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Elphinstone Kist   Stories for Bairns, Art

The Serpent an the Fairy Tree     by: Wheeler, Les

Source: Serpent Swallows the Fairy Tree by Alan Davie

Ye canna trust serpents or snakes. Nae maitter fu fine they seem tae be they’ll aye let ye doon. That wis jist the wye wi Slithery. Nae tae be trusted; aye caasin trouble an fit a hunger! He wid ait onything at aa! He aye sterted wi his funcy wavin aboot tae mak his prey waatch him an as he did he said:

Spinnin an spinnin an
Turnin an turnin an
Spinnin an spinnin an
Turnin an SWOOOSH!!

Noo in the kingdom far Slithery bade there wis a Magic Gairden that belanged tae the King an aa kine o beasts an plants bade there an they wir aa happy thegither. Slithery didna bide in the Magic Gairden but he aye wintit till. He eesed tae ask the Heid Gairdener if he could come an bide in the gairden but Aul Hector, the Heid Gairdener, wid say, “Weel, ye’ll jist hiv tae wait a bittie or we see that ye are livin a gweed life an nae deein onybody ony hairm. Then we micht see aboot lettin ye intae the Gairden.”

Sae Slithery jist tholed an waited an file he waited he nivver did onything wrang an aye pretended tae be as gweed as an angel although he did dee een or twa orra things fan he thocht naebody wid ken aboot it. An aye, day efter day, he priggit wi Aul Hector tae be allowed intae the Magic Gairden. Weel, in the hinner eyn, Aul Hector gave in an he let Slithery intae the Gairden. He gave Slithery plenty o warnin aboot fit wid happen tae him if he got oot o haun but Slithery didna piye muckle attention. He wis jist gled to be in the Gairden far he kent he could get up tae an affa lot o deevilment!

Eence Slithery wis in the Gairden it didna tak lang for him tae caase trouble. There wis aa kines o things in the Magic Gairden fae magic mirrors tae triangular cats, wunnerfu shields tae lollipop trees! Slithery jist couldna wait tae get up tae as muckle deevilment as he could and he kent that in a place like this he’d nivver ging hungry – he’d jist swallae aathing that come his wye!

He hid hardly sterted slidin taewards the jeelie bushes fan intae his sichts can the jumpin gerbils. Slithery couldna believe his luck. Geordie Gerbil wis loupin alang wi his pals, Jinky, Josie, Jemima an Jehosephat fan he saa Slithery an heard:

Spinnin an spinnin an
Turnin an turnin an
Spinnin an spinnin an
Turnin an SWOOOSH!

Slithery swallaed Geordie hale! Geordie jist hid time tae gie a wee squeak afore he wis gollupt up. Slithery slid aff intae the jeelie bushes. The jumpin gerbils couldna believe it. Ae minute Geordie wis there, the next he’d disappeared intae the belly o Slithery!
An Slithery didna stop there. The next thing he saa wis the Triangular Cat. A really handy cat for it could sleep in ony corner o a hoose at aa an wis a dab haun at catchin square mice. Slithery gaed slidin up tae the cat an began tae sway:

Spinnin an spinnin an
Turnin an turnin an
Spinnin an spinnin an
Turnin an SWOOOSH!

Slithery gulped doon the Triangular cat! It wis lost! Syne Slithery spied something else he wid like tae ait. He spotted the lauchin gorillas. “Ho, ho, ho,” wint the gorillas. Gladys the gorilla wis lauchin awa tae hersel fan suddenly she heard;

Spinnin an spinnin an
Turnin an turnin an
Spinnin an spinnin an
Turnin an SWOOOSH!

Gladys Gorilla wis awa an aa ye heard as she disappeared wis, “Ho! Ho!…..” the last ho! wis swallaed alang wi Gladys.

Noo, the King hid a shield that he kept in the Gairden an it wis a magic shield. If ony tried tae fire an arra at him, or hit him wi a spear, or stab him wi a sword or knive then they aye struck the shield – ivery time it wis the shield that wis hit, sae ye couldna hairm the King in a battle. An forbye the shield he hid a magic target that he wid fire arras at wi his bow. An this target really pleased the King for nae maitter fu far fae the target he seemed tae be aimin his arras aye hit the bull’s eye. Deid centre every time!

