How to Live in the City by Hugo Macdonald

Being human is itself difficult, and therefore all kinds of settlements have problems. Big cities have difficulties in abundance, because they have people in abundance. – Jane Jacobs

This book will help guide you through challenges faced in city living. It will help you feel human in an inhuman environment. Daily commutes are unpleasant. However, with increasing populations, infrastructure services are strained to cope with the capacity. There are few books that guide you through city living and how to cope with the hustle and bustle. The author grew up in a rural environment. In the past, I thought London was a dangerous place. Cities tend to be chaotic. The pace of the place can overwhelm you. This book is for anyone that lives in a city. One needs to build a relationship with the city. This relationship must be nurtured and developed. London is my home. The city can have a thrilling effect on people. There is boundless energy about the place. There are times when you need to speed up or slow down. Learn to take responsibility for yourself. There is a growing trend of people living in cities. Money ain’t the only issue for all of your city woes. However, human values and inner peace are far more important. How do you find your place within the city? How do you build relationships with other city dwellers and a relationship with yourself? One of the chapters focuses on work/life balance. How can one give back to the city?

It is a book that seeks to share, through experience, observation and common sense, the potential for our healthy growth as humans living together in an urban environment. – Hugo Macdonald

How to Feel Your City. What does the city feel like? A part of the city can feel like poetry in motion. Shake hands with your city through understanding about about its values. Some buildings might speak to you personally. Stroke the building with your flat palms. Buildings can be responsible for energy and memory. It can be a symbolic gesture. It works better with older buildings. Rome is an especially historical place. It is normal to feel overwhelmed in a city. Sometimes, advertisements and billboards can paint a different view of the city. What does your city stand for? What are some of its qualities? What is your soul made up of? European cities all have rich histories. The American cities might feel more industrial in nature and the Asian cities feel more transient and digital. London is stoic and hard, yet modest and proud. It is important to define what your city represents. Learn to apply EQ in your relationship with the city. Find a spot you like and continue to visit it. Try to find a vantage point where it enables you to feel the heart of the city. For humans, connection to places is important. Connection to space is closely linked to landscape and nature. However, it is possible to love buildings as much as mountains too.

We must free ourselves from our tendencies to see cities as buildings and remember that the real city is made of flesh, not concrete. – Edward Glaeser

Can I be myself here? Feeling settled gives great boosts to our emotional and mental health. Do you feel settled in your neighborhood? Socially fragmented societies lead to many problems. Do you feel like a member in your community? Spend a day at a pub or coffee-shop to observe the environment in your neighborhood. There is a lot of value in passive watching. Street signages say a lot about the city. These might be calls to action but usually are calls to halt. No one likes to feel insignificant or that they don’t matter. Realize that your neighbours can be fun. Slowly, you will grow to love the place. You can talk to the people around you or even sign up for classes/community initiatives. Learn to make a routine. Humans are creatures of habit. Having a routine is important when you are living in a city. It helps one to establish order. There is a beauty and art of slowing down. This helps to generate calm and beauty. Daily rituals can be very important and valuable indeed. However, do not set too inflexible a schedule as well. Sometimes, do something spontaneous. Break your routine in a tactful manner.

Am I missing out? Do you know the latest happenings in the city? Do you feel left out? The fact is that there are too activities happening at once. One needs to be confident in your decision making. There is no need to listen to peer pressure. Plan ahead and plot things in your calendar. Cities can be dangerous as well. Keep to places where there are more people. Exercise common sense and be vigilant to keep yourself safe from trouble. Foster your own feelings of safety. Build connections with others in your neighborhood. The problem with living in cities is the dirty air around us. Use a napkin or tissue when you sneeze. Germs are everywhere in a city. It is important to tolerate the behaviors of others.

Have confidence in your choices: make sure that they reflect who you are, and what you enjoy. Don’t succumb to peer pressure, or let yourself become a wingman in someone else’s experience of city life. – Hugo Macdonald

How to conduct relationships? We are social creatures. What is public? What is private? Learn to master the art of being alone. In a crowded city, your privacy is at risk since others are so close to you. Sometimes, by accident, you might also find out about someone else’s life. The boundaries of what is private and public have slackened much. Surveillance is also a big issue nowadays. There are many CCTVs abound. Cities are about the people. Relationships with the food server or service staff is very important indeed and must not be overlooked. Learn to smile and greet others around you. A good neighborhood is rooted and everyone is warm towards one another. Everybody has a part to play. A neighborhood is basically a collection of stories and places. The fact is that in a modern society, people interact less with one another. Sometimes, this depends on the culture where you are in. Loneliness has repercussions on your health and well-being. If you practice a hobby in the open, chances are that people will notice and start talking and complimenting you. It is important to have friends in the city. You are never too old to make friends. There will definitely be things where you can connect with someone. Learn to connect people socially and professionally. However, do not give all your time away. Daily city life is exhausting. Be there for your friends. You need to feed your friendship in order for it to grow. People are too buried in their smart-phones nowadays. We create false personas online and we have difficulty meeting those images of ourselves. Sometimes, it is good to be in a relationship as it can calm you down. One can feel lonely in a crowd. You need to spend time with yourself. Is technology truly a good thing? Are you living your life through your phone? Once in a while, you will find that leaving your phone behind can be a good thing.

It’s about being aware, being alert and taking responsibility for situations. If you find someone lost, ask them if they need help. If you see or sense that someone is in distress, don’t leave it up to someone else to step up – chances are, a hundred others have had the same response before you. Be the rock against the flood. – Hugo Macdonald

Advice on how to make friends: Do things. Join things. Sign up and share parts of your life with others. If you hide yourself and your feelings behind too many projections or personas, you won’t attract playmates that connect with you genuinely are. – Hugo Macdonald

Sign up for something with a friend. And if you meet someone you find interesting, be brave and initiate the offer of a date. It takes two to tango, but it always takes one person to ask another to dance. Don’t sit and wait. – Hugo Macdonald

The most important relationship you must nurture in the city is the one you have with yourself. It is fundamental to your mental, physical, social and emotional well-being. If you don’t work at finding peace with yourself, then it will be extremely difficult to form relationships with others. – Hugo Macdonald

How to be hard and soft. Can we slow down? What is work-life balance? Nowadays, people want to work to live and not live to work. They are more concerned with their work and the contribution to society. More and more people are looking for meaningful work to fill their time. Money and status are not everything nowadays. However, people are working very long hours nowadays. It is crucial to come to terms with your work, your life. The joy is about finding the right balance between work and play. Stress can be contagious in a city environment. However, stress can be channeled into something positive. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Be strong and attractive. Ask for advice from your networks. The key is not to moan at your own current situation and wallow in self-pity. Write down your list of anxieties as that will make you feel better. Ask yourself what small changes you can make to your lifestyle. Take on a new direction of work at your workplace. Write down a plan of how to move forward. Boredom is also another problem people face in their daily lives. Feeling bored means disengaging. However, it can be useful sometimes. The problem with cities is that they can be over-stimulating and this can be exhausting for the individual. These voids of time can be indeed energizing for your body. It is okay to take rest sometimes so as not to allow your body to be physically and mentally burnt out. Learn to have extra-curricular interests. Make time for the things you love doing. Good public spaces make for happier residents. Learn to be engaged and responsive. Talk to people and even consider volunteering in public spaces. It is important to cherish eating out together. Introduce yourself to the world of food. Instead of drinking excessively, look for support groups around you. Take positive steps to take care of your well-being, your mind and your soul.

Experience is simply the name men give to their mistakes. – Oscar Wilde

Learning, mastering and practicing something extra-curricular is an opportunity to explore depth, not skim across the surface. Do something with the intention of getting good at it. Do it because you genuinely want to do it, not because you feel you should or because it’s something to talk about that makes you interesting. – Hugo Macdonald

The rhythm of the street through its daytime ebb and flow was a thing of immense beauty; it is a street that feeds people. It’s primal. It is an ancient rhythm played out in streets in cities throughout history the world over. – Hugo Macdonald

How to Move and Be Still. Are you going the right way? City life is mobile and always on the go. How do you embrace the humdrum of the city? Most people dislike commuting. We feel like cogs in a machine. Sometimes, a longer commute is better as you will get to experience the sights of the city. The key is to be happy during your commute. Get up early and visit your favorite coffee place. Being alert takes practice. Listen to the urban environment and not your phone. Different cultures play a part during your commute. Do not be over-reliant on your phone for the GPS. Not all those who wander are lost. Sometimes, you can find gems when you are lost. Being late is an epidemic. Being early suggests that you are in control of the situation. When you are early, you give yourself time to think and to digest your thoughts. When you are late, you feel stressed and worried. Pavements are the heart of the city. It is possible to read the pavements and the life in them. You must be present in the moment. Be curious and pay close attention to your environment. There is certainly value in how others go about their daily lives. There is a wealth of knowledge in taxi drivers. Be prepared for emergencies by ensuring that you have enough gadgets or accessories with you. Exercise in the city and feel its heartbeat. Never let procrastination get in the way of exercise. You can feel euphoric when cycling.

Think of the history in some of the buildings or streets you pass through. It’s humbling to consider that you are but one life among many that have trod these paths, past and present. Feel the significance in that. Plug yourself into your urban environment, not your phone. – Hugo Macdonald

A commute can also be the perfect opportunity to digest your thoughts. Finding headspace in the city is tough and our commute is a precious daily chunk that we have to ourselves. It helps us to park thoughts, decisions or struggles that require active thinking about and save them for a commute when you can give them focused attention. – Hugo Macdonald

You are never really lost in the city. But feeling lost is a good thing to succumb to occasionally. It encourages us to explore in a way that we don’t often allow ourselves time to do, given that we are so busy and time is so precious. And through exploring, we discover things. – Hugo Macdonald

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps walking, everything will be alright. – Soren Kierkegaard

How to Give Back and Grow. Am I part of the city? We need to be responsible for our city. It is important to see what role you play in your city. Learn to make your voice heard in the city. Keep a routine and then make time for yourself and stay in control. You can give back by starting a book club etc. Find empty spaces and create culture. Consider what your strengths and interests are so that you can determine how best to contribute back to the society. Join a march for a common cause. Terrorism has indeed shocked our shores greatly. We experienced British stoicism in the face of the 2005 bombings in London. Learn to explore your own town and act like a tourist in your own town. Every attraction is rich with history and experiences. We all need breaks once in a while. A day trip is great for recharging. Weekend breaks are more about discovery. Longer holidays are something great to look forward to. Take stock of your achievements and what you want to do in future. Write down your goals/ambitions and ensure you commit to them wholeheartedly. Ultimately, it is important to be human and soak in the city’s vibrancy and life.

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The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Mole had been working hard all morning cleaning his home. It was Spring now. He suddenly left the house in frustration. He digged his way until he was above ground and saw sunlight. Later, he started rolling in the grass in a meadow. He was delighted as he ran to the hedge. An elderly rabbit collected tool for the private road. He was the only idle dog among the busy animals. Later, he reached the edge of a fully fed river. The Mole hadn’t seen a river before and was fascinated by the life in the river. Something caught his eye at the opposite bank. However, that glowing object vanished after a while. It was a brown little face with whiskers. It was the Water Rat. The rat offered him a ride on his blue boat. It was a wonderful day. It was the Mole’s first time in a boat. Later, the boat hit the bank accidentally. The Water Rat wanted to go on a tour. There were plenty of food in their basket they were carrying. The river was brother and sister to the Rat. It was his World. There was a wild woods nearby, which the water rat hadn’t explored. There were animals like squirrels, rabbits, Badger. Nobody bothered the badger. There were also weasels, stoats and foxes, which the rat couldn’t trust. Beyond the wild wood was the wide world, whom none of them have explored. Later, they came upon a mill house. They rested on the grass and started eating. Later, the Otter came out and wanted to share the food with us too. Later, the Badger appeared as well but disappeared soon after. The Toad was out as well. The Toad liked to build new things and wasn’t easily satisfied. The Otter was nowhere to be seen now. The Mole packed the packet. Now, the mole wanted to row as well. The rat didn’t allow him to. Later, the mole seized the sculls from him. The boat capsized and both of them struggled. Later, the rat saved him and hauled him to the bank. The Rat recovered the basket and the boat. The Mole apologized for his actions. The Rat forgave him and offered to teach him how to row and swim. In the night, the rat recounted stories about the river. The Mole managed to pick up some skills which the rat taught him.

