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ERNIE

and the enchanted shoes

by

Arianka Shawna
All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced
or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
author.

Copyright © 2015 Arianka Shawna


To my two favourite youngsters; Rikhi and Uzzie,
Never let go of imagination.
CONTENTS

Chapter One
The Family Treasure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Chapter Two
Fun at the Fair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Chapter Three
Hola!!! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Chapter Four
The Apprentice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Chapter Five
A day at the Racetrack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
Chapter Six
Taming the Bully . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166
Chapter Seven
An Unexpected Turn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
CHAPTER ONE

The Family Treasure

"Ernie dear, could you come down for a


minute?"
Ernie was lying casually on his bed, reading a
comic book but he could clearly hear his mum
downstairs.
"Ernie, do you have your ears plugged in
again?"
He didn't budge but continued flicking
through his comic. After a couple of minutes,
he heard a scurry up the stairs and then a
little knock on the door.
"Ernie, Mum's calling you." A gentle voice
called out from the other side of the door but
Ernie didn't respond.
A few seconds later, the door handle turned
and in walked David, Ernie's younger
brother.

6
The Family Treasure

He had a thick crop of black hair just like


their mum's, and was a cheerful seven year
old.
"Ernie, come on, Mum has a surprise for you."
David walked over to him and began pulling
him out of the bed.
Ernie looked up at him with his bright, blue
eyes glowering and gave him a hard shove.
David immediately lost his balance and let
out a whimper as his bum hit the wooden
floor with a thump.
"Stop being such a big baby." snarled Ernie as
he looked over at his brother whimpering on
the floor.
David sniffed and wiped his eyes with the
back of his hand. "You do have a cool surprise
downstairs." He managed to whisper bravely
as he stood up and rubbed his behind slightly.
He then walked to the door but turned to look
sadly at Ernie as he left the room.
Once David was gone, Ernie closed his comic
and threw it on the floor. He was very curious
about this surprise his mum had for him.
Could it be the cool baseball bat he had seen
while they were all at the mall or was it the

7
The Family Treasure

new pair of sneakers that she had promised


to get him?
His eyes shone widely as he hurriedly got up
from his bed and leapt to the door. He ran
down the stairs two at a time before landing
heavily at the bottom.
"Mum, David said you've got a surprise for
me." He stood in front of her with his arms
folded.
"Why do you pretend not to hear me
calling…..everytime?" asked his mum,
sighing in despair.
She paused briefly and then continued, "You
don't know this but you boys had a great
grand uncle who passed away two weeks
ago."
"...Uhn, I had a great grand uncle?"
"Yes, you did." His mum said as she began
unpacking her shopping bags, “And he left
you some really cool things.”
"...Yeah......what are they?" asked Ernie, with
raised eyebrows.

8
The Family Treasure

"It's an antique box that has been in my


family for a very long time and he wanted you
to have it."
His mum reached into one of the shopping
bags to get a strange looking box. It was a
small pirate's treasure chest with strange
carvings on it.
David hopped over to Ernie's side and stood
on his toes to get a better look. "Open it" He
squealed as Ernie stared at the funny looking
box, unsure whether to open it or not.
Curiosity eventually got the better of him and
he turned over the box in his hands. He then
traced the carvings cautiously with his
fingers before finally unlocking it.
It was lined with deep-blue velvet at the
bottom and had some engravings at the top
but the contents were the really interesting
bit. Inside were a pair of worn-out Arabian
shoes, a fountain pen carved out of wood and
a magnifying glass with a wooden handle that
had more engravings on it.
"Oooo, so cool." cooed David, picking up the
magnifying glass to have a peek.

9
The Family Treasure

Ernie picked up the shoes and stared hard at


it before tossing it back into the chest.
"And what exactly am I supposed to do with
all these?" Ernie asked rudely.
"Ernie!! Of all your cousins, your great grand
uncle chose you to have it. I thought you
would be a little more excited."
"You can give it to someone else 'cos I don't
want it." Ernie said pointedly, placing his
hands in his pockets before turning to go back
to his room.
"Ernest Hillby, you get back here this
instant."
A startled Ernie turned back to look at his
mum, he had never heard her so angry before.
She walked over to him and placed the chest
in his hands.
"Your great grand uncle wanted you to have
this."
"But I don't want it......"
"No buts, Ernie. Keep it somewhere safe in
your closet."

10
The Family Treasure

Ernie glared at his mum defiantly but the


look on her face showed that she meant
business and so he took the chest grudgingly
and stormed up to his room.
Ernie slammed the door once he got in and
threw the chest underneath his bed. He
couldn't understand why this great grand
uncle person would give him all these stuff.
One thing was certain though, there was
absolutely no way he was going anywhere in
those shoes.
His dad came back from work late in the
evening and as he always did, he came in to
say goodnight to Ernie before he went off to
sleep.
"Buddy, have you fallen asleep yet?"
"Hi dad,....not yet." Ernie said, with a yawn.
"Mum said, you got a cool gift today."
Ernie scoffed loudly, "It's so not cool, just
some old junk that no one wanted."
"Pretty sure it's not that bad, let me have a
look."

