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The Magic Faraway Tree

Enid Blyton

  The Magic Faraway Tree

  Blyton, Enid





























  Dick Comes to Stay.

  Once upon a time there were three children, Jo, Bessie and Fanny. They lived with their mother and father in a little cottage deep in the country. The girls had to help their mother in the house, and Jo helped his father in the garden.

  Now, one day their mother had a letter. She didn't very often have letters, so the children wondered what it was about.

  "Listen!" she said. "This is something quite exciting for you. Your cousin Dick is coming to stay with us!"

  "Ooh!" said all the children, pleased. Dick was about the same age as Jo. He was a merry boy, rather naughty, and it would be such fun to have him.

  "He can sleep with me in my little bedroom!" said Jo. "Oh, Mother, what fun! When is he coming?"

  "To-morrow," said Mother. "You girls can put up a little bed for him in Jo's room, and, Jo, you must make room for Dick's things in your cupboard. He is going to stay quite a long time, because his mother is ill and can't look after him." The three children flew upstairs to get Jo's room ready for Dick as well.

  "I say! What will Dick say when we tell him about the Enchanted Wood and the Faraway Tree?" cried Jo.

  "And what will he say when we show him our friends there-Silky, and old Moon-Face, and the dear old deaf Saucepan Man, and everyone!" said Bessie.

  "He will get a surprise!" said Fanny.

  They got everything ready for their cousin. They put up a little camp-bed for him, and found some blankets. They put a cushion for a pillow. They made room in Jo's cupboard and chest of drawers for Dick's things. Then they looked out of the window. It looked on to a dark, thick wood, whose trees waved in the wind, not far from the bottom of the garden.

  "The Enchanted Wood!" said Bessie softly. "What marvellous adventures we have had there. Maybe Dick will have some, too."

  Dick arrived the next day. He came in the carrier's cart, with a small bag of clothes. He jumped down and hugged the children's mother.

  "Hallo, Aunt Polly!" he said. "It's good of you to have me. Hallo, Jo! I say, aren't Bessie and Fanny big now? It's lovely to be with you all again."

  The children took him up to his room. The girls unpacked his bag and put his things neatly away in the cupboard and the chest. They showed him the bed he was to sleep on.

  "I expect I shall find it rather dull here after living in London," said Dick, putting his hairbrushes on the little dressing-table. "It seems so quiet. I shall miss the noise of buses and trams."

  "You won't find it dull!" said Jo. "My word, Dick, we've had more adventures since we've been here than ever we had when we lived in a big town."

  "What sort of adventures?" asked Dick in surprise. "It seems such a quiet place that I shouldn't have thought there was even a small adventure to be found!"

  The children took Dick to the window. "Look, Dick," said Jo. "Do you see that thick, dark wood over there, backing on to the lane at the bottom of our garden?"

  "Yes," said Dick. "It seems quite ordinary to me, except that the leaves of the trees seem a darker green than usual."

  "Well, listen, Dick-that's the Enchanted Wood!" said Bessie.

  Dick's eyes opened wide. He stared at the wood, "You're making fun of me!" he said at last.

  "No, we're not," said Fanny, "We mean what we say. Its name is the Enchanted Wood-and it is enchanted. Arid oh, Dick, in the middle of it is the most wonderful tree in the world!"

  "What sort of tree?" asked Dick, feeling quite excited.

  "It's a simply enormous tree," said Jo. "Its top goes right up to the clouds-and oh, Dick, at the top of it is always some strange land. You can go there by climbing up the top branch of the Faraway Tree, going up a little ladder through a hole in the big cloud that always lies on the top of the tree -and there you are in some peculiar land!"

  "I don't think I believe you," said Dick. "You are making it all up."

  "Dick! We'll take you there and show you what we mean," said Bessie. "It's all quite true. Oh, Dick, we've had such exciting adventures at the top of the Faraway Tree. We've been to the Rocking Land, and the Birthday Land."

  "And the Land of Take-What-You-Want and the Land of the Snowman," said Fanny. "You just can't think how exciting it all is."

