Authors: Enid Blyton
“It’s a pity that a hedgehog doesn’t travel with every Chatterbox,” whispered Mollie to Chinky. The train clattered on, and stopped at funny stations. The Chatterbox waited until the hedgehog got out and then began rattling on about all sorts of things, never stopping for a moment. The mole snored loudly. Chinky, Mollie, and Peter turned their backs on the silly chatterbox and pretended not to listen. How glad they were to get to their own station and jump out.
“Well, I hope I shall never be a chatterbox!” said Mollie.
“We won’t let you be!” said Peter. “Come on—let’s go home and see if the wishing-chair is safely back.”
They ran through the wood and down the lane and into their garden. But do you know, the wishing-chair was not there! It hadn’t come back!
“Oh, do you suppose it has gone away for ever?” cried Mollie. “Do you think it heard what we were saying and ran away?”
“It’s funny,” said Chinky, puzzled. “I shouldn’t have thought it would leave us like that! Oh dear— and you’re going away to school tomorrow! It might have let you say goodbye to it!”
Just then a tiny fairy came knocking at the playroom door with a note for Chinky. He opened it and read it—and his face broke into smiles. “Just listen to this!” he cried. “It’s from my mother. She says:
‘Dear Chinky, this is just to let you know that the wishing-chair arrived here by itself today. I don’t know why.—
Your loving Mother.’
“Oh, the clever old chair!” said Peter. “It heard us say that you would live with your mother and keep it there—so it has gone there itself! Well, you must say goodbye to it for us, Chinky—and we’ll hope to see it when we come home for half-term.”
A bell rang at the top of the garden. Mollie ran to Chinky and hugged him. “That’s the bell to tell us to go in,” she said. “We’d better say goodbye now, dear, dear Chinky, in case we can’t get down to the playroom tomorrow before we go. Goodbye and don’t forget us!”
They all hugged one another. Chinky waved to them as they ran up the garden. He felt rather sad— but never mind, there would be more adventures when the holidays came! He would wait for those.
Chinky caught the bus to Fairyland and went to Mrs. Twinkle, his mother. The children packed their last things. Everything was ready for school. They couldn’t help feeling rather excited.
The playroom was empty. The wishing-chair was gone. Ah—but wait till the holidays! What fine adventures they would all have then!
A LITTLE pixie peeped anxiously into the window of a small playroom built at the bottom of a garden. A robin flew down beside him and sang a little song.
“What's the matter, Chinky? What do you want? What are you looking for?”
“I'm looking for Mollie and Peter,” said Chinky. “I've got the wishing-chair hidden under a bush just near here, and I'm waiting for the children to come home, so that I can get into this playroom of theirs and put the chair safely in its corner.”
“But you know that the children are away at boarding-school,” said the robin, with a little trill. “How foolish you are!”
“I'm not” said Chinky. “They're coming home at half-term, just for a few days. They told me so—and I promised to bring the chair from my mother's, where I've been looking after it—hoping that perhaps it would grow its wings just for their half-term. So I'm not foolish, you see!”
“Sorry,” said the robin. “Shall I go and find out if they are up at the house? I haven't heard them yet and usually they make a lot of noise when they come home. Wait here, and I'll find out.”
He flew off. He peeped into all the windows, his perky little head on one side. There was nobody to be seen at all except the cook in the kitchen. She was busy making cakes.
“Ah—the children's favourite chocolate buns!” thought the robin. “I can hear them now, banging at the front door. What a pity their mother isn't here to welcome them!”
Mrs. Williams, the cook, hurried to the front door. Two children burst in at once, each carrying a small case. It was Mollie and Peter, home for the half-term!
“Hallo, Mrs. Willy! Where's Mother?” cried Peter.
“Welcome home, Master Peter,” said Mrs. Williams, “and you, too, Miss Mollie. Your mother says she's very, very sorry, but she's had to go off to your Granny, who's been taken ill. But she'll be home before you have to go back to school on Tuesday—and I'm to look after you.”
“Oh,” said the children, disappointed. Home didn't somehow seem like home without Mother there. They felt rather miserable.
“What about Daddy?” asked Mollie.
“He's away,” said Mrs. Williams. “Didn't your mother tell you that in her last letter?”
“Oh, yes,” said Mollie, remembering. “I forgot. Oh dear—half-term without either Mother or Daddy—how horrid!”
