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Chapter One – The Book

Ariella sat down behind the tree clutching the book. She couldn’t believe it. A book! Even though it wasn’t hers it was glorious to be able to borrow it. All her friends, had she any, would have pondered how she, Ariella the oddest person in town, could get her hands on a book. The only books in the small town were the ones at old Gaffer’s, and that was exactly where she had gotten the book from. She dare not tell anyone how it had taken many hot apple pies, and a few errands to achieve her goal.

She flipped open the well-worn book. Words and stories filled every page. Old Gaffer had said she could borrow any one book for three weeks, so she picked the biggest story book she could find, the Tales of the Three Tails. The book included three stories. The first one being called Saruses and the lost treasure. after Ariella had read the first few pages, she stopped and looked around because she felt as though something was staring into the depths of her. After searching the clearing and finding only a squirrel high up in a tree chattering about, she resumed her story.

After reading a few chapters Ariella made her way back to her house. She lived with a nice couple, who always insisted the children call them auntie and uncle Chapmen. Ariella, along with five other children, a stranger now and then, and Auntie and Uncle Chapmen lived in a house at edge of town.  

When Ariella arrived at the house, she saw Henrick, a tall boy with orangish-brown hair, tending to a light brown horse. An ornate saddle sat the fence next to the house.

“Who could it be?” Ariella asked herself aloud. In reply Henrick answered “Who knows? Could be almost anybody passing by, all’s I know is that he’s got a fine horse.”

“If you saw him than you might know where he is from and if he’s a noble by how he’s dressed.”

“Just the thing! Just after I entered the house, after swimming with Seth, Auntie quickly guided me back to the door and said ‘Now then young lad, go and tend to the lovely horse out in the lawn’ and with that gently pushed me out the door and closed the door. So, I never got a sight of him.”

“Must be somebody interesting if she said that, she always has the nicest ways of saying no, or go, or not now.” Ariella said thoughtfully as she sat next to the saddle.

“just what I was thinking, the last time we had to leave the house what when Sir. Noble came.”

“He was fun, remember how he let us ride his horse?”

After a long pause, Cynthia, a seven-year-old girl with blond curly hair, Came around the corner of the house with her little doll in tow, along with half the forest in her hair. It was a sight to see, a short chubby girl in a once beautiful patterned dress towing her little wooden doll, twigs sticking out if her hair, and a most lop-sided grin on her face.

“I Wonder where you’ve been.” Henrick said with a glint in his eyes, as he gave the horse some hay.

“Yes, well I had a most wonderful party in the woods, we had tea and cake! Oh, how I wish it were real!” Cynthia sighed and attempted to join Ariella on the fence but only succeeded in getting more grass in her hair when she fell down.

“Oh dear! how shall I ever get all those twigs out of your hair?” Auntie jumped at the sight of Cynthia’s hair.

Cynthia sat up and giggled at Auntie’s reaction. 

“Who is the visitor?” Henrick asked immediately when he saw Auntie out of the house.

“Well... We have a visitor from the north woods, his name is Halim, he’s a hunter there. Passing thru on his way to the archery contest in Coniston.” Auntie answered as she beckoned  Cynthia to the door. Cynthia followed Auntie inside and sat down on a chair next to the dining table, waiting for Auntie to come back from her room with a hair brush.

“I’s was hoping that Id’ be someone more interesting.” Henrick complained once the front door shut.

“But how does he have such a nice horse?” Ariella asked, as Henrick started staring at her. “What! Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Where on earth did you get that book!?” Henrick asked in awe.

“Oh, this?” Ariella said holding up the book. “Gaffer let me borrow it for three weeks!” she emphasized how long she got to borrow it.

Henrick grunted and said “Old Gaffer? That creepy guy that live in the only house on Oak Wood street?”

“Yep! Really nice guy when you get to know him.” Ariella said as she stroked the binding on the book .

“You know. I thought that you weren’t as weird as all the kids at school said, but old Gaffer! I’d say you are weirder than they say!” Henrick said as he patted the horse.

 Ariella Blushed, of course he’d say that! He doesn’t care about books. He can’t hardly read! He’s really just as bad as all the other kids in town!  She thought as she stood up and walked inside. As she walked in she glanced around at the house, Auntie must have been busy cleaning, because the floor had no sign of dirt, and the kitchen counter was well organized. The layout of the house was simple, you walked in the front door and you are in the living room, to the left is an open kitchen, and straight ahead there are the stairs to the upstairs bedroom. Thru one of the doors in the kitchen you would get to the Chapmen’s bed room. The upstairs constated of three bed rooms, one for Henrick and Seth, the biggest one for Ariella, Cynthia, and Daisy. The third one, also the smallest one was for any guests, which was where Halim was sleeping that night.  

Submitted: August 14, 2019

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