There was a powerful storm, and giant waves were crashing onto Mystic Island in the middle of the sea. A large ship was torn apart by the huge storm, and items from the ship started washing up on the beach of the magical island. Mystic the mermaid lived on the island along with three other mermaids. After the storm passed over, Mystic looked towards the sea and saw a crib floating. Then she heard crying coming from the crib! She swam out to the crib and found a little baby girl there. She swam back to the island holding the crib. All of the mermaids gathered around the baby. They thought the little baby was so sweet, and it was a miracle that she was alive.
Two of the mermaids swam out to look for the ship and see if there were any people lost at sea. They could not find the ship because it had already sunk. They did not find any people in the sea. They swam back to the island.
When Mystic was on the island, her tail would split and turn into human legs! When this happened, she could walk like a human. Mystic was very beautiful and had long green hair. Her pretty green eyes would sparkle in the sun. When Mystic was swimming in the sea at night, her tail would glow green in the dark! All of the tails of the other mermaids would glow in the dark too! The mermaids could all walk when they were on land. Each mermaid looked different. One mermaid with dark red hair, green eyes and a green tail was named Mena. Another mermaid with blue hair, pretty blue eyes and a greenish blue tail was named Eva. The other mermaid had black hair, green eyes and a silver tail. Her name was Zanita. All of the mermaids were very beautiful.
Mystic named the little baby girl Ava. Mystic raised Ava on the island. She taught Ava how to swim when she was very young. All the fish and creatures of the sea that lived close to the island knew that Ava was Mystic's child. The sharks would not harm Ava when she swam in the sea as long as she was with her mother or another sea creature. Ava's mother had always told her to never swim alone. Ava had a favorite friend that she loved. He was a dolphin named Kissimmee. Kissimmee would pull Ava all around the island while she held on tight to his fin. Kissimmee would put shows on for Ava all the time. Kissimmee would jump up out of the water and then dive back down. He could swim super fast too! Kissimmee was very sweet and gentle.
Ava loved swimming in the sea. She had a lot of friends in the sea. Ava swam in the sea with her friends every single day. She became a very good swimmer.
At night, the sea would light up with all the different colors of the sea creatures that glowed in the dark! It was so beautiful! Some of their lights would even blink on and off. That was Ava's favorite time to swim in the sea because she loved watching the light show. She could not believe the different sizes, shapes and colors of all the jellyfish.
Sea Tiger the tiger shark and Kissimmee the dolphin would always try to protect Ava from any sea creatures that might come from far away. Ava thought that Sea Tiger's stripes were so pretty. There was a huge whale shark that Ava would always see swimming around the island. The whale shark had pretty white spots on it. The whale shark would let Ava pet it! Ava loved to watch two large killer whales that would come around every now and then. The killer whales were black and white, and Ava thought they were so beautiful.
One day, Ava snuck out by herself to go swimming on the other side of the island when she came upon a large group of jellyfish. One of the jellyfish stung her! She screamed and swam back to the island crying. Her mother rubbed some sand from the island on the wound. The wound stopped hurting her, and then it disappeared! The sand from the island was magical and had healed her! After that happened, she always swam with her mother or Sea Tiger and Kissimmee.
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Mama and Dad, you used to be nice.
Now you’re not and I’m paying the price.
Mama and Dad, you used to live together.
Now you don’t. You’ve left each other forever.
Life is so hard, now that I have to choose.
If I choose your house Dad, will Mama lose?
It’s never easy when a kid has to pick.
If I choose your house Mama, will Dad’s heart be sick?
Think about me and how I feel.
Divorce is not pretend. It’s for real.
Can’t you get along and once more be friends?
Can’t you love each other again the way God intends?
Charlotte brushed her shoulder-length, golden blonde hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear while the sea breeze tried to blow it back. Her heart leapt at the sight of a ship out at sea as it rolled in the swell of the rising tide. Could it be a pirate ship? Why hadn’t she been more vigilant? If they came ashore there would be little chance of escape.
