A Story Party at Green Hedges
First edition: 1949
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Illustrator: Grace Lodge
Category: Hodder Party Books
Type: Short Story Series Books
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Illustrator: Grace Lodge
Category: Hodder Party Books
Type: Short Story Series Books
On This Page...
- My Story Party
Story: Specially Written
- The Day of the Party
Story: Specially Written
- The Little Black Doll
Story: Sunny Stories No.308 Aug 14, 1943
- The Rude Little Rabbit
Story: Sunny Stories No.305 Jul 2, 1943
- Fred's Forgettery
Story: Sunny Stories No.303 Jun 4, 1943
- The Cat Without a Tail
Story: Sunny Stories No.308 Aug 14, 1943
- Eggs and Marbles
Story: Sunny Stories No.305 Jul 2, 1943
- Sally's Stitch
Story: Sunny Stories No.292 Jan 1, 1943
- What an Alarm!
Story: Sunny Stories No.294 Jan 29, 1943
- Interval for Tea
Story: Specially Written
- Linda's Little House
Story: Sunny Stories No.304 Jun 18, 1943
- The Old Black Horse
Story: Sunny Stories No.307 Jul 30, 1943
- The Teddy Bear's Tail
Story: Sunny Stories No.306 Jul 16, 1943
- The Cheeky Boy
Story: Sunny Stories No.308 Aug 14, 1943
- Pink Paint for a Pixie
Story: Sunny Stories No.303 Jun 14, 1943
- Peter's Birthday
Story: Safety Fun No.2 1948
- The Man Who Wasn't Father Christmas
Story: Sunny Stories No.258 Dec 19, 1941
The fourteenth invitee is to be You.
Add your name to the invitation (there's one in the book) and then cut it carefully although, come to think of it, several children might arrive invitation-less because of the value placed on their undamaged collection. If one isn't brought along you'll still be admitted because Miss Blyton is a kind lady, and besides, she's sure to know you.
The menu is typical Blyton as you can see: Honey, banana, sardine, and chocolate sandwiches. The last flavour is absolutely 'dinkum,' although I've never experienced a chocolate sandwich before. There'll be chocolate flavoured buns, and others with strawberry jam inside them not to mention biscuits in the shape of little men. Jelly? Of course ... two flavours, plus an enormous cake with cream and jam inside and icing and roses on the outside. At everyone's places there are little china rabbits holding tiny cards with the appropriate names printed on them.
At half past three, everyone arrives to walk up the path in twos and threes. Michael and the twins, Robin, Mollie, Joan and Jack with little Pat behind them and Peter's there as well, with Anita who's looking rather shy. They all enter Green Hedges to remove their hats and coats before experiencing an afternoon of wonder.
That's Enid Blyton speaking because your presence is required as well, so get moving.
Hold on! Where are Gillian and Imogen? Surely they'd be here on this auspicious day but no, they can't be present because both are away at school.
There's a roaring fire going in the playroom where the children all settle and Enid Blyton now asks who's going to choose the first story. Susan already has one in mind and she shows everyone a little black doll she's brought with her to the party. His name's Sambo and she'd like Enid Blyton to tell them a story about a doll with the same name. Can their host come up with such a tale?
Your acclaimed author can produce a story about almost anything and anyone if so inclined, and the children fall silent as a quite poignant tale unfolds:
The Little Black Doll
Sambo is black with tight, curly hair, red lips and a smile showing very white teeth. That sounds very nice indeed but when he arrives at the nursery none of the other toys appear to like him. Sambo's anxious to be friends with everyone so he enquires as to why no toy will accept him.
The teddy bear says it's because he's black!
That sounds quite strange because after all the golliwog's black, but the baby doll supplies an answer -
"Golliwogs always are black so we wouldn't like them if they weren't, but dolls aren't supposed to be that colour."
She thinks Sambo looks queer and in a way I suppose he does because black dolls aren't all that numerous but this one seems friendly and yes, although he's different-looking, surely that could be an attraction. Sambo only wants to be friends and as he hasn't done anything untoward that would raise ire there's some puzzlement. His solution to the situation is a quiet determination to be nice as possible to everyone so they'll change their attitude because it's quite difficult to dislike someone who's friendly and willing to help.
He starts off by winding the clockwork mouse up each night when everyone else is tired of doing it and he sews on a button for the golden-haired doll and pricks himself badly when carrying out his task. He even cleans the dolls' house windows and the floor of the toy fort but no matter what he does, the toys still won't warm to him. They even begin ordering him about, which makes him quite miserable and eventually he decides something has to be done.
"It's no good. They'll never like me, I'll always be black and I can't alter myself so there's nothing I can do except run away."
The little black doll carries out his plan one evening when the toys are all playing together. The window's open at the bottom so Sambo climbs up and squeezes himself out to climb down a creeper.
He experiences difficulties right from the start because a rainstorm swells up and soaks him. Not knowing how, why, or what this phenomenon is he thinks it might be a good idea to return and run away some other night; but he's lost his way. Stumbling around in the rain his ankle gets twisted and not being able to walk any more, he just lies in the grass becoming wetter and wetter.
