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Authors: The Folk of the Faraway Tree

Enid Blyton (2 page)

 

II

UP THE FARAWAY TREE

 

The next day was bright and sunny. Connie woke
up feeling rather excited. She was away from
home, staying in the country—
she had three play-mates instead of being an only child

and they had
promised to take her up the Faraway Tree!

"Even if I don

t believe in it, it will be fun to
see what they think it is," she said to herself.
"I hope we have a good time, and a nice tea."

The children usually had to do some kind of
work in the mornings, even though it was holidays. The girls had to help their mother, and
Jo
had to work in the garden. There was a good deal
to do there, for there had been some rain, and the
weeds
had come up by the hundred.

Connie didn

t very much like having to help to
make the beds, but the children

s mother was
quite firm with her.

"You will do just the same as the others," she
said. "And don

t pout like that, Connie. I don

t
like it. It makes you look really ugly."

Connie was not used to being spoken to like
this. Her mother had always fussed round her and
spoilt her, and she had been the one and only
child in the house. Now she was one of four, and
things
were very different.

"Cheer up
!
" said Bessie, seeing tears in Connie

s
eyes. "Don

t be a spoilt baby! Think of our treat
this afternoon
!"

Connie sniffed. "Funny sort of treat!" she
said, but all the same she did cheer up.

When three o

clock came Mother said the chil
dren might go. “It will
take you some time to get
up the Tree, I am sure, if you are going to show
Connie everything," she said. "And please don

t
let
her get wet with Dame Washalot

s water,
will you?"

Connie looked up in astonishment. "Dame
Washalot

s water!" she said. "Whatever do you
mean?"

Bessie giggled. "There

s an old woman who
lives up the Tree, who is always washing," she
said. "She simply adores washing, and when she
has finished s
he tips up her wash-tub, and the
soapy water comes sloshing down the tree. You
have to look out for it."

"I don

t believe a word of it!" said Connie, and
she didn

t. "Doing washing up a tree! It sounds
quite mad to me."

"Let

s go now," said Bessie, "or we shan

t be
at Moon-Face

s by four o

clock."

"I must go and change into a pretty frock,"
said Co
nnie.

"No, don

t," said Fanny. "Go as you are. We
don

t change into decent clothes when we go up
the Tree."

"What—go out to tea in ordinary clothes!"
cried Connie. "I just couldn

t!" And off she went
to put on a dainty white frock.

They all went to
the edge of the wood. There
was a ditch there. "
Jump over this—and yo
u

re
in the Enchanted Wood!"
s
aid Bessie.

They all jumped, Connie too.
As soon as she
was across the ditch, and heard the trees whispering "wisha, wisha, wisha," as they always did in
the Enchanted Wood, Connie felt different. She
felt excited and wondering and happy. She felt
as if there was magic about—a
l
though she didn

t
believe in magic! It was a simply lovely feeling.

They wen
t through the wood, and came to
an
enormous tree, with a tremendously thick and
knotted trunk. Connie gazed up into the branches.
"Goodness!" she said. "I

ve never seen such a
tree in my life! Is this the Enchanted Tree? How
marvellous
!"

"Yes," said
Jo
, en
jo
ying Connie

s surprise.
"And at the top, as we told you, there is a different
land every week. I don

t know what land there is
now. We don

t always go. Sometimes the Lands
aren

t very nice.
Once there was the Land of Bad
Temper. That was horrid. And a little while ago
there was the Land of Smacks. We didn

t go there,
you can guess! We asked our friends Silky and
Moon-Face what it was like, and they said they
didn

t know either, but they could hear slaps and
smacks going on like pistol-shots all the time!"

"Gracious!" said Connie, alarmed. "I wouldn

t
like to go to a Land like that. Although, of course,"
she added quickly, "I don

t believe in such a
thing."

"Of course you don

t," said
Jo
, with a grin.
"You don

t believe in the Faraway Tree either,
do you?—
and yet you are going to climb it. Come
on—up we go!”

They swung themselves up on the lower
branches. It was a very easy tree to climb. The
branches were broad and strong, and so many little
folk walked up and down the Tree all day long
that little paths had been worn on the broad
boughs.

"What sort of a tree is it?" said Connie. "It
looks like
a cherry-tree to me. Oh look!—
there are
some ripe cherries

just out of my reach, though.
Never mind, I

l
l
pick some farther up."

"Better pick them now, or you may find the
tree is growing walnuts a bit higher up," said
Bessie, laughing. "It

s a magic tree, you know.
It grows all kinds
of different things at any time
!"

Sure enough, when Connie looked for ripe
cherries a little way up, she found, to her surprise, that the Tree was now growing horse-chestnut leaves and had prickly cases of conkers!
She was surprised and disappointed—and very
puzzled. Could it really be a magic tree, then?