After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working. – Kenneth Grahame

Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not. – The Water Rat

What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing. – The Water Rat

Why can’t fellows be allowed to do what they like WHEN they like and AS they like, instead of other fellows sitting on banks and watching them all the time and making remarks and poetry and things about them? – The Water Rat

Glorious, stirring sight! The poetry of motion! The REAL way to travel! The ONLY way to travel! – The Toad

The mole wanted a favour from Ratty. Now, the rat started singing a song he composed called ‘Ducks Ditty’. The mole wanted to make friends with Mr Toad. The toad was a good natured animal. He was also very simple and good-natured. Toad was very rich and he had a Hall. The toad liked to try new stuff in life. He was looking at the map when the rat and the mole found him. He visited the both into his house. The toad had given up on boating long ago. He wanted to channel his time to something more important. He brought them to the stable yard. There, they saw a gipsy caravan. He wanted change, travel and excitement. The Rat was not pleased as he wanted to boat. The interior was lovely indeed. There was everything inside, and it contained much more than the basket in the boat. The Toad wanted to introduce Rat to the world. The rat flatly rejected him and didn’t want to go. Mole also wanted to stick with rat. However, the travelling did seem tempting. The toad wanted them over for lunch. His motto in life was to live for others. After understanding Mole’s character, the Toad played on that. The Toad eventually managed to convince them to join him. Toad was excited about the trip and kept talking about it. After Toad asked, the rat was not willing to talk about the river as he didn’t want to. The Mole was very sticky and constantly obeyed the rat. Toad also had to do his share of the work. Eventually, they encountered disaster on the trip. They heard a droning sound. It approached them at high speed. It was an animal that made a ‘poop-poop’ sound. It was a bee. The horse panicked and their cart ended up in the ditch. The whole cart was in a wreck now. A motor-car also caused them to have the accident. Rat was angry and wanted to sue the river. The Toad wore a placid satisfied expression. The Toad was in a trance and kept murmuring ‘Poop-poop’. He wanted a motorcar and thought of the wonders it could achieve. The toad was like that, always obsessed over the new craze in town. The rat was pissed at Toad’s behavior as he just sat there and smiled to himself. Now, rat wanted the Toad to go to the nearest police station and report the incident while Rat and Mole wanted to rest. Toad was quite useless and didn’t want to help. Later, they deposited Toad in a waiting room. Later that evening, Toad took a train to town and ordered a large and expensive motor car.

The mole wanted to know the badger as well. Badger hates society in general and wouldn’t go for events. He was very shy. He lives in the Wild Wood. Badger never came and he lived alone in the Wild Wood. The rat started writing poetry as well. It was a pretty day. In the winter, the rat slept a great deal. It was finally June. The Mole wanted to explore the Wild Wood alone. While in the woods, the Mole saw strange faces and imagined things. There were many holes and the faces were intermittent. Deeper in the forest, he heard whistling. Later, the rain started falling. A rabbit ran past him and hid in a friendly burrow. In panic, the mole ran and hit into different objects. Finally he hid under the old beech tree. The rat was at home and dozed by his fireside. He realized that the mole was not there. Now, the rat knew from the tracks that the Mole entered the Wild Wood and he took a pistol and followed in the same direction. The Rat shouted, hoping the Mole could hear him. Finally he managed to find the Mole. The rat explained that it was safe entering the forest if you didn’t know the secret codes. Now, the mole rested before they would go home. Finally, the rat admitted that it was snowing. A fine powder filled the air. They held on to each other. Both of them were heavily fatigued. The snow was getting deeper now. There didn’t seem to be a way out at the moment. Suddenly, the mole tripped and fell. He hurt his leg. The rat offered to help him with his wound. It was a clean cut. The rat found something and yelled Hooray. It was a door scraper. The rat started to scrape the ground. It revealed a door mat. The mole didn’t understand and didn’t see what the big deal was. The rat encouraged the mole to dig as it could be a place where they could find shelter for the night. Later, after scraping, they saw the sign ‘Mr Badger’. The mole now respected the rat’s intelligence. They ran the bell of the house now.

Finally there were footsteps approaching the door. It was Badger. He invited Mole and Rat inside. They found themselves in a kitchen. It was a spotless place. The Badger brought them dressing gowns and slippers. He liked to see ‘I told you so’ or ‘Just what I always said’ in his conversations. Toad was getting from bad to worse. Toad didn’t like to be taught. He was hospitalized after encountering a few accidents but still didn’t learn. Badger said he couldn’t help as it was winter. The rat didn’t want to help him. The rat found the Badger’s house to be oppressive. The next morning, two hedgehogs joined them for breakfast. They were also lost in the snow. One of them was Billy. Badger was in his study that morning. The Otter appeared now. Most animals went to Badger when they were in trouble. The snow had wrecked some havoc back in town. The rabbits were not very helpful animals. Mole was generally very good natured. The hedgehogs were famished. It was good to be underground as no one would disturb you. Weather wouldn’t affect you if you were underground too. Rat had to content with varying weather conditions. Now, Badger showed the Mole around his home. The architecture was amazing, to say the least. The Wild Wood used to be a city filled with humans. Animals soon occupied the abandoned city. The Wild Wood soon became very populated. The rat wanted to leave but the Badger persuaded him to stay. Later, they explored the surroundings.

People come – they stay for a while, they flourish, they build – and they go. It is their way. But we remain. We Badgers are an enduring lot, and we may move out for a time, but we wait, and are patient, and back we come. And so it will ever be. – Badger

The rat, mole and otter were in good spirits now. They found the way that led home. They observed houses and the animal life. Later, they observed a bird in a bird cage. The Rat was leading the way. Mole was caught by an electric wire and got shocked by the experience. It was home, finally. The rat went on ahead but Mole sensed his old home was nearby and wanted to visit it. The rat wanted mole to press on as the snow was getting heavier. Mole was upset but continued and did not think of abandoning Rat. Rat didn’t sense his displeasure and later they rested. Now, the mole started crying and Rat didn’t know how to respond. He related his sorrows about not being able to visit his old home. The rat acknowledged that it was his fault and wanted to go back. However, it was dark and the snow was falling. Despite this, they headed back . The mole started digging and they found a door labelled ‘Mole End’. The sentimental objects were all still intact. The rat started exploring his home and wanted to spend the night here. They started a fire to keep themselves warm. Now, they started foraging for food. Many of the items were purchased using an inheritance from Mole’s aunt. The field-mice were caroling and Mole wanted to feed them. There were 8 of them in a semicircle and they started to sing. It was certainly a joyful occasion. Rat invited the mice into the house as well. They prepared ale and everyone drank and made merry. The field-mice knew how to act in plays as well. Everyone talked about old times. The Mole started reflecting and knew that it was good to return to an old place even thought he would be exploring the world.

Independence is all very well, but we animals never allow our friends to make fools of themselves beyond a certain limit; and that limit you’ve reached. Now, you’re a good fellow in many respects, and I don’t want to be too hard on you. – Badger

The Mole and the water rat were concerned with the boat activities. It was Badger at the door. It was Toad’s hour and they all vowed to teach him to be a sensible toad. The plan was to head to Toad Hall and then rescue him from there. There was a shiny red motor-car parked in front of his house. They took him into the house just as Toad wanted to drive off. Toad refused to remove his racing gear. Mole and Rat used force to remove his racing gear. Toad was notorious and was causing harm on the road. Badger was now lecturing him. The toad cried after the lecture. He was limp and dejected now. Eventually, he vowed to give up on the motor-cars. In the room, Toad vowed to change his ways. But that he was outside, he was a changed animal again. Rat wasn’t surprised by his behavior. The three animals vowed to stay with Toad now and take care of him. They each had a roster where they would watch on him to make sure he had no mischief. The rat would spend time with Toad this morning. Toad admitted that he didn’t want to bother the other animals and that he was nuisance. Toad wanted a doctor now. He also wanted a lawyer now. The rat, thinking that these two figures might help Toad, went to look for them. The toad took this chance to leave his hall. Toad wondered around to the high road and basked in Nature’s glory. He thought that rat had good qualities but wasn’t very intelligent. Toad was a conceited animal. One day, he heard the poop-poop sound of a vehicle and went outside to examine it. The car was unattended and he thought about driving it. The passion seized him, body and soul. He started driving and felt that everyone ought to give way to him. The Bench of Magistrates wanted to charge him and put Toad behind bars for 20 years. He was caught. Toad was placed in a dungeon that lay in the innermost keep. Sadly, he was prisoner in the most remote dungeon in England.

Mole waited for his friend to return. Rat was not around at his home. Little Portly was missing again. He was missing for a few days now and no one knew where he was. It was Otter’s son and Otter was nervous. Otter was also looking for Little Portly. Rat and Mole wanted to paddle up stream and wanted to search. While searching, they hear a clear articulate voice. Rat and Mole were in the boat at the moment. The noise disappeared again. It was beautiful and it was the call of distant piping. Later, they reached a point where the river divided. Later, he saw tears on the comrade’s cheeks. The music was heavenly. The two animals passed the tumultuous waters. Mole felt at peace now. They spotted an object with curved horns. They found the baby otter. Portly squeaked in delight when he saw Rat and Mole. Portly searched around for his parents but couldn’t find them. The animals tied him securely to the boat and rescued him. The quest ended happily and Otter and his son were reunited. Rat and Mole were tired. While appreciating the music, they soon fell asleep.

Toad lamented that this was the end and that his life was no longer the same now. He lamented at his poor behavior in the past. One day, the gaoler’s daughter knocked on Toad’s cell. She brought Toad food from the oven. Most of the time, Toad wailed in his cell and kicked with his legs. Now, Toad thought of new and inspiring thoughts after smelling hot cabbage. He was recovering fast. The good food improved his mood and Toad started talking about himself more. Toad related about the Toad Hall and his experiences previously to the girl. She, later, started to pity Toad for he was locked up for a trivial offence. She suggested a plan for him to escape, which was to dress up as the official washerwoman. The girl wanted to introduce her aunt, a washerwoman to Toad. Now, toad looked just like her aunt. Finally, toad was a free man. He came upon a railway station. There was a train that was bound for Toad Hall. To his horror, Toad realized that he forgot to take his belongings with him. The ticket agent didn’t want to sell him the ticket as Toad didn’t have money with him. Now, he tried to beg the engine-driver. Toad would have to wash a few of his shirts in exchange for a free ride. Toad knew he could pay to get his clothes washed once he returned home. There was another train that was pursuing them and gaining on them. On that train, there were men like policemen. Now, he revealed his identity to the engine-driver and begged for forgiveness. The driver agreed to help him. The plan was for Toad to jump off the train and hide in the woods before the train entered the tunnel. Toad followed the plan and managed to get away undetected. However, he was thrown in the wild wood now. Finally, Toad found a resting spot under a hollow tree, where he would spend his night.

The rat was restless. Some of the animals experienced migratory patterns and this was observed by the rat. Later, rat wandered country-wards. Now, he started wandering in the forest. The mice were playing a game. There would be horrid machines in the areas soon and the mice wanted to move their good stuff away. The rat returned to his river now. The birds were also feeling restless now. Rat didn’t understand why the birds were planning to leave and thought it would be sad to leave a place you knew. The birds explained why they were leaving. Rat realized that the outside world might be better, where fortunes and adventures await him. There was a dusty rat which appeared now. He was a wayfarer. The wayfarer knew that the Rat’s life was the best after he compared it to his other experiences. The wayfarer was originally from Constantinople and was a foreigner. The Water rat wanted to learn from the wayfarer. Family troubles caused the wayfarer to explore, before he entered up in Venice. It was certainly a beautiful city. He liked the art of travelling and exploring. To the rat, the wayfarer’s life seemed hard. The two rats started to have a picnic by the roadside. The Water Rat listened to the Sea Rat’s travels. The Sea Cat encouraged him to be adventurous too. Just as he was leaving, Mole caught sight of the Water Rat. However, the rat experienced a seizure now and appeared troubled. When he was better, the Rat tried his best to explain why happened during the day.