Meanwhile, back where it's all happening, the toys wonder where on earth Sambo has disappeared to and the golliwog suddenly remembers seeing him on the window sill. He suggests the little black doll may have run away; after all no one had been kind to him yet, upon reflection, a few positive sentiments emerge. The clockwork mouse reminds them all how Sambo had wound him up many times and the tiny dolls remark on his window cleaning chore. With all this introspection, it turns out that a change of heart has come to the fore.
Thinking over the situation, the toys actually have a soft spot for the little black doll who's been so nice to them. That's all very well of course but now he's gone - so what's to be done? It turns out the urge to have him back is so strong that every single one of them jumps down from the window to search for their lost associate whereupon they turn out to be very lucky indeed because he's still lying there in the pouring rain, unable to walk or protect himself. They pick Sambo up and help him back to the nursery where a surprise is manifest. Strictly speaking, and in view of the circumstances, said surprise should be looked upon as 'desirable.'
However, it isn't ... because strictly held opinions can change!
The Rude Little Rabbit
Pat has a pet rabbit called Bobtail who's rather naughty and Pat also suspects he's disrespectful to his mother, so now Enid Blyton recites a story for her smallest guest:
"Hallo, pins and needles!"
"Left your tail at home this morning?"
"Hallo Measles! How are your spots?"
These are typical of the remarks that come from Bobtail the cheeky rabbit whenever he meets someone so as we can imagine he's not a very well liked individual. If we ourselves were inclined to insult a hedgehog or perhaps a kingfisher who's rather sensitive about his lack of a decent tail, we'd probably get away with it because - what can those creatures do to us?
However, cheeking a goblin who, one day, accidentally spilt some magic red paint over himself and is now covered with measle-like spots, is a different kettle of fish. He's called 'Spotted Goblin' because the paint simply refuses to be washed off and despite the fact he doesn't seem magic enough to get rid of the spots, I think one would still need to be reasonably wary of a Fairy Kingdom representative. Bobtail typically doesn't give this a second thought and one day upon encountering the goblin, he addresses him in his own way (sample above) and receives a response.
"Kikki, rooni, billinoona!"
Those strange words denote that a spell has been cast and when the little rabbit runs to join his mother he can't enter their hole because his ears won't flatten in the way they're meant to when rabbits scamper about underground. Poor Bobtail is now facing a hectic period in his life because the only way of keeping himself safe from such threats as foxes or dogs or farmers with guns is to race away at top speed and hope he can outrun any such danger. So far he's managed to elude capture by leaping into a hollow tree and remaining there until any threats have passed ... but it seems only a matter of time before he's discovered and caught.
A few days later Bobtail spies the Spotted Goblin atop a steep hill so he approaches him and makes a very humble request - as one would. Unfortunately, it turns out the goblin is unable to restore the status quo with his own powers, but he does know of a way to correct the situation, although it involves a rough and painful process.
Sadly, Bobtail has to go through with it!
Robin edges closer to our storyteller and tells her that a friend of his called Fred has a terrible memory. Could there could be a story about him perhaps?
No sooner said, than done:
Fred's mama tells him he has no memory, just a 'forgettery' because her boy is hopeless at recalling things. Today for example, he'll have to wear his old shoes when visiting Granny because he hadn't remembered to visit the shoemaker's for his shoes - in fact, he's forgotten three times! This is the story of Fred's life and his handicap looks as if it might come back to pinch him one of these days.
When the circus comes to town, Fred naturally wants to attend but his mother refuses permission because he's been very silly that week. He forgot to take his books with him one day, and another time he arrived home for lunch after being told to have it at school. He'd also forgotten to call in for the newspaper so his mother doesn't think he deserves a circus visit.
On the Thursday evening, Fred has to call in at his friend's place to borrow a forgotten school book and on the way home he spies a man trying to catch the post. Fred happens to know he'll miss it because the mail has already been collected and the man upon realising this gives a cry of annoyance because now the letter will have to be delivered by hand. He stops Fred and asks him where Rockland School might be.
As it turns out, Rockland is Fred's own place of learning so the gentleman's told the letter will be delivered first thing tomorrow. Well, that's good news indeed; Fred's given the letter and at the same time warned not to forget about it.
Well, what do you think? Mind you, we can be sure Fred's intentions are good although in his case, 'good intentions' might not be quite enough. As it is, the next day upon arriving at school Fred hangs up his coat in the cloakroom (with letter in pocket) and trots off to class.
Friday passes and Saturday arrives ... last day of the circus, and any Blyton reader worth his or her salt will be only too cognisant at this stage of what might be in the forgotten envelope. Fred asks his mother once again if he can visit the circus but she shakes her head - telling him that yesterday he'd forgotten to call in and see how poor old Mrs. Jones was, and that was after being reminded about six (as in six) times.
Fred runs off to play with his friends and also to go for a peep at the circus where it's camped. They're all dying to go but the tickets are just too expensive.
Sunday dawns and there's an excited gathering of children watching the elephants and caravans and clowns move off to their next location ... and now it's Monday with every student gathered in the big hall ready for prayers and roll-call. Just before leaving to enter their classrooms the headmaster has an announcement to make ... an announcement that results in forgetful Fred receiving a severe shock, followed by degradation.
And a firm resolve!