She spotted a smaller boat rowing towards her, heading straight for the beach. Her breath caught in her throat. What should I do? Is there enough time to save my little sister? Beth looked oblivious to the danger, chasing after a feather that blew away in the wind. By the time she reached her sister, they would be in clear view. Maybe I should save myself. At least one of us might survive. No. She couldn’t possibly leave Beth to the mercy of those murderous pirates.
Time ran out. It was now or never. The boat reached the shore, and its dubious occupants began to clamber out.
The loud cry made her jump. She snapped back to reality and spun around.
“Are you daydreaming again?” Her mum let out a frustrated sigh. She placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and steered her in the direction of the car park at the edge of the beach. “Can you help take some of this stuff back to the car, please?” She handed her an armful of bags stuffed with damp, sandy towels. “We’ve still got a lot of things to do before we go home tomorrow, and you haven’t even bought anything for your friends yet. If you get your skates on, you’ll have enough time to pop into the shops across the road.”
Charlotte wrinkled her nose at the thought of their holiday coming to an end, and cringed at the prospect of going back to school the following week. She scooped up her own towel and trudged through the sand, mumbling how unfair it was making her do all the work even though she was only ten. “I notice Beth’s not helping.”
Her dad grinned as she struggled to the car. “We’re going to grab some food. Take-away, nothing but the best for the last day,” he said as she reached him.
“Not McDonald’s again, Dad,” she remarked with a hint of sarcasm, dumping her load on the floor.
“No way! Fish and chips tonight.” He wore his silly grin that never failed to make her smile.
“Whatever!” She smirked. “Mum said I could have a quick look at the gift shops just across the road.”
He put the discarded bags into the car and slammed the boot. He slid his sunglasses up to his receding hairline, slipping his hand into his jeans pocket. “Do you need any money?”
“Nah, it’s okay. Mum gave me some yesterday.”
“Are you going to take Beth with you?”
She folded her arms and shifted her weight to one leg. “Do I have to?” She loved her six-year-old sister to bits, but she was the most annoying person in the whole world. “I’m not going to get much shopping done with Beth tagging along.”
His face brightened with a grin. “I’m only pulling your leg.” He nudged her playfully. “We’ll take Beth with us and meet you back here in ...” He paused to gaze at his watch. “Let’s say, in about fifteen minutes, okay? Don’t go far!”
She sighed with relief. “Okay. See ya later.” She left, fumbling through her pockets to check she still had her money.
Crossing the road, Charlotte admired the pretty seaside town lined with buildings all the way to the top of a hill, overlooking the sea. Interesting old houses displayed colourful shop fronts, and a local market filled any spaces in between. She ambled along the well-worn paving stones, not really paying attention to the task of buying gifts for her friends. With her hands in her pockets, she wandered past stalls that spilled out across the path, packed with beach balls and buckets and spades.
She paused for a moment outside an arcade, drawn by the sounds and flashing lights that filled the air around the neon-lit building. Fighting the urge to spend the last of her money on a teddy-grabbing machine, she continued to trudge up the hill, losing interest in her mission with every step.
Halfway along the road she stopped, stepping into an alley to shelter from the glare of the sun. She leaned her back against the bright-red tiles that decorated the archway. Each one contained a small figure. They reminded her of characters from a fairy tale. She turned to examine them closely, running her fingers over the textured surface. Something about them held a strange attraction.
She gazed into the alley. It led a fair way back, but in the gloom she could see the front of a grubby-looking shop with a large ‘Sale’ sign in the window. She strained her eyes for a better view, and wondered if she should have a look just in case she could pick up something unusual for Mum. After a moment’s thought, she decided she had nothing to lose and wandered a little closer, checking over her shoulder as she went.
Reaching the glazed shop front, Charlotte stood on tiptoes to see over the half-frosted glass that obscured her view of the inside. Despite being taller than most kids her age, the contents of the store remained a mystery. She paused at the door before giving it a shove and peering through the gap. Inside, it looked much smaller than expected, with tall shelves standing against the outer walls, each laden with an assortment of objects that appeared better placed in a junk shop.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, but curiosity urged her forward. She stepped inside. An old-fashioned till perched in the centre of a small counter at the far end of the shop. Behind it hung a set of drab curtains with tiny pinholes, allowing slivers of light to seep through. The whole place had an air of gloom and smelt musty and damp.