Toad got up and headed to the kitchen. He didn’t know where he was. Finally he remembered that he escaped from prison. He was delighted to be free. He had all the time in the room for himself. Now, all he wanted was for someone to guide him on a path so that he wouldn’t get lost. Later, he marched on the water’s edge. Then he saw a big stout woman along the way. Toad lied about having a married daughter and that he wanted to find her. He wanted to go back to Toad Hall. The woman gave him a lift. He pretended to be a washer-woman. The woman always thought about washing stuff on her husband. She wanted him to help her with some washing. He was resigned to learning how to wash. However, Toad realized that he bad at it. His paws started to get crinkly from the water. The woman commented that he couldn’t wash and Toad got furious. She wanted him off now that she realized he was a toad. Toad entered up in the water. He chased after her barge, wanting revenge. He rode on a horse and commanded it to gallop vigorously. Later, he saw a man on a caravan smoking. Toad wanted food from the pot he was cooking in. The gipsy asked Toad if he wanted to sell his horse. Toad refused to sell and now said that his horse was a prize-winning one. The man offered Toad 5 shillings only for it. Toad gave a counteroffer and wanted breakfast as well. The man kept to his word and cooked Toad a sumptuous breakfast. Later, he left the gipsy with the money. Thankfully, toad was near his home. Now, Toad felt conceited over his achievements. To him, he was the best animal around. He tried to hail a car down but it turned out it was the one he stole from the Hotel and got arrested for it. He knew he might be arrested again. To his surprise, the men in the car saw that he was struggling and wanted to help him as a washerwoman. He couldn’t resist his temptations and now wanted to take the wheel. The gentlemen agreed to let Toad try. Now, he kept going faster and faster. Toad pinned the passenger down and admitted he was Toad. Later, the car entered up in a horse-pond. Toad landed up in the grass now. Now, Toad ran away and started laughing to himself. Just then, there were policemen in the distance who were chasing him. Unknowingly, Toad actually ran in the river. Coincidentally, while resting in the river, he saw water rat.

What a clever Toad I am! There is surely no animal equal to me for cleverness in the whole world! – The Toad

Now, Toady, I don’t want to give you pain, after all you’ve been through already; but, seriously, don’t you see what an awful ass you’ve been making of yourself? – The Water Rat

Be a cripple, if you think it’s exciting; be a bankrupt, for a change, if you’ve set your mind on it; but why choose to be a convict? When are you going to be sensible, and think of your friends, and try and be a credit to them? – The Water Rat

Rat grabbed him to shore and safety. Toad told him how proud he was of all his exploits. Rat wanted him to get dressed and didn’t entertain him. Toad was happy to have lunch. Toad promised to be good. He wanted to lead a respectable life now. Rat informed him that weasels had taken over Toad Hall. The animals in the Wild Wood didn’t defend Toad. The weasels were harmed and occupied the place despite resistance. Mole and Badger were hurt in the fight. Later, the Toad didn’t believe Rat and went to march towards the house. The sentries nearly shot Toad. Later, Toad tried steering a boat but the boat crashed and sank. He lost Rat’s boat and Rat was deeply upset. It turns out that Badger and Mole helped to look after Toad Hall when Toad was in trouble. Later, in came Badger. Mole came in shortly after. Both animals looked haggard and weak. Now, Toad refused to listen to Rat and Mole. It was now Badger’s turn to intervene. Toad cried instantly when lectured by Badger. Badger knew that there was hope of recapturing Toad Hall as he knew there was a secret underground passage that led people right into the middle of it. It was Toad’s dad that created the passage. The animals would execute the plan tomorrow. They each distributed weapons and were ready to go.

Rat dressed everyone up for the expedition. Toad tried to make a fool of himself, angering Badger. The toad was nervous. They were all in the passage now. They pushed through a trap door now. Later, they came upon the chief weasel. The weasels were stunned and they started fleeing. In 5 minutes, they managed to clear the room. They later found some food lying around and started having supper. Most of the weasels rolled into the river. Badger was pleased with Mole’s performance throughout. The remaining weasels were remorseful and listened to Mole now. There would be a banquet to celebrate later that evening. Toad would write the speech for that evening. Rat was firm and didn’t allow Toad to sing. His songs were all conceited ones. Toad was melancholic now after his request was turned down. Later, he locked the door and began to sing. After which, Toad went down to greet the other guests. Toad was a humble man now. Badger was like a fatherly figure to all.

It’s no good, Toady; you know well that your songs are all conceit and boasting and vanity; and your speeches are all self-praise, and-and-well, and gross exaggeration. – Water Rat

Badger was the mastermind; the Mole and the Water Rat bore the brunt of the fighting; I merely served in the ranks and did little or nothing. – Toad

Wind in the Willows

The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain De Botton

Consolation for Unpopularity

Socrates was sentenced to death for introducing religious novelties and corrupting the people of Athens. In addition, he failed to worship the Gods. However, in court, he stuck to his beliefs and would not waver at all. Many of the older paintings depicted such a scene, where people mourned over his death. Socrates was treated like a transcendent being. Philosophy gave Socrates the rational mind to fight off disapproval. There were a group of Greeks who were all very keen on the idea of philosophy.

Laws are a form of ‘telling people how to behave’. Some of them are in ethical and practical judgments and ‘common sense’. Some societies even tell you what you can or cannot wear. The Greeks used to slaughter animals for worship and slavery was common. Women had to listen to their husbands and could not led a public life. Most people do not question social conventions as they have practised by generations before us.

Socrates didn’t care about material wealth and taught philosophy for free. His wife was hot tempered. She was Xanthippe. He often asked commoners why they held certain common-sense beliefs. Many people associate what is popular with being right. Common sense must be questioned and warrants enquiry. One day, Socrates came upon Nicias and Laches, both war generals. They believed that to express courage, one had to join an army and fight. Socrates proposed that courage was not limited to warfare and one had to distinguish between good and evil. Meno felt that money and virtue was linked. To Socrates, the issue of justice or piety must be added to the accumulation of money. People, even in important positions, may be wrong. It is important to re-examine beliefs. Self-reflection on life’s goals are the key. The world is more flexible than you think it is. Learn to question more. With strong counter arguments, you can prevent yourself being blown about in the wind.

Anyone with a curious and well-ordered mind who seeks to evaluate a common-sense belief can start a conversation with a friend in a city street and, by following a Socratic method, may arrive at one or two ground-breaking ideas in under half an hour. – Alain De Botton

In Athens, democracy was at work. The majority of the people will decide what the state should do through a voting process. Socrates pursued philosophy because he wanted to improve the lives of others. He refused to relent or give up on the study of philosophy. Question how people come to their conclusions of life. Polus believed that in order to be happy, one should be a dictator. To Socrates, the ability to reason logically was extremely important. Listen to the experts and those with knowledge. Socrates was accused of causing harm to Athens and causing wars to start etc.

All his friends burst into tears when Socrates drank the poison. However, Socrates remained calm throughout. He was a good man, judged to be evil.

The validity of an idea or action is determined not by whether it is widely believed or widely reviled but by whether it obeys the rules of logic. It is not because an argument is denounced by a majority that it is wrong nor, for those drawn to heroic defiance, that it is right. – Alain De Botton

Consolation for Not Having Enough Money

Epicurus was born in Samos. He studied philosophy when young. It is said that he wrote more than 300 books in his lifetime. He believed in pleasure as the goal of a happy life. To him, happiness and philosophy are closely linked. His brand of philosophy was to promote happiness. His teachings were popular at that time. It was like the pursuit of pleasure.

‘What do I need for a happy life?’ To Epicurus, the common man is not well qualified to answer that question. The answer that man produces is likely to be faulty. To him, philosophy needs to drive away the sufferings of the mind to be useful. Philosophy would guide us to superior cures and eventually happiness.

Epicurus drank water and ate bread and vegetables. Friendship was extremely important to him. He discouraged others from eating alone. True friends do not care about our social standing. Freedom is the second most important thing. Epicurus and his friends didn’t like listening to people and became self-employed. They grew their own vegetables. They didn’t want to lead a material or rich life. The third factor was thought. Many of his friends were writers. Money without friends, freedom and a thought-about life wouldn’t be happy. Desires for material wealth are natural but unnecessary. However, a decent amount of salary to have a comfortable level of salary. Our essential non-material needs must be met first. Learn to identify projects for happiness. Ask yourself whether you can do without such a luxury.

Of all the things wisdom provides to help one live one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship. – Epicurus

Before you eat or drink anything, consider carefully who you eat or drink with rather than what you eat or drink: for feeding without a friend is the life of a lion or a wolf. – Epicurus

We don’t exist unless there is someone who can see us existing, what we say has no meaning until someone can understand. – Alain De Botton

There is nothing dreadful in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living. – Epicurus

Why are we so drawn to expensive items? They can feel like solutions to things we don’t understand. Humans do not understand their needs accurately. Capitalism shifts human needs. We are easily shaped by advertising. Be happy with the simple pleasures of life.

Consolation for Frustration

Seneca died in AD 65. Nero ordered his death as there was a conspiracy to remove him from his throne. There was no evidence to link Seneca with it. Nero destroyed many others who he suspected of wrong-doing as well. Socrates’ experience was known by Seneca as well. Socrates was not changed by external circumstances. He was undisturbed all his life. To Seneca, philosophy was used to overcome conflicts between one’s wishes and reality. Seneca had suffered many personal losses in the past. Years of preparation had thought him how to deal with loss and suffering.

A wish had to collide with reality. We start to realize that the world is not fair and that we can’t get everything we want. The more we understand something, the less we are hurt by it. Anger is the ultimate infantile collision. To many philosophers, anger is one of the worst vices. Anger, to him, results from an error in reasoning. To him, anger was not an involuntary action and can be changed. We often feel entitled to things. Many of Seneca’s peers were rich. However, they were usually quite bad tempered. Is there a need to over-react to stimuli? The trick is to expect everything. We are often ‘injured’ by what we do not expect. If you undertake a journey, you must be prepared for the worst. Always expect the worst to happen. Grief should not be never-ending. Learn to think about death sometimes. It might be useful. Seneca suggested taking a meditation every morning. Metaphors are useful because they help us to remember concepts. Understand that the world is not completely fair and just. Not everything that happens to us is about us. Sometimes, things are the work of God. Anxiety is another problem that humans face. Assume what you fear may happen is certainly going to happen. A man’s peace of mind does not depend on God. Seneca introduced the idea that one could be wealthy in non-material aspects. Having eyes is a productum, something that is preferred to have. When we are hurt, we feel that thing which hurt us intended to do so. This is not right. Do not be bothered by inanimate objects.

How badly we react to frustration is critically determined by what we think of as normal. We may be frustrated that it is raining, but our familiarity with showers mean we are unlikely ever to respond to one with anger. – Seneca

Seneca more wisely asks us to consider that bad things probably will occur, but adds that they are unlikely ever to be as bad as we fear. – Alain De Botton

The wise man can lose nothing. He has everything invested in himself. He is self-sufficient…if he loses a hand through disease or war, or if some accident puts out one or both of his eyes, he will be satisfied with what is left. – Seneca

We must accept the unavoidable with tranquillity. Even if men do not want to follow, some part of their life is pre-destined and they won’t be able to escape. If you try to oppose the cart, you will suffer more. Reason allows humans to choose attitude towards certain events. Nero went crazy and started killing random people. Seneca went to study about the heavens and nature and wrote about it. He postulated why certain how certain natural disasters formed. Since we cannot change the laws of nature, it is best to endure them. Eventually, Seneca slit his wrists willingly.

We are like dogs who have tied to an unpredictable cart. Our leash is long enough to give us a degree of leeway, but not long enough to allow us to wander wherever we please. – Alain De Botton

We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them, and it is in our spontaneous acceptance of necessity that we find our distinctive freedom. – Alain De Botton

Consolation for Inadequacy

Michel de Montaigne wasn’t interested in farming or taking care of property. He spent many hours cooped up in the library. Reading was his solace in life. He read many books by the renowned Greek philosophers. There were profound benefits associated with reading. To many philosophers, the ability to reason could make us happy. However the fact was that many of the elite were violent and arrogant. To Michel, he thought that being an animal was advantageous over a human as they could know what to do when they were sick without learning anything. Humans had to rely on doctors. Humans had to take a long time to understand complex ideas. Animals were good at love without training as well. To him, reason led to more trouble. Humans were blockheads and inadequate. Our lives were madness personified. We needed to embrace this flaw in humans.

Reading consoles me in my retreat; it relieves me of the weight of distressing idleness and, at any time, can rid me of boring company. It blunts the stabs of pain whenever pain is not too overpowering and extreme. To distract me from morose thoughts, I simply need to have recourse to books. – Michel de Montaigne

Humans are sexually inadequate. Our bodies are not sharp and are prone to illness. To him, our bodies controlled our minds. Humans have to fart and annoy people at inopportune moments. Some men even underwent castration etc. We should despise our being. We needed to accept the human condition for what it is. Humans do not have complete mental control over our bodies. You need to embrace your imperfections so that others will accept you. Men do not need to be ashamed of an occasional rebellious flaccid penis. We do not talk enough about our shortcomings. Michel chose to write about the workings of his mind and body. He described his penis, his stools and his farts etc. The ancient philosophers thought we had full control of our bodies. Humans are still subject to passions and desires.

