The Three Wishes.
Once upon a time there was a woodcutter who lived on the edge of a huge forest.
Early one sunny morning he went out to chop down a tree. He gave the tree not one, not two but three mighty thwacks with his axe.
To his surprise, a fairy appeared and begged him to save the tree. The woodcutter agreed and the fairy granted him not one, not two but the next three wishes that he should make – be they what they may!
As soon as he got home, the woodcutter sat down in front of the fire and told his wife what had happened. As he spoke, he rocked back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. He was so hungry that he asked his wife if supper was ready but she just shook her head.
“I wish I had a sausage here before me,” he said. No sooner had he spoken these words than a clatter, clatter, rustle, rustle and what should come down the chimney but the finest sausage that anyone could wish for!
Unfortunately, his wife scowled and glared at the woodcutter for wasting a wish. Then she said, “You fool. I wish that sausage was stuck on your nose!”
Before you could say Jack Robinson, there the woodcutter sat with an enormous sausage for a nose.
So, first she gave it a tug but it stuck fast.
Next, he gave it a tug but it stuck fast.
Finally, they both gave it a tug but still it stuck fast.
“Well it doesn’t look so bad,” said his wife. The woodcutter realised that he better use the third wish and so he did.
So the woodcutter and his wife did not ride in a fancy coach. They did not live in a great palace. They did not wear fine clothes. No, but at least they had the finest sausage that anyone could wish for.
The Magician's Nephew - a portal story.
Magician’s Nephew – CS Lewis
“One- Two- Three- Go!” said Digory. And they jumped.
Down and down they rushed, first through darkness and then through a mass of vague and whirling shapes which might have been almost anything. It grew lighter. Then suddenly they felt that they were standing on something solid.
"What a queer place!" said Digory.
"I don't like it," said Polly with something like a shudder.
What they noticed first was the light. It was a dull, rather red light, not at all cheerful.
They came to two huge doors of some metal that might possibly be gold. One stood a little ajar. So of course they went to look in. For a second they thought the room was full of people—hundreds of people, all seated, and all perfectly still. They were like the most wonderful waxworks you ever saw. All the figures were wearing magnificent clothes.
The last figure of all was the most interesting—a woman even more richly dressed than the others, very tall (but every figure in that room was taller than the people of our world), with a look of such fierceness and pride that it took your breath away. Yet she was beautiful too.
The thing in the middle of the room was not exactly a table. It was a square pillar about four feet high and on it there rose a little golden arch from which there hung a little golden bell; and beside this there lay a little golden hammer to hit the bell with.
"I wonder... I wonder... I wonder..." said Digory.
He leaned forward, picked up the hammer, and struck the golden bell a light, smart tap.
As soon as the bell was struck it gave out a note, a sweet note such as you might have expected, and not very loud. But instead of dying away again, it went on; and as it went on it grew louder.
One of the robed figures, the furthest-off one of all, the woman whom Digory thought so beautiful, was rising from its chair. When she stood up they realized that she was even taller than they had thought. And you could see at once, not only from her crown and robes, but from the flash of her eyes and the curve of her lips, that she was a great queen.
"Who has awaked me? Who has broken the spell?" she asked.
Somebody was coming up the stairs! Ducking down behind an old crate, we waited. I could feel my heart thumping like a bass drum and my throat felt tight and dry with dust…and the crush of fear. What if we were caught? The strange girl glanced at me through the semi-gloom and grinned. I thought that she was trying to be reassuring.
Gradually, the door opened and we could hear someone tiptoeing in. There was a pause and then a torch flickered on. Its beam stabbed the darkness, seeking us out, nosing into all the hidden corners. Holding my breath, I tried to make myself as small as possible.
After a few moments, the light switched off. Whoever it was stood quite still, listening. We could hear each rasping breath. Then the door shut and the footsteps clicked back down the stairs. Relieved, I let out a sigh. As we clambered out of the window and slithered down the wet roof, I was trying to remember how I had got into such a mess.
It had only been half an hour ago when Mum had sent me down to the chippie with a tenner and strict orders for no vinegar on her chips. When I reached the Stroud roundabout, I couldn’t help looking at the old house. It was ready for demolition, which was a shame because we had played there for years! It was then that I’d seen it; a light at the window. Then I saw a face. I stood there staring. It was a girl, mouthing a word and the word was, ‘HELP’.
That’s how it happened. I’d broken in round the back through a smashed window. Half a minute later and I’d found her, a trapped prisoner in an upstairs room. She’d only just finished telling me that she was the American ambassador’s daughter, Cindy Breakwell, and about the ransom money when the kidnappers had returned to move her to a safe house.
So there we were, balancing on the wall, as if we were walking the plank. Gripping the guttering tightly, I lowered myself down. Five minutes later and we were back at Mum’s. “So Ron, where’s the fish and chips?” she asked, eyeing Cindy suspiciously.
Half an hour after that, Cindy’s Dad arrived in an embassy car. All the net curtains on the St Petroc's estate started to twitch with curiosity. That night it wasn’t just chips for tea. He took us all out for a big meal. Amazingly, the next day, there I was in the local paper. A hero.
Last Night I Saw the City Breathing, a personification poem.