  "And, Dick, all kinds of queer folk live in the trunk of the Faraway Tree," said Jo. "We've lots of good friends there. We'll take you to them one day. There's a dear little fairy called Silky, because she has such a mass of silky gold hair."

  "And there's Moon-Face, with a big round face like the moon! He's a darling!" said Bessie.

  "And there's funny old Mister Watzisname," said Fanny.

  "What's his real name?" asked Dick in surprise.

  "Nobody knows, not even himself," said Jo. "So everyone calls him Mister Watzisname. Oh, and there is the old Saucepan Man. He's always hung around with kettles and saucepans and things, and he's so deaf that he always hears everything wrong."

  Dick's eyes began to shine. "Take me there," he begged. "Quick, take me! I can't wait to see all these exciting people."

  "We can't go till Mother says she doesn't need us in the house," said Bessie. "But we will take you-of course we will."

  "And, Dick, there's a slippery slip, a slide that goes right down the inside of the tree from the top to the bottom," said Fanny. "It belongs to Moon-Face. He lends people cushions to slide down on."

  "I do want to go down that slide," said Dick, getting terribly impatient. "Why do you tell me all these things if you can't take me to see them now? I'll never be able to sleep to-night! Good gracious! My head feels in a whirl already to think of the Faraway Tree and Moon-Face and Silky and the slippery-slip."

  "Dick, we'll take you as soon as ever we can," promised Jo. "There's no hurry. The Faraway Tree is always there. We never, never know what land is going to be at the top. We have to be very careful sometimes because there might be a dangerous land -one that we couldn't get away from!"

  A voice came from downstairs. "Children! Are you going to stay up all the day? I suppose you don't want any tea? What a pity -because I have made some scones for you and put out some strawberry jam!"

  Four children raced down the stairs. Scones and strawberry jam! Gracious, they weren't going to miss those. Good old Mother -she was always thinking of some nice little treat for them.

  "Jo, Father wants you to dig up some potatoes for him after tea," said Mother. "Dick can help you. And, Bessie and Fanny, I want you to finish my ironing for me, because I have to take some mended clothes to Mrs. Harris, and she lives such a long way away."

  The children had been rather hoping to go out and take Dick to the Enchanted Wood. They looked disappointed. But they said nothing, because they knew that in a family everyone had to help when they could.

  Mother saw their disappointed faces and smiled. "I suppose you want to take Dick to see those peculiar friends of yours," she said. "Well now, listen-if you are good children to-day, and do the jobs you have to do, I'll give you a whole day's holiday to-morrow! Then you may take your dinner and your tea and go to visit any friends you like. How would you like that?"

  "Oh, Mother, thank you!" cried the children in delight, "A who
le day!" said Bessie. "Why, Dick, we can show you everything!"

  "And maybe let you peep into whatever land is at the top of the Faraway Tree," whispered Fanny. "Oh, what fun!"

  So they did their work well after tea and looked forward to the next day. Dick dug hard, and Jo was pleased with him. It was going to be fun to have a cousin with them, able to work and play and enjoy everything, too! When they went to bed that night they left the doors of their rooms open so that they might call to one another.

  "Sleep well, Dick!" called Bessie. "I hope it's fine to-morrow! What fun we shall have!"

  "Good night, Bessie!" called back Dick. "I can't tell you how I'm longing for to-morrow. I know I shan't be able to sleep to-night!" But he did -and so did all the others. When Mother came up at ten o'clock she peeped in at the children, and not one was awake.

  Jo woke first next day. He sat up and looked out of the window. The sun streamed in, warm and bright. Jo's heart jumped for joy. He leaned over to Dick's bed and shook him.

  "Wake up!" he said. "It's to-morrow now-and we're going to the Enchanted Wood!"


  Off to the Enchanted Wood.

  The children ate their breakfast quickly. Mother told Bessie and Fanny to cut sandwiches for themselves and to take a small chocolate cake from the larder.

  "You can take a packet of biscuits, too," she said, "and there are apples in that dish over there. If you are hungry when you come home to-night I will bake you some potatoes in the oven, and you can eat them in their skins with salt and butter."

  "Oooh, Mother-we shall be hungry!" said Jo at once. "Hurry up with those sandwiches, Bessie and Fanny. We want to start off as soon as possible."

