The Badger and the Robin

By Caroline Brier

The water shimmered and glistened, lapping at the edge of the lake.  You could see the clear reflections of the surrounding trees projecting as far out into the water as they stood tall reaching for the clear blue sky.

Sat at the water’s edge Badger sighed heavily at the thought of his long walk around the lake to get back to his set on the other side.  As you can imagine, it was a beautifully scenic journey and each day Badger made the same journey right around the edge.  However in Badgers eyes the path was dull and he was board of repeating the same old route.

As he looked at his miserable reflection in the water, down flew Robin.  ‘Badger, I’ve been watching you day after day, week after week, month after month and I have to ask you – why do you make the same journey every day?’.  ‘I have no choice’ replied Badger.  ‘I have to visit the rabbit family in the morning, the squirrel family at lunch time and then the otter family in the afternoon before returning home… it’s just the way it is’.

‘What if it wasn’t’ muttered Robin, taking flight.  Badger watched her glide one way then the other, out to the middle of the lake and then back, up high in the sky and back down, before settling down beside him again.  Badger smiled at Robin, stood a little taller and went on his way, walking with a little more spring in his step.

The next day Badger walked the opposite way round the lake.  The forest animals struggled with this change to start with.  As the days went on they didn’t know which direction or what time they would see Badger.

Robin flew around the forest singing ‘if you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you always got’.  Badger decided to take the boat into the middle of the lake and watch the ripples move across the water all the way back to the shore.

Joey’s Story

By Louise Jeffery

Joey hadn’t seen a crowd like this before, let alone heard so much noise and chatter. So many people waiting on the platform for the carriages to arrive.  Mothers and fathers waving off their children, and loved ones not knowing when they would be reunited.

There was a sense of excitement, but also anticipation. For no-one really knew what lay ahead. Parents were putting on their stiff upper lip whilst trying to remain light-hearted, and fight back the tears.  The young men and women were keen and eager to get on with the job.

Joey had no idea what was about to face him. Here he was about to give up his quiet country life. The green fields all around where he lived, the bright blue skies, the birds singing and the flowers and trees in full bloom.   Joey was loved by his family and was well known by all his neighbours. He was very popular.

Little did he know the reality of what was to come. The journey was long and bumpy.  The carriages were crowded and smelly, but worse was to follow. Everything was dark….   He felt as though the light had been turned out and he was seeing the world in monochrome. But it wasn’t just the lack of colour, the warm texture of the grass had been replaced by the slippery ground. The mud was the worst. Trenches full of dirty water, where men lived for weeks and months.  Everything was done in those trenches. Eating, sleeping, washing, toileting. Then came the rats.  The stench.

This was a long way from home.  After a while the colour drained from Joey’s memory. No more green fields or yellow flowers. The sounds of the birds were replaced by gun fire. Even the sky was grey. The men’s clothes were a browny grey, the food was beige and the mood reflected their surroundings.  Occasionally the men would sing or play games but spirits were generally low.

There were regular loud bangs and the sky would light up a brilliant white. The fences that Joey was so familiar with at home had been replaced by barbed wire…. Awful sharp wires that would stick into your flesh and rip you apart. And then there was the gas… a strange sensation that would sting your eyes and affect your breathing.

The only other colour around was the white of the nurses uniforms… and often it was stained a vivid red.

Where was this hell?

Joey had many jobs in the years he spent here… he was one of the stronger guys, so he was used to haul the guns, often up to 12 of them for each gun. He was used to working alongside his friends transporting the men and the ammunition. But his friends were becoming less and less.

But Joey had a fighting spirit and he wouldn’t let this place beat him.  He was determined to survive and he had to support his colleagues.

Eventually, one day to Joey’s surprise the bangs stopped. The troops started to cheer and hugged each other and their horses. Joey was free to return home.  He was going home minus a lot of friends but he’d learnt a lot and would appreciate everything he’d previously left behind.

(Britain lost over 484,000 horses in World War 1 – one horse for every two men.

Eight million horses, donkeys and mules died; three-quarters of them from the extreme conditions they worked in.)

The Golden Eagle

By Inga Whittaker

Once upon a time, there lived a majestic Golden Eagle. He was the King of the Sky. He was such a beautiful bird, his wings were strong and wide and he would fly miles and miles each day to hunt, to look out for danger, to play or simply enjoy the view from above.

Everything looked different when he was up in the sky…

One day in an unfortunate accident he broke his left wing. He was told by Dr Eagle that it will be impossible for his wing to heal completely.

