================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter July 2005 The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.irishnation.com Copyright (C) 2005 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === Foreword === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === Play the Irish Lottery === The Changeling - a story by Joe Rogers === CARA Penpals === An Englishman's unrequited love affair with Ireland by Jeff Beazley === Unusual things to do on your Irish Vacation #2 === Homecoming by Tom Gibbons === A little bit of Dublin - #4 === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Monthly free competition result =================================================== FOREWORD ======== The best Summer in several years is in full swing in Ireland where the pace has noticeably slowed down. Irish people are so unused to decent days of sunshine that offices and shops quickly empty as the beaches and seafronts fill up - we were due a good Summer! If you have a suggestion as to how this newsletter could be improved or have any ideas for articles or features you would like to see appear in the newsletter then please drop me a line, until next month! Michael WE NEED YOUR HELP! PLEASE - send this newsletter on to your friends or relatives who you think are interested in Ireland. By doing this you are helping to keep us 'free'. Got something to say? Don't keep it to yourself! Why don't you submit an article for inclusion in the next edition? Go here for more information: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm Do you have access to a website? You can help to keep this newsletter alive by adding a link to any of our websites below: http://www.irishnation.com http://www.irishsurnames.com http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.allfamilycrests.com http://www.irishpenpals.com If you have an AOL or HOTMAIL account then you will get much better results by viewing this newsletter online here: http://www.ireland-information.com/jul05.htm The only way that you could have been subscribed to this newsletter is by filling out a subscription form at the site whereupon a confirmation notice would have been issued. If you wish to unsubscribe then go here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm ================================================= NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND ======================= IRELAND TO GAIN FROM LONDON OLYMPIC SUCCESS The awarding of the 2012 Olympic Games to London looks set to provide a knock-on financial windfall for Ireland. Over 15,000 athletes will travel to London for the games and it is expected that many will locate in Ireland for training an aclimitisation. It is also likely that a significant number tourists who will visit London for the games will also stop off in Ireland as part of their tour. While there are several high-profile events for which Irish training facilities are not highly rated there are several others for which Irish facilities could easily be used. These include sailing, Judo, boxing, equestrian events including show-jumping, table-tennis as well as a host of other minority sports. There is also a possibility that golf will be included as an Olympic event in 2012 for the first time and if this were to happen then Ireland would be particularly well positioned to take advantage of the number of competitors and tourists alike who would use many of the dozens of top quality Irish golf courses. IRA STATEMENT IS IMMINENT A long-awaited statement from the IRA is expected in the next few weeks as attempts to breathe new life into the stalled Northern Ireland peace process gather pace. The recent elections in Ulster have changed the political landscape with the moderate UUP and SDLP parties suffering at the hands of the more polarized DUP and Sinn Fein. There is no hope for a reinstatement of the suspended Parliament until the DUP are satisfied as to the intentions of the IRA. It is hoped that a further statement of intent from the IRA will allow Sinn Fein back into the power-sharing Assembly. IRISH ECONOMY TO GROW BY 6% in 2005 The Irish economy looks set to continue its strong performance with growth expected to reach 6% in 2005. Despite the lower value of the dollar relative to the Euro and the high cost of oil the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) expects average disposable income of Irish people to grow by as much as 10%! This performance is not reflected throughout the rest of the Eurozone where growth of 1.5% will be a struggle to achieve. Rumblings about membership of the Euro continue in France, Germany and especially in Italy where high labour costs are causing real problems. Labour costs in Ireland are also relatively high, but a continuing regime of low corporate and personal taxation have yielded huge benefits. FIANNA FAIL T.D. WANTS CARS TO BE 'ALCOLOCKED' A Fianna Fail T.D. (member of parliament) wants all cars in Ireland to be fitted with 'alcolock' devices. These breathalysers will not allow a car to be started unless the driver is under the legal alcohol limit for driving. IRISH TOURISTS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CHEAP DOLLAR The low value of the US Dollar relative to the EURO have prompted the hitherto unheard of practice of 'day-tripping' to the USA. Over 2000 Irish shoppers took day-trips to America in the first quarter of 2005 with most not even spending the night! Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/cgi-bin/newsletterboardindex.cgi http://www.ireland-information.com/cgi-bin/newsletterboardindex.cgi ================================================= NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY: The following 5 coats of arms images and family history details have been added to the Gallery: C: Crozier, Corbett, McCartney K: Kilfoil Q: McQuaker View the Gallery here: http://www.irishsurnames.com/coatsofarms/gm.htm THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY GIFT! We now have over 100,000 worldwide names available. Get the Coat of Arms Print, Claddagh Ring, Screensaver, Watch, T-Shirt Transfer or Clock for your name at: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestgifts.htm ================================================= PLAY THE IRISH LOTTERY ====================== 34 Millionaires were created by the Irish lottery in 2003! You could be next - especially if you use the service provided by www.irishlotto.net http://www.irishlotto.net has been in operation since 1988 and is one of the oldest online lottery sites in the world. With subscribers in 89 countries it is easy to see why so this site is considered as being among the most reliable lottery sites on the web. Their website is now totally revamped! The Irish lotto jackpot is never lower than US$1,500,000 and is frequently worth in excess of US$5,000,000. It can rise to $12,000,000 and more. You don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are Tax Free! The draw takes place every Wednesday and Saturday night on national television (RTE). The jackpot is won by matching the first six numbers drawn (1 to 42). A seventh number is also drawn and is called the 'bonus' number. Money can also be won by matching five numbers, five numbers plus the bonus number, four numbers, four numbers plus the bonus number or three numbers plus the bonus number. Although people tend to pick their own lucky numbers, a 'quick pick' option is available which instructs the Lotto computer to select the entry numbers. Winnings are tax-free and are paid out in one lump sum. The service offered by irishlotto.net includes: * Entering your numbers in the Irish Lottery and immediately sending you official confirmation of your entry. * Double-checking your numbers after each draw. * Immediately notifying you, in confidence, of any winnings. Payment is made according to your instructions. * Sending you details of the winning numbers for the draws in which you participate. Total confidentiality is assured. No one will know that you have bought a ticket and no one will know that you have won - except you! The entry fees include all postage, handling and agent charges. Got a question? Email the friendly staff at email@example.com or visit the website at: http://www.irishlotto.net ================================================= THE CHANGELING by Joe Rogers Sarah and Archibald Townson are mum and dad to five adopted children: Shauna Sinead Townson, aged 13, Irish born Leyla Kozan Townson, aged 10, Turkish born Horatio Thomas Townson, aged 9, English born Tundi Afolabi Townson, aged 6, Nigerian born Sierra Lopez Townson, aged 5, Spanish born In the company of their many pets, they get along well as a loving family, until Shauna misbehaves to such a degree as to attract the unwelcome attention of His High Majesty Ree Cluselug, King of The Fairies. From his palace, one-hundred metres underneath derelict Crowcall Abbey, a search party is despatched to find and bring before him, the person whose unacceptable behaviour is having such an adverse effect on the countryside. Shauna is eventually located by Lu, who reports back to Vinca Periwinkle, who, in turn, arranges for a Shauna lookalike - the changeling, Dylis - to be got ready. Two dimwit fairies - Willy Nilly Willie and Red Berry Nose are assigned to transport Dylis to the Townson family home and secretly exchange her for Shauna. With the household asleep, all augurs well for the changeover until several of the family pets take a dislike to the nocturnal visitors. In the ensuing bedlam - although the exchange of the changeling for Shauna