A Short Story for Children

fiction

A Short Story for Children

By Fred Watson

In the village of Trimble, at the end of the street opposite the village green, stands a dirty old house. Inside, Kronk the meanest gnome in the land rubbed a hole in the ice that had formed on the inside of his window and peered out. The permanent scowl on their face deepened making him look meaner and even more unfriendly than normal.

Outside the winter snow had arrived and the folks in the village were out enjoying themselves. Sleds whizzed down fairy hill, snowball fights were going on everywhere and several of the elves were busy building snowmen on the village green. Kronk growled, the one thing that he hated more than snow was seeing people having fun. He really was the meanest, most miserly and unfriendly gnome you ever did see.

On the green right opposite Kronk’s front window, Peter the elf and his friend Pod were hard at work building a snowman. They had been at it all morning and were determined that it would be their best snowman ever. Later when they had finished they stood back to admire their handy work. The snowman was very tall, as high as they could reach on tiptoes and his body was round and plump. He had a large round head, with black pebble eyes, a carrot nose and a smiling mouth made with a lot of smaller stones. ‘He’s great, but he needs something else to finish him off,’ said Peter.

‘I’ve got my granddad’s old fishing hat, the one with the lovely green feathers,’ said Pod.

‘Great, and I’ve got an old yellow and red scarf to go round his neck,’ said Peter.

‘We could put a row of stones down his front to look like buttons on a coat, said Pod.

‘OK,’ said Peter. ‘You get the hat and come around to my house. I’ll get the scarf and I’ll heat us a nice warming bowl of soup.’

Peter who was a very good cook had made a big pan of vegetable soup yesterday and when he got home all he had to do was to pop the pan on the stove and let it heat up. Pod who was really good at growing things in his garden had given the vegetables to Peter and as always, the two friends would share the soup between them.

‘Good, I’m cold now that we’ve stopped building the snowman and I’m really hungry too.’

‘Me too, let’s go,’ said Peter.

At home, Peter placed the pan of soup on the stove, put a new log on the fire and took down the scarf from the hook behind the front door. Ten minutes later there was a knock and Pod popped his head around the door. ‘Sorry I took so long but I had a job finding the hat. I thought it was in the cupboard and then I remembered I’d put it on the scarecrow in the back garden.

Peter smiled; his friend was sometimes a little forgetful. ‘Never mind, you’ve got it now, take your coat off and go and sit by the fire, I’ll bring you some soup.’

Pod sat down in one of the two chairs in front of the fire, Peter poured out two bowls of soup, handed one to Pod and picking up the other bowl sat in the chair next to his friend. There was silence, apart from the odd slurp, as they ate their soup and when they were finished they were warm inside as well as out.

Peter was a tidy little elf and after lunch, he washed the bowls and spoons and put them back in the cupboard. ‘There, that’s done, now we can go and finish off the snowman.’

Once back at the green they dressed the snowman in the hat with the lovely green feather and wrapped the long yellow and red scarf around his neck. The hat was a little on the small side, because Pod’s granddad, was an elf and elves are ever so small. But apart from that, Peter and Pod both agreed that the snowman looked very grand indeed. In fact they were so pleased that they did a little dance and as they danced they made up a little song.

A snowman, snowman cuddly and fat
We really love your feathered hat,
Feathered hat, feathered hat,
We really love your feather hat,
It suits you oh so well.

A snowman, a snowman big and strong
We really love your scarf so long
It’s so long; it’s so long,
We really love your scarf so long,
It will keep you warm.

That night when Peter and Pod were fast asleep in bed, a dark shadowy figure crept up to the snowman and with a growl swiped the green feather hat from its head. After jumping on the hat the figure unwound the scarf, pulled out the snowman’s nose, knocked his head flying and kicked the rest of him into bits.

The next morning when they went down to the green and found their snowman destroyed, Peter and Pod were very sad. In fact, Peter was so upset that he had to sit down on a nearby stump of a tree. ‘Who would do such as spiteful thing?’ cried Pod.

Peter who was facing Kronk’s house saw the curtains at the window twitch and suddenly had an idea who it could be. ‘Kronk is spying on us from behind his curtains I bet he is the one that did it.’

‘What are we going to do?’ asked pod.

Peter sat on the stump thinking hard. After a minute or so, he said, ‘We’ll build the snowman again, but this time …’ he stopped and then whispered the rest of the plan in Pod’s ear so that no one could hear.

Pod laughed. ‘When are we going to do it?’

‘Tomorrow morning, we’ll start while it is still dark so that Kronk can’t see what we are doing.’

The following morning when Kronk looked out of his window he was surprised to see Peter and Pod building another snowman. They must have started very early because they already had most of the bodybuilding. Kronk watched them for most of the day and the more they built the more he scowled and growled beneath his breath.

Peter and Pod went home when they were finished. But they sneaked back just before it got dark and hid in the bushes at the edge of the green. They didn’t have to wait long; as soon as it was dark a shadowy figure crept up to the snowman, knocked off his head and then began to kick at the snowman’s body. Soon a lot of the body had fallen, but the middle refused to move. The figure moved back and took a running kick at the middle and began to hop about on foot shouting, ‘Ouch! Ooya! Ouch! Ouch! Oh, my foot! Oh, my toe! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Soon everyone in the village came out to see what was going on and in the light from Peter’s torch, there was Kronk hopping around on one foot. ‘What has happened?’ they asked.

‘Kronk sneaked out after dark and kicked down our snowman,’ said Peter.

‘But why is he hopping about like that?’ they wanted to know.

‘Because when he kicked down our first snowman, we built our second one over the old tree stump,’ said Peter.

Everyone laughed, said it was his own fault and went back indoors, leaving Kronk to hop his way home on one leg.

Peter, Pod and the rest of the elves built lots more snowmen that winter and Kronk never touched one of them. In fact, he didn’t leave the house again until spring came around and when he did he walked with a limp.

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