“Hello. Are you open?” Charlotte called out.
When no one responded, she browsed the shelves, discovering some odd, hand-carved figures, similar to the characters on the decorated tiles around the archway outside. She picked up one that resembled a garden gnome and turned the carving around, searching for a price label. Nothing. That’s not much help. She placed the grotesque figure back down.
A bright flash caught her eye when she turned to leave. She stared at a small bookcase resting against the back wall beside the counter. A gentle glow of green light illuminated the shelves, tempting her to venture further and take a closer look. She crept through the aisle and bent down to examine a small, glass snow dome nestled amongst a variety of clay pots. It looked out of place with the other articles displayed in the shop.
She reached out and touched the surface with the tips of her fingers. The cool surface tingled, a strange yet alluring sensation. With a quick check over her shoulder, she picked it up and tipped it upside down. She cupped the delicate item in the palm of her hand and held it close to her face. No snow.
Inside the crystal orb, a tiny globe like a miniature planet revolved in slow motion, casting eerie shadows against the dreary walls. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“Yes, it is beautiful,” a gruff voice sounded.
She spun around and stumbled back a step. Behind the counter stood a large figure wrapped in a gray cloak, similar to the drab curtains that hung behind him. From what she could see of him in the gloom, his scruffy, charcoal hair hung down to his shoulders. Dark eyes peered out below bushy eyebrows, making his thin face look gaunt and pasty. She shuddered. He gave her the creeps, popping up from out of nowhere and staring at her as though he had never seen a customer before.
“I am sorry if I surprised you. I did not mean to make you feel uncomfortable,” he said, as if reading her mind. “You are very welcome here.”
She put down the small ornament and walked along scanning the contents of the shelves, picking through the strange collection of knickknacks. The entire time, she sensed the old man’s stare following her. She considered leaving, yet the eerie glow from the snow dome kept drawing her gaze back to the bookcase. The temptation from its hypnotic light got the better of her, and she walked back to pick it up again. “How much is this?”
A broad smile lit up the man’s face. “Take it, child. I have no use for it in my shop.”
Her eyes widened. “What, for nothing? I must give you something for it. I’ve got money, you know.”
The old man shrugged. “Well, if you are that keen on striking a deal with me.” He raised one of his bushy eyebrows. “All I will ask is for you to take great care of such a beautiful item. Promise me you will be good and always tell the truth.”
“I always tell the truth anyway. I hate liars!” she declared, a little puzzled by such a strange request. “Is that it? Is that all you want?”
He bellowed with laughter.
She placed one hand on her hip. “What’s so funny, then?”
“I am sorry.” He leaned closer across the counter. His weather-beaten face creased with concern. “Telling the truth is not always an easy thing to do, especially when you find yourself in trouble.” His expression lightened. “I am Goffer, the shop keeper, and if I am not mistaken, you will find yourself in trouble if you do not hurry. Time is getting on.”
Charlotte glanced at her watch. “You’re right!” She rushed to the door in a fluster, but stopped before leaving. “Thank you! Thanks a lot. That was really nice of you.”
Goffer stood motionless, barely visible in the shadows. “I would not be so quick to thank me just yet.”
It is starting to get dark and I am still lost. I am so hungry and thirsty. I am searching for a creek so I can at least get a drink of water. I have never been so hungry in my entire life. I feel like I am starving to death. I am getting weak. I dug a hole under the fence and escaped from my home. I have been roaming all around the streets and pastures in Sherman, Texas. One day, a young woman felt sorry for me and threw me a piece of ham. I finally found a creek and I am lapping up the water. The fresh cold water tastes so good. I don't see anything around the creek that I can eat. If only I could find something to eat. I guess I will just lay down here by the creek and spend the night. That way I can have a nice cool drink of water when I get up in the morning. I am sleeping now and having sweet dreams about eating lots of food. I wish I had a large bone for a snack too.