goes ahead - Sierra and Blue Ted are also inadvertently kidnapped. The changeling, Dylis - accepted as Shauna by the family - is an instant success with the children - not least because of her magical powers - some of which she makes known to them. Their mission to rescue Sierra and Blue Ted in which they must brave the dereliction of Crowcall Abbey becomes an adventure in which they are set upon by the witch, Ratstails, and her legion of man-eating crows. Aided in their hour of need by a peculiar-looking bird-watcher named Bradley Adam David Drayton-Yahya, the children, expressing their gratitude, nonetheless worry about the gentleman's initials. Continuing their search, they arrive at the Fairy Palace - a vast hidden kingdom below ground - where, in the face of extreme danger, Sierra and Blue Ted are eventually rescued. They then travel back in time to 1912 Southampton where the changeling attempts to dissuade the family of a friend from boarding the doomed liner Titanic, and later, in a quest to replenish her dwindling supplies of magic, she must outwit Vrones and Rincasins to gain entry to the well-guarded Antique Alchemy. There, in vats of pure gold, mixtures must be weighed as per precise instructions and carefully stirred with the claw of a Griffin if the changeling is to have any hope of regaining her former capabilities. Behind locked doors, Spark Chambers spiral electric energy to a dragon's brain - the creature's huge bat-like wings, lizard's claws and serpent's barbed tail already in position - its massive body being cloned from the bones of a genetically identical ancestor discovered during excavations in a town's market square. It only awaits an infusion of crocodile blood at the correct temperature, already being prepared in a bubble chamber, to make it the largest manmade dragon ever to terrify the earth! But with conflicting rumours of approaching hostilities between the Underground Fairies and their old enemy, the Elves of lonely Rombald's Moor, the questions might be asked, was the dragon being made to order, and if so, whose order? And what role, if any, would the changeling and her trusted companions play in the coming battle? Chapter 1 of this story can be read in the online edition and can be viewed here: http://www.ireland-information.com/jul05.htm#story A-O-L USERS GO HERE You can offer any feedback to the author here: http://www.ireland-information.com/cgi-bin/newsletterboardindex.cgi A-O-L USERS GO HERE
THE CHANGELING by Joe Rogers|
- CHAPTER ONE -
Sleepy Hollow in Fairy Nook.
'I want to stay here. In the den. Play lots of good music .' Horatio Thomas Townson - to give him his full name - a rather studious looking,
curly-haired boy aged
nine, was learning to play the keyboards, and possessing a keen appetite for
musical, daydreamed of the time when he would surely become an international
sensation or maybe even the famous conductor of a full symphony orchestra.
'I want music too. I want sing songs.' Tundi Afolabi Townson, aged
originally from Nigeria, a friendly little boy with a big, cheeky smile,
always tried his
best to agree with everyone.
'No, Horatio.' Leyla Kozan Townson, a pretty raven-haired ten-year old,
her brother. 'Afedersin!' she said emphatically, and then explained, 'That's
sorry! And istiyorum means I want. So, istiyorum camp out tonight - under
'Me too want,' Sierra Lopez Townson, aged five, agreeing with this
wracked her brains to think of the English word for por favor, and then
remembering it, quickly added, 'please!'
'Glóir doDhia (Glory to God) will you listen to yourselves! I want!
What kind of
eejits are ye? Music and camping!' Shauna Sinead Townson, aged thirteen, a
graceful girl with gorgeous red tresses, stared at each of her brothers and
through disapproving green eyes. 'Are ye mad or what? Maybe ye've forgotten
date it is and how much I've looked forward to tonight? How could ye
forgotten? And after all our discussions on Monday? - ye seemed very
then, so ye did! How often have I told ye, I want never gets! '
The children, taken aback by the severity of her tone, cringed a little
to one another for support as she continued to admonish them.
'Anois éist (now listen).What's the point in telling ye about Fairy
Nook if ye can't
remember for even a few days?' Shauna stamped her foot angrily and looked as
might explode, 'And after all the idle fantasies about the wonderful things
buy if we only had such treasure!'
'Ah, of course!' Mention of treasure had suddenly refreshed Horatio's
remember now,' he said triumphantly. 'The crock, or maybe crocks of gold!'
'Oh. that!' Leyla exclaimed half-heartedly, glaring at Shauna as if she
much credence in anything that passed her lips, especially when it related
'Didn't you tell us that they only brought their gold several times a year?'
