Mars & Ruby
Once upon a time there was a wooden boy called Mars Wolf. He was on the way to see his cousin Ruby Gil, when he decided to take a short cut through Faerieland.
It wasn't long before Mars got lost. He looked around, but all he could see were trees. Nervously, he felt into his bag for his favourite toy, Dolly, but Dolly was nowhere to be found! Mars began to panic. He felt sure he had packed Dolly. To make matters worse, he was starting to feel hungry.
Unexpectedly, he saw a fuzzy Vandagyre dressed in a purple top hat disappearing into the trees.
"How odd!" thought Mars.
For the want of anything better to do, he decided to follow the peculiarly dressed Vandagyre. Perhaps it could tell him the way out of the forest.
Eventually, Mars reached a clearing. He found himself surrounded by houses made from different sorts of food. There was a house made from peas, a house made from chips, a house made from chocolates and a house made from fruit gums.
Mars could feel his tummy rumbling. Looking at the houses did nothing to ease his hunger.
"Hello!" he called. "Is anybody there?"
Mars looked at the roof on the closest house and wondered if it would be rude to eat somebody else's chimney. Obviously it would be impolite to eat a whole house, but perhaps it would be considered acceptable to nibble the odd fixture or lick the odd fitting, in a time of need.
A cackle broke through the air, giving Mars a fright. A witch jumped into the space in front of the houses. She was carrying a cage. In that cage was Dolly!
"Dolly!" shouted Mars. He turned to the witch. "That's my toy!"
The witch just shrugged.
"Give Dolly back!" cried Mars.
"Not on your nelly!" said the witch.
"At least let Dolly out of that cage!"
Before she could reply, three fuzzy Vandagyres rushed in from a footpath on the other side of the clearing. Mars recognised the one in the purple top hat that he'd seen earlier. The witch seemed to recognise him too.
"Hello Big Vandagyre," said the witch.
"Good morning." The Vandagyre noticed Dolly. "Who is this?"
"That's Dolly," explained the witch.
"Ooh! Dolly would look lovely in my house. Give it to me!" demanded the Vandagyre.
The witch shook her head. "Dolly is staying with me."
"Um... Excuse me..." Mars interrupted. "Dolly lives with me! And not in a cage!"
Big Vandagyre ignored him. "Is there nothing you'll trade?" he asked the witch.
The witch thought for a moment, then said, "I do like to be entertained. I'll release him to anybody who can eat a whole front door."
Big Vandagyre looked at the house made from fruit gums and said, "No problem, I could eat an entire house made from fruit gums if I wanted to."
"That's nothing," said the next Vandagyre. "I could eat two houses."
"There's no need to show off," said the witch. Just eat one front door and I'll let you have Dolly."
Mars watched, feeling very worried. He didn't want the witch to give Dolly to Big Vandagyre. He didn't think Dolly would like living with a fuzzy Vandagyre, away from his house and all his other toys.
The other two Vandagyres watched while Big Vandagyre put on his bib and withdrew a knife and fork from his pocket.
"I'll eat this whole house," said Big Vandagyre. "Just you watch!"
Big Vandagyre pulled off a corner of the front door of the house made from chips. He gulped it down smiling, and went back for more.
Eventually, Big Vandagyre started to get bigger - just a little bit bigger at first. But after a few more fork-fulls of chips, he grew to the size of a large snowball - and he was every bit as round.
"Erm... I don't feel too good," said Big Vandagyre.
Suddenly, he started to roll. He'd grown so round that he could no longer balance!
"Help!" he cried, as he rolled off down a slope into the forest.
Big Vandagyre never finished eating the front door made from chips and Dolly remained trapped in the witch's cage.
Average Vandagyre stepped up, and approached the house made from chocolates.
"I'll eat this whole house," said Average Vandagyre. "Just you watch!"
Average Vandagyre pulled off a corner of the front door of the house made from chocolates. She gulped it down smiling, and went back for more.
After a while, Average Vandagyre started to look a little queasy. She grew greener...
A woodcutter walked into the clearing. "What's this bush doing here?" he asked.
"I'm not a bush, I'm a Vandagyre!" said Average Vandagyre.
"It talks!" exclaimed the woodcutter. "Those talking bushes are the worst kind. I'd better take it away before somebody gets hurt."
"No! Wait!" cried Average Vandagyre, as the woodcutter picked her up. But the woodcutter ignored her cries and carried the Vandagyre away under his arm.
Average Vandagyre never finished eating the front door made from chocolates and Dolly remained trapped in the witch's cage.
Little Vandagyre stepped up, and approached the house made from fruit gums.
"I'll eat this whole house," said Little Vandagyre. "Just you watch!"
Little Vandagyre pulled off a corner of the front door of the house made from fruit gums. He gulped it down smiling, and went back for more.
After five or six platefuls, Little Vandagyre started to fidget uncomfortably on the spot.
He stopped eating fruit gums for a moment, then grabbed another forkful.
But before he could eat it, there came an almighty roar. A bottom burp louder than a rocket taking off, propelled Little Vandagyre into the sky.
"Aggghhhhhh!" cried Little Vandagyre. "I'm scared of heigh..."
Little Vandagyre was never seen again.
Little Vandagyre never finished eating the front door made from fruit gums and Dolly remained trapped in the witch's cage.
"That's it," said the witch. "I win. I get to keep Dolly."
"Not so fast," said Mars. "There is still one front door to go. The front door of the house made from peas. And I haven't had a turn yet.
"I don't have to give you a turn!" laughed the witch. "My game. My rules."
The woodcutter's voice carried through the forest. "I think you should give him a chance. It's only fair."
"Fine," said the witch. "But you saw what happened to the Vandagyres. He won't last long."
"I'll be right back," said Mars.
"What?" said the witch. "Where's your sense of impatience? I thought you wanted Dolly back."
Mars ignored the witch and gathered a hefty pile of sticks. He came back to the clearing and started a small camp fire. Carefully, he broke off a piece of the door of the house made from peas and toasted it over the fire. Once it had cooked and cooled just a little, he took a bite. He quickly devoured the whole piece.
Mars sat down on a nearby log.
"You fail!" cackled the witch. "You were supposed to eat the whole door."
"I haven't finished," explained Mars. "I am just waiting for my food to go down."
When Mars's food had digested, he broke off another piece of the door made from peas. Once more, he toasted his food over the fire and waited for it to cool just a little. He ate it at a leisurely pace then waited for it to digest.
Eventually, after several sittings, Mars was down to the final piece of the door made from peas. Carefully, he toasted it and allowed it to cool just a little. He finished his final course. Mars had eaten the entire front door of the house made from peas.
The witch stamped her foot angrily. "You must have tricked me!" she said. "I don't reward cheating!"
"I don't think so!" said a voice. It was the woodcutter. He walked back into the clearing, carrying his axe. "This little boy won fair and square. Now hand over Dolly or I will chop your broomstick in half."
The witch looked horrified. She grabbed her broomstick and placed it behind her. Then, huffing, she opened the door of the cage.
Mars hurried over and grabbed Dolly, checking that his favourite toy was all right. Fortunately, Dolly was unharmed.
Mars thanked the woodcutter, grabbed a quick souvenir, and hurried on to meet Ruby. It was starting to get dark.
When Mars got to Ruby's house, his cousin threw his arms around him.
"I was so worried!" cried Ruby. "You are very late."
As Mars described his day, he could tell that Ruby didn't believe him. So he grabbed a napkin from his pocket.
"What's that?" asked Ruby.
Mars unwrapped a doorknob made from chips. "Pudding!" he said.
Ruby almost fell off his chair.