The Cat Without A Tail
Anita wants to know whose turn it is now for a story. She tells us her auntie has a cat without a tail and wonders if perhaps Enid Blyton could dig up a yarn about Manx cats because they're tailless.
Miss Blyton tells her she hasn't such a story available - but then upon reflection one enters her head and without any further ado it unfolds:
In Cherry Road there are six houses inside each of which lives either a dog or a cat or both. There are two black cats - Smut and Soot, and another called Tiddles, and also Ginger whose coat is the colour of marmalade. Scamper, Scottie and Tinker the mongrel represent the dog department.
One day, a new cat appears in the house backing onto where the others live. The newcomer seems quite a shy individual and although small glimpses are caught of her she usually vanishes indoors when the other cats and dogs are spotted anywhere about.
It's a pity because she looks quite nice, and the animals discuss the newcomer amongst themselves.
"She's grey," says Scamper.
"She's small," say Smut and Soot.
"She has a very tiny mew," says Tiddles the tabby cat.
"Her eyes are green," says Scottie.
"She's the only animal in that house," says Ginger.
"I'd like to chase her," says Tinker.
The cats turn and look down their noses at him.
"You would! Have you no manners ... common little mongrel?"
The other dogs' attitudes reflect this sentiment and Tinker wonders why they're always so horrid to him. I think we could figure that out for ourselves and if Tinker was also able to, he might find himself more appreciated. Smut and Soot are firm friends as are Tiddles and Scottie who often sleep in the same basket together. Ginger and Scamper like each other a lot despite living in different houses and only Tinker has no real pal although he's actually quite a merry little fellow. However, Miss Blyton has tarred him with the brush of 'commonality.'
One day the new cat leaps up onto a wall and the other cats and dogs run over to speak to her but she immediately jumps down again and runs off, although not before the other animals have noticed something strange.
"She hasn't got a tail," Tiddles announces.
The animals discuss this strange factor and conclude it's been bitten off. Searching around for an explanation Scamper suggests that it must have been Tinker who'd done the deed; after all he'd stated his desire to chase the newcomer. This seems a feasible conclusion and so the decision is made to send Tinker to 'Coventry,' or in anyone's language - refrain from speaking to her. It therefore comes to pass that when Tinker runs up to relay some current information, the others simply stick their noses in the air and walk away - but not before condemning him.
A friendless life now beckons for Tinker because the others, true to their word, will have nothing more to do with him. Of course - knowing the author's penchant for balance in her tales, we can always attempt to figure out for ourselves what happens.
Ninety per cent of the fans are sure to be right!
Eggs and Marbles
Anita certainly enjoyed her story and now Enid Blyton has asked Michael to choose a subject. Earlier on, Mike had expressed his wish for a tale about birds' eggs but now he decides on the subject of marbles instead. Their storyteller is only too happy to oblige with a recitation that involves both eggs and marbles:
Jack and Jim are twins who enjoy doing everything together, and that includes a little bird-nesting ... something their mother doesn't like because, as she says -
"It isn't fair. Let the birds keep their eggs, the nests don't belong to you."
Quite right she is but her sons continue on their merry way and mother eventually spots some eggs on the mantelpiece. Parents of the Forties were usually quite good at laying down the law to their progenies but Jack and Jim's mother must have been a rather mild example because instead of insisting on adherence to her commands, she makes them an offer. Some beautiful glass marbles will be supplied if her boys will promise to take no more eggs.
Will they or won't they accept? That is the question.
The boys actually do accept because they simply love playing marbles so their mother takes them off to the toyshop where eight blue, yellow, and red patterned marbles are purchased. The boys are thrilled and in no time at all their schoolmates are offering sweets, chocolates and other goodies in exchange for the wonderful acquisitions.
No dice! The twin's won't part with any of their marbles because, as Jack says,
"They're the best in the world."
A decision is made to keep them forever - or at least until both of the boys have grown up, and their promise to Mother is duly kept right up to the day when Jack and his twin inadvertently discover a robin's nest on their way home from school. Temptation rears its head and the hen robin becomes very angry indeed seeing the twins have already robbed her first and second nests of eggs. She flaps around the boys' heads but they just laugh at her.
"As if you could stop us taking your eggs. We'll take them just to spite you, so there!"
With promises forgotten, three eggs are filched from the broken-hearted robin's nest. Two nearby jackdaws arrive to hear the sad story and a way is sought to stop the boys robbing any more nests whereupon a kind of tit-for-tat solution is envisaged.
A remedy that I'm sure we can also envisage - especially when such a word as 'jackdaw' comes into the proceedings.
"When I laugh a lot I get a stitch in my side," Joan says.
This handy remark precedes yet another story for the little group and it deals with a girl whom everyone likes because she's always laughing ... thus signifying that she's a good natured lass. One day whilst walking through a field she encounters several pixies who're playing games. Sally knows what they are because she's seen illustrations in books and she decides to watch them from behind a bush.
One pixie stands on his head and another one curls himself up and rolls along just as if he were a ball. Another pixie asks him if he can bounce and, sure enough, he throws himself up into the air and comes down with a thud before shooting up again and landing in a thistle bush.
His antics cause Sally to begin laughing until tears come into her eyes, and then she gets a stitch in her side.