  "Now don't be too late home, or I shall worry," said Mother. "Look after your cousin, Jo."

  "Yes, I will," promised Jo.

  At last everything was ready. Jo packed the food into a leather bag and slung it over his shoulder. Then the four of them set off to the Enchanted Wood.

  It didn't take them long to get there. A narrow ditch was between the lane and the wood.

  "You've got to jump over the ditch, Dick," said Jo. They all jumped over. Dick stood still when he was in the wood.

  "What a strange noise the leaves of the trees make," he said. "It's as if they were talking to one another-telling secrets."

  "Wisha, wisha, wisha, wisha," whispered the trees.

  "They are talking secrets," said Bessie. "And do you know, Dick -if the trees have any message for us, we can hear it by pressing our left ears to the trunks of the trees! Then we really hear what they say."

  "Wisha-wisha-wisha-wisha," said the trees.

  "Come on," said Jo impatiently. "Let's go to the Faraway Tree."

  They all went on -and soon came to the queer magic tree. Dick stared at it in the greatest astonishment.

  "Why, it's simply ENORMOUS!" he said. "I've never seen such a big tree in my life. And you can't possibly see the top. Goodness gracious! What kind of tree is it? It's got oak leaves, and yet it doesn't really seem like an oak."

  "It's a funny tree," said Bessie. "It may grow acorns and oak leaves for a little way -and then suddenly you notice that it's growing plums. Then another day it may grow apples or pears. You just never know. But it's all very exciting."

  "How do you climb it?" asked Dick. "In the ordinary way?"

  "Well, we will to-day," said Jo, "because we want to show you our friends who live inside the tree. But sometimes there's a rope that is let down the tree, and we can go up quickly with the help of that. Or sometimes Moon-Face lets down a cushion on the end of a rope and then pulls us up one by one."

  He swung himself up into the tree, and the others followed. After a bit Dick gave a shout. "I say! It's most extraordinary! This tree is growing nuts now! Look!" Sure enough it was. Dick picked some and cracked them. They were hazel nuts, ripe and sweet. Everyone had some and enjoyed them.

  Now when they had all got very high up indeed, Dick was most surprised to see a little window in the trunk of the Faraway Tree.

  "Goodness-does somebody live just here?" he called to the others. "Look-there's a window here. I'm going to peep in."

  "You'd better not!" shouted Jo. "The Angry Pixie lives there, and he hates people peeping in."

  But Dick felt so curious that he just had to peep in. The Angry Pixie was at home. He was filling his kettle with water, when he looked up and saw Dick's surprised face at his window. Nothing made the pixie so angry as to see people looking at him. He rushed to the window at once and flung it open.

  "Peeping again!" he shouted. "It's too bad! All day and night people come peeping. Take that!" He emptied the kettle of water all over poor Dick. Then he slammed his window and drew the curtains across. Jo, Bessie and Fanny couldn't help laughing.

  "I told you not to peep in at the Angry Pixie," said Jo, wiping Dick with his hanky. "He's nearly always in a bad temper. Oh, and by the way, Dick, I must warn you about something else. There's an old woman who lives high up in the tree who is always washing. She empties the water down the tree, and it comes slish-sloshing down. You'll have to look out for that or you'll get wet." Dick looked up the tree as if he half expected the water to come tumbling down at once.

  "Come on," said Bessie. "We'll come to where the Owl lives soon. He's a friend of Silky's, and sometimes brings us notes from her." The owl was fast asleep. He usually only woke up at night-time.

  Dick peered in at his window and saw the big owl asleep on a bed. He couldn't help laughing. "I am enjoying all this," he said to Fanny. "It's quite an adventure."

  The children climbed higher, and came to a broad branch. "There's a dear little yellow door, with a knocker and a bell!" cried Dick in surprise, staring at the door set neatly in the trunk of the tree. "Who lives there?"

  "Our friend Silky," said Jo. "Ring the bell and she'll open the door."

  Dick rang the little bell and heard it go ting-a-ling inside. Footsteps pattered to the door. It opened, and a pretty little elf looked out. Her hair hung round her face like a golden mist.

