Dobson and Friends
L. K. Lewis
Adventures with a Little Magic
A series of short childrenís stories for pre-school and upwards
The basic tales take place in a disused attic with odd furnishings. The window of the attic is large and round. It is divided with one bar across and two downward bars, and is on a sloping roof. All the characters in the attic are discarded toys from many years before.
1. THE SNAKE MONSTER
"Everybody knows she canít do real magic," said Young Smedley.
"Not the point," said Ben Gruff, tapping the tin box he was sitting on with his wooden leg. "Sheís a lady, and nice gents do not argue with a lady."
"Heah, heah," said Orpington. "Form them into a line and stand them easy, Sergeant."
Orpington adjusted his pith helmet, polished his monocle, and made a pompous throat clearing noise. Without a word from Ben Gruff, the rest of the group formed a line of untidy spectators and sat down noisily on the floor, waiting.
Fairy Nuff crossed to her favourite spot underneath the large round window. Her bare feet slapped gently on the polished wood floor. "Such a gloomy, gloomy day," said Nuff. "I have decided to make some sunshine to cheer us all up."
Bolas gave his nervous little laugh.
"Ooh, that would be nice," said Quigley, raising his game leg.
"I donít believe it," said Feldip, smoothing his one set of whiskers and touching his ear-ring.
The Breakfast Bird blinked several times and sniffed his toast.
"I like sunshine," said Sigloo, talking to Feldip but appearing to be looking at his nose.
"Could someone find me something to stand on, please?" said Nuff. "This is a very important magic and I want you all to see."
"Er, um, er, quite right mídear, Iíll do it," said Smedley, bringing up a large letter brick. "M for Magic," he said. Placing it in front of Nuff, he shuffled back to his place.
Nuff climbed up onto the brick and waved her wand for attention. "Eyes closed everyone," she called.
Orpington dutifully removed his monocle and Sigloo started to blink rapidly.
Nuff gently cleared her throat and began... "Let all the toys have great fun, let them play here in the sun." She waved her wand gently like the conductor of an orchestra.
Nothing happened. The crowd all began to peep out from between their hands.
"Oh dear," cried Nuff. "No peeping or it wonít work!"
They all closed their eyes except for Sigloo, who continued his rapid blinking. Nuff repeated her spell and waved her wand. Still nothing happened. Feldip grinned his sly grin and Bolas gave a nervous little giggle.
Fairy Nuffís eyes became a little tearful. "Why do my magics never work?" she said quietly to herself.
"Eyes closed this time," she called. Swinging her arms up high, she repeated her magic spell very loudly.
With a loud crack, her wand struck the shelf under the window. At that moment, the sun passed from behind a very large cloud and the bright light poured in through the big round window.
With "oohís" and "aahís" and squeals and giggles, the crowd opened their eyes and jumped back in amazement. Fairy Nuff had done magic!
A moment later the high shelf began to move. One of the supports had been made loose by the hard bump from Nuffís wand. Nuff was instantly lost in a large cloud of dust. All eyes looked up to the shelf where, with a sliding sound, something appeared on the edge. A great brownish lump with a long snake-like nose hung over the sloping shelf.
"A snake monster!" cried Quigley.
"A poisonous serpent!" yelled Young Smedley.
"Quiet!" said Orpington authoritatively.
The crowd were quite used to Orpington taking control, and all eyes turned to him.
"What is it, Sir?" asked Ben Gruff.
"Well, ahum, er, well... Itís a, itís a, er... Itís a bit of a distraction you see, thatís what it is!"
"Plees, Senor, I am very fright of thees thing. Where is rest if thees only bit of eet?" cried Bolas.
"Nothing to fear old chap," said Orpington, "Iíll see to the bounder."
With that he stepped forward to where Nuff was quietly sneezing and dusting herself off. "Would yímind?" he said, taking her wand.
Turning the wand around so that the glittery star would not fall completely off, he gave the brown snake monster a hefty prod.
"Ouch!" came the loud yell.
The snake monster began to raise itself up and suddenly, with a loud crash, the shelf collapsed. Nuff gave a scream as the snake monster fell on top of her, and another cloud of dust covered them both. The snake thrashed about wildly and more dust flew up into the air.
"Oooh, what is it?" called Young Smedley. "Help, dad."
"Iím not an it, Iím Dobson," called a throaty voice from behind the snake.
The dust began to clear. Nuff appeared and climbed from under the snake monster looking very shaken. The monster began to raise itself and turn around. Everyoneís eyes opened wide, as did their mouths. Within moments the crowd could see, not a snake monster, but the most shabby disreputable donkey they could ever imagine.
His right ear hung raggedly down, and they could see that it flopped over the place where his right eye should have been. He moved his head rapidly from side to side so that his left eye could take in all of them.
"I always wanted to come and join you," he said. "Didnít like to talk with my tail and bottom facing you, and I couldnít get off the shelf."
"A bit heavy with the stick, Colonel," he said, turning towards Orpington, "but thanks for getting me down."
"Have to do the right thing, old chap," said Orpington. "Actually it was old Nuffís magic. I was just helping out, if you see what I mean."
Nuff was looking at her bent wand and muttering. "Itís amazing, itís amazing, I can do magic."
The crowd had recovered from their shock and all came forward around Dobson.
"What a fine day for introductions," said Nuff with a smug smile, as the sunshine filled the attic from the big round window. "New friends are always magic," she said.
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