“I've made you your favourite chocolate buns,” said Mrs. Williams, following them indoors. “And I've got ice-cream for you, too, and honey in the comb. And your mother says she has ordered twenty-four bottles of ginger-beer and orangeade for you this weekend, and you can take it down to your playroom.”
“Oh, well—that sounds good,” said Peter, cheering up. “We'll just pop upstairs with our things, Mrs. Willy—and then what about your honey in the comb and chocolate buns? We're starving! We simply never get enough to eat at school, you know!”
“Rubbish!” said Mrs. Williams. “You're both as plump as can be!”
The two children went up the stairs two at a time. They stood at a landing window, looking down to the bottom of the garden. They could quite well see the roof of their playroom there. They looked at each other in excitement.
“I hope Chinky is there,” said Mollie. “Because if he is, and has got the Wishing-Chair with him, we shall be able to fly off on an adventure or two without bothering about anyone! It's always difficult to slip off in it when Mother and Daddy are at home—and we just have to keep the chair a secret. It would be too dreadful if it was put into a museum, and taken right away from us. It must be very, very valuable.”
“Yes. We're really very lucky to have a wishing-chair of our own,” said Peter. “It's a long time since we got it now. Come on—let's put our things in our bedrooms, and then ask Mrs. Willy to let us take our tea down to the playroom. Perhaps Chinky is there.”
“He may be waiting outside,” said Mollie. “He can't get in because the door is locked. I shall love to see his dear little pixie face again. We're lucky to have a pixie for a friend!”
Mrs. Willy was quite pleased to let them have a tray of goodies to take down to the playroom with them. She piled it with buns and new bread and butter, and a slab of honey in the comb, biscuits, and ice-cream out of the fridge. It did look good!
“I'll take some ginger-beer down under my arm,” said Peter. “I can manage the tray, too, if you'll bring the biscuits and ice-cream—they look as if they might slip about!”
“I'll get the key of the playroom, too,” said Mollie, and she took it off its hook. Then, feeling excited, the two of them went carefully down the garden path, carrying everything between them. Would Chinky be waiting for them?
He was, of course, because the robin had flown down to tell him that the children were coming. He hid behind some tall hollyhocks, and leapt out on them as they came up to the door of the playroom.
“Mollie! Peter! I'm here!”
“Chinky! We are glad to see you!” said Mollie. “Wait till I put down all this stuff and I'll give you a hug! There!”
She gave the little pixie such a hug that he almost choked. He beamed all over his face. “Where's the key?” he said. “I'll open the door. I want to get the wishing-chair inside before anyone sees it. There's a tiresome little brownie who keeps on wanting to sit in it.”
He unlocked the door of the playroom and they all went in. Chinky helped them with the food, and then ran to get the wishing-chair. He staggered in with it, beaming.
“I tipped that tiresome brownie off the seat, and he fell into some nettles,” said Chinky. “He shouted like anything. Well, does the chair look just the same as ever?”
“Oh, TO!” said Mollie, in delight, looking at the polished wooden chair. “Your mother does keep it well polished, Chinky. Did it grow its wings and fly off at all, while we were away at school this term?”
“It grew its wings once,” said Chinky, “but as I was in bed with a cold I couldn't fly off anywhere exciting in it—so I tied it to one of the legs of my bed, in case it tried to do anything silly, like flying out of the window.”
Mollie giggled. “And did it try?” she asked.
“Oh, yes—it woke me up in the middle of the night, flapping its wings and tugging at my bed,” said Chinky with a grin. “But it couldn't get away, and in the morning its wings had gone again. So that was all right.”
“I do so hope it will grow its wings this weekend,” said Peter. “We've only got a few days' holiday, then we go back to school again—and as Mother and Daddy are both away we really could go off on an adventure or two without any difficulty.”
“I expect it will,” said Chinky, looking at the chair. He felt its legs to see if there were any bumps coming, which meant that its wings were sprouting. But he couldn't feel any. What a pity!
Soon they were all sitting down enjoying Mrs. Williams's buns and ice-cream. It was a hot day, so they drank rather a lot of the ginger-beer.
“It won't last long if we drink it at this rate!” said Peter. “I say—I wonder if Mrs. Willy would mind if we lived down here in the playroom all this weekend—slept here, too?”
