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Mrs Budd on Bonfire Night

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A Story for Grover J. Askins

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Mr Budd sat on the floor by the door of his white washed walled cottage in the village of Oakapple. He was brushing mud from his wellington boots which fell like silver speckles in the late afternoon sun’s beams.

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Mrs Budd had a lot to do helping Mr Budd. Their job was to collect the dry leaves and twigs blown down from the trees in the garden. Mr Budd liked looking at the different shapes and colours of the leaves.

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They had the finest garden in the street. Indeed the nicest garden in the village, the most lovely garden in the shire said some, the most beautiful garden in the country thought Mr and Mrs Budd.

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All the crackling leaves would have to be put in a pile with the boxes and newspapers ready to be set alight. It was the 5th of November which is Bonfire Night and everyone in the village was getting excited.

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The wind blew and blew, then, slowly at first until louder and faster it began to rain. Mr and Mrs Budd had to rush as fast as they could to collect the leaves, but soon the twigs were soaking and lying in puddles and sticky mud.

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Mrs Budd now inside the house rubbed her fingers in patterns over the steamed up windows. She saw the dripping rain and felt disappointment for all the children and their soggy fires.

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It was getting dark when Mrs Budd put out the empty milk bottles for the milkman to collect the next morning. It was then she saw a very wet, bedraggled little puppy lying in the grass whimpering.

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She picked up the little puppy and took him inside to put in a box filled with Mr Budd’s old shirts. She put the box in a nice warm place near the fire and before you could say ’Woof!’ he was fast asleep.

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Mr Budd had already had a very busy day and when he had finished his tea he decided to have a nap in his rocking chair in front of the fire.

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Mrs Budd put on her apron to wash up and as she looked out of the window she could see the rain had stopped and that the night sky was becoming clearer. Suddenly, she had an idea.

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Mrs Budd now quite alone took from around her neck a ribbon on which hung a key. She unlocked a lock and found her special stick and a book. Mrs Budd was a witch, but the happiest, most gentle and most kindly witch you could ever wish to meet.

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As Mrs Budd walked quietly outside the little puppy’s eyes opened wide. He watched and was soon trotting off behind her as she went down the lane. She knew it was time and she said her magic rhyme…“Book of spells and wand and key, weave your magic now for me.”

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Passing each bonfire she touched the guy with her magic stick and the fire flamed up to the sky. Soon all the bonfires in the village were alight. Burning, curling flames leapt out, stretching high towards the big bright moon. All the children were happy.

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The wind blew the drying leaves around the lanes as Mrs Budd walked home in the moonlight carrying the puppy safely.

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Whooshing noises rocked up to the sky and exploded in lots of bright light. Whizzing swirls danced, flames flashed and flying rhubarb red flares fell safely to earth. Lights shone out from all over the village and shouts of excitement and one happy ‘Woof’ filled the air.

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Mr and Mrs Budd stood by the door listening to the roar and sniffing the roasting and toasting. They watched until the fires grew small and the blue-grey smoke gently floated to the sky.

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They had seen that the fires had been the finest, the brightest, and the most colourful fires ever seen in the village of Oakapple.

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And only we know why, the puppy, you and I.

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Peter R. Mason 2018