11
The Family Treasure

Ernie crawled out of bed and knelt down to


pull the box from the far end. He gave it to
his dad who carefully studied the carvings
drawn on the box.
"These look like something I saw in a
museum one time."
His dad then opened the box and took out
each item one by one but the Arabian shoes
intrigued him the most.
"These are exquisite, almost like the ones
worn by the ancient kings of Arabia."
Ernie's face perked up for a minute. "Really?"
he asked.
"... it looks very similar to the ones I've seen
in pictures."

His dad turned over the shoes and added,


"Yep, very similar.....do you realise how
special these are?"

"Hmm.....maybe," Ernie wasn't so sure about


the shoes being special but before he could
make up his mind, he remembered something
of greater importance to him.

12
The Family Treasure

"Dad, don't forget about my baseball game on


Friday."
"Is it this Friday?"
"You promised, Dad, you said you wouldn't
miss it this time."
"I don't know, son, let's see how it goes."
"Yeah....whatever," Ernie muttered angrily.
"Did you say something?" asked his dad, with
a knowing look in his eyes.
"Nope,"
His dad packed up the box neatly and said,
"This is one of a kind, Ernie and you should
keep it safe. I'll put it in the corner of your
closet and we can look at it again when I have
the time."
His dad then placed the box right under his
collection of video games, in his closet.
"Goodnight, buddy." as he turned off the
lights, "I'll see you in the morning."
"Goodnight, dad."

13
The Family Treasure

*********************
Weeks passed and Ernie forgot all about the
old family box. One Saturday, Jason, his best
friend, came over for a visit and they played
video games until they got bored.
"Don't you have any new games?" Jason
asked.
"These are the only ones I've got." Ernie
replied but after some thought, added ".....Or
we could play Rooster Booster, we haven't
played that in a while."
".........OK."
Ernie began rummaging through his closet to
find the Rooster Booster game and suddenly
noticed the old family box hidden underneath
the game pile. He held it for a moment and
then, brought it out to show Jason.
"What is it?" asked Jason, tilting the box to
get a better look."
'It's an old family box I inherited from my
great grand uncle."

14
The Family Treasure

Jason opened the box and immediately


snapped up the magnifying glass, "Whoa, this
is so cool. My mum would flip if she sees this."
"Why?"
"She's really into all these Egyptian thingys."
"It's actually Arabian."
"Whatever......Can I have the box for the
weekend to show her?"
"My dad and I are taking it to a museum
tomorrow." lied Ernie, suddenly feeling very
protective of his family treasure.
"What about next weekend then?"
"I don't know....I might be going off with it to
my cousin's house but we'll see."
"Alright.....let me know when I can take it
home, my mum would love to have a look."
Jason said, pausing for a moment before
finally letting go of the magnifying glass.
When Jason went home, Ernie took another
hard look at the box; maybe it wasn't so bad
after all. He tried on the shoes to see if they'll
fit and to his surprise, they fitted him

15
The Family Treasure

perfectly. He then wrapped his blanket about


him and strutted round the room.
"I am King Jebdah of Arabia, bow before me."
He stretched out his hand as if holding an
imaginary scepter and waved it majestically
in the air. All of a sudden, a thick haze of
green smoke covered him from head to toe.
Ernie covered his nose and tried to make his
way out of the haze but the more he tried to
escape, the thicker it became.
"Mom.......David.........Can anybody hear me?"
He screamed out at the top of his voice but no
one came. After what seemed like ages, the
haze cleared up and Ernie found himself
standing in a woods he had never seen before.
It seemed to be alive with massive oak trees
and colourful flowers that swayed gracefully
in the gentle evening breeze. Ernie looked
frantically about him and clutched his
blanket tighter as the air was really chilly.
"Hello?....Is anyone there?" Ernie called out
again and again until his voice got really
hoarse. He then began wandering the woods
looking for a way to get back home but he just

16
The Family Treasure

seemed to be going round in circles as all the


trees looked the same.
After hours of searching about the woods,
Ernie rested underneath an oak tree to catch
his breath. He was shivering all over and
thoroughly frightened of being alone in this
place. He started humming his favourite pop
song to cheer himself up but his rumbling
tummy reminded him that he was hungry
and far from home.
As he sat down with his head bent wondering
where he was going to spend the night, he
heard someone dragging something heavy
towards him. He squinted his eyes and tried
to make out who it was.
Trudging down the narrow pathway with a
big, heavy sack was an old man of about
David's height. He hunched forward as he
walked and had a face so wrinkly, you could
barely make out his eyes.
When the old man moved closer and noticed
Ernie gaping at him, he called out with a
croaky voice.