'Seven or eight times, actually, is what I said. As you would know,
Leyla, had you
listened properly. And tonight, amadán (fool) is one of those times. At
Hollow in Fairy Nook. Oh, 'tis true, so it 'tis, the fairies are there every
night - but it's
not every night they bring their gold. They make pretty certain of that, so
they do, but
they will bring it tonight!' She looked closely at each of her listeners and
interest aroused, decided to tempt them with one more morsel. 'And
whispered persuasively, 'if you are particularly lucky like me - well I am
child of a seventh child, you know - you might happen upon a sióg, a
gréasaí or some sort of other special fairy, counting and stacking his gold!
The children were very impressed to learn that their big sister was the
child of a seventh child, although they were not altogether certain what
might have on whether any of them would be lucky or not. But she seemed to
all about fairies - had called them different names - names they had never
'However, in spite of everything I've said, ye'd much rather - and on
of all nights, ye eejits - stay here in the den and play music or camp out
in the garden,
as if we couldn't do that any old time! Níl eagna chinn agaibh(you've no
Shauna, becoming more and more irritated as she spoke, screwed up her face,
wriggled her nose, gritted her teeth, squeezed her eyes and shook her head
distraction, as she exclaimed loudly, 'I shall go on my own, so I will; and
anything from me when I bring back a glittering crock of gold! Gold that
glistens and glints and glows! Who knows, I may even get to slide down a
The idea of sliding down a rainbow encouraged Tundi to an immediate
and without further hesitation he offered to accompany her. Up until then he
undecided - partly wanting to go with Shauna to stop her from becoming
and partly not wanting to upset the others by volunteering. The thought of
down a rainbow, however, proved such a temptation that in his excitement, he
to her in his native Kalabari dialect: 'PASISI ...É BO!'
She looked at him, not fully understanding, only knowing that pasisi
'Speak to me in English, Tundi,' she said rather abruptly, 'I don't
'PLEASE ...I COME,' he replied, then lowering his voice, continued, 'I
with you, Swannah, to Sleepy Hollow in Fairy Nook.'
She smiled at him - Swannah was his name for her - Shauna was obviously
difficult for him to pronounce. 'You don't have to come, you know. Unless
want to. But at least you're prepared to make the effort - not like the
smiled at him again and was trying to think of something unkind to say to
Leyla, when they both decided that perhaps a visit to Sleepy Hollow would
interesting, after all.
'Oh, all right, then, include me in as well,' Horatio muttered, rather
'Me...' Leyla said, 'a gitmek isterim(I want to go to) Fairy Nook.'
'Qué distancia hay?' Sierra asked. 'How far is it?'
'Not far,' Shauna replied, 'cúig nó sé nóiméid(five or six minutes).
here, I don't want you getting in the way, mind! What's more, ye must
promise - all
of ye - to do exactly as I say!'
'Evet, hazirim - gelirim(yes, I'm ready - I come),' Leyla said, 'you
'Oh, can I?' Shauna asked scornfully, frowning at Leyla, her voice
sarcasm. 'That's very kind of you, I'm sure.'
Poor Leyla looked at Horatio for support as Shauna continued in an
'Éist liom anois(listen to me now). You must be as inconspicuous as
possible - no
noise of any kind and definitely no talking whatsoever - otherwise the
simply disappear! That's if they come at all - which they certainly won't if
they get the
least inkling humans are about. Do you understand?'
'Absolutely, Shauna. You can rely on us. We'll be so quiet we'll be
invisible. Even you'll wonder if we are really there, as we keep well back
out of sight
and take our cue from you.' Horatio - having decided to go - was quite
willing to be
guided by his sister - after all, coming from Ireland, as she did, she
seemed to know all
there was to know about fairies and such like.
'Okay ...so long as you all know who's in charge.' Shauna looked from
one to the
other as they nodded their heads in agreement. Happy with their reactions,
'Ceart go leor(all right). That's settled then. Here's what we'll do - we'
ll blacken our
faces - like soldiers on telly do before going on a night raid.'
