The Reader

Beat About The Book - fictionThe reader

Craft class was in progress. Forty girls sat on either side of a long table bent diligently over their embroidery frames. At the head of the table sat Ms Mathew, The Dragon. That’s what the students called her, for she breathed fire at the littlest opportunity.

Did I say 40? Well, I meant 39, for the 40th girl was not quite there. Sara sat right at the end of the table, with her head bent like the others, except she had no embroidery frame. On her lap rested an Enid Blyton and she was far far away in a land where a gorgeous tale was beginning to unfold.

DEAR BESSIE, FANNY, JO AND DICK,
We know that you don’t want any more adventures just yet, but you might like to know that there is a most exciting land at the top of the Faraway Tree just now.  It is the Land of Do-As-You-Please, even nicer than the Land of Take-What-You-Want. We are going there tonight.  If you want to come, come just before midnight and you can go with us.  We will wait for you till then.
Love from SILKY AND MOON-FACE

Midnight! This sounded dangerous… and exciting.

Oh go go go! urged Sara as she read on, her eyes shining brighter than those of the kids in the story. ‘The Land of Do-As-You-Please!! Wow! I’d eat honey pops and read all day‘, thought she turning over the page.

Of course the children decided to go – down the garden, through the lane, into the Enchanted Wood. Their torches shone in the moonless night. The forest was silent. Ominously so. Wisha wisha wisha whispered the mysterious trees.

An owl squealed and something ran across their feet.

The kids jumped and so did Sara, upsetting her neighbour, who pricked her finger, dropped her needlework and squealed louder that any owl ever could.

Tiny drops of blood were beginning to blot her young neighbour’s lemon yellow runner and before Sara could apologise she bawled, “OUCH Miss.. Sara pushed me and I hurt my hand, it’s bleeeeeding.”

O get on with it drama queen!‘ thought Sara, the apology dying on her lips, ‘It’s just a tiny prick for goodness sake!

She did try to look contrite but The Dragon was already bearing down upon them. Sara glanced at the book in her hand. Too late she realised she had no embroidery frame. Her heart sank right into her shoes. She would be caught red-handed.

**************

I need to put in a few apologies: One to Enid Blyton for taking liberties with her writing. And two to Bernhard Schlink, for borrowing the title of his book although there is nothing similar between the two tales except perhaps, a love for the written word.

It’s Day 4 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Caught Red Handed’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

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35 thoughts on “The Reader

  1. Vinay Leo R.

    Reading does sound more fun than embroidery. This brought back memories of the time I was reading a Nancy Drew novel by putting it inside the Science textbook and pretending to study. 🙂 I was caught red-handed by Dad, who threw a fit.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Lol! I think all of us have done that. We’ve done it too – my sister and I and we used to have a lookout system so we could quickly slip the story book inside our bags. I’d hate it if my kids did that now.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      I didn’t mind the needlework much per say but I wasn’t too good at it. And the dragon I described here – well we had one in real life. She and I had a usual dislike so embroidery sessions were a bit of a pain.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Yeah well.. maybe The Dragon would be distracted by the blood and leave her alone :-).

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  2. kalaravi16

    Tulika! Do you know…The Faraway Tree series happens to be my ‘favouritest’ book ever! I don’t think I will ever out grow that marvelous land of fantasy! You took me there! What an escape from the mundane into so much excitement and fun….don’t blame Sara one bit!

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Thanks Sunila. I hate tampering with anyone’s work and that letter from Silky – well that’s an extract but the rest is all mixed up, hence the apology.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Ha ha Shilpa. Isn’t that the hardest thing – to have to put down a book when the fun is just beginning?

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  3. Jaibala Rao

    This post is such a treat for all Enid Blyton fans, and I grew up on and still enjoy my share. Needless to say I loved this piece, it brought back so many memories.

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  4. Shilpa Gupte

    Reading books wins hands down, Tulika! Embroidery will make me blind! hehehe
    Loved your post, as always! When do you do it all, Tulika? I mean, apart from managing your life and your kids and your teams and all that, when do you manage to fit in your writing, which, by the way, is marvellous!?

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Ha ha your teacher might not quite believe that – Embroidery will make you blind but reading won’t? Thanks for that sweet compliment Shilpa. Somedays things just fall into place and somedays it’s I who am all over the place :-D.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Thank you Vidya. Most of us have been there – if not at school then at home.

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  5. fabulus1710

    Silky and Moonface! Mahn, the Faraway Tree was the place I wanted to be every summer vacation! Loved the way you brought in this element in the story! *sends virtual hugs and love* 😀

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  6. inquisitivegeet

    Hahah.. This made me remember my school days when one of my classmates was caught reading Mills and Boons.. Imagine her plight!
    Very well put Tulika!

    Cheers
    Geets

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Ha ha.. and when the other choice is embroidery – there’s hardly much to think about, right?

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Flattered you think so Uma but I don’t think I have a book in me :-). And thanks for coming back.

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  7. the bespectacled mother

    This reminded me of the drawing periods in school. I was so bad at drawing that for the whole period I drew lines and then rubbed, again drew them and rubbed. At the end of the period, my sheet remained empty. M glad I did not have Ms Dragon for the Art teacher. And did I ever tell you my embroidery story from my convent days? I was pathetic at that and in convents there are lots of Ms. Dragons who are always looking out for opportunities for taming the shrews and non-shrews. By the way, I had also got lost in the children’s adventure to Land-of-do-as-you-please. I too want to go there and just read.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Ha ha Anamika, to be fair, the Dragon would have been justified in whatever she did to Sara. You’ve read this one? I’s one of the most delightful of the series. Obviously this is drawn from a real life incident. To this day I cannot fathom how I thought I wouldn’t be caught!

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