It is morning and I am drinking water at the creek again. Suddenly, a man appears with a huge net! He starts chasing me and catches me in his net! He is a dogcatcher. He takes me to an animal shelter in Sherman where I am put in a large cage with two Great Pyrenees dogs. I am a Great Pyrenees dog too, so I am sure glad to see them. I am very skinny because I haven't had enough to eat in so long. My bones are sticking out because I have lost so much weight. I am shaking because I am so scared. I don't know what is going to happen to me. There are lots of dogs that are in cages all around me.
The next day, a man comes and gets me. They give me some shots and return me to my cage. They give us all food and water to drink. I am so glad they gave me some food to eat. I ate every bite and I wanted more. I am starting to feel a little better, but I am still very scared. They weighed me and I only weigh 66 pounds! I should weigh 85 pounds!
Later that day, a woman comes to the shelter and starts looking at all the dogs. She comes over to my cage. She can tell that I am very scared. She starts talking to me. Then she reaches in and starts scratching me behind my ears and rubbing my head. I think she is nice. I like her. I wish she would take me with her and get me out of this place. Oh no! She starts walking away and then she leaves. I wonder if I will ever see her again. I sure hope so. Maybe she will come back for me.
Ten days go by and I am still at the animal shelter. It is very loud here because all the dogs are always barking. I hear someone walking up to my cage. I look up and suddenly I see the same woman who was so nice to me! I am so excited. I start wagging my tail. I am hoping she has come to take me home with her. Yes, she has! They open up my cage and put a leash on me. They hand the leash to her. She takes me outside so I can use the bathroom. She starts talking to me. Then she has me lay down and starts rubbing my chest. She gives me a large bone for a snack. After I eat my bone, she takes me inside the shelter so she can sign all the papers to adopt me! I can't believe I got my large bone I wished for!
July 8, 2014, was a very special day at Linda's Bird House because that is the day I was born! I am a teeny tiny little bird. I looked like a little alien when I was first born! I was pretty funny looking because I didn't have any feathers yet. I really did look like some kind of creature from another planet! I am a female cockatiel. My breeder hand-fed me and hand-raised me, so I am very tame. I have a sister that looks just like me!
The cockatiel is a member of the cockatoo family. Cockatiels are native to Australia. Cockatiels can be trained to talk! The males are usually the only ones that will talk. A female can talk, but it is harder to teach them to talk. They are also harder to understand than the males. They love to whistle too! They are very colorful and the males are more colorful than the females. The males have white or yellow heads. The females have grey heads. The males and females both have pretty orange cheeks. There are several different kinds of cockatiels. They love attention and make wonderful family pets because they are very loving. They love to sit on your shoulder. Some cockatiels have lived to be 22 years old! Most cockatiels live about 15 years. The better care you take of your cockatiel, the longer it will live.
A nice woman named Barbara bought me from Linda's Bird House in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, as a gift for her mother. Her mother was afraid of me, so Barbara brought me to live in her house in Norman, Oklahoma. Her niece named me Anna after the star in the movie "Frozen."
Barbara had two parrots. One of her parrots was a Blue Quaker named Blue. Blue started bullying me, and one day he plucked out all my pretty long tail feathers! One of my tail feathers is still all chewed up on the end. Barbara was attached to me, but she knew she needed to find a new home for me because Blue wouldn't stop picking on me. Blue and I were always together, so I don't know why he did that to me! I thought we were friends. He was being a bad boy. It is not nice to bully someone! Blue was much bigger than I was. I screamed when he was doing it, but he wouldn't stop! He just kept on attacking me until he plucked all my tail feathers completely out! I think he was jealous of me! Barbara put me on her shoulder all the time and I don't think he liked her giving me all that attention. He wanted all of her attention.
Barbara gave me to her best friend who lives in Texas. It was a long trip from Oklahoma to Texas. It was late and I finally arrived at my new home. I was very scared. I hissed at my new owner the first time she tried to get me to step up on her finger. I hissed at her again later too. I bit her, but I didn't bite her hard. The next day, I wasn't as scared as I had been the previous day. I stepped up on her finger and she put me on her shoulder. I liked it up there. She was nice to me. She hand-fed me Cheerios and sunflower seeds. Oh how I loved those Cheerios! I loved all the attention too. I started whistling and having fun. I knew that she wasn't going to hurt me, so I wasn't afraid of her anymore. I stopped hissing at her and I didn't try to bite her anymore. She says, "step up" for me to get on her finger. Then she will say, "perch" and I step off on my perch. I have been trained to do this. I let her pet me all the time.