People are quick to distinguish between the normal and abnormal. Montaigne travelled Europe for over 17 months. Different countries had different traditions. People were very critical of one another’s practises and ideas. The French thought that their heating system was superior to the Germans. Many people were not receptive of others’ cultures. The world was very peculiar indeed. Montaigne was intrigued by some unique practices by the South Americans like eating of insects etc. Every culture was beautiful. The Tupis moved villages every 6 months. They were very hospitable to strangers as well. They were a very caring society indeed. Many Indians committed suicide in the 1500s after being invaded by the Spanish. The Spanish were brutal towards them. To them, the Indians were brutes and savages. People tended to judge and comment if things were not normally what they saw or observed. The unfamiliar is not the inadequate. You can cross borders in your mind by reading about other countries’ cultures. Similar to Epicurus, friendship was the key to happiness.

We pick our friends not only because they are kind and enjoyable company, but also, perhaps more importantly, because they understand us for who we think we are. – Alain De Botton

Booksellers are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the number of books that were written because authors couldn’t find anyone to talk to. – Alain De Botton

Clever people should be academically inclined. Montaigne did well in school. Learning about the world may be useful. But knowledge needs to be useful and it needs to be applied. There was a difference between learning and wisdom. Wisdom was more of common sense and common knowledge. Institutions of the past failed to provide enough wisdom. Do not neglect what is outstanding at hand. People needed a wiser approach to death. Montaigne set test papers that tested the morality of people. Do not lose patience with reading. People needed to take books seriously. Authors of humanities have a responsible to delivery happiness and wealth. Montaigne often quoted phrases from the Greek philosophers in their teachings. Aristotle was one of the most comprehensive philosophers. No one is genuinely marvellous. People liked to talk about ideas but did not act on them. We are actually richer than what we are.

Consolations for a Broken Heart

For this, Arthur Schopenhauer may be one of the best philosophers around. He was very pessimistic about life. Often, he was always very upset as well. He inherited a lot of money after his father passed away and didn’t have to work. He thought that the Devil was at work and that he took delight in others’ sufferings. He decided to spend the remaining of his days to reflect on life. Goethe thought that he was an interesting guy. Often, he communicated with others and knew that even if others didn’t understand, he could still deceive himself by being happy. He, occasionally engaged in monologues. In University, he offered lectures on the essence of the world and of the mind. He believed in polygamy and not in marriage. To him, life was an illusion and he was kept in motion by want and illusion. Later on in life, he became excited by dogs. He thought the Brahmins were noble people and often isolated himself in the room. He slept a great deal even in his later years. He used to own a few different dogs in his lifetime. To him, human existence was a kind of an error.

If life and existence were an enjoyable state, then everyone would reluctantly approach the unconscious state of sleep and would gladly rise from it again. But the very opposite is the case. For everyone very willingly goes to sleep and unwillingly gets up again. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Philosophers have largely ignored the issue of love. It was a largely irrational activity. Our minds had to serve our bodies to some extent. Humans had the innate drive to stay alive and reproduce. He believed love was important and that its value should not be underestimated. Love was the most inevitable of our obsessions. Love, to him, was irrational. Why do you favour someone over another? He thought it was because we could have healthy children with everyone. Love was about finding someone to carry your offspring. He came up with the theory of neutralization of weaknesses. We are not inherently unlovable. To him, people looked to marriage for the procreation of children. Animals did everything in their power to sustain life for the next generation. Creatures committed themselves to a meaningless existence. A lot of dissatisfaction stems from expectations that life should be happy. This often led to deluded hope and dissatisfaction.

Much would have been gained if through timely advice and instruction young people could have eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Humans can also enjoy life apart of the demands of reproduction. We can read the works of artists and philosophers. We can learn to appreciate and draw insights from creative works. Humans should always seek to transform tears into knowledge.

Consolation for Difficulties

Friedrich Nietzsche pronounced that he was sure people would enjoy his work in the future. He believed that human difficulties should be present as they help develop us.

Humans should not be frightened by appearances. First impressions count. Schopenhauer’s work had a big impact on Nietzsche.

We know that life consists of suffering, that the harder we try to enjoy it, the more enslaved we are by it, and so we (should) discard the goods of life and practise abstinence. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche later went to Italy with an enthusiast for the arts and he stayed there for a few months. The scenery was perfect as they were in a villa. It was during this journey that shaped his ideas on philosophy.

He admitted that he did not agree with Schopenhauer now. Fulfilment was not about avoiding pain, but it was an inevitable step to reaching anything good.

Some of the individuals he knew had led fulfilled lives. He didn’t care much about people living. He liked people who had passed on, like Abbe Galiani, Henri Beyle, Montaigne and Goethe. They were all curious and artistically gifted. They were also drawn to everyday pleasures and humor. They all had fallen in love repeatedly. Goethe liked girls even when he was in an advanced stage of life.

They had explored their possibilities, they possessed what Nietzsche called “life”, which suggested courage, ambition, dignity, strength of character, humour and independence. – Alain De Botton

Nietzsche concluded that to attain the above, you needed to feel miserable sometimes. Joy and displeasure were linked. The more you experience of one, the greater the other you will have. Virtue is scarcely possible without displeasure.

To him, we needed to suffer pain, anxiety, envy and humiliation. Failure was necessary. A lot of the famous philosophers had works that did not turn out well. To him, to write a good novel, one needed to write down anecdotes every day. One should be tireless to collect human types and characters. One should be a good listener as well. Next, one had to reflect on the motives of human action. One needed to do all of the above in order to be a great novelist. One needed to fulfil toughness and one’s human potential.

Nietzsche was Switzerland’s most famous philosopher. He loved climate and topography. At the mountains, he wrote most of his famous works. He often worked for many hours a day and also took long walks as well. He loved climbing mountains as well. Mediocrity à Pain à Fulfilment. Pains have been met too.

We must learn to suffer whatever we cannot avoid. Our life is composed, like the harmony of the world, of discords as well as of different tones, sweet and harsh, sharp and flat, soft and loud. If a musician liked only some of them, what could he sing? He has got to know how to use all of them and blend them together. So too must we with good and ill, which are of one substance with our life. – Montaigne

Nietzsche didn’t believe much in talents. He believed in studying great work and then effecting them on your own. Raphael had managed to sublimate, spiritualize and raise to fruitfulness the difficulties in his path.

He wanted to be a professional gardener. He likened life to be like that of a plant. The roots were often messy but were necessary to keep the plant stable. Do not remove shoots of anxiety and envy. You can always learn from them.

The emotions of hatred, envy and covetousness and lust for domination are life-conditioning emotions…which must fundamentally and essentially be present in the total economy of life. – Friedrich Nietzsche

He admired the ancient Greeks. Societies which have been through pain tend to emerge stronger. One needs to respond to difficulties that could tear one apart.

He hated people who loved alcohol and found their behaviour very distasteful. He never grew to like the taste of alcohol. The Middle Ages was the alcohol poisoning of Europe. Water sufficed. One didn’t need alcohol to be happy.

He was against moral philosophy or Utilitarianism. John Stuart Mill proposed that to determine whether the action was right or wrong, one needed to measure the amount of pleasure and pain it gave rise to. To Nietzsche, man did not strive for happiness. Utilitarians suggested that happiness was painless. Artistic creation always demands immense suffering. He wanted people to accept the pain of climbing the mountain. He encouraged people to live life dangerously.

He was exposed to Christianity when young. To him, it was indecent to be a Christian. The New Testament treated difficulties as virtues.

Both Christianity and alcohol have the power to convince us that what we previously thought deficient in ourselves and the world does not require attention; both weaken our resolve to garden our problems; both deny us the chance to fulfilment. – Friedrich Nietzsche

To him, Christianity was built from a bunch of timid people and did not dare to endure the difficulties life demanded.

He wanted us to believe in what we always wanted, even when we do not have it, and may never.

Epicurus was one of his favourites. Happiness involved a life among friends. Nietzsche had a few failed relationships and lost confidence. He didn’t sell many books in his lifetime and remained poor. His health was poor too. In his later years, he was bundled and brought into an asylum.

Difficulty was a pre-requisite to fulfilment.


Holes by Louis Sachar

It was a dry, flat wasteland (Camp Green Lake). It was deserted without any people. Warden has a shade. Scorpions and rattlesnakes won’t bother you if you ignore them. One has to avoid getting bitten by the yellow-spotted lizard at all costs.

Boys would go to the Lake to dig holes. Stanley was a poor guy. He was handcuffed in the bus. Stanley thought he could have friends in the camp. He was overweight. Sadly, he was accused for a crime he didn’t commit because of his dirty and cunning grandfather. Stanley’s father was an inventor but he didn’t have much luck. The grandfather was often used as a scapegoat for everything. Every child was named Stanley Yelnats. Not all Stanleys were failures in their lives. However, most of them didn’t fair well. Stanley finally reached Camp Green Lake. It was not green and it felt like a desert.

His throat was dry and it hurt. The land was barren and desolate. CAMP GREEN LAKE JUVENILE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY. He had to meet the guard. The man in the cowboy hat was the guard. Stanley was given two sets of clothes and a towel. He had to wear orange jumpsuits and white sneakers. The guard made him dig 1 hole every day and each must be 5 feet deep and 5 feet across. After the hole has been dug, the rest of the day was his. There was no fence and the guard challenged him to run away. There was no water for over a hundred miles. ‘Well, you better get used to it. You’re going to be thirsty for the next 18 months.’ Camp Guard

Stanley stayed in the D tent. Mr Pendanski was the counselor (Pen-Dance-Key). The Warden was very mean and Stanley was warned. Stanley was introduced to Rex and Alan. The kids were all dripping with sweat. Stanley got to sleep on Barf Bag’s cot. The 3 other boys were Jose, Theodore and Ricky. Stanley was afraid of getting bullied.

Everyone was allowed a 4minute water shower. There was no hot water. Dinner was stewed meat and vegetables. Stanley admitted he stole a pair of sneakers from Clyde Livingston. He was a famous baseball player. No one believed Stanley when he proclaimed his innocence. The cot smelled like sour milk. When walking home one day, a pair of sneakers felt from the bridge and landed on Stanley. Stanley kept it. Suddenly, while running, a police car came and arrested him. The shows were meant to be sold at an auction to raise funds for the homeless. His parents agreed to send him to Camp Green Lake.

The shovel was heavy in his hands. Digging was hard and Stanley found it tiring. All the shovels were five feet long. The whole lake looked like a moon crater. Digging helps build character. Five feet was awfully deep and wide. Soon, a blister formed on his finger. Now, his hole was 3 feet deep. The sun came up and it was warm. New blisters began to form and the sun was scorching hot now. The first hole was always the hardest. Stanley thought about quitting. The hole was their bathroom too. Elya carried a full grown pig up the mountain to impress Myra in order to get married. Zero, the smallest kid finished digging. All of them spat in the hole before heading back to camp. It felt like digging your own grave. Elya ended up falling in love with Sarah Miller in America. It was his great grand father. Now, his hole was deep enough, but not wide enough. Stanley was almost done with it. Stanley felt a sense of achievement.

The yellow spotted lizards liked to live in holes and wait before pouncing on their prey. Stanley didn’t shower with the soap. There was a room called Wreck Room. A lot of the entertainment facilities were broken. The pool table was not flat. Stanley didn’t want to get in a fight with a boy named the Caveman. X-Ray and Armpit came to his rescue. There was less fun in digging the second hole. Stanley wrote a letter to his mum.

Stanley woke up the next day. Every part of his body was aching badly. The second hole was even harder than the first. Stanley grunted and persisted. Stanley found a rock with fish fossils and believed that it was a lake previously. Now the truck came. Stanley gave the fish to Mr Pendanski. The warden wasn’t interested in fossils.

Stanley returned to his pathetic hole. X-ray wanted Stanley to give him everything he found. His logic was that he was there for a year and he deserved the rest. X-Ray was one of the smaller dudes around. Stanley was now the biggest. He was given the nickname Caveman. Stanley imagined that the ex-bully in school wouldn’t stand a chance against his new friends.

