mr ravensworth continues

I bet you’re all wondering who the heck Mr Ravensworth is, and why you should care.  Well, being a book for children, the book is – as previously mentioned in part one – full of moral lessons.  And, until today, I expect you had no idea what they were.  Well, after reading this, you should be able to identify at least one of them.  If you do, pop it in the comments section so we can all see what a clever little sausage you are.

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And so it happened one day that Oscar was on his way home from wondering in the hills, when he was bitten by a snake. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, it was the poisonous one that had escaped from the circus. As the snake slithered away at full speed, Oscar began to feel very sleepy. As everyone knows, a bite from a poisonous snake can make you quite poorly indeed!

But that is not what happened. Oscar awoke on soft grass, with a blanket under his head and the sinking sun above. Around his ankle was a bandage, and on the bandage was a label, and on the label, printed very clearly, was one word: Ravensworth.

The very next day, Oscar began visiting Ravensworth House. At first, Mr Ravensworth would only talk to him through the door – without even opening it – but eventually Oscar was able to persuade him to come outside.

“The people at my school who are lonely are usually sad, and the people who are sad are usually lonely,” Oscar explained, “but when they have friends, they’re much happier.” And, although it would have been impolite to say it, Oscar thought that Mr Ravensworth must be the loneliest one of all. Finally, after much encouragement, the man from the big house agreed to come into town and see about making some friends.

However, everything went wrong.

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the tale of mr ravensworth

Sometimes, and without any sort of warning, the strangeness in my head translates itself into a story for children.  These stories seem to satisfy my ego more than anything else, because they are full of moral lessons – and there is no one to answer back or question my teachings.  Here reproduced is the first part of one such story.

Part 2 now online

The Tale of Mr Ravensworth

Once upon a time, there was a town. It certainly had a name, but nobody knows what that name was any more, because these days it is called something quite different. At the edge of this town was an enormous, grey house. It had turrets – which are a kind of small tower – and crenellations – which is the name we use for the jagged walls where, in the old days, they would shoot bows and arrows. It had arches, it had spires, and it was covered in gargoyles – that’s a scary sort of statue that spits water when it rains.

In short, this house was rather frightening.

But this story isn’t really about the house. It’s also not about the poisonous snake which had recently escaped from a travelling circus, although this snake does have its own particular tale to tell. No, this story is about the man who lived in the house, a man by the name of Mr Ravensworth.

Imagine a man who dresses only in black, with long black hair. Imagine a crooked nose on a pale face with ruby-red lips, and a pair of extraordinarily large hands. Finally, imagine an enormous, curved set of shoulders on top of a rather thin waist, giving the overall impression of a wobbly spinning top.

Not a very nice thing to imagine, is it?

But that is what Mr Ravensworth looked like, and there is no sense in arguing, because it is well-documented. He spent most of his time in his house, and no one knew what he did there, although the townspeople were all agreed that whatever he did, it was certainly strange. Sometimes he was seen around the town, and the townspeople all knew for sure that misfortune followed such a sighting.

If I may change the subject a little, I’d like to talk about young Oscar. He was a lad who liked to ask questions, like:

“Why is everyone so certain that Mr Ravensworth does strange things in his house?”

Or:

“Why is everyone so sure that the sight of Mr Ravensworth brings bad luck?”

There was no evidence for such things – Oscar knew it! – but since no one was ever in a mood to answer him, he eventually kept his questions inside his head, and stopped asking them out loud.

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let’s take one thing away

Supposing there was one thing about you, something that perhaps you didn’t like, and someone offered to take it away. How long would you think about that decision?

Little Tiffany had always hated the mole on her cheek. Her mum called her special, but she knew that was yet another word for ugly. She sat in front of the mirror for hours, staring it down, hoping to will it into submission. More than anything, she wanted to watch it fade into her skin and be gone.

One day, as sometimes happens in stories like this, a good fairy appeared.  “Tiffany,” he said, “you’re generally a good child, I don’t see why I can’t do this one thing for you.” He touched his wand to her face and disappeared. Like magic – for that’s what it was – the mole faded away and soon her skin was smooth as silk.

Tiffany lived happily for some time, until one day new blemishes appeared on her skin. Her mother said that was normal for girls her age, but Tiffany knew she was far from normal, for she had met a good fairy. Tiffany knew better than to depend on such things, however, and she set about making her face pristine once more.

She went to the local chemist and bought as many facial cleaning products as her pocket money would stretch to and, when they didn’t work, she began to steal more. To her horror, there were other girls at her school who didn’t have any spots at all, and this made her so angry that she put her leftover chemicals into their cups when they weren’t looking at lunchtime.

Tiffany was no longer a good girl. Of course, the good fairy had been watching all along, and decided that now was the time to intervene. As she slept, he returned, and put not one but two moles right on the end of her nose, one on top of the other. Not to be beaten, Tiffany responded by slicing them both off with her mum’s razor.

At this, the good fairy came back and covered Tiffany’s face in boils. Once more, she set to with the razor until her face was boil-free, and dripping with blood. Exhausted, she sat in front of the mirror and looked at the horrible mess she had made of her face. She wept, and the salt from her tears stung her in every cut – this was quite painful, as you can imagine, because in fact she was cut everywhere.

With no idea of how to go on, Tiffany remembered how she used to stare at her mole, and how the good fairy had taken it away.  “Please, good fairy,” said little Tiffany, “if you will bring my face back, I promise you can give me my mole back, too, and I’ll never complain, and I’ll be a good girl forever.” And, to her surprise, her plea was answered. Behind her appeared the good fairy, looking very stern, but with wand at the ready.

I hope you’ve learned your lesson, little girl,” he said, and from the kind way he said it, she knew he had forgiven her.

The fuck I have,” she replied, and slashed him across the neck with the razor. Shocked, he raised his wand, whether to heal himself or hurt Tiffany we will never know, for she slashed him again, this time across his belly, and kicked him to the floor. Placing her foot on his wrist, she tore the wand from his weakening fingers.

The good fairy choked and bubbled, the blood gushing out from between his fingers. Tiffany told him to shut up, then she shrunk him to the size of a penny and threw him into the toilet. With a flick of her wrist, she cleansed the bathroom of blood, and then did the same to her face.

Little Tiffany went to bed a very satisfied little girl, and she dreamed of interesting new facial disfigurements for the girls at school.

picnic dreams

Here is where I scupper my chances of becoming published by giving you a whole chapter of a completed work.  Unlike the rest of the stuff on here, this one’s quite pleasant.

Enjoy, you animals.

The Giant’s Garden

There once was a lady called Schmetterling. She lived at the bottom of a giant’s garden in an old boot. Every evening after dinner, she would read books on the medicinal herbs that grew in the garden, with an amaretto or a cup of English tea, and some garlicky sausage or cheese to snack on.

One day when she was walking in the garden, she saw that the sun had turned into a lemon and, since the sun was not usually a lemon, she decided to go straight to the wizard’s house to ask him about it. The wizard was never hard to find, for he was always smoking. You had only to look for where the smoke was thickest, and there you would find the wizard.

Now, when I say smoking, I do not mean a pipe or a cigar. I mean that the top of his head – and especially his ears – leaked a constant stream of smoke, the result of a spell many, many years ago that had gone rather wrong. These days, being quite old, the wizard spent a lot of his time asleep (in fact he was asleep more often than he was awake) but this wasn’t a problem, and here is why: the wizard dreamed all the while he was asleep and, being a wizard, his dreams walked around like real people.

Mostly he dreamed of walking through the garden, or drinking tea with Schmetterling, and his dreams were always pleasant and polite.