Barbara sent a bag of goodies for me to my new home. She sent a cage, a food bowl, food, two bird beds, some toys, millet spray, and a jungle gym. Yes, a jungle gym! She is such a nice person! I will miss her. She took such good care of me.
I heard two more birds in the house. They started singing and whistling at me. Then they started chirping at me. I liked it and it made me feel at home. I whistled back at them. I looked over and saw two yellow canaries in my room! Canaries are songbirds. The males are the only ones that can sing. Their names are Ricky and Lucy.
I am five months old now and my tail feathers are finally starting to grow back! I can't wait for my feathers to grow back. I need my tail feathers to fly! I have been at my new home for a week now! I have a HUGE cage where I can fly around inside my cage. My new owner lets me out of the cage every day too. She puts me on her shoulder or she puts me on top of the cage where I run around, play and eat. When she puts me on top of the cage, you can hear the pitter patter of my little tiny feet when I run around up there! She starts laughing when she hears it. She thinks it is so adorable. Sometimes when my owner puts me on top of my cage to play, I jump off and try to fly! I can't fly. My feathers have been clipped so I can't fly. Plus, my tail feathers haven't grown all the way back yet. It is good for me to try to fly. It is fun too! As soon as I land on the floor, I want to be picked up. I start screaming until my owner picks me up and puts me back up on my cage. I am afraid something will get me if I am on the floor. I don't like it on the floor at all! It is scary!
I had no idea why I was there. I hadn’t done anything, apart from not handing in History homework. And talking too much in Maths. And pushing over Matthew after assembly. “I haven’t done anything.” I said.
Miss Simpson held up a letter by its corner, as if it were a disc of dog dirt. “Your parents have written to confirm you’re leaving.” She looked at me. “Tomorrow.” She peered over the top of her silver semi-circular spectacles, retained on a chain around her neck, as if they would ever dare to escape. She was clearly irritated by the thought of any child wanting to leave her school. Not just any school, but her school. Her narrow lips, tightly moulded hairstyle, sharp features and practiced flinty expression made my knees shake. “I have the letter here.”
“I think that’s wrong,” I ventured. “I’m not leaving; I’m staying here.”
Kahuna is a great magician who lives on a beautiful island in Hawaii. Kahuna means "a secret" in Hawaiian. He performs magic shows every night for the local Hawaiians and the visiting tourists. He has a huge secret that he is keeping from everyone. He is not only a magician; he really does have magical powers. That is why his magic shows are so incredible. They look so real, because they are real!
He paints his face, chest, and legs with black and red stripes before every magic show. He can breathe fire and twirl circles of fire without getting burned! He performs an amazing fire dance with two fiery batons. He can swallow a sword without getting cut! He can make himself invisible and also float high up into the air. A white tiger will suddenly appear on the stage out of nowhere! Then he will make an elephant appear and disappear! He always has a huge two-headed snake that he uses in his magic act. He taps the snake on its head with his magic wand and says, "Abracadabra!" POOF! The snake will crawl out of a huge puff of white smoke, and then one of the heads will disappear. Kahuna also stands on the stage in front of everyone. Then he waves his hands up into the air. POOF! A huge puff of white smoke appears, and he disappears! Suddenly, he is standing in the back of the crowd. He brings a white kitten out on the stage. He taps the kitten on its head with his magic wand and says, "Hocus Pocus!" POOF! A huge puff of white smoke appears, and the kitten turns into a huge white lion! He folds up a white handkerchief and places it in his hand. He closes his hand and throws his hand into the air. A white dove comes flying out of his hand! Then he pulls a white bunny out of his black magician's hat!
One of his magic tricks that he often performs is called "Fists of Fire." He puts his fists into a burning fire and opens up his hands. The flames do not burn him! He shows his hands to the crowd after he pulls them out of the fire. Everyone is always very shocked!
