The Fourth Story of.......
Two Surprising Visitors
Jake and his Grandma are having tea at the table in the kitchen of his house. Today is not a normal day because Grandma has already had two cups of tea from the brown pot and is ready to play with him, but he is the one being slow. When he’d opened his lunch box almost all of his lunch was still there!
‘What did you eat at nursery, Jake?’
‘Come on, you must know?’
Jake looks into his almost full box. ‘I ate the raisins.’
‘Well that’s not much. Didn’t you like what Mummy put in?’
‘I just wasn’t hungry.’
‘Are you hungry now?’
Jake takes out everything in his box. He nibbles an egg sandwich and puts it aside. He turns the orange carrot, the red apple, and the yellow banana over and over. Then he sighs.
‘I think I could eat a Jam sandwich, Grandma. If you cut the crusts off.’
‘The crusts are the best parts!’
‘That’s what Daddy says, but I don’t like them… a strawberry jam sandwich, Grandma, pleeease.’
He makes big eyes at her.
‘Okay, if you first eat the carrot and two quarters of the apple I’ll cut for you, afterwards I’ll make you a jam sandwich.’
‘With the crusts cut off?’
But Jake is taking so long to chomp his way through the carrot and the apple that Grandma decides to tell him a story while he eats.
You can listen with him....
It was just after lunch at Jake’s nursery when the children heard a knocking on the window overlooking the street. Two small black dogs, one larger than the other, were peering into the classroom, tapping with their paws to be let in. They looked so sweet out there with their silky ears and soft fur and kind brown eyes. ‘Oh let them in please,’ they begged their head teacher, Natasha, who went to the door to talk to the dogs.
‘Hello. Who are you, and why do you want to come into our classroom?’
The dogs replied –‘ um – um’ – and wagged their tails, which in doggy language meant that they belonged to Jake’s Grandma and they wanted to come in because it looked so friendly inside that they would like to be with the children until it was going-home time.
Natasha asked Jake if he really did know these dogs, and when he said he did, Natasha agreed to let the dogs in.
The older was smaller and chunkier than the other with shorter legs. He was called Drummer. The other one, Munro, though younger, was taller with longer legs. He looked like a little wild pony.
Drummer, was wearing a satchel on one side of his body, which is something you don’t often see with dogs. He was carrying something in it, because it was bulging and they were all curious as to what it was.
They didn’t have to wait long. Drummer asked Munro to help him open the clasp (which he did with his paws and his mouth) and inside were the most delicious chocolate somethings you have ever seen. At first the children thought they were Easter Eggs but Easter had come and gone – no the chocolates were shaped like something to do with summer. Which was... What do you like to eat in summer? Yes, strawberries! Munro passed them round and the children unwrapped their wrappers and put the papers in the bin and put the chocolates in their mouths. They were delicious!
Then Drummer said – not in dog language but surprisingly in human language – ‘Now we all know chocolates are delicious – right? But I happen to know there are some foods that certain children like Jake won’t touch. He remembers from when he was little that he hates them and is quite sure he hates them still. And it is probably true for a lot of you – yes – that there are foods you don’t like? So let’s see – what we are going to do first is make a heap of the foods you don’t like. I have a hat, you see, and we can put them in it. So Jake, can you think of a food you are sure you don’t like?
‘Mmm is it bread with seeds in it? That’s a start - in the hat it goes. Now can any one else think of a food you don’t like and won’t even try anymore? All in the hat. Now what I’m going to do is wave a magic wand over them – except I have forgotten my magic wand so has anyone got anything I can use?’
Little Karen goes pink with excitement. She has brought a fairy wand to nursery that morning and she runs to get it from her bag. Munro is delighted!
‘Right here we go, let’s all say the spell together:
- nutritious, delicious, nutritious delicious - whoosh!
Shall we see if it’s worked?’
Jake is first to go. He reaches his hand down into the hat. Like this, and pulls up some seeded bread, and what does he find? It must be magic bread because it tastes a bit like bread and a bit like chocolate and – he runs his tongue over the seeds – and yes they are crunchy and delicious, and then next comes Ben, who hated carrots – and the same thing.
And then up comes Leroy who hated celery.
And someone else now wants the hat sent round to her and it’s Zara who hated apples, but these are so sweet, so chocolaty and appley she can imagine that she ever didn’t like them.
How can this be? It must be the magic working, which makes everything delicious. But when they get home, if they tried there, wouldn’t all the things they were SURE they didn’t like be just as nasty as ever? What do you think?
Munro, who has let Drummer do all the talking so far, now pipes up,
‘It’s a secret. Some children don’t know it, but your taste never stays the same. As you grow you like more and more things. A yellow cob of corn or a white piece of fish, a cream knob of goat’s cheese might seem horrible to you. But when a few of your baby teeth have fallen out and you can feel the tops of the new ones coming through your gums, and when you notice you’re taller than you used to be and need another size in your shoes, then it is worth have another try at the food you thought you hated. Because NOTHING STAYS THE SAME. And as you get older you go on adding to those things you like till there are more and more. Till hundreds and bundles of things taste just as delicious as the chocolates strawberries we brought for you. So every now and again it’s worth checking –‘
‘Well, goodness me!’ said Natasha, ‘thank you VERY much, dogs, that was most interesting.’
Drummer and Munro sat quietly between the children (the nearest of whom patted them) while Natasha read everyone a story before going home time. And sometimes the children looked quickly at the window to see if their parents or grandparents or aunties were there waiting on the pavement for them.
And that's the end of my story said Grandma ......
‘But Grandma,’ says Jake, licking a last trace of strawberry jam from his fingers and finding that the food has given him bags of new energy (that is what food does inside our bodies), ‘Grandma is isn’t the end because –
how come Drummer and Munro came to our nursery without you? Did you lose them, Grandma?’ he says to her sternly.