Four heads nodded affirmatively showing their enthusiasm for this
'We'll wear only dark clothes, so we will. Nothing bright or gaudy that
might show up
or reflect in the moonlight.' Shauna wagged her finger at the children as
continued to give them instructions. 'Empty your pockets of coins or keys or
anything that might rattle or make a noise. Don't wear bracelets, watches or
shine, and if you must come in light-coloured trainers, then wear dark socks
them - serves not only to hide them but also deadens any sounds.' She
looked at each
of her brothers and sisters and pleased that they had been paying attention,
said, 'Right. I think I've covered all the important bits, so let's go in
the house to get
ready. I'll help Sierra, if you, Horatio, see to Tundi. Okay?'
'Yeah. Okay. No problem.'
They locked the door to the den which was situated in the loft above
hid the key behind a loose brick, and went in the house to prepare for their
The house - 31 Victoria Mount - a large detached residence in the peaceful
Greenpark, was home to the children and their parents, Sarah and Archibald
For some years Horatio had been the only child of Sarah and her husband -
his friends called him - until they decided to adopt, first Shauna, then
by Tundi and last but equally loved, little Sierra. On this particular
parents were attending a charity dance at the Town Hall, and it being the
start of the
Summer holidays, had given the children permission to camp out in the
garden - an
area of several acres, secure and well fenced. But, although the tents
erected and in position, camping out had been put on hold, as the children -
carefully made their preparations - set off in single file towards Fairy
Nook. The moon
was in full splendour casting ample shadows all around which the children
advantage of. The night was fine and pleasantly warm with just the hint of a
breeze sufficiently strong to carry the musical notes of an enchanting
little song to
their alert ears.
Pausing to peer ahead in the direction from which the song could be
whispered in great excitement: 'Oradadir(it's over there)! A leprechaun!
Ahh! Just as
Shauna said it would be!'
'No, not a leprechaun,' Shauna rejoined watching the fairy mend a shoe.
shoemaker, actually ...what the fairies call a gréasaí.'
Moving a little closer, Shauna, Leyla, Horatio, Tundi and Sierra took
behind a fallen oak, and keeping well out of sight, watched the little
new soles on to old dancing shoes, singing a song in time with his work to
of a badger, a hare, an owl and several rabbits that had gathered in the
'In Sleepy Hollow every night;' sang the fairy
'A hammering on a shoe:
This gréasaí sings and thinks of things
He'd really love to do.
Like: of the fairies, if I were king;
Oh, what a life of ease -
I'd never mend another thing -
Just do whatever I please!
Maybe fly to far off Tokyo;
With my lovely crock of gold:
And slide down every rainbow
Each day till I grow old!
In fields; in woods; upon a hill -
Wherever toadstools grow -
I'd dance a reel and feast until
The moonlit shadows go!'
The song ended with loud and enthusiastic applause from the badger, the
owl, the rabbits, and several jackdaw latecomers. An excited Sierra was also
clap her hands in appreciation of the gréasaí's rendition, when the
Leyla quickly silenced her with a carefully whispered:
'Sshhh! No hablas, Sierra(Sshhh! Don't speak, Sierra). Don't let him
The fairy, having stopped singing, now ceased hammering on the shoes he
mending and jumped up to acknowledge the spontaneous applause of the birds
animals. In so doing, the old sack he was sitting on fell away, to reveal to
children the fact that the seat it had covered and hidden from view, was
than a magnificent crock of gold! Meanwhile, delighted with his sudden
reacting to shouts of 'Encore! Encore!' from the owl and the badger, he
more, to sing, and this time, standing tall on his toes in an attempt to add
height to his
rather small stature, he sang with great pride and gusto.
'I think he is a lovely singer,' Horatio whispered, 'and maybe it would
be better if
we did not touch his gold.'