Stanley was the last one to complete. X-ray mentioned that the third hole is the hardest. Mr Pendanski emphasized on the importance of having goals. It was the first time Zero smiled. What do you want to do with your life? Zero said he liked to dig holes.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Nothing in life is easy. But that’s no reason to give up. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it. After all, you only have one life, so you should try to make the most of it. – Mr Pendanski

It was the next day and Stanley worked on the next hole. Stanley started losing some weight from the physical exertion. His skin was tougher now. Stanley sifted through his pile and found a gold tube. Later he saw the words K B etched on the gold tube. The tube somehow looked strangely familiar. Zigzag and the other boys came to look. Stanley had been in the camp for 2 weeks already. X-Ray collected it. He would present it the next day. Stanley was allowed to move up the line when collecting water.

X-Ray announced to Mr Pendaski that he might have found something. He thought that X-Ray might be able to get the day off. He would be given the day off. The Warden was a lady. The Warden wanted Stanley to go over. She was angry at Mr Pendaski for not following instructions. However, she let him off after a while.

He had to continue filling the canteens. The warden wanted zero the best digger to take over X-ray’s hole. Stanley had to transfer anything he found on the wheelbarrow. The dirt was to be shoveled on the wheelbarrow. The Warden didn’t want them to miss anything. Now, it dawned on Stanley that they were digging to find something.

X-ray was excited when he had the day off. Everyone worked harder after lunch. Now, Stanley tried to tell the Warden where the gold tube was found. Now, Stanley received a letter from his mother. His dad was trying to invent a way to recycle old sneakers.

The digging didn’t reveal anything and the boys had to work longer hours. In the meantime, the Warden was getting impatient. The boys continued to dig. The warden had a pitchfork. She wanted to cut down on their water supply. Stanley was hurt by a shovel. He felt blood along the side of his ear.

The boys started digging their own holes now. Zigzag’s shovel hit him yesterday. Now, Stanley spat in the hole. Tomorrow, they were going to learn rock climbing. Zero wanted to learn to read and write and wanted Stanley to teach him. Zero didn’t have anyone to write too. Stanley finished a letter to his parents.

Squid was crying. He had allergies. There were no racial problems. X-Ray, Armpit, Zero were black. Stanley, Squid and Zigzag were white. Magnet was Hispanic. Someone threw sunflower seeds in Stanley’s hole. He quickly dumped dirt in his hole. Stanley admitted that he stole the sunflower seeds from the truck and ate them himself. It was a lie. Sir would report him to the Warren.

He was a condemned man. Stanley entered the cabin door. The Warden removed her makeup case and showed it to Stanley. She applied the bottle of nail polish made from Rattlesnake venom on her skin. Mr Sir got slapped by The Warden and the venom sunk in. He let out a scream and his body was in agony. The Warden mentioned that he wasn’t going to die. She didn’t care about his sunflower seeds.

Suddenly, Stanley saw a rattlesnake. Luckily, he took evasive action in time to escape. After he took the blame, the other boys finished his hole. It seemed like only Zero did it for him.

Zero liked digging holes. Zero helped Stanley because he didn’t steal the seeds. Stanley wanted to teach him. Zero was delighted now. It started with alphabets. It would be difficult and time consuming to teach him. In exchange for that, Zero would dig Stanley’s hole for a while. ‘I’m not stupid. I know everybody thinks I am. I just don’t like answering their questions.’ Zero .Now, Stanley recalled that he saw the gold tube in his mother’s bathroom. K.B. stood for Kate Barlow, he wondered?

In the past, Green Lake was the largest lake in Texas. In the past, Katherine Barlow made peaches. She was also a schoolteacher and a very loving and caring person. Trout Walker liked her. He was the son of the richest man in the county. He was also rude and stupid. The Walkers had a new boat. He wanted to bring KB around but she rejected his invite.

Mr Sir’s face had swollen. He didn’t want anyone to comment on his face. Stanley kept working on his hole. The first water truck was driven by Mr Pendanski and the second by Mr Sir. Mr Sir didn’t fill any water for Stanley and mocked him by splashing his share of the water on the ground.

Sam was the doctor in the town of Green Lake. Mary Lou was 50 years old and carried onions. Sam was extremely old and liked to eat onions. He had many unique forms of treatments. Sam helped to fix KB’s roof in exchange for her spiced peaches. KB liked to hang out with Sam. They soon fell in love.

The schoolteacher kissed the onion picker. Trout Walker termed her the devil woman. Someone grabbed her dress. KB went to the sheriff, who didn’t do much help at all. KB declared that she needed to leave the place immediately. They set fire to the schoolhouse. Sam and KB headed off on a boat. Sam was killed when Walker’s boat eventually caught up with them. Mary Lou the donkey was shot too. KB was captured. Since 110 years ago, not one drop of water fell on the land. 3 days later, KB shot the Sheriff. Since then, she was one of the most feared outlaws around.

Mr Pendanski gave Stanley more water now. The other boys were jealous that Zero helped to dig his hole for a while. The swelling on Mr Sir’s face went down. Mr Sir finally gave him water. Stanley was suspicious and didn’t want to drink it. Hector Zeroni was Zero’s real name.

KB returned to Green Lake after 20 years. Everything was gone. Suddenly, Trout Walker’s came one day and threatened her unless she told them where the loot was. It is rumoured that KB robbed banks. KB refused to them him where she hid them. They made her keep walking barefoot in the hot sun. Linda hit KB with the shovel. A lizard bit Kate’s bare ankle and this caused her to collapse to the ground. KB died laughing. Legend had it that treasure was still buried.

The weather was becoming ever warmer than ever. A storm was on happening off the east. The boys wanted rain to come. KB robbed Stanley’s great-grandfather. The image of a fist and thumb were in Stanley’s mind.

It was Zigzag’s birthday the next day. Stanley dug his 45th hole in the camp. Zigzag started treating Stanley better on his birthday by volunteering to help him dig his hole. He was actually trying to tease him. Mr Pendanski wanted Stanley to teach the bully a lesson. Now, Zigzag jumped on top of Stanley. Now, Zero had his arm around Zigzag. All the counselors came from their officers. Zigzag was angry that Stanley didn’t have to dig the holes of by himself. The Warden learnt that Stanley was doing this trade with Zero. Mr Pendanski and the Warden started quizzing the boy and started laughing at him. The Warren cancelled the reading lessons and forbade Zero from helping Stanley. Zero then challenged by refusing to dig another hole. Stanley was angry too as he wanted to teach Zero. Zero took the shovel and smashed it on Mr Pendanski’s face. The warden ordered an investigation. Zero started walking away. Stanley knew that he needed water. Before the end, the warden wanted the remaining 6 members to dig 7 holes.

Isn’t it more important for him to learn to read? Doesn’t that build character more than digging holes. – Stanley

Stanley was angry at everyone and mostly himself. Now, he wanted to help dig Zero’s hole. He dug at the hottest part of the day. He was thinking of making a run for it. He also thought about telling the Warden where the gold tube was. The next day, Zero didn’t return. Zero needed to find God’s thumb and climb the mountain. There should be water there. The Warden ordered the destruction of all of Zero’s records. She didn’t want to think prisoners died here. No one cared about Hector Zeroni.

Two days later, Brian was assigned to Group D and his nickname was Twitch. He occupied Zero’s belongings. He stole a car and ended up in Green Lake. Stanley still couldn’t help not thinking about Zero. Stanley was fidgeting and wanted to drive the water van to look for Zero. But it was almost 4 days since he left. Mr Sir spotted him now. Stanley faster took off. The airbag exploded in his face. He had driven into a hole. Stanley was feeling extremely guilty and thought that it was the end of the world. Now, Stanley ran off.

Stanley slowed to a walk. No one was chasing him. His plan was to look for Zero and return to the camp once he needed water. The holes stretched out over great distances. The warden wasn’t sure where it was and kept making the boys dig. Later, he spotted some red lizards and he kept running. Thankfully, they didn’t chase him. Later, he found an stack of empty sack of sunflowers.

The sun was overhead now. He knew he had to turn back soon. Soon, his eyes played tricks on him as he saw a mirage. Now, he saw the thumbs up size. Now, he could make out the shape of a large lake. It turned out to be an abandoned boat. There were the words on the boat ‘Mary Lou’. There was a tunnel and a small hand emerged from it.

It was Zero who had been hiding there. Zero didn’t want to go back to camp. Zero realized that it was cooler under the boat. Zero took his shovel with him before he left. It was much better under the boat. Zero drank some water from under the boat. It felt like heaven. However, there were no jars left. Stanley insisted on taking him back. Barf Bag stepped on a rattlesnake on purpose. Mary Lou was the name of the boat. Zero was suffering from stomach cramps and it hurt badly. Zero was prepared to die out here and Stanley was soon a little resigned to that fact.

 When you spend your whole life living in a hole, the only way you can go is up. – Zero

Now, they headed out. Now, Zero had another attack and he collapsed. The two of them continued. It was like chasing the moon. Zero wanted to sit down now. He collapsed. As long as Zero could go on, Stanley felt that they could. Stanley now felt he could handle the pain of death. It would be his parents and friends that he would be letting down. Now, they reached a cliff and started climbing it. They devised a plan for both of them to go up the cliff. Zero had gashes on his hands now.

Stanley could see the base of the mountain. Big Thumb was their only hope. The ground got steeper and steeper. The two boys didn’t have strength to swat off the bugs. Now, Zero threw up. There were weeds and bugs nearby and it was an indicator of water.

Zero collapsed again. Zero dangled in front of him. Now the ground flattened. Now, Zero fell and ended up in the muddy ditch. Now, Stanley started digging in the soggy soil. Stanley dragged him to the hole for water. It was an onion. The both of them ate it.

Zero wasn’t doing well and he was shaking violently. Stanley was planning to head down to retrieve the shovel. Zero admitted he was the one who took his shoes. He was referring to the pair which landed Stanley up in jail. Zero apologized.

Stanley found the onion now. He ate it. Flashback. The onion tonic could heal people. Over the next 2 days, Stanley and Zero ate onions and splashed dirty water in their mouths. Stanley headed down the mountain to look for the shovel. The onions gave him strength back. Stanley found the jars and the shovel and climbed back up the mountain.

Thankfully, Zero’s condition was improving. Stanley slowly peeled an onion. Zero liked sleeping outside. He admitted that he took the shoes from the glass case. Later, he placed the shoes at the top of the parked car. However, he kept stealing sneakers and eventually was caught.

Stanley had heard or read somewhere that right before a person freezes to death, he suddenly feels nice and warm. He wondered if perhaps he was experiencing something like that. – Louis Sachar (Holes)

Their hole was size feet deep. It was eventual that they had to return to the camp. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt happiness. Zero was sleeping near him now. To Stanley, it felt like destiny that he was in Camp. He actually felt happy for once. Stanley wanted to return to the camp and steal food etc. Now, Stanley wanted the treasure since he knew where it was buried.

Zero remembered as a child, he had a yellow room. They wanted to head down the mountain to dig. Now, the both of them felt scared. Stanley suddenly fell but thankfully he was alright. Some of the onions in the sack fell off. Zero finally spotted the Mary Lou. Zero didn’t know why his parents left him. They finally came to the Camp and could make out sounds from the Camp. They made sure it was late and there was no movement from the camp before they headed off. Now, they waited for the camp to fall asleep.

It was pitch dark outside. Zero wanted to refill their water jars. It was hard to even see what he was digging. The aim was to make the hole wider. Zero took over the digging. Now, they hit a hard object on the ground. It was metal or a treasure chest. It was a box like object. The plan was to dig a hole underneath it to try and release it. It now felt like a metal suitcase. They got it. Suddenly the Warden came to them and thanked them.

The suitcase was on Zero’s lap. Mr Sir, the Warden and Mr Pendanski were all there. Two lizards crawled on the suitcase and Zero froze. Now, Stanley was freaked out because he could see 6 lizards around him. The Warden was elated because in the past, her parents and her had to dig holes. The lizard on his neck now.

One lizard headed towards Mr Pendanski and Mr Sir shot it. The warden wanted to fabricate a story where it would seem like Stanley and Zero died by accident. Stanley didn’t move and thought about his younger days. It was day break and the lizards didn’t go away.

There were 8 lizards in the hole with Stanley. The Warden wanted Mr Sir to take the suitcase from Zero. A tarantula came along. A lizard attacked and ate it. The lizards now returned in the hole and were now on his stomach, legs and feet. There were 2 on Zero. Suddenly two cars came and a man in a business suit and cowboy hat emerged. The other person was a woman holding the briefcase. It was Stanley’s lawyers. They wanted to file for child abuse. The Warden starting lying to the lawyers. Luckily, Stanley managed to escape from the hole. Zero still held the suitcase. On the suitcase, it had the words STANLEY YELNATS.