17
The Family Treasure

"My dear boy, could you help me carry this?


It's getting quite dark and I can barely walk
with this."
Ernie scrunched up his face at the wrinkly,
old man, pretending not to hear him.
"My dear boy, could you please help........?",
the old man repeated.
"No," Ernie muttered angrily, "There is no
way I'm helping you carry that."
The old man mumbled something to himself
and continued down the pathway. Ernie
watched him go and surprisingly felt a tinge
of sadness; it had been rather nice to have
someone to talk to.
"I better sleep in this tree tonight." Ernie said
to himself, fearlessly. He grabbed the trunk of
the oak tree and slowly made his way up.
When he came to a sturdy branch, he
straddled it and rested on the huge trunk of
the tree.
He shut his eyes tightly and tried desperately
to get some sleep but the chilly air, his
growling tummy and the distant sound of the
old man dragging the heavy sack, kept him
wide awake.

18
The Family Treasure

"OMG, is he going to drag that sack all


night?" Ernie mumbled angrily.
He tried going to sleep one more time but he
simply couldn't. He then climbed down the
tree, followed the sound of the sack and
eventually caught up with the old man.
"Let me help you with that." Ernie offered
half-heartedly.
"Don't worry about it, kid, I believe I can
manage."
Ernie was a bit stunned by his response but
he didn't back down. "You'll get home quicker
if I help out." he said.
He then took firm hold of the sack amidst the
old man's protests, and slung it over his
shoulder.
"It's really heavy," stuttered Ernie, struggling
to walk with the sack, "What's in it?"
"Just some wood for the fireplace."
They walked at a slow pace until Ernie got
really tired and put the sack down.
"Is your house still much further?" panted an
exhausted Ernie.

19
The Family Treasure

"No, no, we are almost there, it's just around


the corner."
True to his word when they rounded the
corner, Ernie saw the cutest little cottage he
had ever seen. It was shaped like a giant
flowerpot and had a garden filled with the
most colourful looking flowers that gleamed,
even in the moonlight. There was also a well
with a draw bucket and several wind chimes.
It was a truly lovely sight.
When they got inside, Ernie inhaled the
wonderful combination of jasmine and
cinnamon which only made his stomach
rumble louder.
"Are you hungry?" The old man asked, with a
chuckle. Ernie nodded emphatically as he
placed the sack of wood by the fireplace.
The old man instructed Ernie on how to lay
the table and light up the fireplace before he
began to prepare supper. Not too long
afterwards, pots and pans were clanking and
a scrumptious aroma filled the whole house.
When the old man served up supper, Ernie
could scarcely believe his eyes. On the table
was a thick slab of raisin bread, a tub of

20
The Family Treasure

almond butter, a casserole bowl simmering


with chicken and mushroom broth along with
a hot, frothy beverage in two glass mugs.
Ernie pulled up a chair as fast as his hands
could manage and dug in like a hungry sailor.
He consumed generous portions of every item
on the table before taking a hearty sip of the
beverage.
Ernie grunted dreamily with a froth
moustache on his lip, "What's this?" he asked,
taking another swig from the glass mug.
"It's a secret recipe that has been in my
family for generations, it's made with malt
powder, full cream, cocoa powder, caramel
sauce and pop bubbles."
"Each bubble tastes like a milky chocolate
bar, so delicious." hummed Ernie as he
lounged lazily on the dining chair, feeling
very sleepy after the heavenly meal.
"So my dear boy, what is your name?" The old
man asked curiously.
"Ernest Hillby but everybody calls me Ernie
for short."

21
The Family Treasure

"Nice to meet you Ernie, you can call me Mr


Bo. How old are you?"
"11,"
"....So would you like to tell me why you are
all by yourself in these woods?"
Ernie then recounted to Mr Bo how he had
gotten these strange shoes and how it
mysteriously brought him to the woods when
he wore it for the first time.
"May I have a look?" Mr Bo inquired.
Ernie had never been more happier to take off
a pair of shoes and he hurriedly gave them to
Mr Bo. Mr Bo got out his reading glasses and
looked at them carefully, like they were some
rare antiques.
His face grew more and more excited as he
studied them and without any warning, he
ran over to a shelf to fetch a very large book
with a metal latch on the side. He flipped the
pages with such speed that Ernie wondered if
his hands hurt.
"Ah-ha!" exclaimed Mr Bo, when he finally
stopped at one of the pages.