"Oh dear, oh dear!"
She puts her hand against the area which is making her feel uncomfortable and the pixies notice her. They ask what the matter is and Sally tells them about the stitch - she can hardly breathe or walk because it's so painful. One of the pixies asks what could be classed as an 'obvious' question: -
"Who put the stitch there? Did you sew it yourself? Was the needle sharp?"
Despite her pain, Sally starts giggling at these odd questions, but the pixies are concerned.
"Poor child. Someone's stitched her up so that she can't walk properly."
This only makes Sally giggle all the more and she tells them it's the worst stitch she's ever had. She tries to walk a few steps but the pain is so intense she can hardly move and meanwhile the pixies talk amongst themselves about what should be done. Being fairy folk they should be able to do something ... and they can. One yells out,
"Dame Snippit! Dame Snippit! You're wanted!"
To Sally's surprise, a plump old dame with scissors and tape-measures strung about her waist steps out of a door in an oak tree. She asks what the matter is and she's told about Sally's stitch. Can it be taken out? When the woman takes her biggest pair of scissors Sally looks at her in alarm saying the stitch is not of the type that can be removed with such an implement. She tells the Dame it's a laughing-stitch, but it's no good saying that because any stitch is a removable one in Dame Snippet's eyes. The little girl tries to run off but she's in too much pain; however she suddenly receives an inspiration that saves her from undergoing an impromptu operation.
Thank Goodness she remembered what must be done... and it was only just in time.
What An Alarm!
Joan really liked that story and even wishes she had a stitch in her side at that very moment ... but now it's narrative time for Mollie. She wants a tale with pixies and fairies in it, so here we go:
Light-Fingers is just that ... 'light fingered!' He's a pixie who lives in the village of Tickle and it's astonishing how much he takes from the various inhabitants - without their permission of course.
An apple from outside Dame Cherry's shop, a biscuit from the tin in Mrs. Soap's store, flowers stolen from old Dame Lucy's garden (when she's out of course), and pears from Farmer Corn's orchard. Light-Finger's activities haven't gone unnoticed however but suspicion is not really good enough for convicting a suspected wrongdoer. Evidence is needed, but it so happens no one's actually seen their belongings being taken because Light-Finger's really clever at what he does.
The villagers ponder.
Farmer Corn wants someone to come up with a way to apprehend the thief when he's in action and although everyone's quite sure of his or her suspicions, Dames Lucy and Cherry remind everyone that no one must be accused without proof. Just then Tick-Tock arrives. He's a bent old watch-maker and Farmer Corn asks him if he can think of a way to catch the crook. Tick-Tock nods in the affirmative and explains that he'll put a clock on his window-sill and a notice on the door with "GONE OUT" on it. Light-Fingers goes past his shop each day and if he doesn't filch the timepiece for himself, Tick-Tock tells them he'll eat his best Sunday hat!
You'd have to be fairly sure of yourself to make such a statement.
Farmer Corn tells them it wouldn't be much point hiding behind a bush to watch for the thief because they're bound to be spotted, but Tick-Tock has all the answers.
"I'll leave an alarm-clock on the sill and it'll be set for midday which is when Light-Fingers should be at the market. What a shock he'll get when it goes off - especially when I walk up to him and demand the clock back."
This sounds a very good idea and it's established they'll all be there to see the outcome, so next morning everyone's at the market and they all nudge each other when Light-Fingers is spotted. He's wondering why the place is so full today, and if only he knew.
Has the timepiece been taken?
It must have been, because at eleven o'clock the town crier appears ringing his bell and shouting to all and sundry -
"Lost or stolen! A green clock from Tick-Tock's window. Please bring it to me at once if you have it!"
"What do you think should happen to the thief if we catch him?" Tick-Tock asks Light-Fingers when they're all discussing the roaming crier's announcement. Light-Fingers tells him he thinks the culprit should receive one spank from every single person in the village.
A truly terrible punishment ... should the clock-maker's ruse come to fruition.
Linda's Little House
Before the next tale is told, tea is served and the children sit down to tuck in. A laden table is typical of an Enid Blyton meal so there's a good selection of biscuits, buns, sandwiches, jellies, and a simply enormous cake. There's also lemonade to drink, and even crackers to pull. In the picture, there's an empty chair sitting between a boy and a girl.
Elizabeth, one of the twins, is next in line for a story and she'd like hers to be about a little house ... a toy one:
For her birthday, Linda receives a box containing a number of bricks, some tiles, little glass windows, a green front door and two red chimneys. Her mummy explains that she can follow the picture and instructions to build her own house so, after breakfast, Linda becomes a 'builder' and sets about her task with a will.
The dwelling takes shape and when Linda finally adds the little front door she notices it has a knocker that makes the smallest rat-tat-tat you ever heard. The girl is obviously quite bucked over the fact she can build her own house because it's knocked down again and rebuilt about six times that very day.
It's left standing by Linda's toy cupboard when she goes to bed that evening and later on the golliwog discovers it. He opens the door and enters. Unfortunately the teddy bear can't go in because he's too fat, but the clockwork mouse is able to as are the doll's house dolls, and much praise is lavished on their mistress's building prowess.
