Once upon a time..
There was am optimistic girl named Maud Parkes. She was on her way to see her friend Carla Bond, when she had decided to take a short-cut through Greenton Woods, believing that it would cut off a few miles.
It wasn’t long before Maud had gotten lost among the thick oak trees. She peered around frantically, but all she could see was dense forest and thick ruffage. Nervously, she felt into her bag for her favourite toy, George, but George was nowhere to be found! Maud began to panic again this time with a shroud of dreadful anxiety. She was sure she packed George before she joyfully left. To make matters worse, she was starting to feel hungry.
Unexpectedly, she saw a grumpy goldfish dressed in a red top hat disappearing into the trees.
“How odd!” thought Maud.
Curiosity killed the cat so they say, Maud. Her inner voice warned.
For she wanted anything better to do than feel bored, deciding to follow the peculiarly dressed goldfish. Perhaps it could tell her the way out and back home.
Eventually, Maud reached a clearing. She found herself surrounded by houses constructed from different assorted foods; There was a house made of banana peppers, a house made from doughnuts, a house made from sweets, a house made from jelly beans, a house made from berries and a house made from corn.
Maud felt her tummy rumbling. Looking at the them did nothing to ease her hunger.
“Hello?!” she called. “Is anybody there?”
Maud looked at the roof on the closest house and wondered if it would be impolite to eat somebody else’s chimney. Obviously it would be impolite to eat a whole house, but perhaps it would be considered acceptable to chew the odd fixture or taste the odd fitting, in a time of need.
A cackle whipped through the silent air, giving Maud a fright raising goosebumps. A mangly witch jumped off her broom into the space in front of the houses. She was carrying a cage held out for her to see. In that cage was George!
“George!” shouted Maud defensively. Turning to the witch. “That’s my toy, give it back!”
The witch only shrugged. “I found this trespasser on my porch, like you.” The witch cackled,
“Give George back now you meanie!” cried Maud.
“Not on your nelly!” crooked the witch.
“At least let George out of that cage!”
Before she could argue more, five grumpy goldfishes rushed in from a footpath on the other side of the clearing. Maud recognised the one in the red top hat that she’d seen earlier. The witch seemed to recognise him too.
“Hello Big Goldfish,” said the witch.
“Good morning.” The goldfish noticed George. “Who is this?”
“That’s George,” explained the witch.
“Ooh! George would look lovely in my house. Give it to me!” demanded the goldfish with glee.
The witch shook her head. “George is staying with me.” She nodded as if the decision was already set,
“Um… Excuse me…” Maud interrupted. “George lives with me! And not in a cage!” Maud steamed,
Big Goldfish ignored her plight. “Is there nothing you’ll trade?” he asked the witch with doopy eyes and a wide grin.
The witch thought for a moment tapping her chin, then said, “I do like to be entertained! Wailed the witch, I’ll release him to anybody who can eat a whole front door.” She gestured for contestants to step forth.
Big Goldfish looked at the house made from fruit gums and said, “No problem, I could eat an entire house made from fruit gums if I wanted to.”
“That’s nothing,” said the next goldfish. “I could eat two houses.”
“There’s no need to show off,” said the witch. Just eat one front door and I’ll let you have George.”
Maud watched, feeling very worried. She didn’t want the witch to give George to Big Goldfish. She didn’t think George would like living with a grumpy goldfish, away from her house and all her other toys.
The other four goldfishes watched while Big Goldfish put on his bib and withdrew a knife and fork from his pocket.
“I’ll eat this whole house,” said Big Goldfish. “Just you watch!”
Big Goldfish pulled off a corner of the front door of the house made from doughnuts. He gulped it down smiling, and went back for more.
Eventually, Big Goldfish started to get bigger – just a little bit bigger at first. But after a few more fork-fulls of doughnuts, he grew to the size of a large snowball – and he was every bit as round.
“Erm… I don’t feel too good,” said Big Goldfish.
Suddenly, he started to roll. He’d grown so round that he could no longer balance!
“Help!” he cried, as he rolled off down a slope into the forest.
Big Goldfish never finished eating the front door made from doughnuts and George remained trapped in the witch’s cage.
Average Goldfish stepped up, and approached the house made from sweets.
“I’ll eat this whole house,” said Average Goldfish. “Just you watch!”
Average Goldfish pulled off a corner of the front door of the house made from sweets. She gulped it down smiling, and went back for more.
After a while, Average Goldfish started to look a little queasy. She grew greener…
A woodcutter walked into the clearing. “What’s this bush doing here?” he asked.
“I’m not a bush, I’m a goldfish!” said Average Goldfish.
“It talks!” exclaimed the woodcutter. “Those talking bushes are the worst kind. I’d better take it away before somebody gets hurt.”
“No! Wait!” cried Average Goldfish, as the woodcutter picked her up. But the woodcutter ignored her cries and carried the goldfish away under his arm.