22
The Family Treasure

"What is it?"
"Your shoes look exactly like the ones from
the legend of Bhajad."
"The legend of what....?"
"The legend of Bhajad, come and have a look,
the shoes are practically the same."
Ernie walked over and peered into the large
book and right there on the page, was an
exact drawing of his shoes.
"The legend of Bhajad is a very interesting
one." continued Mr Bo, "A very long time ago,
there was an Arabian king called Bhajad. He
was extremely powerful and wealthy but he
was also, very cruel. He taxed his people
excessively and he took whatever he wanted
without paying for it.
One day while walking about his kingdom, he
came across these shoes in a shoemaker's
stall. Unknown to him, the shoemaker was
also a magician. When he saw the shoes, he
instantly liked them and grabbed them off
the stand. He then ordered the shoemaker to
give it to him for free and the shoemaker
obliged, without any hesitation. The king was

23
The Family Treasure

absolutely delighted and went home to try


them out.
As he slipped them on to see if they'll fit, a
thick haze of smoke covered him from head to
toe. When the smoke cleared, he found
himself in a strange kingdom he had never
been before and the only thing he owned were
those pair of shoes.
To survive, he worked as a farmhand for long
hours and very little pay. Only then, did he
begin to understand how harshly he had
treated his own people.
One day, while he was at work, he cried out,
‘I deserve this and more for treating my
people so cruelly.’
The instant he said this, a gentle breeze
began pulling him towards a doorway that
appeared from nowhere. He followed the
breeze and passed through the door, on the
other side was his palace and remarkably,
everything was the same just as he had left
it.
Immediately, he set about helping the people
of his kingdom. He lessened their taxes and
returned everything he had taken unjustly.

24
The Family Treasure

He also tried looking for the shoemaker to


return the shoes but he was nowhere to be
found. King Bhajad then kept it in a safe in
his palace as a reminder to always rule
fairly."
Ernie, who was completely riveted by the
story, asked, "You don't think that these
could be the same pair, do you?"
"It could be or maybe more pairs were
made…"
"How long did King Bhajad stay in the other
kingdom?"
"The legend has it that he spent 5 years over
there."
"5 years!!!!!!" shouted Ernie as he leapt to his
feet, "I can't spend 5 years here, I have to go
home."
"Then you have to do what King Bhajad did,
you have to say what you've learned from
being here. Can you think of anything?"
Ernie scratched his head and thought about it
for some time, "Maybe skipping Boys' Scouts
meetings wasn't such a good idea.'

25
The Family Treasure

Mr Bo threw back his head and laughed


vigorously, "It would have to be much deeper
than that." He said as he wiped the tears
from his eyes.
Ernie scratched his head again and grunted,
"I got nothing."
"You've had a long day, sleep on it and you
can try again tomorrow." Mr Bo encouraged.
He showed Ernie the hammock he would be
sleeping in, "I have a nightshirt you could use
for the night while I put your clothes in the
laundry."
Ernie quickly changed into the nightshirt Mr
Bo gave him and clambered sleepily into the
hammock.
"Goodnight, Ernie" said Mr Bo as he turned
off the lights.
"Goodnight, Mr Bo and thanks for supper."
Ernie drawled as his eyes gradually closed
tightly.
He woke up the next morning to the smell of
sesame buns, mozzarella cheese, cherry
tomatoes and some hot chocolate.

26
The Family Treasure

"Good morning Ernie, I trust you slept well."


"Mr Bo...? I thought I had only being
dreaming." Ernie said as he looked about,
dazed and confused.
"No, no, I'm as real as breakfast on the table."
"So I'm actually stuck here...?"
"Not for long, hopefully."
Ernie felt really miserable and homesick. He
even missed David hanging around all the
time.
"Come now, why the long face? I'm sure we
can figure this out. Go take a shower and
then you can come have breakfast." Mr Bo
said as he toasted the sesame buns.
Ernie plodded to the bathroom, feeling
mighty sorry for himself. He showered slowly
as he thought of what he had learnt but he
still couldn't come up with anything. After
the refreshing warm bath, he wore his clothes
and went to have breakfast.
"Why do you live all by yourself in the woods,
Mr Bo?" asked Ernie, as he munched on a hot
sesame bun coated with mozzarella.

27
The Family Treasure

"I used to live in the town not too far off but I
always loved coming to the woods. When my
wife died some years back, I decided to move
out here and I've been here ever since."
"I'm really sorry 'bout your wife..." Ernie said
quietly, "What do you do all day by yourself?"
He added.
"I grow all kinds of flowers and vegetables in
my garden which I sell at the farmer's market
and that keeps me very busy. My kids and
grandkids also come to visit regularly."
Ernie thought longingly of his own family and
wondered if he would ever see them again.
"How did you come by the legend of Bhajad
anyway?" Ernie asked, feeling curious.
"Ah!! I love reading stories on ancient
kingdoms. I particularly enjoyed King
Bhajad's story and that's why I recognized
the shoes once I saw them."
As they sat munching breakfast, listening to
the chirrup of birds in the garden, Mr Bo
suddenly asked, "Would you like to give me a
hand in the garden? The fresh air could help."
"That would be good." Ernie said.