Linda plays with her house regularly until someone gives her a paint-box and her interest diverts to the painting of pictures. One night while the toys are playing in the nursery there comes a knocking on the window. It's Dance-About the pixie and she's sobbing when the bear lets her in. The reason for her tears becomes apparent when she tells them her little toadstool house has been kicked to bits by a boy who appeared that afternoon. Fortunately she wasn't in it at the time but now she's homeless because there are no more toadstools around and she's cold. What can she do?
We, like the toys, should be able to formulate an answer to that question.
The golliwog introduces her to Linda's little house and the delighted pixie asks how she can possibly take it into the woods, whereby the bear supplies an answer.
"It disassembles, and it's quite easy to build again."
The toys take it apart and pack up all the pieces for the golly and bear to carry out into the woods. Dance-About shows them exactly where she'd like it placed but, unfortunately, the bear hasn't such expertise in house-building that his mistress possesses. He's often watched Linda construct the house but he can't seem to duplicate her ability. When he makes an attempt, the chimney is put where the window should be and there doesn't seem any room for the door!
What to do?
By the light of a silvery moon, help is enlisted.
The Old Black Horse
Elizabeth would have liked to hear that story all over again and she'd love some of that food mentioned near the end. Enid Blyton now decides that her twin, Jennifer, would like a horse story because they both like riding and Jennifer says she wants some children and a dog to be in the tale as well. That's no problem at all to our host and she begins:
In Long Meadow there lives an old black horse who's retired from work. He spends his days just pulling at the long grass and remembering past times, but it's a lonely life because all his friends are far away and the only other animals in his vicinity are a few sheep and the odd rabbit. The former are a little stupid to befriend, and the latter tend to race away when hooves start padding towards them.
The horse wouldn't mind having a friendly dog around but the farmer's ones are too surly, and they never come near him anyway. There's Tom, a boy who lives down the road, but he's a bully who struts around thinking he owns the place. When he happens to come by, the horse makes himself scarce because Tom frightens all the animals with his cruel ways, not to mention his stone-throwing habit.
Ironically, Tom owns a big clumsy puppy that's been given to him and he's decided to make it the most obedient dog in the world - which can be interpreted as 'I'm going to make you my slave!' So begins an unhappy time for the unfortunate pet because it's put on a short lead and hit whenever an order is not understood. No love or praise is meted out so the puppy becomes very fearful of its owner.
In a lane bordering the horse's field Tom gives his pet some lessons which the puppy learns as best it can in order to avoid being struck or having its collar pulled hard, and then on another day in the same location Tom meets up with Harry, Len and Mollie. He offers to show them his dog doing some tricks and they watch as he throws a stick into the pond and orders his puppy to fetch it.
He can't because there are ducks in the pond and the pup is frightened when they flap their wings at him; so he just crouches on the ground shivering. Tom is furious and he strikes out with a stick making his pet howl with pain and this causes Mollie and Harry to remonstrate. Tom then threatens to hit them as well, so that's the situation as it stands and it bodes very threatening indeed.
Where's Superman when he's needed?
The Teddy Bear's Tail
This yarn is for Kenneth and it's about a tiresome, grumbly teddy bear who seems to find something to complain about every single day. For example, he moans because the ball can bounce around and he can't - if the bear had such an ability he could spring up to the mantelpiece and, hopefully, extract a sweet from the tin there. He's jealous of the dolls because they're all dressed up to the nines yet he's got nothing at all in the way of clothes. The train, the clown, and the clockwork mouse all have keys and he hasn't so according to him, it's just isn't fair ... and then he makes a discovery.
He hasn't even got a tail!
The dog tells him he never had one.
Goodness knows, and the dog wags his own tail looking very pleased with it. The clockwork mouse has one of course as has the pink cat, and also the monkey who appears to have the longest of all the animals. The teddy bear grumbles on and on so the toys figure that something has to be done. When the bear's not around, the golliwog asks if there's anyone who'd like to donate his tail to the cause but despite the urgency, there're no takers. Each and every tail-owner wants to retain their pride and joy so it looks like an impasse.
That is, until a voice is heard from the cupboard.
It belongs to none other than the old broken kite. He offers up his own tail because it's not really needed seeing his flying days are over. The golliwog's a little doubtful about this when he thinks of the bear sporting such an appendage but the kite advises them to tie it on when he's asleep. The toys giggle to themselves and agree to follow the suggestion so, next time the bear's snoring away, Golly snips off the kite's tail and relocates it.
When the teddy bear wakes up he goes to join the mouse who's running around the nursery but as he starts walking a noise comes to his ears - 'Rustle, Rustle, Rustle!' To his horror, when looking around, he sees a long tail unwinding itself over the carpet behind him. Upon asking what it is, the golliwog informs him ... to his chagrin.
A time of misery has now arrived for the poor bear because his tail, apart from making its rustling noise, also gets caught in things which means he has to spend a lot of time untangling it. The toys won't remove it because, as the cat says,
"What? After all the trouble we took to put it on you? Ungrateful creature!"
Well, it looks as if old grumpy is destined to keep his tail forever unless some kind soul takes it off. What about Donald? Suppose he removed it! Would the toys reattach the unwanted accessory ... or even make him another, fashioned perhaps from the rocking horse's mane?
