Sheila Helliwell's stories for children - Children's Stories Net

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The Castle Of Thoughts
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Children's Story: The Castle Of Thoughts by Sheila Helliwell

A Polygudgeon is a strange creature.
If you try to imagine the body and legs of a lizard, but with the head of a bald goat, the nose of a pig and the creature being the size of a cat; you have an idea of what they look like.
They only appear on the first night of a new moon.
Some say it's because they hate light and even a half moon is too bright for their eyes.
Our story begins on such a night.
Dennis and Clara were twins but very rarely played together, the one thing they had in common was their love of frogs.
At the bottom of their garden was a big pond with lily pads, which attracted all types of frogs.
Their favourite was a big bullfrog who they had named Boris.
Although most of the frogs eventually left, Boris came back every night when the moon came out. The twins would sneak out to watch him feed; bullfrogs will eat anything that comes their way, including Clara's pet hate, SPIDERS! (This was fine with her)
Children's Story: The Castle Of Thoughts by Sheila Helliwell
It was the night of a new moon when the twins, armed with a torch and a blanket, made their way down to the pond.
Switching off the torch they settled down to await Boris.
He hopped into view with the tail of some creature hanging from his mouth.
Clara whispered "Ugh!" while Dennis just chuckled.
The chuckle was cut short by the appearance of what they thought was a cat, which caught Boris and was about to swallow him whole.
Dennis shone the torch straight at the creature, which made him drop Boris and blink his eyes.
"Whatever is that?" Clara asked in fear.
Dennis didn't have an answer because he had never seen such a strange looking creature in his life.
Before they could move or run the Polygudgeon spat at them and they found that they couldn't move a muscle.
Children's Story: The Castle Of Thoughts by Sheila Helliwell
Sights and sounds began to fade and the next time they opened their eyes they were in a room, in a castle.
"Where are we?" Clara asked in panic. "How did we get here?"
"Why are you asking me?" Dennis replied in a high pitched and strangled voice!
The room was almost dark and both children stood there, shaking life a leaf.
A secret door opened in the wall and the Polygudgeon slowly walked towards them, until they could see his lizard type eyes.
Both gulped at the same time, unable to utter a sound.
He took a deep breath through his piggy nose and bellowed at them, "Do you know how long it has been since I had a big fat juicy bullfrog for my tea?"
"I'm sorry," Dennis answered in fear, "I didn't mean to, really I didn't. Please let us go; I promise never to do anything like that again."
"Are you going to hurt us?" Clara asked with tears in her eyes.
The creature seemed to be thinking about it but suddenly gave a snort and laughed.
"If you want to leave you can, but be careful of what you think about."
He then left and the door became invisible again.
They both ran their fingers all over the walls, but they couldn't find an opening.
"What do you think he meant about what we think about," Clara asked, "it doesn't make sense."
Children's Story: The Castle Of Thoughts by Sheila Helliwell
Suddenly they were standing in a dungeon with a real live fire breathing dragon.
Clara screamed and Dennis had a look of panic on his face.
"I didn't mean to." he wailed.
"You were thinking of a dungeon and a dragon?" Clara shouted at him, "just un-think it."
"I'm trying but it isn't working," Dennis said, holding his head.
The dragon opened his jaws and spewed forth a stream of fire.
This time there were two screams and they found themselves floundering in deep water.
"I can't swim," Clara spluttered as she began to sink.
Dennis grabbed her by her collar and pulled her up.
He could swim but he wasn't strong enough to hold both of them up and paddle at the same time for long.
"I'm sorry," Clara gurgled, "all I could think of was water to douse the dragon's fire."
Dennis realised that he had to stop panicking and think of something sensible, because his arms and legs were tiring and he felt them both slowly sinking.
Suddenly they were in deep sand and the sun blazed down on them.
"No, oh no!" Dennis groaned.
He had been thinking about the last time he had been swimming, and the sand and hot sun.
In no time at all steam was coming from their clothes as they rapidly dried.
They could feel the intense heat from the sun on their skin and knew it wouldn't be long before they burnt.
"Don't think of anything, just talk." Clara instructed.
"It was my fault," Dennis said angrily, "I should never have shone the torch at that creature; I should have let him eat Boris."
Children's Story: The Castle Of Thoughts by Sheila Helliwell
They found themselves lying on the blanket watching Boris catch his next meal.
A creature crept up behind him and swallowed Boris whole.
This time Dennis did not shine his torch at the creature, but he did hear an evil chuckle and snort before the creature disappeared into a bush.
Dennis and Clara no longer go down to the pond at night to see the frogs.
Maybe it's just as well, especially at a new moon, because that's when Polygudgeon's are about!

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