“Down, sir! Heel. Go home now, good serpent.”
What would you wish for on your holiday, apart from lazy days of sunshine, rest and relaxation and a good book? Joan Aiken’s Armitage family have an unfortunate knack of wishing for things that come true when they least expect it; in this case Mrs Armitage is finding her honeymoon a little too peaceful, and idly slips a round white stone with a hole in it on to her finger, remembering:
“When I was little I used to call these wishing stones.”
She goes on to speculate happily about the future, imagining ‘a beautiful house, in a beautiful village… with at least one ghost…two children who never mope or sulk or get bored…and a few magic wishes…and a phoenix or something…’
“Whoa, wait a minute…you don’t really believe in that stone, do you?” Mr Armitage said anxiously.
“Well how about taking it off, now and throwing it in the sea, before you wish for anything else?”
And of course some of those wishes will certainly come true!
To read more about the amazing adventures of the Armitage family – perfect Summer reading for all – try Joan Aiken’s The Serial Garden
UK edition from Virago illustrated as here by Peter Bailey
US edition from Small Beer Press with pictures by Andi Watson