Average Goldfish never finished eating the front door made from sweets and George remained trapped in the witch’s cage.
Little Goldfish stepped up, and approached the house made from jelly babies.
“I’ll eat this whole house,” said Little Goldfish. “Just you watch!”
Little Goldfish pulled off a corner of the front door of the house made from jelly babies. He gulped it down smiling, and went back for more.
After five or six platefuls, Little Goldfish started to fidget uncomfortably on the spot.
He stopped eating jelly babies for a moment, then grabbed another forkful.
But before he could eat it, there came an almighty roar. A bottom burp louder than a rocket taking off, propelled Little Goldfish into the sky.
“Aggghhhhhh!” cried Little Goldfish. “I’m scared of heigh…”
Little Goldfish was never seen again.
Little Goldfish never finished eating the front door made from jelly babies and George remained trapped in the witch’s cage.
Tiny Goldfish stepped up, and approached the house made from sweets.
“I’ll eat this whole house,” said Tiny Goldfish. “Just you watch!”
Tiny Goldfish pulled off a corner of the front door of the house made from sweets. She gulped it down smiling, and went back for more.
However, on the next mouthful, the food fell straight out of Tiny Goldfish’s mouth. She tried to stuff in another forkful of sweets, but once again, the food fell out. There just wasn’t enough room left in her belly.
“This is just not fair!” declared Tiny Goldfish, and stomped off into the forest.
Tiny Goldfish never finished eating the front door made from sweets and George remained trapped in the witch’s cage.
Even-Tinier Goldfish stepped up, and approached the house made from fruit gums.
“I’ll eat this whole house,” said Even-Tinier Goldfish. “Just you watch!”
Even-Tinier Goldfish pulled off a corner of the front door of the house made from fruit gums. He gulped it down smiling, and went back for more.
Suddenly, Even-Tinier Goldfish stopped eating and started dancing. While he danced, he sang at the top of his lungs, “Fruit gums! Watch me eat all the fruit gums!”
“It looks as though the fruit gums are making you hyperactive,” laughed the witch.
“Oh no they’re not!” cried Even-Tinier Goldfish. “I’m always this excited.” With that, he walked into a tree.
Even-Tinier Goldfish banged his head and fell backwards onto his bottom. He passed out, exhausted.
Even-Tinier Goldfish never finished eating the front door made from fruit gums and George remained trapped in the witch’s cage.
“That’s it,” said the witch. “I win. I get to keep George.”
“Not so fast,” said Maud. “There is still one front door to go. The front door of the house made from peppers. And I haven’t had a turn yet.
“I don’t have to give you a turn!” laughed the witch. “My game. My rules.”
The woodcutter’s voice carried through the forest. “I think you should give her a chance. It’s only fair.”
“Fine,” said the witch. “But you saw what happened to the goldfishes. She won’t last long.”
“I’ll be right back,” said Maud.
“What?” said the witch. “Where’s your sense of impatience? I thought you wanted George back.”
Maud ignored the witch and gathered a hefty pile of sticks. She came back to the clearing and started a small camp fire. Carefully, she broke off a piece of the door of the house made from peppers and toasted it over the fire. Once it had cooked and cooled just a little, she took a bite. She quickly devoured the whole piece.
Maud sat down on a nearby log.
“You fail!” cackled the witch. “You were supposed to eat the whole door.”
“I haven’t finished,” explained Maud. “I am just waiting for my food to go down.”
When Maud’s food had digested, she broke off another piece of the door made from peppers. Once more, she toasted her food over the fire and waited for it to cool just a little. She ate it at a leisurely pace then waited for it to digest.
Eventually, after several sittings, Maud was down to the final piece of the door made from peppers. Carefully, she toasted it and allowed it to cool just a little. She finished her final course. Maud had eaten the entire front door of the house made from peppers.
The witch stamped her foot angrily. “You must have tricked me!” she said. “I don’t reward cheating!”
“I don’t think so!” said a voice. It was the woodcutter. He walked back into the clearing, carrying his axe. “This little girl won fair and square. Now hand over George or I will chop your broomstick in half.”
The witch looked horrified. She grabbed her broomstick and placed it behind her. Then, huffing, she opened the door of the cage.
Maud hurried over and grabbed George, checking that her favourite toy was all right. Fortunately, George was unharmed.
Maud thanked the woodcutter, grabbed a quick souvenir, and hurried on to meet Carla. It was starting to get dark.
When Maud got to Carla’s house, her threw her arms around her.
“I was so worried!” cried Carla. “You are very late.”
As Maud described her day, she could tell that Carla didn’t believe her. So she grabbed a napkin from her pocket.
“What’s that?” asked Carla.
Maud unwrapped a doorknob made from doughnuts. “Pudding!” she said.
Carla almost fell off her chair.
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