Now, all of them walked back to camp. The tall man was the Texas Attorney General. Stanley’s lawyer was Ms. Morengo. The Warden kept twisting the story and nobody believed her. She claimed her belongings were in the suitcase which Stanley stole. The AG issued a piece of paper to Ms Morengo and Stanley was free to go. The AG promised that Zero was fine and that a full investigation would be launched. AG demanded for Zero’s file. Mr Pendanski couldn’t find it. The Warden knew she had disposed for it. Everyone realized Cavemen (Stanley) and Zero were alive. It was said that the boys didn’t have to dig holes already. The AG wanted Zero to follow him too.

The lizards don’t like onion blood. Ms Morengo took the suitcase with them. An investigation was conducted that revealed Stanley couldn’t have stolen it as he had an alibi. Zero confessed to stealing it. For the first time in a hundred years, a drop of rain fell.

The AG closed Camp Green Lake. In a few years, it will become Camp Green Lake. End of Story. There were sparkling jewels in the briefcase. However, they won’t worth a lot. The briefcase also contained stock certificates, deeds of trust, promissory notes etc. They were worth more and Stanley and Zero walked away with a great deal of money. Stanley used the money to buy a new house and a laboratory. 1.5 years later, they had a party. Clyde had smelly feet and soon was advertising for Sploosh, the product that Stanley’s Dad invented. Clyde was invited to the party as well.

The End!


Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Jess’ dad started the pickup. May Belle and Joyce Ann were still asleep. May was his sister. Jess loved running. It was in the midday now. There were Brenda, Joyce, Ellie and Momma in the house. May really liked Jess. Jess had 4 sisters (Brenda, Joyce, Ellie and May). Miss Bessie (a cow) followed Jess. Jess started running. Jess always had the winning mentality. This year, Jesse was touted to be the victor for the race. Their dad worked on a farm and it was a laborious job. His sisters commented that he stank after entering the house from a run. Momma didn’t have money for Ellie and Brenda to go shopping. Momma was strict and didn’t want to give them any more money. Jesse was tasked to do some of the household chores as well. There were people moving into the old Perkins place. People moved there because they had no decent place to go.

Jesse helped his mum pick and can the beans. Ellie and Brenda were still out shopping. May hated her sister, Joyce. Joyce was just a baby at that time. Jess started to draw people who drank whiskey. He was afraid of showing his drawings to dad because his dad didn’t want him to be an artist. Jess used to have a crush on the music teacher, Miss Edmunds. She often praised Jess’ drawings. Jess was a student at Lark Creek Elementary. She was indeed quite a hippie. Mommy reminded Jess milk the cow. Dad was finally home and he was exhausted from work, as always. Ellie bought a see-through blouse. Even though he was tried the next morning, Jess forced himself to run even harder. Someone near the fence at Old Perkins place commented ‘If you’re so afraid of the cow, why don’t you just climb the fence?’ She was someone who just moved in to the Perkins. Her name was Leslie Burke and she looked like a tomboy. She wanted to be friends with Jess.

Leslie was also in the same school as Jess. Mrs Myers was the teacher in charge for their class. Leslie was dressed a little funny for her first day of school. Gary Fulcher was his classmate who wanted to compete with Jess at running. Sometimes, Jess would draw things in school when he was bored. Gary and Jess got into a small spat at school. People teased Leslie during lunch. There were about 28 boys who wanted to race each other. Surprisingly, Leslie visited Jess when he was about to run. Gary teased Leslie and challenged her to run. Leslie agreed to join in. Leslie was surprisingly quick and beat Jess at the race. Despite winning the heat, Gary wanted her to play hopscotch and not continue. Jess wasn’t too pleased and tried to avoid Leslie. However, now he started finding her beautiful.

You never know ahead of time what something’s really going to be like. – Leslie Burke

Leslie consistently beat the boys at running. Leslie didn’t make running fun because she kept winning. Jess liked to show Miss Edmunds his pictures as she could appreciate them. Later on, Jess and Leslie started smiling at each other in class. Leslie used to be very good at gymnastics. Her parents brought her to the farm to move away from the rat race. Jess couldn’t understand why she wanted to be in the suburbs. Money wasn’t a problem for her. Leslie wrote about scuba diving at school. She had a very impressive style of writing. Leslie didn’t have a television set at home. That was quite shocking news. The other girls started making fun of her. Leslie was really upset by the events today. Leslie and Jess were planning to do something together. Leslie gave May some dolls to play with. Meanwhile, Jess and her started playing with a rope attached to the tree. Now, Leslie suggested that Jess and her needed a secret place to live in. She suggested the woods. Their secret land would be known as ‘Terabithia’. They grabbed materials they could find in order to build their castle. They felt really secure and comfortable in this secret place. The both of them hated a bully on the bus, Janice Avery. Leslie educated Jess on the story of Moby Dick. Jess was not afraid of being teased at school about his girlfriend anymore. Leslie often thought mischievous thoughts, almost she did not act on them. Both of her parents were writers. They were generally nice to Jess when he visited. Leslie always wore long pants and had very short hair. To Jess, Leslie was more than a friend and he really enjoyed her company. The pine forest was also Leslie’s favorite place.

The real giant was Janice Avery. Janice had two huge friends, Wilma and Bobby. One day, in school, Janice Avery stole May’s sweets. Jess and Leslie were planning to do something, but they were not sure what yet. They also didn’t want to get in trouble with Mr Turner. They decided to pretend to be Williard, a handsome dude in 7th grade. He would write a note addressed to Janice. Now the problem was how to plant the note. Jess managed to sneak into their class to place the note. Soon, news spread that Janice had a date. Later, the two of them revealed to May that they wrote the note. Janice was mad at what had happened but didn’t know who did it.

It was nearly Christmas now. Brenda and Ellie didn’t consider Leslie a girlfriend because of the way she dressed. It was almost Christmas and Jess didn’t have anything to give her. He tried to make a book from his drawings but nothing seemed to work. He was short of cash and couldn’t afford to buy much. Ideally, Jess wanted to buy her a TV. However, that would be too expensive. Jess now arrived at the castle with the puppy. Leslie was pleased with the puppy as a gift and thanked Jess. Later, it was decided that he would be named Prince Terrien, the guardian of Terabithia. Leslie bought Jess a box of watercolors for his Christmas present. The dog was adorable and liked to imitate people. Dad gave Jess a racing car set. The other girls all received their gifts as well. It really felt like Christmas.

Mr Burke was repairing the Perkins place. Jess didn’t like visiting Teraithia alone and wanted Leslie’s company. Mum liked to nag at Jess at home. Leslie liked to help her dad and tried her best to understand her parents. Jess didn’t quite like Leslie’s father though. Her dad was Bill. Mr Burke painted the living room gold and it looked brilliant. No one else knew of Terabithia. They pretended to be king and queen in their own castle. They fought an imaginary foe. Janice was crying in the school restroom. Jess couldn’t believe that she was crying. Now, they were planning to do something. Leslie was pissed as it was Jess’ idea. After Leslie went to chat with Janice, she was pleased after the encounter. It turns out that Janice was crying because her father hit her at home. She complained to her friends Wilma and Bobby about it and they spread it to everyone else. Leslie was getting closer to Janice and they were becoming friends. May did follow Leslie and Jess to their castle. Jess made May swear that she won’t tell mum about it.

All those people wanting to kill Jesus when he hadn’t done anything to hurt them. It’s really kind of a beautiful story – like Abraham Lincoln or Socrates – or Aslan. – Leslie

You have to believe it, but you hate it. I don’t have to believe it, and I think it’s beautiful. – Leslie

It was nearly Easter. It rained very heavily recently. Dad got fired and the family didn’t have money to buy new clothes. The family only went to church during Easter. Leslie wanted to visit church to see what it’s like. Mum finally allowed Jess to go provided she dressed up. The entire family were in church now. Jess always zoned out at church and didn’t pay much attention to it. Leslie found the church experience interesting. Leslie was basically a non-believer. May said that Leslie would go to hell if she didn’t believe in God and the Bible. Leslie didn’t believe that. May was persistent in her thinking.

Jess and Leslie wanted to visit Terabithia. Judy, Leslie’s mum, asked them on where they were headed. The two of them wanted to wear boots to walk in the rain. They came upon the creek. It was like a sea, where branches were swirling around. It would be dangerous to try to swing on the rope to the castle. Leslie insisted to continue. Thankfully, Jess and she managed to get to the other end unscathed. They headed to Terabithia on Tuesday and Wednesday. The rain was unrelenting and Leslie commented that some evil spirit was upon their kingdom. They wanted to combat this evil spirit. Jess didn’t think he was worthy of being king as he was cowardly. Leslie on the other hand, was a courageous lady.

O Spirits of the grove. We are come on behalf of our beloved kingdom which lies even now under the spell of some evil, unknown force. Give us, we beseech thee, wisdom to discern this evil, and power to overcome it. – Leslie

Lord, it would be better to be born without an arm than to go through life with no guts. – Jess

Jess woke up and would milk Miss Bessie. It was still raining heavily. He wondered whether cows were ever scared of anything. Jess wanted to be more courageous in future. Miss Edmunds was on the phone. She suggested to take him to the National Gallery in Washington. Jess asked his mum for permission. Thankfully, his mum agreed. Miss Edmunds came to pick him up. The gallery was majestic, to say the least. It was a sacred place. Thankfully, she would also pay for Jess’ lunch. They walked in brilliant sunshine. This was certainly a perfect day. Miss Edmunds was simply extremely kind. When he arrived home, the family had bad news to announce. Leslie was dead and the family feared that he might have been dead too.

Jess stood and his jaw dropped. She passed away at the bottom of the creek. The rope that they were using snapped and she must have hit her head. Jess didn’t believe what had happened. He ran to the Perkins house and continued running. His father chased him using a pickup. His dad quickly picked him up. Jess was still in denial. He still wanted to have adventures with the dog and her. Jess recalled that he failed to ask Leslie whether she could go to Washington with him. He still wanted to share his story in Washington with her. Mum, for once, made brilliant pancakes and Dad also helped to milk the cow for him today. Jess wasn’t sure of what to do or where to go. His parents were planning to pay respects to her family now.

They walked to the Perkins place. They went into the golden room. Leslie’s grandmother was there as well. She broke down into tears. Bill was shaking as well. Jess hoped that Leslie would come in and rescue the situation. Bill thanked Jess for being a good friend to her. The body would be cremated and the ashes would be taken back to Pennsylvania tomorrow. Jess told life wasn’t fair and he didn’t do anything to deserve it. Jess was all alone in this world now. Back at home, May asked whether he had seen her being laid out and Jess hit her. May started whimpering like a kid. Jess felt the house and started screaming and running. He flung the paints into the river. There was nowhere else to go. ‘I don’t care! I don’t care!’ His dad was still by his side. Jess volunteered to take care of the dog while her family was in Pennsylvania. The dog obviously missed Jess a great deal.

Lord, Jess, don’t be a fool. God ain’t gonna send any little girls to hell. – Dad

Jess was ready to milk the cow again. It was a beautiful spring morning. The creek level was well lower now. He could not find the paints he dumped the day before. The dog paddled across the stream. The dog and Jess visited the castle. Jess wanted to make a funeral wreath for the queen. He laid it down on the thick carpet of golden needles. Then he heard May who shouted for help. Jess moved over to the creek to rescue her. Thankfully she was alright. May just wanted to look for Jess as she felt lonely and scared. Everybody gets scared sometimes. Her desk was removed from the school. Even though he would be the fastest runner in school, it didn’t make him happy. Mrs Myers also expressed sympathy at his loss. Her eyes were also filled with tears. She would always be grateful to have taught someone like Leslie. They promised to help each other. Leslie gave him vision and strength and Jess would use that to enter the world. Bill and Judy returned from Pennsylvania. Jess dressed up May and brought her Terabithia again. He made her cross the bridge.