The Golden Eagle was sad and worried and this was really bringing him down. He lost his hope to ever fly again and missed flying to the sky whenever he wanted to. Days passed by… weeks passed by… months passed by…

He was well looked after by his family and his flock who made sure the Golden Eagle was fed and felt safe. The Eagle was bored so he was going for walks every day and doing all sorts of exercise just to be doing something.

He felt comfortable and safe but he never stopped wondering how different his life could have been if he would be able to fly again. He knew ho to fly but he felt that his broken wing would hold him back. This was now the only thing he was focusing on… how broken his wing was.

One day he was taking his daily walk to the nearby cliff when he met the Wise Robin. Robin asked what happened to the Eagle as he is looking very down. The Golden Eagle told the Wise Robin about his broken wing and his lost hope to fly again.

The Wise Robin listened carefully to the Eagle and said: “In the absence of hope, sometimes you need to create it. If you believe you can never fly again, then you are not even attempt to fly again. You must believe that you can achieve what you imagined to and by focusing on that you will set yourself free to achieve it.”

The Golden Eagle was deep in thoughts about Robin’s words and for the first time his thoughts were focused on something else but his broken wing. He did not notice how he stepped over cliffs edge… he instinctively opened his wings and there he was, flying again towards the Sun.

Chuckles The Clown

By Nikki Justice

Chuckles the Clown has worked for the Tip Top Circus for 5 years, and strives to be the best performer and the star of the show.  Chuckles spends every minute of the day practising his performance to ensure that he is the best he can be.  The circus isn’t just a job for Chuckles, he gets a real satisfaction from performing.

It’s the first live show of the season in 2 weeks, and whilst the rest of the circus are having fun together and relaxing, Chuckles is in the practise tent again perfecting his performance.  Chuckles begins his practice with some juggling skills.  As always he is AMAZING, he doesn’t drop a thing, and manages to keep all of the balls arching effortlessly in the air like a colourful rainbow.

Chuckles then moves on to practice his unicycle routine, again he glides across the floor effortlessly.  Even though his routine is perfect, Chuckles continues to practice into the evening, although he is exhausted.

Just then out of the corner of his eye, Chuckles notices Connie sitting in the corner watching him. Connie is new to the Circus and helps prepare the props for the performance.  Unknown to Chuckles, Connie is often mesmerised by Chuckles’ skills and enjoys watching him perform most evenings.

“What are you doing” asks Chuckles.  “I’m sorry to disturb you” says Connie, “one day I would love to perform like you, but nobody gives me the opportunity to learn any skills, so I like to watch and learn and hopefully one day I will be able to perform just like you”.  Chuckles chuckled, “it takes years of practice and hard work to perfect these skills, you can’t just learn them by watching me”.

With that Chuckles put the unicycle away and headed for the tightrope.  This was always the pinnacle of his performance.  As Chuckles stepped heavily up the ladder towards the tightrope, he was feeling a little frustrated that a newbie felt they could step into his shoes easily when he works so hard constantly.

Connie was still watching Chuckles, she was always excited to see the tightrope walk, she knew it was all about balance and focus.  Chuckles stepped onto the tightrope and began walking effortlessly across the tightrope.

All of a sudden Chuckles lost his footing and couldn’t regain his balance in time, he came tumbling to the ground.

Connie rushed to his side and called for help to ensure that Chuckles was checked over. Chuckles was helped to his feet, but it was clear he was in pain.  Chuckles made his way to his bedroom and thanked Connie for her help.

The following morning, Chuckles called a meeting with the other performers explaining that he had really hurt his back and doesn’t think he will be well enough in time for the opening performance.  The team were disappointed.  Chuckles looked dismayed and explained that they may need to look at postponing the tour as nobody else can to the performances that Chuckles could do.  Chuckles made his way back to his room to be on his own.

An hour later there was a knock at the door, it was Connie.  Connie had come to see how Chuckles was and to bring him a nice warm hot chocolate to cheer him up.  Just then Chuckles had an idea, “Connie, how do you feel about me helping you learn some skills of mine, so that the show may still be able to go ahead”.

Connie looked at him in shock “you want me to learn your skills in 2 weeks”?