It appears a few resolves will have to take place before the problem vanishes.
The Cheeky Boy
Kenneth makes up his mind to relate that story to his very own teddy-bear and Peter says he'll tell it to his sister. Now it's Peter's turn to receive a special story from Enid Blyton and he'd like one about a rude cheeky boy ... a very rude one. Now if there's a theme Enid Blyton's used to working with, it's that which involves a cheeky child and we can probably guess the ending insofar as the person in question is bound to receive some kind of a shock.
Timothy's the name and he's your standard cheeky boy. Even his mother and father and teacher are on the receiving end of rude comments when they ask him do something.
Just a couple of his regular responses, and Timothy feels quite a hero when the other children watch him poking his tongue out behind mother's back. Asked if he likes school, the answer might be,
"No, I hate it!"
That's not absolutely true but Timothy thinks he's rather clever to come out with such cheeky responses. I'm beginning to feel a pixie or fairy might step into this tale sooner or later because Timothy's mother doesn't seem able to do much about her son's behaviour. She just sighs. Enid Blyton thinks the boy should receive a good spanking, but now we're being told that Timothy is due for a much bigger punishment.
Note the words 'much bigger!'
One night Timmy wakes up when the clock's striking twelve and peering through the darkness he sees what appears to be a brownie. It speaks,
"Hallo. I've lost my way. Is this your bedroom?"
Most of us know that it's one thing to cheek a human being, but to adopt this behaviour when conversing with a pixie or brownie is a horse of an entirely different colour. Timothy answers,
"Oh no! This is not my bedroom - it's the kitchen! Who are you?"
"I'm a brownie,"
"Fibber! Brownies and fairies and elves don't exist. Hop off funny face!"
Now that's a good example of how the boy performs in his everyday life. The brownie looks stern when Timothy comes out with some more of his repertoire and then suddenly, it clicks.
"My word - you must be Timothy the cheeky boy! I've heard people talk about you. You can be CHEEKY - CHEEKY - CHEEKY!"
The pixie vanishes, still reciting the one word over and over.
Timothy's reaction: "Must have been a dream, but wasn't I smart in it? My word, I do feel sharp when I'm cheeky."
However, next day signals the start of a rather harrowing time for our Timothy and a visit to the dentist is only the beginning of his woes. His mother takes him because his face is all swollen, but it's still puffed up even after the dentist has removed a tooth. On their way home they pass Harry's house and Timothy decides to go in but Harry's mother won't admit him because she thinks he may have the mumps. Upon hearing this, Timothy's mother rushes him to the doctor who prescribes some nasty medicine, and then instead of being able to attend a friend's birthday party that afternoon, Timothy ends up in bed!
He thinks back to his encounter the other night. That must have been a real pixie in his room and he might have put some kind of a spell on him? If that's the case, what's going to happen now? If he could only see the pixie again, Timothy might be able to plead his case and make a promise to him.
Unfortunately this is not possible because the pixie is never seen again; so we can only hope there's something else in the works that will put things right for the unfortunate lad.
Pink Paint For A Pixie
There are just three more stories to be related and Daisy expresses her wish for one dealing with a pixie, a little girl, and some magic. Enid Blyton has a tale ready that will suit her right down to the ground because Daisy's narrative even has some 'daisies' in it:
Whilst Linda is playing in the garden she hears a funny voice and thinks to herself that if a bird could speak, that's how it would sound. Now this young girl has searched for years to find a pixie or fairy of some sort and popping her head through a gap in the hedge she at last sees one. A pixie is sitting in the grass painting a small tea-set that closely resembles the one in Linda's dolls' house.
Looking up when it hears the girl breathing, the pixie actually speaks to her. He's been painting a pretty pattern on each of the tableware items but now his tube of pink is squeezed empty and he needs more. The pixie tells Linda that he's promised Princess Peronel she'd have the set all finished for her birthday party tomorrow but now it looks as if he won't be able to make the delivery.
Linda tells the pixie she may have a tube of the required colour in her paint-box and tells him to wait. Rushing indoors she finds just what's needed and when her mother asks why she's wanting to paint pictures on this fine morning, Linda says she wants to lend her pink paint to a pixie. Mother makes whatever she can of that remark whilst her daughter returns to where her new acquaintance is waiting. She watches as the pixie mixes some paint with dew to obtain the right shade of pink and very soon he's finished painting roses all round a tiny cup.
The usual Blyton balance is now required.
The pixie asks Linda what he could do for her in return and she asks if he could make a wish come true. Naturally the more observant of us would know that such a request would be impossible to fulfil because if the pixie was a true exponent of magic he could have simply conjured up a tube of pink paint for himself. Linda is however advised to search round for a four-leaf clover - the idea being to place it under her pillow and then make a wish before nodding off.
Because Linda doesn't know how to locate such a rare item the pixie has an answer ... he tells her to find a foxglove first and that will help her but there's still a problem because none of those are around either; so the pixie advises her to gather a number of pink-tipped daisies and hang them round her neck.
No can do, because all the daisies, at least in this location, are one colour only - plain white!
A bell rings in the distance and Linda has to leave, so the pixie says he'll try to think of something before she returns; but that's not going to work either because Linda is told to have a rest after her midday meal. Round three o'clock she's able to return for further instructions but unfortunately, the pixie has had to pack up and leave.
