Read The Grim Ghost Online

Authors: Terry Deary

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The Grim Ghost

BOOK: The Grim Ghost

Illustrated by Helen Flook

A & C Black • London

First published 2008 by
A & C Black Publishers Ltd
38 Soho Square, London, W1D 3HB

Text copyright © 2008 Terry Deary
Illustrations copyright © 2008 Helen Flook

The rights of Terry Deary and Helen Flook to be identified as the author and illustrator of this work have been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

eISBN: 978-1-40813-875-5

A CIP catalogue for this book is available from the British Library.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – without the prior permission in writing of the publishers.

This book is produced using paper that is made from wood grown in managed, sustainable forests. It is natural, renewable and recyclable.
The logging and manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin.

Printed and bound in Great Britain by MPG Books Ltd.

Table of Contents










Rome, AD 113

“Pass me the parrot, Pertinax!”

Augusta shouted across the kitchen.

Augusta’s grandson picked up the large red-and-yellow bird and carried it across to the bench, where she was chopping herbs.

The kitchen stoves were burning and the slaves were sweating. Pertinax was a skinny boy, and struggled to carry the dead bird. “Here it is, Grandma. What are you going to do with it?”

“Chop off the head,” said Augusta.

“What for, Grandma?”

“Because my master, Pliny, wants to eat the head,” she explained, neatly chopping it off. “Now, pluck out the feathers, and we’ll eat the rest for dinner.”

“Why would you want to eat a parrot’s head?” Pertinax asked.

Before Augusta could answer, the kitchen door swung open and a tall man in a toga stood there.

His narrow face and eagle nose made him look a little like a parrot himself.

Augusta and all the slaves bowed low. The cook grabbed her grandson’s neck and forced him to bow, too.

“Master Pliny,” she cried. “What an honour to see you in my humble kitchen. What can I get for you? The wild boar is roasted, ready for tonight. I’m sure I could carve you a slice with some tasty garum sauce…”

“No, no,” the master said, with a wave of the hand. “I am far too worried to eat a thing. This is the largest feast I have ever held. Some of the greatest men in Rome will be here tonight. If the food and wine is poor, I will die of shame.”

Augusta gave a fat grin. “It will all be fine, sir. I’ve even brought my grandson, Pertinax, here to help.”

“Ah, good, good,” Pliny muttered. “Excuse me… it’s so hot in here, I feel faint.”

“Step into the garden, sir, and I’ll bring a cup of ale to cool you,” said the cook.

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