“That would be fun!” said Mollie. “I don't see why we shouldn't. You could come too, Chinky.”
It was very easy to arrange. Mrs. Williams smiled and nodded. “Yes, you do that,” she said. “Your mother said I was to let you do what you liked, so long as it wasn't anything silly. I'll take down bedding for you.”
“Oh, no,” said Peter, hurriedly. “We'll take it all down, Mrs. Willy.” He didn't want any questions about the wishing-chair! “And Mrs. Willy, we could have all our meals down there, if you like. We don't want anything hot, you know, this weather. If you could give us some tins and a bottle of milk, we could pick our own fruit and salad out of the garden. We shouldn't be any bother to you at all then.”
“You're no bother!” said Mrs. Williams. “But you do just what you like this weekend, so long as you're good and happy. I'll give you tins and milk and anything else you want—and don't be afraid I'll come bothering you, because I won't! I know how children like to have their own little secrets, and I shan't come snooping round!”
Well, that was grand! Now they could go and live in the playroom, and sleep there, too—and if the wishing-chair grew its wings at any time, they would know at once! They would hear it beginning to creak, and see the bumps growing on its legs and the wings sprouting. Not a minute would be wasted!
It was fun taking down everything to the gay little playroom. Chinky kept out of sight, of course, because nobody knew anything about him. He was as much of a secret as the wishing-chair!
“There now,” said Mollie, at last. “Everything is ready for us—food—drink, too—bedding—and a cushion and rug for you, Chinky. We're going to have a lovely time! Wishing-chair, grow your wings as soon as you can, and everything will be perfect!”
The wishing-chair gave the tiniest little cree-ee-eak. “Did you hear that?” said Chinky. “Perhaps it will grow its wings soon. We'll have to keep a watch. Where shall we go to, if it does grow its wings?”
“Is there a Land of Lost Things, or something like that?” said Peter. “I got into awful trouble this term because I lost my watch. Or what about going to a Land of Circuses or Fairs? I'd love to see a whole lot of those at once.”
“I never heard of those lands,” said Chinky. “Why don't we just let the chair take us somewhere on its own? It would be fun not to know where we are going!”
“Oooh, yes,” said Peter. “That would be really exciting. Chair, do you hear us? Grow your wings and you can take us anywhere you like. But do, do hurry up!”
MOLLIE and Peter spent a very jolly evening with Chinky, down in the playroom. They played snap and happy families and ludo, and all the time they watched the wishing-chair to see if it would grow its wings. They did
long to fly off on an adventure again.
But the chair stood there quietly, and when it was half-past eight the children were so sleepy that they felt they really must go to bed.
“We'd better go and have a bath up at the house,” said Peter. “I feel dirty, travelling all the way home by train. We'll dress properly again, just in case the wishing-chair grows its wings and flies off with us. We'll say good-night to Mrs. Willy, too, so that she doesn't feel she's got to come down to see if we're all right.”
Just as they went out of the door they saw somebody disappearing round the corner. “Who was that peeping?” said Mollie at once. “Quick, run and see, Peter.”
Peter raced round the corner of the playroom and saw a little brownie dive into a bush. He yelled at him.
“Hey, what do you think you are doing, peeping about here? You wait till I catch you!”
A cheeky face looked out of the bush. “I just want to see your chair grow wings, that's all. It's a wishing-chair, isn't it? Can't I watch it grow wings?”
“No, you can't,” said Peter. “No peeping and prying in our garden, please! Keep out!”
The brownie made a rude face and pulled his head back into the leaves. Chinky ran out of the playroom to see what the shouting was about.
“It's that brownie you told us about, the one who sat in the wishing-chair,” said Peter. “Keep an eye open for him, Chinky. We don't want him telling everyone our secret.”
“I'll watch,” said Chinky. He yelled at the bush where the brownie had gone.
“Hey, you little snooper! If I see you again I'll tie you to a witch's broomstick and send you off to the moon!”
There was no answer. The children went off to the house to have their bath and Chinky went back to the playroom.
Mrs. Willy gave Peter and Mollie a jam sponge sandwich she had made, and another bottle of milk. “Could you give us some eggs, too?” asked Peter. “Then we could boil them ourselves for breakfast on our own little stove. We wouldn't need to come in for breakfast then.”