  Elegant woke Breeze.

He looked over at his almost empty cupboard. “Did you eat them?” He asked Hamish.

“No. But I did consider it before she arrived.”

“Aha so it was Dandelion.” Breeze said.

Elegant said, “First you should watch this.”

She pointed her wand at the wall.ie“I need to show the truth to give relief,

to this ogre who is bothered by a thief.”

As Breeze and Hamish stared at the wall they saw an image of Dandelion walk into the cave. When the light dimmed. Breeze turned to them. “She was sleeping but still she has to see the crumbs and empty cases when she wakes.”

Elegant said, “Lets go and find out.”

They walked along the mountain path to Dandelions home.  They tiptoed inside.

Elegant waved her wand and said,

“Please don’t let us make a sound or she will take fright

an angry bear is not a pretty sight.”

Dandelion began to snore. Her paws were tucked under her head and a group of mice were neatly tugging the peppermint leaves out of Dandelions grasp. The mice scurried away.  Two crows swooped low to collect a cupcake before flying away into the early morning light.

The three friends walked outside.

Breeze didn’t know what to say. Elegant said. “We need to show her. ” That evening they returned to Dandelion’s cave.

Dandelion was horrified. Tears trickled down her fur. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know I am a thief.” She sobbed.

“No you are not a thief.” Elegant said. “This will help. It is a soothing potion. You will dream but you won’t sleepwalk.”

Elegant gave Breeze and Dandelion two large baskets of cakes and bakes. “These should keep you both happy for a day or two.  Dandelion if you come to my house tomorrow night I will teach you how to bake.”

Hamish looked at Breeze, “You will have a neighbour who bakes.”

Breeze said, “I must not shout at Dandelion ever again.”

 

 

The Tale of the Curious Tree as told by Breeze.

Breeze was left in charge of  Mrs. Groundsels Grandchildren.  “Tell us a story, please.” Lisbeth demanded flashing her dark blue eyes at him.

Breeze sat and stared all around him. In the distance an old twisted tree caught his eye.

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Lowering his voice he said, “A tiny oak tree was planted in the wood many years ago by a kind and friendly witch. ”

“It wasn’t Lovisma then.” Lisbeth said and moved closer to him.

Breeze smiled then said,

“The tree was planted in a good place. It began to grow. A rabbit stopped one day beside the tree to scratch his ear. The tree bent sideways to  ask the rabbit what it was doing. 

“I am itchy. So I am scratching the itch.” The rabbit said and then he hopped away.

The tree decided it was good to know answers to simple questions.

Whenever an animal stopped close to the oak it would move its body to look at the animal and ask a question or two. Over time the tree grew very knowledgeable about everyday things.

It knew why the clouds danced across the sky on sunny days and why they emptied buckets of raindrops on the forest on dark cold days. It also learnt the names of all the plants and animals in the forest. “

“Really?” Lisbeth asked.

Before Breeze could speak, Matt said, “That is rubbish there is no twisted oak tree in this wood and if there was it wouldn’t know anything about anything. Trees are just trees.”

Lisbeth looked sad. “Mr. Breeze, that is not true. Is it? Your story is beautiful. I think trees are great.”

“Thank you Lisbeth. Matt will discover the truth some day soon.” He hoisted her on his shoulder and said, “we are going to visit the tree.”

He walked a long way then stopped before the tree. Lisbeth ran her hand along the bark.  “You are a super-duper old tree. ” Breeze placed her on a low branch and jumped up beside her.

“Does it know everything?” She asked Breeze.

“Maybe not everything but it does know a lot of stuff.” He looked at her. “Why?”

“I would like to know what there is far beyond the Sugar lump mountains. Please Mr. Tree can you tell me?”

Breeze looked at her and said, “why don’t you write a note and pin it to the tree?”

She grinned at him. “Trees can’t write.”

“No but fairies can and I bet Tulip or Izzy could talk to it, or Elegant. I will ask them. They could write the answer down for you.”

So Lisbeth left her note pinned to the tree.

Next day she woke Breeze from a nap by shouting at him, “I got an answer.” Lisbeth read the note: “Beyond the Sugar Lump mountains lies a green valley. It is filled with cows grazing, sheep sleeping and lambs having fun. There is no river but there are many different types of flowers and trees. The air is filled with humming birds who sing as they collect pollen from the plants. ”

Lisbeth was smiling when she finished the note. “I am never going to tell Matt about this. It is great to know something he doesn’t. Someday when he walks miles and miles to find out what is over the mountains I can say, I knew all along because the kind oak tree told me.”

When she left Breeze slept, dreaming of dancing trees who became so knotted they fell over and grew on the ground.