He is getting up from the table, running around…thinking. ‘How come you lost them?’
‘Well you see, before I collected you, I went to see my friend Margaret, you remember her. And as you know it’s very hot today, too hot for the dogs to be in a sunny garden with us. So I left them inside which was cooler. The problem was, someone had left the sitting-room window open which I didn’t notice.
‘That was bad!’
‘I’m afraid it was. But they were naughty because they jumped out and I had no idea where they had gone.’
Jake is circling around Grandma. ‘When you found out they had gone did you cry?’
‘Yes, I did.’
‘Boo hoo hoo,’ Grandma says loudly. Jake is smiling. ‘Oh dear, Grandma shall I get you a handkerchief?’
‘Make that noise again.’
‘Boo hoo. Boo Hoo-hoo!’
‘Then what happened next?’
‘We looked everywhere, in the house, down the street, down every street around, calling till I was hoarse. Then I decided to go to the police.’
‘Did you go by car?’
‘Let’s go by car now. You remember how I make a car? And I drive this time because you are too crying to drive.’
They get out the four large cushions. Jake finds a plastic hoop from one of his games to use as a steering wheel. They are just about to set off when he jumps up. ‘Hang on, Grandma’ He rushes to the bookcase, draws out a big book and drops it into her lap. ‘This is the map to tell us where the police station is. You read it.’
Grandma says between her tears. ‘hurry, hurry, hurry…’
‘Wait a moment Grandma, we have to, have to – ’ He is out of the car again. He runs over to his toys.
‘What are you looking for, now…?’
‘Wait, wait, wait… won’t be long Grandma…’ He rifles through his toys, turning boxes upside down, drawers inside out… ‘I know I’ve seen, I have seen…ah! Here it is.’ He comes back with a bicycle bell. ‘You take this and ring it, Grandma. If we’re going to go fast we have to ring a bell to tell people we’re coming. Like we’re a fire engine.’
So, Jake drives and Grandma rings the bell and he is such a good driver that before long (using directions Grandma reads from the book) they are at the police station.
‘What now Jake?’
‘I want to be the policeman. You get out and be very very sad. Alright, Grandma? I’m just going to get my police helmet on.’
Grandma gets up from the cushions (with a little difficulty!), she goes into the station where a policeman in a fine helmet is standing by a desk. He presses a bell. ‘Next one in, please.’
Grandma steps up close. ‘Oh, Mr Policeman I hope you are going to be able to help me, you see I have come up to London for the day, to see Jake my grandson, and a terrible thing has happened, my two dogs who don’t know London at all, jumped out of the window of my friend’s house while we were eating lunch in the garden and ran away.’
‘I see.’ Jake looks serious. He’s now found a moustache to put on his lip which makes him look even more serious. (He whispers, ‘I think you should cry some more, Grandma.’)
So Grandma does and through her tears she says, ‘Can you help at all, I’ve no idea where they’ve got to.’
‘Well we haven’t had any lost dogs here, I’m sorry.’
‘If anyone brings them in, will you let me know, I’ll give you my telephone number.’
Jake takes it. He scratches his head thinking. ‘What do your dogs like doing?’
‘Let me see – they like running in a park without a lead, they like finding dropped ice cream or crisps on the pavement (that’s very naughty), they like cool water on a day like this if they can find it… they like being with us.’
‘They like Jake,’ says the policeman.
‘They very much like Jake but he is at nursery-school. Maybe they will be in one of the parks…I’ll go on searching.’
‘I could come with you, for a bit?’
‘Oh that would be most kind. Four eyes are always better than two,’
‘And I’ll take my whistle,’ says the policeman, ‘to whistle for them.’
Grandma and the policeman go from park to park. They whistle and shout and ask everyone they meet if they’d seen two little black dogs who have run away. But nobody has.
(We know where they are, don’t we? But poor Grandma has no idea!)
The policeman says he’s wanted back at the police station. He shakes Grandma’s hand and says he hopes she finds them soon.
She says she hopes so too, because they are really lovely dogs, although a bit naughty. She thanks him for trying to help her.
She sees it is time to pick up Jake and very sadly sets off for the nursery without them.
‘You must look sad, Grandma.’
Grandma pulls a long face. ‘Is this sad enough?’
‘Now wait, wait here…shut your eyes…’
Jake fetches the two little toy dogs. He sets them down at the far end of the sitting-room behind a chair. ‘You can open your eyes and come over here.’
Grandma walks to the far end of the room, pretending up the street with the nursery in it. Jake comes out from behind the chair, pretending it is the door to the nursery. And right behind him are the two little black dogs...
Grandma is so pleased to see them, she even forgets to be cross and gives them a big stroke. But she does tell them, ‘Now don’t ever do that again, not without me…’ And this gives Jake another idea.
‘Grandma, can the real Munro and Drummer come to the nursery with you to meet me next time? Pleeease?’
Do you think they do?
Tips of More Things To Do To S-t-r-e-t-c-h Your Mind
When you eat food your digestive system breaks it down into small pieces which are then absorbed by your body. Eating food and drinking water helps us get energy and also to grow. Some foods are especially good at doing this, like: Bananas. Apples, Eggs, Fish, Brown rice…. You could get Mummy or Daddy to help you add to this list.
You could make your own magic food, using all sorts of things in the kitchen that your Mummy or Daddy lets you have (you must ask them) and then stirring it all together in a pot with your own special spell.
You could think of the places you usually go to (school, the shops, the playground, a friend’s house…) and use building blocks, railway tracks, or any of your toys to make roads to them on the floor. Then jump in your pretend car, or onto your pretend bike, and go and visit…
You could make some more drawings to send to me from the story and the game Jake played.