'I agree,' Leyla responded. 'Besides, it is wrong to take what belongs
'That's right,' Tundi said, with a yawn. 'Pasisi ...I mean, please —'
'Be quiet! All of you!' Shauna interrupted, 'I came here to get the
gold, and that's
exactly what I'm going to do!' And making full use of the shadows, and the
the singer had his back towards them, she crept quietly forward to seize
the crock of
The children - silenced by her manner and the abruptness of her words -
lie silently there and watch as, taking the gold, she ran from Sleepy Hollow
the river that flowed through the lower meadows of Fairy Nook.
'I'd better follow her,' Horatio volunteered, 'make sure she doesn't
come to any
harm,' and he hurried away after her, running from the shelter of the fallen
oak at the
very second the badger, the hare, the owl, the rabbits and the jackdaws - by
alarmed and excited cavortings - indicated to the fairy that something most
Horatio followed Shauna at a distance and from behind a crab-apple tree
her hide the gold inside the secret door of an old elm, which he knew from
was a woodland creature's home. Then he trailed her back to where the
to discover a very distraught shoemaker pleading with them for the return of
'Bilmiyorum(I don't know)where your gold is, Mr Gréasaí,' Leyla said.
kalmak isterim(leave me alone), yorgunum(I'm tired).But your singing - it
you say - çok iyi(very good)?'
'My name is Cronin,' the fairy pointed out, 'not Mr Gréasaí and if you
anymore lies, I'll turn you into a pooky snail!'
'Excuse me,' Leyla replied, wondering what a pooky snail was. 'I'm not
lies! I ...I think it's wrong to take what belongs to someone else!'
'What's going on here?' Shauna asked, arriving a little breathless,
having run most
of the way to the river and back.
'I want my crock of gold,' Cronin demanded, 'and if I don't get it, you
'll all be
turned into pooky snails and become mincemeat before morning!'
Tundi and Sierra were more scared than they could ever remember at the
thought of anything to do with snails.
'Pasisi(please), Swannah,' Tundi begged, 'give gold back.'
'Yes, please Señorita Shauna, el oro(the gold), give it back. Please
always called Shauna, Señorita, when she wanted a favour.
'I haven't got his stupid gold!' she lied. 'A rabbit took it. And don't
worry you with his silly threats - he can't turn anyone into a snail. With
his gold gone,
his magic has gone! Isn't that right, Cronin? Tell the truth now.'
'Yes,' said the little man, looking very downcast - tears forming in
his eyes. 'You
are right, and ...I'm sorry I threatened you, but ...when you took away my
took my magic also. And without my magic ...I'm like a ...jackdaw without
only worse. Then he screamed, 'PLEASE GIVE IT BACK!'
'Shauna,' Leyla pleaded, 'give it back - lütfen, lütfen, lütfen(please,
'How can I give it back when I don't know where it is!' she lied again.
'Unless I get my gold back,' the little man continued, his tears
falling freely now,
'I'll be an outcast from my own kind, for ever. Condemned to wander from
place ...always searching ...never allowed to sing or dance or cobble shoes!
' He turned
away to hide his tears and shouted, 'PLEASE TELL ME WHERE YOU'VE HIDDEN
'Shauna,' Horatio pleaded, 'look how upset he is. Just think what you'
re doing! A
lovely voice like his will never sing another song! That's too high a price
to pay for
any gold! So please, please, PLEASE give it back and make all of us happy
'But how can I give it back when I don't have it and don't know where
it is! Níl a
fhios agam cá bhfuil sé(I don't know where it is)!' She lied easily without
whatsoever, almost as if lies came naturally to her lips.
Her lies were altogether too much for Horatio who - without another
hurried away towards the old elm in the lower meadow.
Cronin, still crying and searching about in the shadows, under the
of the badger, the hare, the owl, rabbits and jackdaws, turned to Shauna,
'If you return it to me now, this instant, I'll give you and your
Although the offer did not apply to them, the badger, hare, owl,
jackdaws were thrilled at the idea of three wishes, and were eager to
type of things the children would ask for. The children also - especially
Sierra - could hardly believe their ears - they were to be given three
Surely their sister would now see sense and return what she had stolen!