It ain’t the same for dogs. It’s like the smarter you are, the more things can scare you. – Jess

There’s a rumor going around that the beautiful girl arriving today might be the queen they’ve been waiting for. – Jess


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

It was dark and stormy. Margaret Murry (Meg) was in her room in the attic. Meg was suffering in school with poor grades although she had brilliant parents. She was often bullied in school. Sandy and Dennys were her twin brothers. Her father had disappeared and she looked for him. Charles was her baby brother. Everyone else was sleep in the house. The family owned a kitten and Meg talked to it. Even their dog, Fortinbras, was barking. Mrs Buncombe was the constable’s wife. Meg walked around the house and feared that the tramp would enter their house. Charles was surprisingly awake and prepared breakfast for Meg. It was amazing. Charles was shy, but extremely intelligent inside. In the past, Meg thought her development rates were too slow. However, based on IQ tests, Charles and her fared well. Charles was so young but already so impressive. Mrs Murry was both a scientist and a beauty. That week, Meg fought with a guy and got a bruise to prove. Meg lamented that she was an oddball. Mum encouraged Meg to be patient. It turns out that Charles knew Mrs Whatsit and her two friends. Suddenly, the dog was growling at the lab door. Someone came to visit their house. It was Mrs Whatsit. Mum invited her home as she seemed lost. Meg started preparing food for Mrs Whatsit. Mrs Whatsit was new to the neighbourhood and was curious to explore. She was the one who took Mrs Buncombe’s sheets. Charles was very intelligent and sometimes people didn’t understand him. Mrs Whatsit knew about a pet called tesseract. Now, mom’s face turned pale. Everyone was surprised at how Mrs Whatsit knew about tesseract.

I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be. – Mrs Murry

Meg had a bad dream. Charles was asleep. Tesseract was a concept. Sandy and Dennys disliked Meg and Charles for their intelligence. Once, Meg was sent to the principal because she was rude in class. Meg missed her dad, who was a physicist. Meg was pissed with the principal, Mr Jenkins, as he kept asking about her dad. Charles wanted to look for Mrs Whatsit. Charles was good at mind reading and could predict what Meg and mother thought. A boy called Calvin O’Keefe came to visit them. Calvin just wanted to get away from his family as he was excellent at biology. Calvin admitted that he simply a compulsion to visit their house. Later, they all headed to a haunted house nearby. The house was mysterious. Later, they met Mrs Who. Calvin felt like he was going home.

There hasn’t been anybody, anybody in the world I could talk to. Sure, I can function on the same level as everybody else, I can hold myself down, but it isn’t me. – Calvin

I always believe things have an explanation. But I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations….Just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist. – Mrs Murry

Meg felt happy even though they were exploring the woods. Meg introduced Mrs Murry to Calvin. Calvin had a difficult relationship with his parents and admire Meg for being lucky to receive love. Calvin admitted that he liked Meg’s dad from the photos provided. He did badly at physics and needed tuition. Calvin liked Meg and Charles. Sometimes, learning too many shortcuts aren’t necessarily good. Calvin was super knowledgeable. He seemed to think that talking to her family could him somewhere. Everyone was impressed by his athletic ability. Mrs Murry was sad and missed her husband. Everyone admitted that Charles understood more stuff than ordinary people. Mrs Murry admitted she was not as smart as Charles. But that was life. Mum liked Calvin too. Calvin took Meg out for a walk. Apparently, dad did top secret work for the government. Dad used to be at New Mexico and then Cape Canaveral at Florida. Later, father’s letters stopped coming. Apparently dad was on an important mission and couldn’t communicate for a while. That left everyone worried. Meg hated herself for being emotional. Calvin really liked Meg. Charles saw them and he admitted that they should look for Father. Later, Mrs Which appeared.

…But people are more than just the way they look. Difference isn’t physical. It’s in essence. – Mrs Murry

Un asno viejo sabe mas que un potro. An old ass knows more than a young colt. – Charles

Qui plus sait, plus se tait. The more a man knows, the less he talks. – Mrs Who

There was a strong breeze and there was complete darkness. Suddenly, she lost Calvin’s hand and Charles was nowhere to be seen. She felt in a void now. Her heart was thumping wildly. Later, she heard Charles exclaim ‘That was quite a trip!’ Luckily all of them were safe from the journey. Now they were all in a sunlit field and the scenery was perfect. There were the three of them there. Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. The three of them were sorry to scare her but they were serious as well. Not just their dad’s life was at stake. They were in Uriel, a planet in the spiral nebula Messier 101. Calvin was shocked at the speed they arrived. Actually, they did tesser or wrinkle for that matter. Charles knew what was going on. Their father wasn’t here unfortunately. This was a resting point to get to their dad. The ladies told Meg to be patient. Everything was safe on Uriel. Now, Mrs Whatsit transformed into a horse like figure. She would carry the children on her back. They started flying across the landscape. They all needed to sing to gain strength. They were each instructed to take a flower, which would be of use later. The flowers formed a hollow bell shape. Later, they all moved upwards. To survive, the children needs to breathe through the flowers at higher altitudes. They came upon one of Uriel’s beautiful moons. Later on, they encountered something that looked like a shadow. The atmosphere was increasingly thin. The shadow was still there. After a while, they headed down again. It was perceived that the dark thing was what dad was fighting against.

La experiencia es la madre de la cinencia. Experience is the mother of knowledge. – Mrs Who

The enemy was behind the darkness and no one could see him. Meg was crying but everyone told her to stay strong. It was time to wrinkle again so that they could appear behind the shadow. Meg was reluctant. To tesseract meant to travel in the fifth dimension. The fourth dimension was time. The tesseract would be to travel through space in the quick way. They had to travel alone this time. Her lungs were squeezed during the journey. They had arrived at a two dimensional planet and needed to leave it immediately. They all almost died. Mrs Which apologized for nearing causing their death. Meg started to worry about her mum and her twin brothers back home. They came upon a dark cavern and wanted to explore it. Later, they found a fire in the cave. Later, they met a woman wearing a beautiful turban. The lady was known as Medium. She held up a ball and the children looked into it. She showed them an image of the planet Earth. The three ladies actually chose the black thing to be on Uriel first as compared to Earth. It was the power of darkness. Some of the best fighters were already on planet Earth, like Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci etc. Dad was on a planet that had given in. She urged the children to be strong.

The Thing appeared again. Later, a light shone through the Darkness and it disappeared. Later, only stars and starlight remained. The Medium said that the Darkness can be overcome. Later, it was revealed that a star gave up its life in battle with the thing. Mrs Whatsit used to be a star. She was actually not a human. Medium was exhausted and started to sleep. Now, they wanted to continue looking for Father. The Medium showed the children a crystal ball, where they could see their mum. Meg started tearing up after seeing her mum writing. All the children kissed the Medium and thanked her. They started wrinkling again. They landed on Camazotz. The planet was scenic and lovely. The three ladies would now leave the 3 children alone to explore. Dad would be on the island. Before she parted, she gave Calvin the gift of communication, gave Meg her fault and gave the resilience of childhood to Charles. The ladies encouraged the children to stick together and go to the town together. Charles was warned not to wander around alone. The children reached the town. All the children there played in a fascinating rhythm. Calvin was starting to feel afraid. They came upon a young boy who couldn’t bounce the ball in rhythm. The mother in the house admitted that nobody drops balls as their children are all perfectly trained. Later the boy grabbed the ball from Charles and ran back into the house. Everyone seemed so afraid of the three visitors. Even the newspaper boy threw the newspapers with unerring accuracy. Apparently, to walk around the town, you need to have your entrance papers processed. They were an oriented city, where there were no trouble. The Central Central Intelligence is located here. Later on, the children saw adults on the streets as well. The children came upon a large building. No one had a clue on how to look for Father. Charles insisted that they needed passports. The people in the town were certainly not robots. Charles attempted to perform mind reading, but failed to succeed. Calvin had a feeling that entering the building would bring nothing but danger.

The children held each others’ hands. A man mentioned that they needed to present S papers in the B slot in the wall. He brought them to a place where they would be re-processed. They entered a room which was full of machines. They were brought to a man on a platform. That man had eyes with a reddish glow. The man admitted that they would have no reason to fight him as he would save them from pain and trouble. The man started reciting the multiplication table. Meg revealed that they were here to look for her dad. Charles, in a moment of rage, went to punch the man. Charles mentioned that he couldn’t feel him, like it was someone other than him that was speaking. After Charles stared at the man’s eyes, he seemed to be hypnotized. However, Meg managed to stop him. Meg requested for food from the man but did not promise to stop interrupting him. There were men who entered and brought a roast turkey. The food tasted alright. The man wanted to read Charles’ mind. After a session, Charles seemed to be possessed now. It wasn’t the old Charles anymore.

The man explained that Charles was a happy man now. Calvin suggested that they hold on to him now. To Charles, he said that the 3 ladies were the real enemies. Calvin gripped Charles and did not let go. Charles liked the planet for its stability and lack of any troubles. The man indeed hypnotized Charles. The man had the identity of a Prime Coordinator. Charles would lead the way and Calvin and Meg would follow. Calvin would try to use the gift of communication with Charles. In Camazotz, there was no illness and deformity. They entered a room now. Charles could make walls open now. In their town, everyone was alike and differences create problems. Calvin liked being different. IT was the boss and he was the Happiest Sadist. Charles threatened to send them to IT if they didn’t follow him. Everything was efficient in Camazotz. They saw that the boy who couldn’t bounce the ball was undergoing more training. Later, they were brought into a transparent column. It was Dad!

Father? What is a father? Merely another misconception. If you feel the need of a father, then I would suggest that you turn to IT. – Charles

We let no one suffer. It is so much kinder simply to annihilate anyone who is ill. Nobody has weeks and weeks of runny noses and sore throats. Rather than endure such discomfort they are simply put to sleep. – Charles

But nobody’s ever happy here, either. Maybe if you aren’t unhappy sometimes you don’t know how to be happy. – Meg

There was a layer of glass and they couldn’t enter it. Dad didn’t look at them. He looked like a shipwrecked sailor. It was like a peephole. One could look at him, but he couldn’t look outside. Later, Charles punched Meg when she was getting violent. Charles said the only way to save father would be to go to IT. Calvin kept staring at Charles and that made him uncomfortable. Charles was shaken and saw at the corner whimpering. Meg quickly wore the glasses that Mrs Who left behind. Later, she was in the transparent door and got through it. Meg hugged her dad. Dad responded her and he seemed elated too. Dad was apparently blind and couldn’t see them. Dad tried the glasses and finally he could see. Finally both of them used the glasses to exit the transparent column. Charles proclaimed that ‘IT was not pleased’. Dad was insistent that Meg shouldn’t have to see IT. They were all heading to see IT now. Everything seemed to be very frightening and unpredictable. IT was actually a brain. It was a real nauseating sight. Everything was in a constant rhythm and if anyone gave in, you would be under control of IT. IT’s power was too strong and even anger wouldn’t help her. Meg started reciting nursery rhymes, which didn’t work. She kept arguing against what Charles and IT had to say. Meg would now recite the periodic table. However, it was too rhythmic. Dad later tessered together with Meg.

Calvin and her dad were still around her. Thankfully, Meg was still alive and kicking. IT was unused to being refused. It was extremely difficult to fight IT because he made you feel it was wrong to fight him. Charles got possessed because he thought he could go into IT and then return. Time seemed to be inverted on Camazotz. Matter and energy were the same thing. Meg finally regained consciousness. Charles was not with them. They didn’t know where they were now. Meg wanted to return to Camazotz so as to save Charles. Meg was devastated. She was angry at Dad for not being able to tesser properly. There were 3 alien like creatures heading to them now. They had long tentacles. The creature started to cradle Meg and Meg suddenly felt good and safe.

The beast started talking to Calvin. Dad began to recount his tale. The beast wanted to kidnap Meg. They claimed that Meg would be in trouble. Meg felt a sense of security in the beast’s presence. To her, the beasts were good. The beasts had saved her, not her dad. Father and Calvin were somewhere else eating. Meg admitted that humans couldn’t see without light. The beasts agreed to help Meg find Charles. Their advice would be for Meg start behaving in a calmer manner. The beasts started feeding Meg and taking excellent care of her. They started singing. Aunt Beast was asleep. Their planet was Lxchel. Aunt Beast bathed and dressed her. She took them to Calvin and Mr Murry. Everyone was devising of a plan to save Charles. Suddenly, Mrs Which’s voice could be heard.

Life is like a sonnet, with a strict form, but freedom within it. You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you. – Mrs Whatsit

All the 3 ladies appeared now. Mrs Whatsit couldn’t do anything on Camazotz. Calvin volunteered to go save Charles. Meg volunteered to go to save her brother. They kept quarrelling over who should eventually go down. Aunt Beast wanted to go and help Meg too. Everyone said goodbye to Meg. Only Mrs Which would be going with Meg. Mrs Whatsit gave Meg love and her blessings. Later, Meg tessered to the same hill on Camazotz. Meg was all alone and started walking to the doomed building. The trick, Meg thought, would be to resist IT. Finally, she encountered IT again. Charles was still possessed. The trick was to constantly be angry at IT. Love was something IT didn’t have. Meg suddenly decided to hug Charles and confessed her love for him. That helped to conquer IT. Later, they were all tessered back to their home. The twins and their mum were alright. The entire family rejoiced and were reunited. The three ladies came to say their goodbyes, before leaving.