28
The Family Treasure

They then went to the garden and Mr Bo


showed Ernie how to spot the parts of flowers
to prune and also, how to apply mulch to the
soil.
After a bit of pruning, Mr Bo quizzed Ernie
again, "Thought of anything yet?"
"Well, I was just thinking, if I hadn't helped
you to carry that heavy sack, I would have
probably slept on that tree last night and
never known about King Bhajad or the
shoes."
A gust of wind immediately swirled through
the garden and scattered the pile of dead
plants they had gathered.
"That's a good sign, my boy. Anything else?"
Ernie pondered on yesterday's events some
more and came to a rapid realization. "I
helped you out and you helped me in return
so I guess I learned kindness comes back
around."
A gentle breeze ruffled through Ernie's
blonde hair as if giving him a friendly pat,
and gradually made their way through a vine
arch that had appeared mysteriously.

29
The Family Treasure

"That's it, my boy, you've found your way


home."
Ernie was really happy to be going back home
but he was also sad that he might never see
Mr Bo again.
"Oh! let me get you something." Mr Bo
quickly added.
He went over to the side of the cottage and
brought back a flowerpot with a newly
planted jasmine flower.
"Prune this regularly just like I taught you
and don't forget to water it. Also, make sure
to put it where it can get loads of sunshine."
Ernie looked at him fondly and gave him a
really big hug, "Will I ever see you again, Mr
Bo?"
"Who knows, you just might." Mr Bo said,
with a wink.
Ernie walked steadily to the archway with his
flowerpot and turned to give Mr Bo a final
wave.
"Bye, Mr Bo."

30
The Family Treasure

"Take care of yourself now and the jasmine


too." Mr Bo responded, waving
enthusiastically as he did.
Ernie's driveway was on the other side of the
archway and as he passed through, he looked
back to wave one last time at Mr Bo but the
archway was already gone.
Ernie paused for a second with his mouth
ajar. He still couldn't believe everything that
had just happened. He looked around to see if
anyone was about, and luckily, there was no
one there. He took a deep breath and walked
slowly to the house.
When he got in, he saw his mum bent over
the stove, making dinner. Ernie smiled
widely; it was so good to see her again. He
plonked the flowerpot on the kitchen table
and ran over to give her a big hug.
"Mum, I missed you so much." Ernie cried,
squeezing her tightly.
"You just saw me ten minutes ago when
Jason's mum came to pick him up."
"But..." Ernie started, and then he
remembered the legend, "...Feels like ages to
me," he added, still holding tightly.

31
The Family Treasure

His mum looked at him with a puzzled look


on her face.
She placed the back of her hand on his
forehead and asked, "Are you okay?"
"Yea, mum."
"Go freshen up, dinner will be ready in ten
minutes."
She soon noticed the jasmine sticking out
from flowerpot, "Where did you get that
from?"
Ernie badly wanted to tell her all about his
adventure in the woods but he knew she
probably wouldn't believe him.
"A friend of mine gave it to me." said Ernie,
not really sure how to answer, "Wouldn't it
look really nice on the kitchen sill?"
"It sure would. That was really sweet of your
friend."
Ernie sighed silently and placed the flowerpot
on the kitchen sill. He then crept up the
stairs so his mum wouldn't notice his feet.
"Ernie, I thought you hated those shoes?" His
mum asked suddenly.

32
The Family Treasure

"I just wanted to see if they'll fit." He


answered as he paused on the stairs and held
his breath.
"Try not to wear it too often, it seems pretty
worn out."
"I know mum, just gonna put them back in
the chest."
Ernie's heart was thumping loudly as he
continued up the stairs. He heaved a big sigh
of relief once he got into his room and looked
down at his feet.
"I better pack this up before something weird
happens again." Ernie said to himself as he
hurriedly took off the shoes.

33
CHAPTER TWO

Fun at the fair

After baseball practise one day, Ernie was


pouring himself a cup of milk when he saw a
reflection coming from the garden in the back.
He dropped his cup and slowly made his way
to investigate.
He peeked cautiously outside and saw David
lying flat on the grass. He was peering
through the magnifying glass and he was
wearing the Arabian shoes. Ernie was
completely horrified.
"DAVID!!" Ernie bellowed, "Get your behind
inside, right now."
David's head bobbed up in shock and he
bolted towards the backdoor. As he got closer,
Ernie grabbed him by the ear and pulled him
in.
"How many times do I gotta tell you not to
take my stuff, ahn?"

34
Fun at the Fair

"I'm sorry, Ernie. I just wanted to try them


out." wailed David, "Stop, you're hurting
me!!!"
Ernie looked at him with fury and roughly
pushed him away.
"Go put them back right now."
David went upstairs sniffling while Ernie
went back to the kitchen to have some more
milk.
"Can't believe him." Ernie muttered as he
gulped down a mouthful, "What would I tell
mum if those shoes had taken him
someplace?" He then placed his baseball bat
over his shoulders and marched up to his
room.
On his way, he passed by David's room and
saw him crouched in a corner, playing with
his toy soldiers. He looked so scared and
alone, just like Ernie had been when he was
in the woods by himself.
"Hey David," Ernie said as he stepped into his
room.
David looked up in fright, "I'm really sorry,
Ernie, I'll never take your stuff again."

