The Pirate in the Wendy House – Ken Reay

This story was first mentioned in Ken’s Blog of 9 July 2015, we hope you will share and enjoy the story with your children and grandchildren.

Once upon a time… well actually it was probably yesterday… there were two boys… brothers, who lived in a nice house in a nice street in a nice town. They were called Harry and George and they liked playing together in the back garden.  That afternoon Mummy said they could play out while she did some ironing and would they please behave properly when their cousins Lottie and Archie arrived for their tea! So Harry said, ‘Hide and Seek! I’ll hide while you count to one hundred, and he ran out of the back door.

‘One… two… three… four… one hundred,’ counted out George because he cheated, and ran after Harry. He caught him as Harry was opening the door to the Wendy House behind the garage. Harry meant to get a rugby ball or his bike, but standing inside the doorway there was a pirate. A small pirate with an eye patch; a cocked hat with skull and crossbones; a very large leather belt with a pistol and cutlass and a wooden leg. He also had a long black beard with fireworks tied into it, a rather tatty looking parrot on his shoulder and he was holding, in the hand that wasn’t a hook… a mobile phone.

“Don’t suppose ye have a charger for this Jim lad,” growled the Pirate, “Battery is as flat as a very flat pancake on a very flat sea. And I need to call my ship to pick me up. I be marooned. Marooned I say!”

“No, I don’t have a phone but Mummy might. I’ll ask her.” Harry was often very helpful.

“Who’s Jim?” asked George.

“You’m not be the cabin boys? Cabin boy’s are all called ‘Jim lad’, Jim lad,” said the Pirate through his black and gold teeth.

George thought about this and nodded, but Harry was not so happy as he preferred to be the Captain, or at least the First Mate and because George was the youngest he had to be the cabin boy.

“Pieces of 10, pieces of 10!” squawked the parrot.

“I thought it was ‘pieces of 8’.” Said Harry frowning.

“Ah he’s a French parrot so it be in euros,” said the Pirate, “Now ye seem like a good and honest lad, what be your’n name?”

“I’m Harry and this is my brother… my younger brother… George.”

“I be Captain Greybeard. And this be Mary,” he said pointing at the parrot which immediately bit his finger.

“But you said ‘he’ before, ‘he’ can’t be a ‘Mary’,” George was clever at things like that.

“Aha George lad, it’s difficult to tell whether a parrot is a lad or a lass,” he sucked his bitten finger,” … until they lay an egg.” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a brown paper bag and proffered it, “Have a parrot’s egg.”

“No thank you!” said Harry and George together stepping backwards.

“Amazing these parrot’s eggs, they come out wrapped in silver foil and taste of chocolate…”

“Mummy and Daddy say we can’t take things from strangers,” said Harry very seriously and very correctly.

“Or from parrots.” Added George keen to be involved. “And why are you called Greybeard? Your beard’s black.”

“Ho, Ho, Ho !” said Greybeard.

“Excuse me, but don’t you mean ‘Yo, ho, ho? That’s what pirates say.” Harry knew a lot about pirates.

“Santa Claus says ‘Ho, Ho, Ho,’ … and he’s got a white beard’, added George.

“I thought it was funny, so I said ‘Ho, Ho, Ho,’ all right clever clogs!’ The Pirate seemed to be getting angry. “And for your information I started out with a grey beard but the Sea Witch put a curse on me and now the older I get the younger I look and so my beard has turned black and soon it will disappear altogether and I’ll be the same age as you. And eventually I’ll be wearing nappies.”

A single tear rolled down the cheek below his one good eye.

“Softy wofty. Softy wofty” squawked the parrot and bit him hard just above the gold ring that dangled from his ear.

“Can we help you lift the curse from The Sea Witch?” asked Harry.

“That’s very kind, and that’s why I’m here.” The Pirate looked very seriously at them. “The only thing that can lift the curse is if two boys… of their own free will… give me one thing each that they love. And that will break the evil Sea Witch’s spell.”

Harry and George looked at each other and nodded.

“I will help you Greybeard,” said George very firmly. “I will give you Lottie.”