“It’s a challenge for us both” said Chuckles, “but I think we can do it, can’t we? I’m willing to give it a shot so that we don’t disappoint anyone”

Connie nervously smiled, her stomach felt tense, she was nervous and thrilled all at the same time, was this the opportunity that she has been waiting for??  “Ok, Ok, let’s give it a whirl”

After 2 weeks of perseverance, it was the night of the first performance.  Connie was dressed and had her face painted and was waiting to perform.  Connie’s stomach was doing backflips, she couldn’t believe she was really going to perform in front of over 200 people.  Connie felt nervous and said to Chuckles “Why did I think I could do this.  You have spent evening after evening for years to perform these skills, I really don’t think I can do it”.

Chuckles who was still struggling to stand up straight put his hand on her shoulder, and said “you can do this, you can be who you want to be.  Think positive”

With this Connie was called to perform, the crowd were cheering for her, and Connie felt a boost of confidence……

Connie started with her juggling, she performed it to perfection, making the balls into an arch like a colourful rainbow in the same way that Chuckles did.

The crowd chanted for more, so Connie moved onto the unicycle, as the music started, Connie began to ride with perfect balance in time to the music.  The crowd were on their feet cheering.

It was now time for the finale, Connie climbed the ladder and stood on the platform.  Before she began, she glanced at Chuckles who was standing tall, waving his arms in the air whilst cheering for Connie.  Chuckles winked and smiled at Connie!

The crowd began chanting her name as she stepped forward……………….

Jasper and Horace

By David Porter

Once upon a Lilly pad lived two young frogs, Jasper and Horace. They lived around the crescent pond at Windmill Farm. You know it, – the one on the left at the end of the long and winding country lane. At the side of the apple orchard where you used to go scrumping for apples.

Jasper and Horace had met as young tadpoles, grown up together, grown legs together and were like two peas in a pod. Sort of green and round in shape, bursting to get out and about into the wider world.

They shared a passion for mischief, nothing too naughty though, the farm birds had noticed. It will all end in tiers hooted the wise old owl, who seemed to like the frog friend duo.

One summer’s day while hopping around, looking for their next adventure, one of the frog chums spotted a chance to explore the big silver tower. The tower that had been brought in and out of the shed, the shed that made strange noises when the big black and white frogs went inside. At the side of the tower was a wooden vertical frame, separated by horizontal jumping platforms – a ladder I can hear you say.

Come on Horace, we can jump up and see what is inside the tower, Jasper tempted. I don’t know if I want to Horace replied, obviously apprehensive about what they may find. Being a frog pleaser by nature Horace followed Jasper as they vaulted rung after rung, two amphibian astronauts heading for take-off.

With one final leap they landed on the rim of the tower. Below them was a sea of tranquillity, a new white pond like no frog had ever seen. One small leap for frog, but a giant leap for frog-kind yelled Jasper

In he jumped, basking in the coolness of the mellow liquid. Horace obviously followed, frog pleasing yet again. After a few minutes Jasper decided he’d had enough of the milky taste of the new pond and decided to get out. In an instant he cried out to Horace quick we need to get out I’m sinking. He would have been up to his neck in it, if frogs had necks.

Horace quickly realised they were trapped, with no way obvious of getting out of their predicament. Keep kicking Jasper, we’ll need to think of something quickly he croaked.

I can’t replied Jasper, it’s impossible. I can’t think of anything else other than to just give up.

Horace kicked and kicked, like a bucking bronco at a Wild West rodeo. Jasper rolled over, accepting the inevitable consequences for them both. Undeterred Horace kicked, and kicked, and kicked again until something slowly started to happen. The milk curdled and became heavy on the young frogs legs. Determined they wouldn’t end up as a cheesy delicacy, he whisked up more effort and eventually felt the milk turn into layers of something, cheese like Lilly pads began to emerge. Horace jumped onto the first one, exhausted by his efforts.

He looked behind, and without a moment of thought pulled Jasper on to the next one.

Horace, chest puffed out, looked around. Hard cheese to quitters he thought

Jasper and Horace were both able to leap out of their predicament onto their next adventure. Jasper followed whilst Horace led the way…


I said it would all end in layers said the wise old owl ………..

The Industrious Squirrel

By Jocelynne Rowan

There once was a very industrious squirrel that lived in a beautiful forest. Every day the squirrel went about its business, scuttling up and down trees, relentlessly searching the branches and the forest floor for nuts and seeds to store away for the winter.

