a Magazine for Writers

Once, a long, long time ago, there was a little girl called Mary. She lived with her mother and father and big brother Jim. They lived in a house near the forest.

Mary knew not to go in the forest, as strange animals and creatures lived there. Brother Jim was allowed to go in the forest with daddy because Jim was really big. He was so big he was nearly ten years old. Mary, of course was still only six.

Sometimes Jim would tell Mary about the strange animals he saw. She was never sure if he was telling the truth about them, but she liked to hear the stories anyway. The tales scared her a little, but she felt safe at home.

Daddy and Jim never went in the forest after teatime. Daddy said it was because it was dangerous to walk in there at night. When Mary asked Jim why, he smiled at her and told her strange things happened among the trees at night.

One thing he told her was that there were flying elephants in there. He said that between five and seven o' clock each evening, the elephants held parachute practice. All the other creatures knew to keep clear when that happened -all that was -except the crocodiles. They were foolish and walked through the forest between five and seven o' clock. That was why crocodiles were all now flat.

Another thing he told her was that the Elves and Hobgoblins came out at night to look for naughty little children. If they found any, they made the children prisoners and forced them to work all night collecting toads and spiders and beetles.

Mary was always curious about the forest, and once she even ran to the edge and almost touched a tree, but she thought she heard a strange noise, so ran quickly back home.

She was in the garden on her swing one day. It was very hot and she was just swinging lazily and dreaming of the animals and Hobgoblins. Before she realised what she was doing, she found herself right at the edge of the forest.

The sun was shining down and she felt very hot. She moved without thinking into the shade of the nearest tree. It felt much better there and she hopped and skipped along the edge of the forest, feeling very happy, and not the least bit afraid.

As she moved along, she gazed into the forest, imagining the wonders that lay inside. She stopped for a moment to stare between the nearest trees. She was just a weenie bit afraid at first, but as she took a step closer, nothing happened. She looked back to see if mummy was watching, but there was no sign of her mummy, so Mary ran forwards and quickly touched a tree.

She stepped back quickly and waited. Nothing happened, so she moved forwards again and stood right next to the tree. Still nothing happened, so she took a step into the forest. She held her breath, ready to dash back, but all remained quiet.

She knew it was too early for the elephants, and it wouldn't be dark for simply ages, so she took a couple more steps inside. Feeling very brave and grown up, she looked about her. She saw a bunch of primroses, and as she looked further inside, she saw a whole clump of bluebells.

She just KNEW her mummy would love a bunch of those. Mary tiptoed towards them, and was just stooping to pick a bluebell, when guess what she saw? It was a little red squirrel. The squirrel was eating an acorn, which it was holding in its tiny front paws.

Mary was thrilled and started creeping towards it. The squirrel saw Mary and hopped off and climbed a tree. As Mary moved forwards it ran out on a branch and jumped to another tree. Mary was so excited she forgot all about the bluebells and ran after the squirrel as it hopped from tree to tree, until it disappeared among the leaves.

Mary was a little sad, then remembered the bluebells and looked round for them. They were nowhere in sight. All around her were trees -and there was no sign of where she had come in.

Little Mary got quite worried. She ran a little way forwards and looked. There was nothing but trees. She ran a little way to the side, and looked. There was nothing but trees. She ran a little way to the other side, and looked. There was nothing but trees.

A big blobby tear ran down her cheek, because Mary knew she was lost. She stood very still, clutching her red handbag tightly. Mummy had given her the red handbag. It contained a lace handkerchief and a safety pin. Mummy said young ladies should always carry a safety pin -just in case. Mary was never sure just in case of what, but always carried her handbag with her -just in case. Right then she was VERY sorry she had not listened to her mummy and daddy -and kept out of the forest.

Suddenly she heard rustling sounds in the trees. She felt very frightened and leaned back against the nearest tree. The noise grew louder and Mary's eyes opened very wide, because three creatures wearing black hats with yellow bobbles on were walking towards her.

Can you guess what they were, children? That's right. They were Hobgoblins. They started to reach out to grab Mary. Mary tried to shrink back into the tree. She especially hated spiders, and didn't want to be made to collect them all night. One after the other, more teardrops started to run down her cheeks.

She was just getting ready to scream really loudly and run away, when she heard a new sound high in the trees. Looking up she saw a whole herd of elephants flying through the treetops. Gosh, oh dear, thought Mary, it must be five o' clock. As she watched, one of the elephants stopped flying and started to fall. As it fell, a parachute strapped to the elephant's back opened and slowed the elephant down.

Suddenly one of the Hobgoblins grabbed at Mary's handbag. She just had time to let go her handbag when the elephant landed on the ground right in front of her. I arrived with a huge plop that made the ground shudder. The elephant gathered its parachute with its trunk and, with a flap of its ears, flew off.

Mary looked and saw that the three Hobgoblins had been squashed flat. So had her red handbag. As she watched, the three Hobgoblins got to their feet, and looking like freshly fried pancakes, they waddled quickly away. Mary was SO pleased to see them go, and reached to pick up her red handbag.

As she stood up, she saw a number of creatures dressed all in green, peeping at her from the trees around. Can any of you guess what they were? Well I will tell you -they were Tree Elves. As Mary watched, they came out and formed a ring round her. Joining hands they danced around her and started to sing.

They sang,

"Little girls should not roam.
Little girls should stay at home.

Little girls will get a fright,
If they forget that mummy is right

Little girls should run right back.
Or they will go in Hobgoblin's sack.

Mary looked at them and started to cry, saying,

"But I'm lost. I can't find my way back."

Just then, a large, wise owl flew overhead and sang,

"Too whit Ota woo. If you don't want to stay, then follow me, I'll show you the way."

With an extra big flap of its wings, the owl started to fly away. The Tree Elves started to sing again.

"Little girl, you must have heard.
Little girl, follow the bird.

Little girl, hurry away.
Little girl, from the forest stay."

The Tree Elves broke from the circle and urged Mary forward. She looked and could see the owl off in the distance. Running as fast as she could, she chased after it. She ran and ran and ran until she could run no more. She closed her eyes and rested.

Mary wakened to the sound of her mummy's voice calling. She felt her mummy shake her gently, saying,

"Goodness, Mary, you must have fallen asleep. You are lucky you did not fall off the swing. Time for tea my love."

Mary looked around and guessed she must have been dreaming. She looked up at her mummy to say,

"I promise I will never go in the forest alone. Ever, ever."

Her mummy gave her a kiss and said,

"Well of course you wont dear, you are a good girl. And guess what I saw as I came to get you?"

Can you guess what Mary's Mummy saw?

Mummy told Mary,

"I saw a big brown owl. The biggest one I EVER did see. It flew from here right into the forest." She looked at Mary's red handbag,

"Goodness me, Mary, How did your handbag get so flat?"

Mary was not really sure - But WE know, don't we children … ?

For information: I'm an 84 year old guy that took up writing a couple of years ago because I got cancer and could do little else. I left school at thirteen (71 years ago), so am not exactly educated, lol.

I write stories for my grand and great-grand children, and general and adult stories. Fact and fiction. I attach a couple of samples (chosen because they were early short ones, and most others exceed the 2000 limit.) My name is Frankie Anon and I write as 'FANON'. My email address is "  Contact FANON.