  "Hallo, Silky!" cried Jo. "We've come to see you -and we've brought our cousin, Dick, who has come to live with us. He's having a lovely time exploring the Faraway Tree."

  "How do you do, Dick?" said Silky, holding out her small hand. Dick shook hands shyly. He thought Silky was the loveliest creature he had ever seen.

  "I'll come with you if you are going to visit Moon-Face," said Silky. "I want to borrow borne jam from him. I'll take some Pop Biscuits with me, and we'll have them in Moon-Face's house."

  "Whatever are Pop Biscuits?" asked Dick, in surprise.

  "Wait and see!" said Jo with a grin.

  They all went up the tree again. Soon they heard a funny noise. "That's old Mister Watzisname snoring," said Jo. "Look-there he is!" Sure enough, there he was, sitting in a comfortable chair, his hands folded over his big tummy, and his mouth wide open.

  "How I'd love to pop something into his open mouth!" said Dick at once.

  "Yes, that's what everybody feels," said Jo. "Moon-Face and Silky once popped some acorns in-didn't you, Silky? And Watzisname was very angry. He threw Moon-Face up through the hole in the cloud, and landed him into the strange country there."

  "Where's the old Saucepan Man?" asked Bessie. "He is usually with his friend, Mister Watzisname."

  "I expect he has gone to see Moon-Face," said Silky. "Come on. We'll soon be there." As they went up the tree, Silky suddenly stopped. "Listen," she said. They all listened. They heard a curious noise-"slishy-sloshy-slishy-sloshy"-coming nearer and nearer.

  "It’s Dame Washalot's dirty water coming!" yelled Jo. "Get under a branch, everyone."

  Dick wasn't as quick as the others. They all hid under big boughs- but poor old Dick wasn't quite under his when the water came pouring down the tree. It tumbled on to his head and went down his neck. Dick was very angry. The others were sorry, but they thought it was very funny, too.

  "Next time I climb this tree I'll wear a bathing-dre
ss," said Dick, trying to wipe himself dry. "Really, I think somebody ought to stop Dame Washalot pouring her water away like that. How disgusting!"

  "Oh, you'll soon get used to it, and dodge the water easily," said Jo. On they all went up the tree again, and at last came almost to the top. There they saw a door in the trunk of the tree, and from behind the door came the sound of voices.

  "That's Moon-Face and the old Saucepan Man," said Jo, and he banged on the door. It flew open and Moon-Face looked out. His big round face beamed with smiles when he saw who his visitors were.

  "Hallo, hallo, hallo," he said. "Come along in. The Saucepan Man is here." Everyone went into Moon-Face's curious round room. There was a large hole in the middle of it, which was the beginning of the slippery-slip, the wonderful slide that went round and round down the inside of the tree, right to the bottom. Moon-Face's furniture was arranged round the inside of the tree trunk, and it was all curved to fit the curve of the tree. His bed was curved, the chairs were curved, the sofa and the stove. It was very queer.

  Dick stared at it all in the greatest surprise. He really felt as if he must be in a dream. He saw somebody very queer sitting on the sofa.

  It was the old Saucepan Man. He really was a very curious sight. He was hung all round with saucepans and kettles, and he wore a saucepan for a hat. You could hardly see anything of him except his face, hands and feet, because he was so hung about with saucepans and things. He made a tremendous clatter whenever he moved.

  "Who's that?" he said, looking at Dick.

  "This is Dick," said Jo, and Dick went forward to shake hands.

  The Saucepan Man was very deaf, though he did sometimes hear quite well. But he nearly always heard everything wrong, and sometimes he was very funny.

  "Chick?" he said. "Well, that's a funny name for a boy." "Not Chick, but DICK!" shouted Moon-Face.

  "Stick?" said the Saucepan Man, shaking hands. "Good morning, Stick. I hope you are well."

  Dick giggled. Moon-Face got ready to shout again, but Silky quickly handed him her bag of Pop Biscuits. "Don't get cross with him," she said. "Look -let's all have some Pop Biscuits. They are fresh made to-day. And, oh, Moon-Face, do tell us -what land is at the top of the Faraway Tree to-day?"