The squirrel carried on busily, while many of the other forest creatures looked on, wondering what motivated the squirrel and why it spent all day, every day – every waking moment in fact – hunting for nuts and seeds to hide.  They all knew that, although the squirrel worked hard and collected and hid mountains of acorns, hazelnuts, pine cones and seeds, when the winter came, it only ever remembered a few hiding places.  Most of the squirrel’s stash was lost forever and never made it to the squirrel family’s winter feast!

One day, the wise owl said to the squirrel: “Stop your work for a few minutes. I have a secret to share with you, which will give you all the resources you need to provide more effectively for your family during the winter.”

The squirrel, cheeks bulging with the hazelnuts it had collected, stopped in its tracks, frozen to the spot. Owls have a reputation for snacking on squirrels!  When the squirrel realised it wasn’t going to be the owls lunch, it tucked the nuts under a nearby pile of leaves, put its head on one side and listened to the wise old owl.

“Go to the centre of the forest,” said the owl, “and there you will find the oldest tree – a great oak with huge spreading branches, laden with acorns.  However, you must leave the acorns on the branches, because the real gift of this magical tree lies in the knotted roots at its base.

“In a curl of the root is a wonderful acorn made of pure gold.  This beautiful acorn holds many secrets and any creature that lays its paws on it will receive many treasures.”

So the squirrel took a break from its industrious collecting and scampered from tree to tree until it came to the centre of the forest.  There, just as the wise owl had described, was the ancient oak tree, its branches laden with plump, delicious acorns.

Remembering the words of the owl, the squirrel searched the base of the tree, and found, nestling in the knotted roots, glistening in the half-light of the forest floor, the golden acorn, which the wise old owl had said holds so many treasures.

The squirrel took a few hops forward and stretched out its paws towards the golden acorn.

An Elephant’s Tale

By Clive Howey

In the Serengeti grasslands a group of elephants wandered wild and free. They had lived in here for generations and considered it their homeland. They knew each tuft, watering hole and tree, each contour and each day, they followed the same, well-trodden paths to find food and water and a place to sunbathe. The paths were rocky and hard underfoot and the scrub to which they led was bitter and dry. There was never any place to wallow and sunbathe. Yet their instinct was to follow their traditions and beliefs and, even when they observed other groups exploring alternative routes and returning contented and soaked, they stuck to their well-established habits without noticing how arduous, unpleasant and dreary their days had become.

A baby elephant from the family had been drawn away from the usual trodden route by the sound of other families splashing in water, a faint sound which sparked interest and curiosity. She followed the sounds and, before long, found a green, sun bathed water hole with no crocodiles or other predators. She noticed how this awoke all her positive feelings and she settled into her new surroundings and as she wallowed and splashed in the water, absorbing the singing sounds of birds, the joyous sounds of other animals and the breeze blowing by. The young elephant noticed how relaxed and energetic she felt and returned to her family, as usual, treading the same paths, dirty, hungry and fed up. She ran as fast as she could when she saw them, telling all of the new place she had found with all its gifts and riches.  When she saw her mother, she felt overwhelming triumph and pride. All the family wished to find and see this new place.  I will take you now, said the baby but at first, she felt an enormous sense of trepidation and fear.

As they set off and ventured further down the new path she had found, she began to feel more confident but at the same time, calm.  Eventually, they arrived and all basked in the sun, swimming happily and feasting on the vegetation which surrounded the area.  The baby sensed her pride at what she had found, and pride flowed through her as she watched her family and friends happy in their new surroundings.




By David Wilbun

The sun rose on another day in the village, ….’Same old, same old….’ you could see some of the villagers thinking.

Ella looked on in disbelief to see Josh disappearing in his usual way, down the same path to fetch the morning water, with not a care in the world…. Carefree Joshua walked along the dusty flat path…. mindful of pebbles and rocks…. and potholes a few…… this path he knew well, well he should… shouldn’t he?……..It’s his path that he walks… his path he walks to his Well….

“Just look at that!” …Ella said to herself disapprovingly…… Josh was off again, same old rickety leaking buckets in hand…. and guaranteed to be only half full when he returns from the well…. Well, there’s nothing new there…. is there?

“You would think he would know by now that the other well will be better?”…. thought Ella, … “But no!… And why not? ……You may ask…. wouldn’t we all like to know?”

Josh had taken the responsibility over time to collect the water for the villagers… he was previously asked on occasions many moons ago…. so, he just kept doing it the same way…… Everyone just left Josh to it.

No one ever complained, offered any help as such…… what will be, will be. It was presumed that Joshua was happy with the arrangement…. this was Joshua’s role, his purpose… Wasn’t it? It gave him a sense of importance, didn’t it?