I heard a famous author say once that the hardest part of writing a book was making yourself sit down at the typewriter. I know what he meant. Unless a writer works constantly to improve and refine the tools of his trade, they will be useless instruments if and when the moment of inspiration, of revelation, does come. – Madeleine L’Engle

Very few children have any problem with the world of the imagination; it’s their own world, the world of their daily life, and it’s our loss that so many of us grow out of it. – Madeleine L’Engle

A book, too, can be a star, “explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,” a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe. – Madeleine L’Engle


Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Prologue. 3 strange things with apparently no connection happened together. They were (1) Mae Tuck travelled by horse to Treegap to visit her sons, Miles and Jesse; (2) Winnie Foster (whose family owned Treegap), decided to run away; (3) A stranger appeared at Foster’s home. One of the themes of the book might be ‘Every choice we make has a reward and a cost.’ If you re-read a book at different phases of your life, it can contain a different meaning. This book will continue to intrigue readers way into the future.

All wheels must have a hub. A Ferris Wheel has one, as the sun is the hub of the wheeling calendar. Fixed points they are, and best left undisturbed, for without them, nothing holds together. But sometimes people find this out too late. – Natalie Babbitt

Treegap contained cottages, houses, roads and woods. The first house before Treegap was extremely quiet. The woods actually belonged to the Fosters and no one except them would cross it. Winnie was a kid who was interested in the forest but had never visited it before. She was part of the Fosters’ family.

Mae and Tuck were happily married. Tuck dreamt that he was in heaven and that he had never heard of Treegap. Mae admitted that she wanted to take the horse to meet their sons. It was 10 years since she last visited Treegap. Tuck was lazy and continued sleeping, not wanting to go. Whenever she went, Mae would carry her precious music box with her. Mae, her husband, and her two boys (Miles and Jesse) looked the same since 87 years ago.

Winnie started talking to a toad near the fence. The weather was sweltering and extremely warm. Later her grandmother appeared. She vowed to escape as she couldn’t stand the incessant attention and nagging from her mum and grandma. The toad hopped away when Winnie tried to talk to it.

Why should you have to be cooped up in a cage, too? It’d be better if I could be like you, out in the open and making up my mind. Do you know they’ve hardly ever let me out of this yard all by myself? – Winnie Foster

A stranger in a yellow suit came to the Foster’s gate. He had a tall and slim built. He started talking to Winnie and asking about her family. The man admitted that he was here because he was looking for a family. Later, he wanted to speak to Winnie’s dad. The man didn’t reveal who he was looking for. Later on, they heard the elf music. No one had heard them in a long while. The man in the yellow suit started humming the tune and he skipped away happily.

It was one thing to talk about being by yourself, doing important things, but quite another when the opportunity arose. – Natalie Babbitt

Winnie was not afraid to go out alone. She had belief now and she wanted to exit the woods. The woods felt alive and Winnie enjoyed walking in them. Then, she met the toad again. Suddenly, she came upon a boy who was sitting down beside a tree. He started drinking water from the ground. Winnie explained to him that the woods belonged to the Fosters. The boy was Jesse Tuck. He was a 104 years old but looked like a 17 year old. Winnie was only 10 years old. She wanted to drink the water but was advised not to do so by Jesse. Just then, Mae Tuck and Miles Tuck appeared. They saw Jesse and Winnie.

Winnie next found herself on a horse and being kidnapped by the Tucks. They would explain why they were taking her away. While on the road, they found the man in the yellow suit. Winnie did not do anything to signal for his attention. Now, the Tucks stopped and Winnie started to cry. Mae took out her music box and started to wind it. With the music playing, Winnie stopped crying. It was the same music she heard the night before. The fact was that the music didn’t come from elves. Jesse admitted to Winnie that the Tucks needed her help.

87 years ago, the Tucks came to this forest. Everyone took a drink from the tree. Everyone except their cat took a drink. Later they found a shack and decided to stay there. One day, Jesse was climbing a tree. However, he accidentally fell and hit his head. Miraculously, he survived unscathed. After a passage of time, they realized that they couldn’t grow old anymore. Everyone concluded that there was magical powers with the spring water. Bullets wouldn’t even leave a mark when it hit someone. Tuck tried to shoot himself but he wouldn’t die. Nobody knew how it works or why the water possessed such magical powers. Dad thought it was a leftover from some previous plan the world had. Being an immortal didn’t seem such a good idea after all.

Winnie wasn’t a fan of fairy tales. Jesse seemed to enjoy immortality. Apparently, only Winnie knew about this secret. Although the Tucks kidnapped her, Winnie didn’t feel all that bad. The plan was for Winnie to see her parents tomorrow. However, she was not allowed to let out the secret. No one noticed this, but the man with the yellow suit overheard everything and was following them now.

Winnie was carried by Miles and they came to their own hut, where Tuck was around. Winnie and Tuck finally got to meet. To Tuck, this was his happiest moment in 87 years.

Winnie was well disciplined as she was brought up under constant supervision at home. Later, she explored the Tuck’s family house. Mae and Tuck made stuff to sell and their works were all lying around the house. Winnie was charmed by their lifestyle. They had to take on many jobs in order to kill boredom. Once in a while, the Tucks would find a new house to live in. Mae lamented that they didn’t have many friends. Every 10 years, Winnie would visit the boys at the spring.

Life’s got to be lived, no matter how long or short. You got to take what comes. – Mae Tuck

We’re plain as salt, us Tucks. We don’t deserve no blessings – if it is a blessing. And, likewise, I don’t see how we deserve to be cursed, if it’s a curse. Still – there is no use trying to figure why things (immortality) fall the way they do. Things just are, and fussing don’t bring changes. – Mae Tuck

The family feasted along with Winnie. No one was allowed to talk while eating in the family. Chewing was a personal act. Later, Tuck took Winnie out on a rowboat. Tuck seemed suspicious. Winnie admitted that there was a man in the yellow suit which might be following them.

Winnie started rowing. Tuck explained that the water was always moving. Tuck taught Winnie to appreciate nature. Tuck explained that everything was like a wheel, every human life. Angus Tuck lamented that their wheel was stuck due to immortality. They could not welcome the new. Tuck was trying hard so that Winnie could understand. He actually wanted to die so that he could move on, but he couldn’t. Later on that night, their horse was stolen.

The sun sucks up some of the water right out of the ocean and carries it back in clouds, and then it rains, and the rain falls into the stream, and the stream keeps moving on, taking it all back again. It’s a wheel…People are too. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. – Angus Tuck

Dying is part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing…You can’t call living without dying. – Angus Tuck

Later, the man in the yellow suit headed to the Fosters home to reveal where Winnie was taken.

Tuck had a bad feeling about the missing horse. Winnie didn’t sleep well that night. She thought that immorality was rubbish. Mae suddenly came to talk to Winnie. She mentioned that she wished Winnie was one of theirs. Later, Jesse came into her room and talked about drinking from the stream together and then getting married.

The man in the yellow suit recounted his story to the Fosters. Now, he wanted the wood from the Fosters house. In return, he would reveal the location of the child. Then, the Fosters agreed to the deal.

The man in the yellow suit took the Constable to search the woods for Winnie. The man in the yellow suit didn’t reveal what he wanted the woods for. With the constable on a horse, he could travel much greater distances.

Miles shouted and saw Winnie. They went fishing together now. Miles was certainly a skilful rower. Miles was thick and muscular whereas Jesse was like water and more skinny. Although he had a wife, he didn’t want her to drink the magic stream water. It just felt weird. Dad also discouraged us from telling others about the magic spring water. Winnie thought being immortal was great. However, Miles was quick to point out that the world might become overcrowded. Once in a while, Miles would do something important. Miles admitted that he hadn’t discovered what he should do. Miles caught a fish. However, Winnie wanted him to release it. Miles finally released the fish upon Winnie’s request.

It’s no good just thinking of your own pleasure. People got to do something useful if they’re going to take up space in this world. – Miles Tuck

It was time for family dinner. The family and Winnie were enjoying themselves. Winnie didn’t think they were kidnappers now and started to love them. Later, someone knocked on their door. It was the man in the yellow suit. He wanted to enter the house.

His face seemed unpleasant. He came into the house to sit and introduce himself and wanted to take Winnie home. He was fascinated by his grandma’s stories. In his younger days, he studied science in order to find out how humans became immortal. However, it was of no help to him. One day, he bought his grandmother a music box. It was similar to one that Mae currently owned. The tune haunted him for 20 years. The man made his intentions clear. He wanted to sell the water for money. The plan was to only sell it to those who deserve and could afford it. The man was demanding and now wanted the Tucks to show him where the spring was. Since the Tucks refused to give up the spring, the man seized Winnie. As he was leaving, he encountered Mae outside. She was holding a shotgun. Winnie tried to stop Mae from shooting him. Unfortunately Mae did fire. The man in the yellow suit was very ill and injured. The Treegap constable arrived on the scene.

Winnie admitted to the constable that she wasn’t kidnapped but came to their house at her own accord. Tuck seemed a little shaken by the death. Mae was brought for furthering questioning by the police constable. The constable warned that if the man died, one of the family members would be charged. The plan was to avoid the gallows at all cost. Because even if Mae was admitted to the gallows, she would not be able to die. This would be bad as the Tucks didn’t want mankind to know about immortality.

The constable brought Winnie back to her real family. Her family could sense that she now acted a little differently from before. Winnie felt difficult and torn because she liked both the Tucks and her real family. It turned out that the man in the yellow suit died. Killing someone is punishable by hanging. Winnie tried to think of a desperate plan so that Mae would not be sent to the gallows.

It was an extremely warm day. Winnie spotted the same toad outside and asked her grandma for water as she wanted to feed it. Just when she was about to feed him water, he disappeared. It was unbearably hot. Winnie thought hard about how she could set Mae free. Miles had a plan which was to saw through the window frame of Mae’s cell in the middle of the night when the constable weren’t looking. Jesse quietly also handed Winnie a bottle of the magic spring water and wanted to drink it when she turned 17. That way, Jesse and I would have immortality and be forever ‘17’. Winnie suggested that she could disguise as Mae for a short period so as to give her more time to escape. Jesse was gone now. This would be the night where they tried to free Mae.

The sun was blazing. Winnie hid the bottle of magic spring water. Everyone in her house headed to bed early. It had been a difficult week but it was nearly over. As she would replace Mae, the constable would find her the next morning and she had to explain again why she was there. Winnie felt that it was her duty to help the Tucks because she loved them. After much waiting, it was finally only 5 minutes to midnight.

Winnie had no difficulty leaving her house at all. Her body felt weightless and free. The streets were utterly quiet. Winnie finally met Jesse and Miles and Tuck and they headed to the jailhouse. The storm was coming nearer. Miles lubricated the nails of the cell with oil in order to remove them. They could near the constable yawning. After removing the nails, Miles tugged at the window but it did not budge. Miles yanked it again and it finally gave way. Mae was now trying to climb out of the window. Finally she was freed. Everyone was delighted by this. Now, Winnie was being placed in the cell. There was a heavy thunderstorm outside now. Would Miles fit the frames back? Then, the Tucks were gone

It was 2 weeks since Mae’s escape and there was no trace of the Tucks had all. The gallows had been blown over by the wind. The moment the constable found her, he was mad with rage. As she was too young to be punished, she was released. Winnie was an ‘accomplice’ in the act of allowing Mae to escape. However, she sacrificed so much because she loved the Tucks. The news spread and many children respected what Winnie did. Once, a dog tried to attack the toad. However, Winnie was kind enough and rescued the toad from harm. Now, she brought it home and poured the magic water into the toad’s mouth. The toad would now be safe forever.

Fast forward to year 1950. The Tucks were now travelling through Treegap and were exploring the place. Much had been changed now. They stopped over at a diners. The woods had completely disappeared. One of the waiters recounted that the electrical storm caused a fire and everything was bulldozed to the ground. Even the fresh water spring was gone. They later came upon a cemetery and walked around to explore. One of the tombs read ‘In Loving Memory: Winifred Foster Jackson’. She had passed away for 2 years already. She had lived a fairly long life. ‘Good girl’, Tuck proclaimed as he wept. Then they caught a glimpse of a toad being run over by a truck. It didn’t die and they knew he would live forever. The tinkling little melody of music continued to be heard.