Weel, fan Slithery saa the shield an target he wisna lang in snatchin them for his ain! Fit an orra snake he wis! Syne he saa the magic mirror. Jist fit he wintit! He see fan ye lookit intae the magic mirror ye aye lookit handsome or bonnie, nae maitter fa ye wir an tae somebody like Slithery it wis jist fir he needit!

Sae there he wis craalin through the Gairden makin for the Fairy Tree an as he wint ye could hear squeaks an barks an growls an howls alang wi Sliddery’s sang:

Spinnin an spinnin an
Turnin an turnin an
Spinnin an spinnin
Turnin an SWOOOSH!

Mair an mair o the beast wir disappearin intae Slithery’s belly! Fit could be done!

The beasts that wir left wint aff tae get Aul Hector and get him tae dee something. Seen there wid be nae beasts an nae plants left if Slithery keepit this up an worst o aa if he got tae the Fairy Tree an ait aa its fruit he wid hae control o nae jist the Gairden but the hale Kingdom as weel.

Sae Aul Hector said he wid send for Davie the Hunter; the best hunter an sodjer in the hale warld! Fan Davie arrived he wis made acquaint wi fit wis gyan on an he set aff tae settle maitters wi Slithery. Slithery hid better waatch oot! Davie made his wye through the Gairden an ahin him wis aa the beasts waitin tae see if the orra Slithery wid meet his eyn.

Seen they spied Slithery slitherin throwe the chocolate ripple rocks. Davie got oot his bow and pit an arra in place. Jist as Slithery wis passin the cola an lime pool Davie fired his arra. But Slithery hid the Magic Shield an the arra went stracht for it. Slithery hid the Magic Target doon by his tail sae Davie fired anither arra. He scored a bull’s-eye, but didna dee ony hairm tae Slithery. He jist hissed oot a lood lauch and cairried on slitherin taewards the Fairy Tree.

“Dae fit ye can tae stop him reachin the Fairy Tree for noo. I’ll need tae get tae the smiddy. I’ve een or twa things need deein an I’ll be back as quick as I can.” said Davie.

Aul Hector an the ither beasts sterted tae chuck things at Slithery. They threw candy aipples fae the candy caves, rock cakes fae the raisin rockery, buttries aff the buttrie bushes, an bon-bons fae the bon-bon border but Slithery jist catcht them aa an swallaed them doon. He wis fair enjoyin this game. “Keep it up,” says the slimy een, “This’ll dee me fine for a wee snack afore I ait the rest o you!”

Davie the Hunter hid got tae the smiddy an he set the smith tae wirkin as quick as he could. “I need three arras o the finest steel,” said Davie. “Yon target’s made o strae an only steel arras will gyan throwe it an intae Slithery.” In nae time at aa the smith hid made the three arras an Davie wint rinnin back tae the Gairden.

“Hurry! Hurry!” cried aabody as Davie cam rinnin in. “Slithery’s getting ready tae ait us!”

Fan he saa Davie, Slithery sterted tae slip throwe the chocolate rocks again. “Nae pint in takkin chunces,” he thocht.

Davie waited till Slither slid ahin a big lump o chocolate rock an left his tail showin oot the back with the target easily seen. Davie pit een o his steel arras in the bow, pullt back the string, took aim an fired. The steel arra wint stracht throwe the Magic Target an richt intae Slithery’s tail.

Slithery gave an extra lood, “Hiiissss!” loupit in the air an drappit the Magic Shield file he wis half wye up in the air (or maybe it wis fin he wis half-wye doon!) That’s jist fit Davie thocht wid happen an he wis ready wi anither steel arra. Whing! The arra wint richt throwe Slithery an that wis the eyn o him.

Davie the Hunter took oot his muckle knife an sliced aff Slithery’s heid. Oot popped aa the beasts. Gey sorry for themsels they lookit. Seen oot cam Gladys the Gorilla, still lauchin, the Triangular Cat, that shocked it wis waakin roon in circles an triangular cats dinna affen dee that, an last o aa, wi a wee squeak, cam Geordie Gerbil.

Aabody thankit Davie the Hunter an Aul Hector promised he be mair carefu aboot fa he let intae the Magic Gairden in the future. But it wis a Magic Gairden an efter a gweed nichts sleep an a brakfest o banana toast aathing wis back tae normal. Geordie Gerbil could play wi his pals, Gladys the Gorilla could sit an lauch wi the ither Lauchin Gorillas an the Triangular Cat could find itsel a cosy corner far it could snooze in the sun. Widna life be gran if there wirna fowk that’s aye being selfish an spilin life for ither fowk!



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