All by himself on the path…. the path to the Well…. no guidance was offered…. or advice… just his own……, Down the path he did trudge, trudge the path to the well…… Josh arrived with his buckets to fill up once again…… A quick rest was required, …… so Josh waited a while…. the sun’s rays getting hotter, draining energy with every step…. and that walk back still to do…….

“Can’t stop to long or there will be trouble……. they’ll think I am lost” …… so he filled up his buckets…. filled them up to the rim…. and it’s off back to the village, …  as expected by them…….

As he arrived back at the village tired and weary no doubt……. his buckets half empty from leaks in the side, . . . but that didn’t matter, ……. no one would mind…. mind you that’s not true, …… Ella did have her view.

Her frustration was clear… with the villagers and Josh… tolerating half measures was not going to wash… Same old… same old…. no more…. something has to be done.

“You accept this is OK… well that’s not for me… there’s the other well you know…. and that’s where we should be…. Yes, a little bit further… fully agreed… but needs must for our water… and that’s what we need!”

Next morning Ella woke, before the sun’s chance to rise. Her objective was clear… only Ella could see…. In her mind this was true…… The second Well’s the objective and it holds the key!…….. The key was more water…. more water…… there would be…… So off Ella went, to prove Joshua a point… that his way was wrong, and her way was right!

Leaky buckets in hand on the path Ella went…. passed the first well she travelled…. far, far she did walk…. on and on she would go…. “It can’t be long now…. How far is this Well” …? She thought to herself while trudging along, …… if only she had known this distance involved…. maybe more thought was needed…… less assumption for sure…… but there’s no stopping this girl now…. the decisions been made……. “On and on must I go, …… can’t turn back now……. I know what they’ll think… already saying I’m slow!!!”

And then with a flash… as bright as can be…. the second Well appeared there, for all to see! Quite amazing also, by the Well she could see….

“I see new buckets with wheels… and no cracks… no leaks…. ….. just perfect for me!”…… She knew…. new buckets… were part of the key…… “My way…. I just knew…. was so right and true…. now for the water…. crystal clear… and blue”……

Ella plunged in her buckets……, “But something’s not right, …… there’s no splash, …… there’s no water?…….. THIS JUST CANNOT BE ……   All this way for what?…………………………….. No water ……. FOR ME?…….. OH NO ……….Now What?………….. Now What will I do…………there’s NO water for me……  And … I still need water…….. for YOU?


The Tree In The Forest

By Helen Duckworth

Once upon a time, there was a forest: a beautiful and serene place.  In that forest, there was an ancient, majestic Oak.  It was the tallest tree in the forest and one of a kind because it could sing!  The tree had first sung 70 years ago and hadn’t stopped since.  He sung to the birds, his fellow trees and the Sun.  He sung in a slow, low, precise voice – as you would expect any tree to sing in.

Then one day the gorgeous silver Birch nearby started singing too.  She sung in a quiet quavering voice, barely audible over the wind.  The Oak was astonished!  He thought he was alone, the only one.  At last, he had a friend to sing with.  He would sing as loud as possible and show her how to do it.  And that’s exactly what he did!

But the louder he sung, the quieter her voice became.  He couldn’t understand it.  Soon she sang so quietly that he couldn’t even hear her anymore.  This crushed the Oak, he wanted a friend to sing with so badly.  He was so disheartened, he stopped singing and the forest grew quiet for the first time in 70 years.  It was like some of the magic had gone out of the forest, flowers’ heads drooped and there seemed to be permanent clouds in the sky.

Slowly, gently, a beautiful voice rose out of the silence, a light Soprano completely different to the voice of the Oak but just as magnificent.  The birds were captivated and started to sing too.  Soon the forest was alive with the sound of their voices.

The Oak stood there, amazed.  The music was heaven to him, he wanted to join in but he was afraid.  What if the Birch and the birds stopped singing again?  He couldn’t cope with losing them again.  What should he do?  But how could he not join in?

As he thought, he listened.  Listened to the solos of the Birch and of the birds and to the choir as a whole.  How their voices joined together and heard those moments when his low pitch would have added great depth and beauty to the song.

When he was ready, when the moment was right, he drew his courage to him and in a soft voice began to sing again.


The Mirror

By Maureen Tallis

My tale is set in a distant land and I know that as you listen you will think about how it is true for you in your own world.

So I will begin.