Whether or not Linda is able to have her wish granted can possibly be interpreted from the information recorded above.
Daisy wants to go straightaway and pick daisies after hearing her story but Jack tells her not to go yet because his tale is about to be told. He says to the host that as he had received a bike for his birthday, could she make his story about a boy who recently acquired a bicycle?
Peter's nine today and he wakes up with an air of anticipation. His dad had promised him a bicycle and sure enough, on the verandah is a gleaming two-wheeler just waiting for action. First of all Peter rushes to thank his parents for the gift and then just as he's about to jump up on it to ride away in style he learns that his father and mother have 'conditions' which might seem quite reasonable to grown-ups but Peter becomes a little sulky about them. Before he gets on his bicycle the birthday boy has to read all of the Highway Code ... and, as any one of Enid Blyton's characters might expostulate:
Peter knows all about traffic lights and putting his hand out, and the rest so why all the worry? His mother comments on the fact that he's often a little hasty and careless so she and his father want to make sure he knows all of the rules before setting out to enjoy his gift.
At this point we can begin to visualise what might happen and can only hope that nothing too serious takes place.
"Oh mother, don't lecture me on my birthday. It's going to be such a wonderful day for me with cards and presents and a big party, balloons, and crackers. Smashing!"
His mum laughs and says she's only doing her duty because all children need to know the rules. She'll have a talk to him after breakfast and then he can read the Highway Code before he goes out; however Peter's mother goes to answer a telephone call following his meal and as father's out in the garden Peter, becoming impatient, decides to ride down the road and back. That's all! After all he's ridden round Ned's garden hundreds of times so looking at it like that perhaps he, meaning Peter, could be classed as a 'trooper.'
Off he goes out of the gate ringing his bell loudly at a dog, extending his hand when turning the corner, and stopping abruptly at some traffic lights which are showing red. This is fun ... far better than riding round and round a garden. It looks like he's gone quite far now because he's begun pedalling up a steep hill outside of the town, and it's jolly hard work.
There's a lorry in front of him, and Peter has an idea!
The Man Who Wasn't Father Christmas
When his story is finished Jack immediately decides to learn the 'Safety First' rules first thing tomorrow so it looks as if some kind of an impact has been made on him.
There's a complaint though!
Surely an Enid Blyton tale wouldn't merit a complaint but this one does, although it's a 'nice' sort of complaint. Jack says it was too short! He would have liked a really long story. Still, we don't have to worry about that because there's still time for one more tale and maybe this will be a little longer. Now, who's to have the last story?
It's for 'YOU!'
Yes indeed, and our storyteller has decided you wouldn't mind a bit what the subject will be so we can sit back and enjoy a Christmassy one:
Surely the man described at the beginning of this tale is none other than Santa Claus because he's an old, white-bearded chap who loves children; but no, he isn't the genuine article. This particular individual is rather poor so he can't dole out presents to all takers, but whenever Christmas arrives he wishes heartily that he was the real Santa. What fun it would be to have a sack of toys which never empties, and then travel around distributing them to children everywhere.
Well, he can dream can't he?
A 'second best' opportunity to be Santa Claus is discovered one Christmas when the old man spots a 'WANTED' notice in the window of a big shop. They require someone with a white beard to be their Father Christmas and to hand out leaflets in the street. For a person wanting to be Santa this is too good an opportunity to pass up so the elderly aspirant enters and upon applying for the position he's told exactly what it entails. There's not much to it ... just dress up in red and don big boots before walking up and down the street with a large sack.
"Will it be full of toys?" the old man askes with shining eyes.
Unfortunately this will not be the case. The shop isn't about to distribute free playthings to the village children; instead the Santa will simply give out circulars advertising everything available at the shop. The man dresses up in his appointed costume and when ready, he looks exactly like the real Father Christmas with twinkling eyes and long beard. He takes up the sack of leaflets and off he goes to be greeted by stares from many excited children who crowd round him. Disappointment reigns however when all that's handed out are leaflets instead of Christmas gifts, and 'Santa' feels a little depressed when he hears a few wistful comments.
"It's horrid pretending to be someone kind yet not being able to give the girls and boys even a penny," he thinks to himself.
It starts snowing so the department store Santa moves on down the road looking for more people who'll take his leaflets when suddenly, a sound of bells is heard on the air. 'Horse bells,' he wonders, but people drive around in cars these days so what could they be? Looking down the road he suddenly spots a sleigh drawn by some reindeer and we can all guess who's in it.
I think everyone got it right ... none other than the real Father Christmas complete with red coat, hat and, of course, an enormous sack of gifts. The visitor leans out and asks the pretend Santa if he's anywhere near the town of Up-and-Down ... then he stares.
"You look like me," he says. "Why are you dressed like that?"
The old man explains his fondness for children and how he needed some work. He also reports on how the children had been quite disappointed because all he has in his sack are advertising leaflets.
The real Santa is impressed and suddenly he asks the old man if he'd like to do him a good turn. The only answer to a question like that has to be 'Yes' so Father Christmas, who's feeling rather hungry, disappears into a tea shop after dispensing a few instructions.
