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The Wingless Fairy Series Book 4: Rebecca and the Missing Heir by Margaret Pearce (Mid-Grade Reader/Fantasy)

The Wingless Fairy Series Book 4: Rebecca and the Missing Heir by Margaret Pearce (Mid-Grade Reader/Fantasy)
 
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When Lejon, a dwarf friend of George, is invited for dinner but doesn't arrive, two royal dwarf guards accuse George of stealing and betraying Lejon, their royal heir. In return they steal Willyum, threatening to keep him until George returns Lejon.

Rebecca discovers there is treachery among the dwarves. She, her owl, George and Billy the house goblin use the dangerous underground streams in their race to reach the ogres who have imprisoned the missing heir.

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The Wingless Fairy Series Book 4: Rebecca and the Missing Heir by Margaret Pearce (Mid-Grade Reader/Fantasy)
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Sample Chapter

Chapter One

Rebecca was almost bad-tempered. It was Saturday morning. Billy the smaller goblin had helped her reset and light the fire, bring up water from the well and milk the cow and the two goats. Golly the other goblin was missing. Where was he?

They had just stepped into the hen house to collect the eggs. The hens were flapping around and screeching. Golly suddenly arrived and had to yell to be heard.

"Hey Princess, have you heard? We're going to the circus!"

"I know. George's got free tickets," Rebecca said crossly.

She was worried. Why were the hens so upset? Where was Umby, the best layer in the shed?

"Taken, taken, taken," the hens kept screeching.

"A thief?" Rebecca asked.

She could usually understand the speech of animals and birds because she was an ex fairy, but hens were so silly and now they were upset they were even sillier and harder to understand.

"A thief, a thief, a thief," the hens screeched.

"Who?" Golly demanded.

"Who, who, who," the hens screeched.

"If you were here like you were supposed to be this wouldn't have happened," the white owl perched on Rebecca's shoulder accused.

"So where were you, old stiff rump?" Golly snapped back.

"Be thankful I was protecting my family as I should be," the owl hooted down at Golly.

"Do be quiet," Rebecca ordered. "I won't get any sense out of them."

The smaller goblin, Billy, had slipped out of the hen house. He came staggering in with a small bag of grain. "Maybe they might settle once they've had something to eat," he suggested.

"Sensible Billy," Rebecca praised.

She waited. After a while the hens stopped screeching and started clucking. Then they settled to pecking at the grain. Rebecca waited until they were calm again.

"Poor Umby got stolen by someone who opened the door," she said.

"It opened the door," the hens clucked.

"It wasn't Rebecca?" Rebecca asked.

"It wasn't Rebecca," the hens clucked.

"It wasn't George?" Rebecca asked.

"It wasn't George," the hens clucked.

"It wasn't Miranda?" Rebecca asked.

"It wasn't Miranda," the hens clucked.

"Come on, Princess," Golly whispered. "You gonna name the entire district? The hens don't know anybody except us."

"Was it as tall as George?" Rebecca asked.

"No," clucked the hens.

"Was it as tall as Rebecca?" Rebecca asked.

"Maybe, maybe," the hens clucked.

"So some kid has been in here thieving chooks," Golly said.

Rebecca ignored him. "Was it the same shape as Rebecca?"

"No, no, no," clucked the hens.

"So what was it shaped like?" Rebecca asked.

"The door, the door, the door," the hens clucked.

Rebecca went out and closed and bolted the door carefully after her. "Something nearly my height and wide as a door."

"There's no such thing," Billy said. "An ogre is as wide as a door but much bigger. Hobgoblins are shaped just like goblins."

"Gotcha," Golly said as he pounced down behind a bush. "Thieving our chickens are you?"

Billy jumped after him. Rebecca stepped off the path and peered down to where the two goblins had a fox by the tail.

"Never had the chance," the fox snarled, as it swung around to try and bite the two goblins.

"Would you like an egg?" Rebecca asked nicely.

The fox stopped struggling and grinned widely. "You've got better manners than your servants, Princess."

Rebecca took an egg out of the basket and held it close to the fox's muzzle. "Who stole our hen?"