35
Fun at the Fair

"Hey buddy, I'm not mad at you but you gotta


let me know first before you take my stuff,
ok." Ernie said as he sat down next to him
and jabbed him playfully on the chin.
"O....k" David stuttered with a weak smile, he
looked so vulnerable.
"Tell you what, let me change my clothes and
then we can play indians and cowboys."
"Really?" David's face brightened a great
deal.
"Yeah, be right back."
He changed from his baseball clothes and
played indians and cowboys with David all
afternoon.
"I'm exhausted." Ernie panted, after they had
been playing for a long time, "We'll play again
tomorrow, I promise."
"OK" David said with a big, toothy grin and
he ran off into the garden.
Ernie went back to his room and fell face
down on his bed. He woke up some hours
later, feeling very hungry. He lazily rolled out
of bed and was making his way to the kitchen

36
Fun at the Fair

when he noticed the half-opened chest by his


study table.
Ernie sighed and picked up the chest. He
closed it firmly but suddenly got curious. He
took out the magnifying glass and peered
through it to see if anything strange would
happen but nothing happened. He then
picked up the fountain pen and scribbled on a
piece of paper but it was just a basic fountain
pen.
"Hmm, maybe these are just regular, ol'
stuff."
He took the shoes and gazed at them for a bit.
"I wonder." He said mildly as he held his
breath and slipped on the shoes. Nothing
happened.
"I guess the shoes don't work anymore." He
heaved deeply and was about to slip them off
when a thick haze of green smoke suddenly
covered him from head to toe.
"No, No, NOOOO!!!.....HELPPP!!!" He
screamed desperately but nobody heard him.
When the smoke eventually cleared, he was
standing beside a school bus.

37
Fun at the Fair

"Where did you come from?" A freckled boy


standing in front of him, asked.
Ernie stared right through him, still in
disbelief that this was happening yet again.
"Hello, is anyone home?" The freckled kid
asked again, waving his hand to get Ernie's
attention, "Are you new at Gregan's
elementary? I haven’t seen you here before."
Ernie looked at him absent-mindedly, "No, I
don't go here." From the corner of his eye, he
noticed the long queue of kids waiting to get
into the bus, "Where are you all going to?" He
asked.
"There is a county fair, just over the hill and
our school gets a free pass for all the rides
and concession stands. My name is Trevor
Foley by the way, nice shoes."
Ernie looked down at his shoes, then up at
him, "Thanks, I'm Ernest Hillby but you can
call me Ernie."
"Nice to meet you, Ernie. Would you like to
come to the fair?"
"That would be cool but I don't go here.'

38
Fun at the Fair

"I could tell Miss Susan that you're a new


transfer student." Trevor said and then he
pulled off his school blazer, "Here, have my
school jacket so you can fit in."
"Don't you need the jacket?"
"Not really, I have my I.D card." Trevor said,
proudly pointing to his, hanging visibly from
his neck.
Ernie could hardly believe where the shoes
had brought him this time, a county fair with
amazing rides and wonderful stuff from the
concession stands. This sure was going to be a
fun adventure. What a treat! He quickly wore
Trevor's jacket so he could blend in.
While Trevor chatted away, Ernie's heart
pounded louder and louder as they got closer
to Miss Susan.
"Trevor Foley, got your I.D card? Good." Miss
Susan checked Trevor's name off the list
"Miss Susan, a transfer student, who came in
yesterday, doesn't have an I.D card. Could he
come with us anyway?" Trevor said and
pushed Ernie forward.

39
Fun at the Fair

Miss Susan, a tall lady with jet black hair,


lowered her thick glasses and looked him
over.
"Do you have your transfer papers?" asked
Miss Susan kindly.
"No, ma'am" said Ernie, his eyes silently
pleading.
Miss Susan folded her arms and pursed her
lips, "One more student won't hurt, I guess."
"Thank you, Miss Susan!!" exclaimed Trevor,
gleefully.
Miss Susan scribbled something on a notepad
and gave it to Ernie, "Show this to the guys at
the stands, they'll let you through."
He and Trevor then charged into the bus and
made their way to the back.
"What's the name of your school?" asked
Trevor, when they had both gotten seats.
"Blueville Elementary"
"Blueville? Haven't heard of it before."
"Really? It's pretty popular.....what kind of
rides are going to be at the fair anyway?"

