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

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Children's Story: Gruinfire by Sheila Helliwell
In a land far, far away named Gruinfire lives a race of people called Gruins, they are said to be kindly, happy and 'pure of heart.'
This was not always so.
The valley of Gruinfire enjoyed almost perfect weather with blue skies and just the odd wispy cloud. Where the waterfall ran into a river, the sun and water created a permanent rainbow.
The Gruin's were happy people and could be heard singing and laughing most of the time, but because their valley was so perfect they didn't want to leave or outsiders settling there.
One day a family from another valley found Gruinfire and fell in love with it. They explained that the water in their valley had dried up and they had to move away.
The head Gruin, named Graffin, gave them some land to build their house upon but he made sure it was well away from the rest of the village. It was tucked away behind some high rocks next to the waterfall where the sun never reached.
Children's Story: Gruinfire by Sheila Helliwell
At first the new family tried to join in the village life but no one made them very welcome. Slowly they stopped going to the happy events as the villagers ignored them, their children even stayed away from the school.
One day while the Gruins were happily going about their business a huge black cloud floated above the valley. It was so unusual to see a dark cloud that the villagers stopped what they were doing and stared up at the cloud in awe.
The cloud blocked the sun and the people shivered as the warmth of the sun faded, a cold wind started to blow and the Gruins went indoors until the cloud had passed.
Children's Story: Gruinfire by Sheila Helliwell
'Unfortunately the cloud didn't pass.'
Days turned into weeks and the weeks into months with the dark cloud above them. The brightly coloured flowers faded and the lush green grass turned brown.
The villagers stopped laughing and singing while they worked as a blanket of sadness covered the valley.
One day a traveller stopped on the hill overlooking Gruinfire and was shocked to see the changes since he had passed through the year before.
He looked up at the dark cloud hovering above and grimly smiled to himself.
As he made his way down into the village he felt the sadness touch him like an icy finger.
He found Graffin, the leader of the Gruins, sitting at a table wrapped in a thick warm cloak, his hands cupping a mug of hot honey tea.
The traveller sat beside him and asked. "What have you done to draw the Dark Seeker to your Valley?"
Graffin looked up at the stranger with a frown. "Dark Seeker?" he asked.
"The black cloud above you is called the Dark Seeker because it seeks out unhappiness and feeds from it," he explained. "You must have had some very unhappy people here for the cloud to seek you out."
"But we are a happy people," Graffin said in surprise. "At least we use to be."
The stranger stood up to leave and said. "My advice to you is to seek out the source of the unhappiness otherwise the cloud will be here forever."
Graffin couldn't believe that any of his people were unhappy enough to draw the Dark Seeker here.
Suddenly he remembered the sad faces of the new family that had moved in.
He made his way to the other side of the big rocks at the edge of the village. What he saw made him stop in his tracks with shock.
The wooden house they had built was covered in green mildew and the ground was wet and muddy.
He slowly walked towards the house shivering as the wetness soaked into his shoes making his feet icy cold.
At first there was no answer to his knock but then, as the door slowly opened, he was met by the youngest child standing there with puffy red eyes and a running nose.
Graffin stepped inside and looked around in horror.
Everything in the house was damp and covered in mildew. He found the rest of the family huddled up in bed trying to keep warm.
Graffin had never felt so ashamed in all his life.
He hurried back to the village and by nightfall the new family had been given hot food and drink by their neighbours and were tucked up in warm beds.
Graffin sat with his head in his hands realising that it was his fault the Dark Seeker had settled over the village.
'Why had he not welcomed them with open arms?' he asked himself.
He hadn't given any thought about how dark and damp it was behind the big rocks with the constant spray from the waterfall and no sunshine reaching them.
He called a meeting the next morning and all the villagers agreed they had acted badly towards the new family. They vowed from then on never to be mean or thoughtless towards another person ever again.
The whole village worked together and built a beautiful house for them next door to Graffin.
Within weeks the cold wind stopped blowing and the villagers started to smile again. The smiles turned to tears of joy when they awoke one day to find the big black cloud had gone.
Children's Story: Gruinfire by Sheila Helliwell
When the traveller passed that way again the following year, it was to find the valley of Gruinfire back to normal.
Lush green grass covered the hills and the sound of laughter floated up from the happy children playing in the village.
Little did he know that he would never see the valley again.
The black cloud had settled over a forest not too far away, to where a creature named Calador had been banished by the Dark Wizard.
Such sadness, hopelessness and hate floated up from the forest that the black cloud never ever moved away again.
The only way to reach Gruinfire was through a large cave which was now guarded by a fierce dragon named Ramagor, which the Dark Wizard had placed there after hearing about the happy 'pure hearted' race of people that dwelled in the valley.
It was rumoured that if you spent too long with the Gruins you would end up being 'pure hearted' as well and the Dark Wizard hating anything that was good or pure.
The Gruins missed the travellers passing through with news about other villages but they lived in harmony and kept away from the 'Whispering Forest' which they had named it.
Only once had a villager wandered into the forest and he had never returned.
On a clear still night, they say you can hear the trees whispering to each other and the unearthly sound of the creature venting his rage to the skies.
On a full moon Leprechauns have three wishes they can use.
Every three months when the moon is tinged with green, it's called a 'Hoonraki Moon.' This is when all the Leprechauns gather in a secret place in Rakidom where the Riddle Tree gives forth three riddles, which if solved lead to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
In the 'Hoonraki Moon' story book, Murphy the leprechaun takes three young mortal children on his adventures which lead them to the rainbow overlooking Gruinfire. The children encounter strange creatures and meet Murphy's friend Moragan the witch.
Can Murphy defeat the dragon Ramagore which guards the cave? Do they meet the Gruins?
Why does Murphy have several different magical coloured powders and what are they used for?
Discover more about 'Hoonraki Moon' at:
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