Soon they met all kinds of little folk coming
down the tree. There were brownies and pixies,
a goblin or two, a few rabbits and one or two
squirrels. It was odd to see a rabbit up a tree.
Connie blinked her eyes to see if she really was
looking at rabbits up a tree, but there was no doubt
about it; she was. The funny thing was, they were
dressed in clothes, too. That was odder than ever.

"Do people live in this Tree?" asked Connie,
in astonishment, as they came to a little window
let in the big trunk.

"Oh yes—lots of them," said
Jo
. "But don

t go
peeping into that window, now, Connie. The
Angry Pixie lives inside the little house there,
and he does hate people to peep."

"All right, I won

t peep," said Connie, who
was very curious indeed to know what the little
house looked like. She meant to peep, of course.
She was far too inquisitive a little girl not to do
a bit of prying, if she had the chance!

"My shoe-lace has come undone," she called to
the others. "You go on ahead. I

ll follow."

"I be
t she wants to peep," whispered Jo
to
Bessie, with a grin. "Come on! Let her
!
"

They went on to a higher branch. Connie pretended to fiddle about with her shoe, and then,
when she saw that the others were a little way up,
s
he climbed quickly over to the little window.

She peeped inside. Oh, what fun! Oh, how
lovely! There was a proper little room inside the
tree, with a bed and a chair and a table. Sitting
w
riting at the table was the Angry Pixie, his
g
lasses on his nose. He had an enormous ink-pot
of
ink, and a very small pen, and his fingers were
s
tained with the purple ink.

Connie

s shadow at the window made him look
up. He saw the little girl there, peeping, and he
flew into one of his rages. He shot to his feet,
pi
cked up the enormous ink-pot and rushed to his
w
indow. He opened it and yelled loudly:

"Peeping again! Everybody peeps in at my
w
indow, everybody! I won

t
have it! I really won

t
ha
ve it."

He emptied the ink-pot all over the alarmed
Connie. The ink fell in big spots on her frock,
an
d on her cheek and hands. She was in a terrible
m
ess.

"Oh! Oh! You wicked fellow!" she cried.
"
Look what you

ve done to me."

"Well, you shoul
dn

t peep," cried the Angry
P
ixie, still in a rage. "Now I can

t finish my
le
tter. I

ve no more ink! You bad girl! You horrid
peeper!"

"
Jo
! Bessie! Come and help me!" sobbed
Connie, crying t
ears of rage and grief down her
ink-smudged cheeks.

The Angry Pixie suddenly looked surprised and
a little ashamed. "Oh—are you
a friend of
Jo

s?"
he asked. "W
hy didn

t you say so? I would have
shouted at you for
peeping, but I wouldn

t have
thrown ink at you. Really I wouldn

t.
Jo
should
have warned you not to peep."

"I did," said Jo
, appearing at the window, too.
"It

s he
r own fault. My, you do look a
mess,
Connie. Come on! We shall never be at Moon-
Face

s by four o

clock."

Wiping away her tears, Connie followed the
others up the tree. They came to another window,
and this tim
e the three children looked in—
but
Connie wouldn

t. "No, thank you," she said;
"I

m not going to have things thrown at me again.
I think the people who live here are horrid."

"You needn

t be afraid of peeping in at
this
window," said
Jo
. "The owl lives here and he
always sleeps in the day-time, so he never sees
people peeping in. He

s a great friend of Silky
the pixie. Do look at him lying asleep on his
bed. That red night-cap he

s got on was knitted
for him by Silky. Doesn

t he look nice in it?"

But Connie wouldn

t look in. She was angry
and sulky. She went on up the tree by herself.
Jo
suddenly heard a sound he knew very well, and
he yelled loudly to Connie:

"Hi, Connie, Connie, look out! I can hear Dame
Washalot

s water coming down the tree. LOOK
OUT!"

Connie was just about to answer that she didn

t
believe in Dame Washalot, or her silly water,
when a perfect cascade of dirty, soapy water came
splashing down the Faraway Tree! It fell all over
poor Connie, and soaked her from head to foot!
Some of the suds stayed in
her hair, and she looked
a dreadful sight.

The others had all ducked under broad boughs
as soon as they heard the water coming, and they
hadn

t even a drop on them.
Jo
began to laugh
when he saw Connie. The little girl burst into
tears again.

"Let me go home, let me go home!" she wept.
"I hate your Faraway Tree. I hate all the people
in it! Let me go home
!"

A silvery voice called down the Tree. "Who is
in trouble? Come up and I

ll help you
!
"

"It

s dear little Silky!" said Bessie. "Come on,
C
onnie. She

ll get you dry again
!"

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