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: 6 - The Feast

…He was in the most beautiful room he had ever seen. Chandeliers sparkled with light. Pictures and rich gold ornaments shone on the walls, all round a vast table in the middle, set with the most gorgeous meal…

Will discovers further wonders as he explores the big house.

Mary and Brian Tattersfield have written a children’s story that will linger in the memory long after childhood has been left behind. For earlier chapters click on The Whitley Marble in the menu on this page.

He skidded to a stop on the shiny floor and his mouth fell open in astonishment. He was in the most beautiful room he had ever seen. Chandeliers sparkled with light. Pictures and rich gold ornaments shone on the walls, all round a vast table in the middle, set with the most gorgeous meal Will had ever seen. How hungry he became as his eyes travelled from one inviting dish to another.

There were roast pheasants with their feathers stuck on, chickens in fine white sauces, pies of all shapes and sizes with crusty, shiny pastry shells, tarts with walnuts, tarts with raisins and almonds, lovely creamy custards with brown sugar on top, meat stews with apricots and plums in them. The lovely spicy smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger rose from dainty little cakes, just big enough for one delicious mouthful, but best of all to Will’s eyes were the puddings.

Such puddings! Delicious, edible castles they were, rising up in all sorts of ingenious shapes. Here was one with battlements, striped in delicate pink and green blancmange, another with turrets of red jelly, another all sugared pears, crystallised peaches and pomegranates. One of them even seemed to be dusted with gold!

A dish of lovely saffron coloured biscuits with large, plump sultanas in them lay closest to Will’s eager hands, and he reached out to take one.

His hand went straight through it. He tried again with the little cakes, and his hand went through those as well.

“Oh no!” wailed Will. “It’s just another nasty trick. They’re not real! It’s all pretend. I’m tired of pretend!”

Never had anything looked so real to him. He could see the sauces running, the sugar sparkling, and oh, how he could smell it all!

He turned away and stomped down the room in disgust, glaring back at the pictures of grand women and men in their silks and satins that stared down haughtily at him.

In the middle of them his eyes suddenly caught a picture of two children – a boy with his arm round a little girl – brother and sister – Jack and Matty! Will rushed up to it. They were not dressed remotely like they had been when he last saw them, and their hair was different too, but he knew by their faces that it was definitely them.

“Come out of there, and show me how to get some of this lovely spread,” he demanded. But they remained motionless – frozen in oil paint, not a twitch, not a glimmer of movement.

“That’ll teach me to talk to paintings. I must be daft,” thought Will. He sat down on a fine chair, feeling ferociously hungry at the sight of the feast before him, and pulled his sandwiches out of his pocket.

“What am I doing here in front of all this lovely food eating roast pork and apple sandwiches?” he asked himself.

“What are you eating Will?” said a squeaky, familiar voice. Will looked towards the picture of the children where it was coming from, and sure enough, down they came, stepping noisily into the room beside him.

“So now you decide to come,” said Will, bewildered again.

“Can we have a bit Will? What’s it called? It looks very tasty,” said Jack.

“It’s called roast pork and apple sandwich,” said Will. He held it out to them, and then drew it back again quickly.

“You can have this if I can have some of your pudding,” he said, smiling craftily.

“It’s a bargain. Which pudding do you fancy Will?”

“I’d like some of that stripey one please and that custard looks nice. I can’t make up my mind.”

Matty picked up a large plate and put a lot of everything that Will fancied on it. Then Will gave them his sandwiches and they all sat down and tucked in happily.

When Will had finished he didn’t feel full at all. Every delicious morsel had certainly seemed to melt in his mouth; perhaps, he thought, it really had melted altogether before it reached his stomach!

“Do you have feasts like that every day?” Will asked Matty.

“Oh, no,” said Matty, “that was especially in your honour Will.”


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