"They call it living off the land, not stealing," the fox said.

"They?" Rebecca asked.

"Two dwarves," the fox said as it closed its mouth carefully around the egg.

"Dwarves!" Golly said letting go the fox's tail. "I haven't noticed any around."

"Because they have lots of burrows underground," the fox said through the egg. Billy let go of the tail as well and the fox slid off.

"Dwarves!" Rebecca repeated. "I've heard that dwarves are very honest."

"Rotten eggs in all nests," Golly said.

"I'd better tell George that someone has thieved our best layer," Rebecca said with a sigh.

"Only not who," Golly warned. "George can't know you talk to animals."


Chapter Two

Rebecca ran back to the cottage with the eggs, her owl flying beside her. The goblins skittered at her heels. The smell of bread toasting and porridge cooking met her.

"Tell you what, Princess," Golly whispered. "Maybe you can leave us out some of that toast and blackberry jam."

"Someone has stolen one of our hens," Rebecca burst out as she went inside.

"The Friton's lost a lamb and everyone has lost something from their vegetable gardens," George worried. "Yet no one has seen any strangers around."

George, her father, had arrived back from his work at the mines in time for the spring ploughing and planting. He hadn't stopped working since he had arrived home. Rebecca had tried to help him as much as possible. First he had repaired the thatch, made Willyum a bigger playpen and then fixed everything else that had broken during his absence.

"What about the circus people?" Rebecca asked.

"They only arrived last night and they pay for what they want," George replied. "Just the one matinee this afternoon and then they leave again."

After lunch George harnessed old Sally, their horse, and they set off. Miranda sat beside George holding Willyum, and Rebecca sat in the back with her white owl Lord Be Thankful perched on her shoulder. The two goblins, always unnoticed by George and Miranda climbed into the back with Rebecca.

Everyone in the district had arrived to see the circus, and everyone was talking about the thieving.

"We've lost another baby lamb," Rebecca's friend Tam reported.

He and his sister Janine had arrived in their smart buggy with their mother and father. Their three aunts Misses Milly, Molly and Mandy stood by their buggy putting a feed bag on their horse's nose.

The riverbank was transformed. A big striped tent was up in the flattest area. On one side was a circle of caravans. A herd of the big powerful horses that pulled the caravans and cages were tethered close by. There were cages of small monkeys pulling faces at the watching children. Children clustered around a group of Shetland ponies, patting and feeding them with grass.

George produced a feed bag for Sally, helped Miranda down and carried Willyum and headed towards the big tent. Rebecca followed with the two goblins skittering beside her.

They passed an elephant tethered to a tree trunk by a chain on its back leg. Some boys were trying to feed it hay from the opened bale beside it. The elephant's trunk swung gently backwards and forwards. Even as they watched, the trunk swung higher to knock two boys off their feet and then as it swung back sent another boy flying through the air. For a few seconds the air seemed full of boys flying through the air.

"Baby!" a voice roared behind the elephant. It was a very loud voice. "You being naughty again?"

"Some baby!" Golly whispered to Rebecca. "Look at the size of it!"

"Was an accident," the elephant muttered in a high pitched little girl voice. "Didn't mean it."

"It's a little girl," Rebecca whispered.

"If that's little," Billy said in an awed tone. "The grown up ones must be the size of mountains."

"It's very naughty of you to flip those boys away," the loud voice roared. "They were trying to be nice to you."

"Didn't mean it," the elephant fluted, shifting on its four big feet and putting its trunk in its mouth and sucking it like a baby sucks its thumb.

The owner of the loud voice came around the elephant. The loud voice belonged to a man the same height as Rebecca. He was very wide all the way down. He was almost as wide as a door.

"A dwarf!" Rebecca exclaimed in shock. Was he the thief? Why would he thieve when the circus paid for anything they needed?

"My friend Lejon," George said. "My wife Miranda, my daughter Rebecca and my son Willyum."

"I didn't mean to be rude," Rebecca apologized. "I have never met a dwarf before."