“No George !” shouted Harry. “She’s our cousin, you can’t give her away.”

“She messes up my things when she comes here…”

“True… but I think it has to be a thing not a person. I know. I’ll give Captain Greybeard one of my power ranger figures that I bought with my birthday money.”

“And I’ll give him… “ George thought very hard and then turned to the Pirate. “I will give you my Fireman Sam DVD.”

“Ah Ha George lad, be that the one where he rescues the cat from down the well? And be it Panther that you’ll give Greybeard Harry?”

They both nodded. The pirate shook their hands with his hook and said, “Just one last thing me hearties I need to call up me ship. Can I borrow a mobile?” He waved his own useless phone.

Harry and George ran into the dining room then through the kitchen and up the stairs to their playroom. They both picked up the things they said they would give the pirate and ran back out again as Mummy called, “Remember you two, tea is nearly ready: sausage and beans. And Lottie and Archie have just arrived!”

“Where are they?” asked Harry

“In the lounge. Lottie’s reading a book and Archie is trying on his birthday present. It’s a Spiderman outfit” chuckled Mummy.

“Where’s Uncle Ali then? I want to show him what we’ve found in the….” Harry was about to give the secret away so George interrupted him,”It’s just a wasp Harry!”

“Uncle Ali has gone to the pub with your Daddy… of course,” Mummy growled.

On the way out George grabbed a phone that was being charged on the kitchen work top.

Back at the Wendy House the pirate was drinking from a stone jug. “Just a drop of grog for the journey shipmates,” he explained, and gave Mary the parrot a drink.

“Cock a doodle doo, doo, doo…” said Mary sleepily and began snoring. Greybeard gently tucked the parrot away in his top pocket putting the DVD and the Power Ranger figure in his bag marked ‘Pirate Swag’ and took the mobile phone from George. He dialled a lot of numbers and then spoke, “Yo,ho,ho Mr Mate. I have the treasure so you’s can pick me up from this here island toute sweet, if not touter. Aye Mr Mate, two fine shipmates these boys be. I’d take them on board as able seamen if they weren’t about to have their tea.” Greybeard smiled at Harry and George just as a small figure wearing a Spiderman suit appeared beside them.

“Hello Archie,” said Harry, “Meet Captain Greybeard,” he was always very polite.

“I’m Wonder Boy,” Archie stated very strongly.

“The why be you wearing a Spiderman suit?” Greybeard drank some more from the stone jar.

“I’m… I’m… I’m… in disguise.” Archie said hopefully and Harry and George giggled.

“Nincompoop!” declared Mary.

“What’s a nin… nin… compoop?” stuttered Archie.

“Silly galoot of course,” said the Parrot as if bored with Archie.

“Don’t you call my brother a Nincompoop you tatty parrot.” Lottie had appeared and was pointing at Mary with a copy of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ as if she was trying to swat the bird. Harry and George both quickly stepped back .

“Don’t mess with our cousin Lottie, she can fight as good as me… nearly,” warned George.

“And me…” said Wonder Boy, or Spiderman or Archie – you choose I’m confused!

“Belay that nonsense Mary! And apologise to Princess Lottie,” said Greybeard sternly. Mary raised his tail and made a very rude noise that ruffled his tail feathers before diving back into the pocket.

“Anyway must be off and thankee kindly men, and Princess, for lifting the curse, now ye better cut along and have your sausage and beans afore they go cold. I need to climb aboard my ship, The Pink Piglet, so fare thee well.”

Mary the parrot looked up from his top pocket and shouted, “A vast behind!” and giggling, went back to sleep. The Pirate closed the Wendy House door and was never seen again.

Later Harry and George and their cousins really enjoyed their tea and were finishing off with some fruity frozen yoghurt when Mummy said, “Have either of you two seen Daddy’s work phone? It was right here next to the microwave?”

Harry and George looked at each other. “I think a pirate might have run away with it Mummy,” said Harry.

“Harry, don’t tell fibs,” said Mummy.

George, Lottie and Archie grinned and finished their yoghurts.

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