But Shauna had made her mind up and nothing would move her from her
headstrong decision. 'I won't tell you again,' she said unkindly to Cronin,
'I didn't take
your old gold, so I didn't, and I don't want to hear anymore about it!' And
another word, she turned on her heel and ran away home.
The jackdaws squawked their annoyance at having to listen to her lies;
hooted, the hare and rabbits thumped the ground and the badger let out an
cry. And then Horatio arrived back carrying the crock of gold which he
handed to a surprised and delighted Cronin.
'Take it,' he said with a smile. 'I couldn't bear to think of you being
so sad - an
outcast among your own people. Now you'll be able to sing again, and dance
mend shoes and do all the things you've ever wanted to do. I'm sorry we made
unhappy - please forgive us if you can.'
The fairy - overcome with emotion at having his gold returned, couldn't
several seconds. He managed a grateful smile - bowed to Horatio and the
waved to the animals and birds as they applauded the return of the treasure.
'Thank you. Thank you very much. Of course I forgive you,' he said,
full of gratitude. He looked from Horatio to Leyla, to Tundi and then to
each of you four, I grant three wishes - but not to that other girl who told
so many lies!
But no wicked wishes, please, and wishes for fairy gold cannot be granted.'
An excited Sierra exclaimed in her native Spanish, 'Gracias mi amigo!
' And then,
remembering where she was, repeated in English, 'Thank you my friend!'
to contain herself, she added, 'I wish for ...let me see, now ...I wish
'No.' The gréasaí interrupted her. 'I cannot grant your wishes yet. Not
have counted my gold - must make sure it is all here, you understand. If
some has been
lost or is missing your wishes will be in vain.'
'Iyidir,' Leyla called. 'I mean, that's fine ...we'll help you count
'Sorry,' the little man replied, as across the fields came the loud
echo of the Town
Hall clock. 'By the thorn of the rose it's midnight already!' he exclaimed,
shock 'I must away or the ghostly hobgoblin will surely be after me! See —'
in horror, pointing. 'He comes already! Over there by the weeping willow!'
The children, the animals, the birds - they all turned in the direction
some with far more apprehension than others, but all eager to discover what
spectre or apparition the ghostly hobgoblin would prove to be.
Horatio, his eyes all but shredding the weeping willow, was the first
to speak. 'I
can't see anything!' he remarked, total disappointment exasperating his
'Nor I,' echoed Leyla.
'Mira, mira!' Sierra cried, 'I mean, look, look! The gréasaí! He has
They all glanced back to discover that the fairy had indeed vanished,
as also had his
crock of fairy gold.
Sadly - knowing he had tricked them by getting them to look towards the
willow - they trudged home heavy-hearted, firmly believing that the promised
wishes would never now be granted.
They were asleep in their tents when their adoptive mum and dad,
a night out, looked in on them.
'See how peaceful they are, Archie,' Sarah remarked to her husband, as
checked each of the three tents. 'Horatio and Tundi fast asleep. Leyla and
nicely snuggled up ...but just look how untidy Shauna's tent is - clothes
'I'm surprised they're asleep, lass. They usually spend hours talking
whenever they camp out. And how come they've not got Mr McTavish with them?
a wonder he hasn't barked the house down, being left inside.'
'Hmm! Well spotted, Archie. Maybe you should bring him out - I'll feel
more comfortable with him keeping an eye on them - not that they'll come to
harm, of course.'
'Don't worry - I'll keep an eye on 'em. I'll be downstairs, wide awake
window open. You wait here while I fetch McTavish. Okay?'
'Yes, fine. Meantime I've got to decide what's to be done about
Shauna - she's
becoming much too cheeky lately.'
The Changeling - due to be published August 2005 - will be available on line at www.amazon.com or at www.barnes&noble.com or www.whsmith.co.uk or at any good bookstore.