He uses fire a lot in his shows. Another show he always performs that stuns the crowd is when he sets himself on fire! He wraps himself in cloths and sets the cloths on fire. Then he runs down the street past the crowd, and someone sprays him with foam to put the fire out. He calls this show "Man on Fire."
Another magic trick that he performs is called "Fire Walker." He walks on a bed of hot coals. Then he shows the bottom of his feet to the crowd. There are no burns!
Kahuna performs another magic trick; he walks on a bed of sharp pointed nails. Then he shows the bottom of his feet to the crowd. There are no wounds! This magic trick is called "Bed of Nails."
When people leave his magic show, he shocks them every single time. They hate when his show ends, and they want to see more of his magic. He always hears someone say, "How did he do that?" The children always say, "Wow!" In his mind he always laughs because he is the only one that knows that it is real magic. He always stays after his shows end to sign autographs for people in the crowd. People love him, and he is very famous.
When Kahuna was twenty years old, a huge bolt of lightning struck him on his head during a severe thunderstorm in Hawaii. Someone saw it happen, and they called for help right away. An ambulance came and rushed him to the hospital. The doctors were all amazed that he survived such a bad electrical shock to his body. He had severe burns all over the bottom of his feet, and all of the hair on his head was burned off! His head was black, and he was completely bald! The doctors told him that it was a true miracle that he lived. His brown eyes turned black! His voice changed and became very deep. When his hair grew back in, it was solid white! He never cut his hair again. His hair became very long, and it was still very white. He grew a long white beard and moustache. He never cut his beard or moustache either. His beard and moustache grew and grew. Many people thought he looked just like Merlin The Magician.
This is the text of the first story called 'Molly the Mole'. This is a picture book and the text on its own is not having the same impact.
Do you like cats? Yes? I am glad because I am a black cat with a white top hat. My name is Oliver. I am very elegant and have the shiniest coat in the world. I brush my fur every morning and always keep my nails trimmed! Of course, my hat is really refined, too, which is another word for elegant.
Whenever you put on your new clothes, you can announce to everybody, "I am refined!" They will think you are an elegant person. Well, enough of all that talk about me, although I can never talk too much about myself. I really do think I am a cool cat. Do you think this is wrong? You are probably right, but I can't help it.
My best friend’s name is Jumpy. You guessed it! She likes to jump a lot because she is a kangaroo! She is a great girl and lets me ride in her pouch! I get in, and Jumpy jumps away and away!! That’s a lot of fun. I bet you would like to ride in her pouch, too, wouldn't you? You are probably a bit too big though. I am quite small, so it is OK. I love it, but after a while I need to rest. All that up and down makes me dizzy. It's like being on a roller coaster.
One day I was in Jumpy's pouch, happily hopping through the fields. It was a very sunny day, and I wore my white hat and funky sunglasses. The sun is beautiful, but too much of it burns your skin! My fur coat protects me though.
We were hopping across the fields, when Jumpy stopped suddenly. It was so unexpected that I fell out of her pouch, and bounced down on the ground.
Amazingly, I fell very softly, but that softness screamed loudly! I had fallen on a mole.
Moles are creatures that live in the ground and love to dig tunnels. They are much smaller than cats. Sometimes, they come out of their holes. Moles are blind because they do not need eyes below ground. That’s why she didn’t notice Jumpy coming. Jumpy only saw her at the last second and had to make an emergency stop. I was saved, but the mole appeared quite unhappy about the disturbance.
After I stopped turning around and around, because I was still dizzy from the jumping, I apologized to Molly the mole. She recovered quickly and was not really hurt. Then she even became friendly with us. "I have just made lunch," she said. "Why don't you join me? I have the tastiest worms and bugs. Would you like some?"
You see, that’s what moles eat. A kangaroo prefers grass. I find the occasional bug quite tasty, but I don't fancy slimy rainworms. Jumpy made an excuse not to accept the offer. "Thank you very much, but we are watching our diet!"
Molly was not unhappy, though, since she could now eat everything herself. "Come and visit me again but without any accidents next time! I think you are a very elegant cat and a very jumpy kangaroo. I like you guys. Of course, I am a lady myself and eat only the best bugs!"
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