"And I've never met a Rebecca before," Lejon said.

He grinned. Rebecca grinned back deciding she liked him. Under the hairy brown eyebrows were nice smiling eyes. The rest of his face was hidden by a very bushy beard and moustache.

He turned around. "Ben!" he called.

A tall thin man hurried up. "Sorry Lejon," he said. "I had to check out the clown costumes for a minute and she was being so good I thought it would be alright."

"Ben is taking over looking after Baby," Lejon explained. "I'm leaving?"

"You've been a bad girl," Ben scolded the elephant. "And you're first act." He unlocked the chain around her leg, pulled her trunk out of her mouth and led her away.

"Going home?" George asked.

"This is my last performance, and the closest the circus can drop me near my home," Lejon explained looking at the mountains in the distance.

"So drop in for dinner," George invited. "We're the last farm before the start of the hills."

"About sunset," Lejon promised. "I'll stay to help the circus pack up before I leave."

A bell rang. A boy by the tent waited importantly for tickets.

"That's it," Lejon said. "Show about to start. Enjoy."

He hurried away. Everyone moved into the tent, handing over their tickets. George and Miranda and Rebecca had ringside seats. After everyone was seated, there was a blare of trumpets. There was an answering blare of a trumpet from outside the tent. Baby the elephant walked in with Ben beside her. The trumpets blared again. Baby raised her trunk and trumpeted back again.

Everyone clapped. Baby waved her trunk at the audience. All the children waved back. The circus acts went on and on. The small Shetland ponies raced in, each with a monkey rider and trotted around the ring. Then the performing dogs came in. In between all the acts were the clowns.

Lejon dressed in clown costume juggled balls, sticks and then oranges. He winked at Rebecca as he finished the act by throwing oranges to all the children watching.

At the finish was the trapeze act. Three people dressed in silver swung and dived and flew between the trapezes. After that was the grand parade of all the performers and then the afternoon was over.

"That was so wonderful," Rebecca said they left.

"Must be wonderful to belong to a circus," Billy the small goblin said with a sigh.

"Except goblins belong on their own patch of earth," Golly said.

Rebecca looked back. Baby the elephant plodded around pulling at ropes so that the big striped tent deflated like a balloon. Men collapsed and stacked seats into a caravan. Horses were being harnessed up to caravans and cages.

"It's so exciting that Lejon is coming in for dinner," Rebecca said. "Where did you meet him, George?"

What Rebecca really wanted to ask was whether the nice dwarf Lejon was a thief, but she wasn't game to.

"We worked together at the mines," George replied.

Miranda and Rebecca made a rich stew, and then Miranda baked an apple pie in the special iron box they cooked the bread in. Rebecca set the table with the extra place. They waited, but Lejon didn't arrive.

They had their dinner and waited some more, but Lejon didn't arrive. Willyum was bathed and put to bed, but Lejon didn't arrive. Rebecca had her wash, changed into her nightie and Miranda read her a story, but Lejon still didn't arrive.

"Perhaps he decided against dropping in," George said at last. "Off to bed, Rebecca. He won't turn up at this hour of night."

Rebecca climbed up into her bed under the thatched roof. Golly and Billy followed her up.

"He was only going to stay until the circus was packed up," Golly said. "It was practically packed up before we left the river bank."

"It's not that far to walk," Billy said. "He had plenty of time to arrive by sunset."

"So why didn't he drop in?" Rebecca asked. "Maybe he had an accident."

"Be thankful I can find out what has happened," the owl said as it flew out the open window.

"Maybe he kept on going straight to the mountains with those other two dwarves?" Golly suggested.

"Maybe," Rebecca agreed.

Rebecca had fallen asleep by the time the owl had returned. The owl woke her by tugging at her plait.

"I checked with all the other owls. No one has seen him or the other two dwarves since the circus folded up and left."

"So where is he?" Rebecca asked.

"Well he isn't walking towards the mountains," her owl reported. "And he didn't leave with the circus. He's just disappeared!"

"It's very odd, but really nothing to do with us," Rebecca decided, and rolled over and went back to sleep.

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