There follows a very exciting time for the kind old gentleman.
Now the clock strikes half past six and the children fetch their coats and hats with Jack thinking he'd have liked about twenty more stories. Never mind, our author may hold another party for them when her throat isn't as hoarse as it is right now. The very last picture shows all her visitors waving goodbye as they set off for home.
With such a list of names for those children who attend the party, it's surprising that Harry's isn't amongst them. Perhaps Enid Blyton's favourite lad had an engagement elsewhere, although he does appear in a story.
The names 'Peter' & 'Mollie' have a fairly high profile in the Blyton stable because they starred in the 'Wishing Chair' collection. The others also have their places and a few samples from the more popular books are as follows: Pat (Patricia) was in the 'St. Clare's' school books, and Susan is found in the 'Malory Towers' series. Joan and Elizabeth were in the 'Naughtiest Girl' books, Robin featured in 'The Boy Next Door,' Michael graced 'The Family At Red-Roofs, and Daisy was in the 'Find-Outer' series. Jack appeared in the 'Adventure' and 'Secret' books.
Enid Blyton was often referred to as 'Miss Blyton' by her fans.
Mr. Phillippino's circus saw the light of day in 1939, about a decade before this particular book appeared although in the original volume (Boys' & Girls' Circus Book), 'Phillippino' was spelt with only one 'p.'
Fred hung his coat up in the 'cloakroom.' Thinking about it, would a 'cloakroom' have been a place where gentlemen and ladies of old hung their cloaks?
The headmaster of Fred's school is Mr. Kenley.
Synonyms for the word 'Humiliation' are - Disgrace, Dishonour, Mortification, Embarrassment, Degradation (already used), Ignominy, Humbling, Loss of Face, and several others. In the light of circumstance I think Fred would have suffered every single one of those definitions.
The Manx cat, for Manx cat it is, has the name of 'Shorty.'
Enid Blyton mentioned these cats a few times and a lot of children might have been introduced to these particular felines when reading one of her tales.
Tinker is described as a 'common little mongrel.' EB often emphasised the distinction between 'commoners,' and the slightly more 'upper class' people in her books - the latter usually cast as main characters. A contrast could therefore be made between the 'heroes' and other lesser (and perhaps 'pain in the neck') individuals. The Find-Outers who star in the 'Mystery' series of books seem a little more 'posh' than 'Ern,' a lad who associated with them occasionally. Ern's uncle was also characterised similarly. That's not to say there weren't any 'upper class' individuals to regard with distaste because at Malory Towers a student named Gwendoline Mary did not fare too well in the friendship stakes, and neither did a girl named Erica who haunted the St. Clare's series of books.
Shorty is referred to as 'he' - on one occasion at least.
I guess it's always presumed that when conversing with pixies and elves, they use the language of whosoever encounters them. Would there be a dedicated language spoken by fairies, elves or other representatives of the breed?
Dame Snippit is described as a plump old dame, but the picture of her indicates otherwise.
The village of Tickle' could perhaps be looked upon as yet another illustration of Enid Blyton's spur-of-the-moment tendency to pull names out of the air. If she requires a village title, she's got it ... "Tickle." That'll do!
During the interval, it's suggested that a self portrait be pasted onto the empty chair so that you can partake of the meal on offer. Enid Blyton fare is legendary, as we've seen in many of her books. A good example would be the meal encountered in a Welsh farm dwelling ('Mountain Of Adventure').
Linda's little house has two red chimneys (circa 1949) but in these times with fireplaces becoming scarcer, chimney pots are less noticeable.
Linda proves to be a very generous girl and her magnanimity is rewarded.
We can but wonder why Peter's little sister didn't attend the party.
Donald owns the toys.
Peronel is classed as an old English name and Enid Blyton has used it more than once.
Linda actually took a tube of crimson paint to the pixie although she told her mother it was pink. Mother didn't believe where she was taking it of course.
Looking at Grace Lodge's pictures, the 'Linda' in this tale could easily be the same girl that built a toy house earlier on.
Four-leaf clovers may be more prevalent in different parts of the world although a dedicated search for one may be all that's needed. A child once told me she could "Find Anything" and upon being asked to search out a four-leaf clover, she returned not all that much later with the genuine article!
Dinner bells feature quite regularly in the Blyton stories and one that comes to mind is that used to summon Pip and Bets ('Find-Outer' Series).
Enid Blyton aficionados' often search through her books for war references. This particular tale (dated round the 1943 mark) mentions Linda's 'big soldier brother' who's 'far away.'
For those EBS members and other fans who have hoards of books, a similar story to this one can be found in Enid Blyton's Third Bedside Book.
The old man hung up his stocking (as we all do) and on Christmas morning he was thrilled to find a much appreciated gift in it. Our author also arranged for a little girl to be similarly rewarded in her book entitled 'The Two Sillies.'
At the party's end, Michael and Susan feel they liked this particular story best of all, and Enid Blyton hopes you also enjoyed it.
Grace Lodge's artistry is fairly recognisable and she's illustrated many of the Blyton books. The first picture (title page) features a well-balanced two-page display of thirteen children all filing up to door of Green Hedges. It appears that we're already inside or else running a little late; but not to worry because we are definitely included.