40
Fun at the Fair

Ernie asked, wanting to divert Trevor's


attention.
"Ooooo, roller-coaster rides, water slides, a
haunted house, carousels, juggling acts, hoop
games, arcade games, a reptile zoo....." Trevor
went on and on while Ernie listened with
delight, he couldn't believe his luck.
The kids sang camp songs as the bus went
uphill and both boys joined in.
Soon the bus rounded the corner and the
music from the fair sounded all through the
air.
"SHUT UP!!!" Ernie exclaimed when he got a
look at the fair. It was the biggest one he had
ever seen. At the gate were acrobats on very
tall stilts, handing out balloons to the little
kids.
"Now, this is what I'm talking about." Ernie
squealed gleefully.
The kids scrambled excitedly out of the bus
and Miss Susan made them form a line before
going into the fair.
"Now kids, keep your I.D cards safe at all
times, got it?" Miss Susan hollered at the top

41
Fun at the Fair

of her voice, "We'll meet at the food court in


two hours, ok."
Ernie and Trevor made straight for the roller-
coaster rides once they entered into the fair
grounds.
"Let's go on the one that lets your legs hang
out." Trevor screamed over the din of the fair.
Ernie followed him uneasily, still unsure if
they would actually let him through.
He pulled the note from his pocket when it
was his turn to go into the ride but the guy at
the stand let him through immediately he
saw Trevor's jacket on him.
"See, I knew the jacket would do the trick."
Trevor said, with a big grin.
They thoroughly enjoyed the roller-coaster
but were so dizzy afterwards, they could
barely walk straight.
"Let's go get some ice-cream, it's really hot."
Ernie gasped.
He had a vanilla ice cream topped with
chocolate shavings and strawberry drizzle
while Trevor had a strawberry ice cream with
loads of sprinkles. They shuffled to the

42
Fun at the Fair

haunted house, licking their ice-creams as


they went along.
After their time in the haunted house, they
played a few arcade games before making
their way to the food court to reunite with the
rest of the group. There was a 15 minute
break before the kids went back on the rides.
"Remember kids, we'll meet again in an
hour." Miss Susan shouted as the kids ran
back to the fair.
"Let's go get some corn dogs; it's out of this
world." Trevor said as the smell of it wafted
through the air.
They got to the stand and it was packed solid.
"We can’t wait for this." Ernie muttered.
The boys then went off to play a few hoop
games and won two teddies. They watched a
juggling act next, slid down the water slide
and went to see the animals in the reptile zoo.
They then had some toffee flavoured popcorn,
smoky barbecue ribs, several cheeseburgers
and even a couple slices of meat fiesta pizza.

43
Fun at the Fair

"This has got to be the best day ever." Ernie


said.
"I know right." Trevor nodded his head in
agreement.
He and Trevor were slowly walking back to
the court, sucking on two ice lollies when
Ernie saw a little boy blowing on a small
wind chime. He stopped in his tracks as he
remembered the legend.
"Are you alright?" Trevor asked.
"Yea, just thought about something." Ernie
continued walking but he was still lost in
thought about the legend.
When they got to the food court, Miss Susan
was already reeling out the final set of
instructions, "Kids, you have just 45 minutes,
so use it wisely. The bus leaves by 4pm
sharp."
"Ok" echoed all the kids as they ran along to
enjoy the last few minutes.
Ernie and Trevor ran to the roller-coaster to
have their final ride. They also had a spin in
the spinning cups before finally heading back.

44
Fun at the Fair

As they walked back, Ernie noticed that there


was just a handful of people at the corn dog
stand.
"We can get some corn dogs now." Ernie said.
"I don't think there's enough time."
"We'll be on the bus before you know it."
"Don't think it's a good idea, Ernie." said
Trevor, glancing at his wristwatch.
"Stall the bus for as long as you can, I'll be
right there." And he ran off to the corn dog
stand before Trevor could stop him.
He didn't have to wait for very long and he
smacked his lips as the vendor handed him
two extra-large corn dogs. They looked so
incredibly tasty that Ernie couldn't help but
take a bite as he ran along, it was really
delicious.
By the time he got to the food court, he was
totally out of breath.
"Trevor!!" He looked about wildly but there
was no one there. He then spotted a janitor
cleaning up some tables and rushed over to
him.

45
Fun at the Fair

"Did you see some school kids?' Ernie asked


breathlessly, "They were just standing over
there."
"In blue jackets, right? They left some
minutes ago. Run quickly, you could still
catch them."
"Thanks"
Ernie dashed to the front gate but the bus
had already gone over the bend. He slumped
weakly to his knees as he watched the bus
wind up the road, "What in world am I gonna
do now?"
He then had a thought; he looked down at the
shoes and said out loud, "I should have
listened to Trevor." His head spun like a
wheel as he looked around desperately for a
magical door but nothing happened.
"Arghh!!! And I still have Trevor's jacket." He
yelled, throwing his hands up in the air.
Ernie was totally at a loss on what to do.
He sat on the pavement, hopeful that the bus
would come back but when he had waited a
long time, he began trekking uphill to
Gregan's elementary.