Our heroine is an ordinary woman and you may not notice her if she walked down a street that was crowded with people. We are going to meet her first in the hallway of her comfortable home.

Our heroine looked in the mirror and sighed. She knew she needed to get fit or her health would suffer. “That’s it!” she exclaimed to herself. “I must go to an exercise class because everyone knows that if you don’t exercise you will be less healthy. Exercise is a good thing to do and I must make time for it.”

But then she slumped. She was so very tired after working all day and keeping up with her chores because her house was her pride and joy. It was simply perfect and she was determined to keep it that way. Spick and span with everything in its place so that when visitors called they were pleased to enjoy every comfort.

And people admired her and told her that they were astonished at how she fitted everything in and achieved so very much.

She started to smile because it was really very simple. Everyone knows that if we stay strong and work hard we can do whatever we want.  So she reflected and measured all of the tasks that she had to complete each day and it became clear that if she just hurried up a bit she could find a slot for the Zumba class on a Tuesday night at the newly opened leisure centre. A perfect solution!

So let us now follow our heroine to the following week and I know that you are wondering what will happen next.

It is now Tuesday and wearing her newly purchased matching leisure trousers and top and pristine trainers, (all charcoal grey so that she did not appear showy or conspicuous), she squeaked her way into the exercise hall.  A scene of sparkling light greeted her and energy radiated from everywhere in the room. Rainbows of people were illuminated before her, multitudinous and oozing from every available space.  They glistened and glinted as they darted about laughing and chattering and you will be wondering how she felt. I will tell you.

For a minute she froze, a deep grey icicle in this colourful carnival of vitality and vibrancy.

Then she spotted a single space towards the back of the hall and clutching her towel she darted to her refuge. Relief enveloped her and as she bravely lifted her eyes and became accustomed to the brightness, she realised that there was an enormous mirror at the front of the hall, reflecting and magnifying, and exaggerating everything. She laughed inside and told herself to be strong and calm breathing deeply in and out because she knew that she could do this.


But then again panic enveloped her. As the instructor marched through the door and set up position, she realised that she could not see him. “Oh no” she thought to herself. “How will I know what to do? How can I keep up with the others? Perspiration started to form and trickle down her neck and spine. “Everyone will laugh at me because if I cannot see I will do everything wrong. They have all been coming here for ever and so they will do everything right”. Misery encased our heroine and you know how that feels don’t you.

The music started. She did not recognise the tune. Then the instructor started to shout out his commands in a cacophony of words. They tumbled into the hall.

“Feet together then sway to the right. Bend your knees and step to the left. Sway your body then return to the middle. Bend your knees and return to the right. Face your left.”

Oh no! Words screamed in her brain, filling it so there was no space to think. Where is left? Where is right? I am facing the wrong direction! The man next to me is laughing and pointing at me. My feet are not obeying me and my trainers are astronaut boots, unwieldy and weighty in their enormousness. I cannot lift them.

“Let’s go a bit faster this time” shouted the instructor.

Hurry, hurry filled her mind fighting and jostling with get it right, get it right! Left and right, left and right.

As her head whirled and her body awkwardly jolted, a vivid swirl of acid green and a blonde ponytail bolted into view. Between the patchwork of bodies she saw the back of a princess, proud and confident, moving and swaying in time to the music and the commands.

And then she knew it was easy! She just had to copy the princess! Then slowly but surely the weights lifted from her feet, the left became left, and the right became right, and although she had to concentrate deeply, she started to move towards the united and churning throng.

And as you are listening to my tale you may be wondering if this is the end but there is more. Because the music then changed and it was one of her favourite tracks. Her energy quadrupled, and as she found herself coupling the instructors commands with the rhythm, her eyes moved from the princess and she glimpsed her own reflection in the mirror as the ocean of bodies parted. She looked amazing, and reassured she started to really enjoy herself. Her body moved and matched the sea waving and lapping in the room.

And then, too soon, it was all over. She smiled to herself and started to think about how she could be better next time.

I know that you are pleased for her because you wanted her to do well. And as my tale continues you want to know what happens in the end so that you can learn more from our heroine and use it for yourselves.

And so our final scene is just this.

The torrent of ideas about how she could be better next time poured into her storming from every direction. Then a bright flash caught her eye and she looked into the mirror and was surprised by what she saw.

The princess was no longer quite so proud and confident. Her ponytail was slightly askew and her face was pink with exertion. The princess noticed her looking and smiled then slowly mouthed the words “thank you”.