46
Fun at the Fair

His feet kicked up dust as he dragged them


through the dusty road, "What a crappy way
to end such a great day." He thought to
himself.
He sighed heavily as he continued walking up
the road. It was getting dark and he was
getting really scared.
"Why do you have to make me go through this
again?" Ernie uttered wearily as he looked
down at the shoes. He soon got exhausted and
sat on the side of the road.
He had only sat for a couple of minutes when
a set of car tyres screeched in front of him
and a bright light beamed on him.
"Ernie!!! Thank goodness, are you okay?"
Trevor shouted as he jumped out of the car.
Ernie strained to see him through the bright
light, "Yeah, I'm alright."
"I didn't know……you weren't on the bus
until it began to move and I didn't want to
tell Miss Susan so I wouldn’t blow your
cover." Trevor stuttered.
Ernie shook his head and said, "It wasn't your
fault, Trevor. I should have listened to you

47
Fun at the Fair

and simply obeyed Miss Susan instead of


going back for those corn dogs."
A gust of wind rushed from the trees and
made their way through a door, shaped like
the fair's entrance, which had suddenly
appeared in the middle of the road.
Trevor's mum called out from the car in
fright, "Boys, get into the car NOW!!"
Ernie heaved a big sigh of relief on sighting
the door and glanced nervously at Trevor,
"Trevor, I can't come with you."
"What do you mean?" He stuttered, as he
backed away from the door in horror.
Ernie handed him back his school jacket,
"This is going to sound majorly weird but
behind that door is my house."
Trevor had his mouth wide open, as he looked
first at Ernie and then at the magical door.
"Do you have an email so I can write to you
when I get home?" Ernie asked.
"Yeah," He eventually managed to say. He
hurriedly got a note from his mum's car and
scribbled his email address on it.

48
Fun at the Fair

Ernie stuffed the note in his pocket and


extended his hand to Trevor for a handshake.
Trevor hesitated for a moment but then
extended his as well.
"Thanks for everything. I'll write to you as
soon as I can, I promise." Ernie said as he
shook Trevor's hand.
Trevor nodded uneasily and said, "You're
welcome, I guess."
Ernie gripped the teddy he'd worn at the fair
and made his way to the door. He waved one
last time at a bewildered Trevor before going
through it.
As he passed through, he found himself on
the porch of his house; he took a deep breath,
adjusted his shirt and walked in. David and
his mum were in the kitchen having dinner.
"Hi Mum, hi David," He handed the teddy to
David.
"I won this teddy today." He said proudly.
"When did you leave the house?" His mum
asked.

49
Fun at the Fair

"Not too long ago.” Ernie then washed his


hands and made his way to his room.
"Aren't you having dinner?" His mum
questioned.
"No, mum, maybe later." And he lumbered
sleepily up the stairs.
David and his mum looked at each other and
David shrugged his little shoulders
"Ernie seems a little strange, mum. He was
really nice to me today and even played a
game of indians and cowboys with me." He
mumbled while stuffing mashed potatoes in
his mouth.
His mum looked up the stairs and pondered
why Ernie was acting so nice all of a sudden.

50
CHAPTER THREE

Hola!!!

Ernie laid across his bed one day, listening to


the rain pelt his windows. He was
unbelievably bored. Baseball practice couldn't
hold because of the rain and he was itching to
do something exciting. Suddenly, he had a
crazy idea.
"Maybe I'll go bungee jumping or ski-diving
this time."
He thought of the possibilities as he sat up on
his bed and looked out the window. He then
walked over to his candy stash and stuffed
some into his pocket just in case he had to
wander for a bit.
He then walked over to his cupboard, took out
the shoes from the chest and let out a deep
breath before slipping them on. The thick,
green haze appeared almost immediately and
Ernie shut his eyes tightly so he wouldn't get
scared.

51
When the haze had cleared, he found himself
on a dusty, lonely road with tufts of grass
growing on each side.
"HOLY SMOKES, where in the world am I?"
Ernie exclaimed as he inhaled the dry, dusty
air.
There was not a person in sight, even as he
squinted his eyes to see farther down the
road. He then sat down on the grass and
unwrapped a chocolate bar. He munched it
slowly as he took in the scenery.
The sun was blazing and Ernie desperately
wished he had brought his baseball cap as
well.
He didn't have to wait for very long as he
soon heard the sound of a cart creaking up
the road. He bolted up, dusted his shorts and
strained into the distance to get a better look.
As he did, he could distinctly make out the
heads of two boys pushing a cart along. They
both looked younger than him.
When they got closer, the younger of the two
noticed him first and waved enthusiastically.
"Hola," He shouted out.
"Hola?" Ernie creased his forehead; he was
pretty sure that was hello in Spanish.

Thank you so much for reading.

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