MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK
OUR TALE BEGINNETH
Trumpets blared on either side of the school bus as it bumped along the lane up to Castlerock Castle. And I don’t mean ordinary trumpets. I mean those extra-long pointy ones with flags hanging off them, like you see in wizard-and-dungeon video games.
“Wow, they really went all out for this medieval day!” I said, turning to my best friend, Pradeep, who was hunched over on the seat behind me.
“Blecchh!” he groaned as he filled another barf bag. “Nice trumpets.”
Pradeep and I usually sit together because his travel sickness doesn’t bug me, but today he wouldn’t sit next to me. You see … each class had to dress up as something different for this medieval reconstruction thing, and our class had to dress as peasants.
Top Five Reasons Why Dressing as a Peasant Is the Best Costume Ever:
1) You’re SUPPOSED to be messy and covered in dirt. Brilliant!
2) If your peasant outfit is too clean, you have to jump in puddles to make it muddy.
3) You get to wear tights (which are surprisingly comfortable for climbing trees).
4) Mom couldn’t say: “There’s no way you can go to school looking like that!” because I COULD.
5) You can make mud out of perfectly dry dirt, just to jump in it!
Frankie, my big, fat zombie goldfish, had enjoyed the whole splashing-in-muddy-puddles thing too. I unscrewed the top of the flagon hanging over my shoulder so he could see out.
“That’s Castlerock Castle,” I said. “Looks cool, huh?”
Frankie shrugged like he wasn’t impressed, but then he caught sight of the moat. He squeezed out of the top of the flagon and slapped himself against the window before plopping back with a muddy splash.
“Frankie, I’m not supposed to get my peasant costume dirty!” Pradeep groaned from behind us. His mom hadn’t understood the whole “peasant” look and sent him to school in a spotless cream tunic, matching felt cap with a white feather and cream tights. He looked a bit like a medieval glass of milk, actually. This is why he wouldn’t sit next to me.
“Hang on,” I said. “Aren’t you going to tell me off for bringing Frankie on a school trip? Or at least remind me that every time I do bring him we end up getting into trouble?”
“No,” mumbled Pradeep as he filled another barf bag. He really must have been feeling ill.
Just then the bus pulled up next to the castle. A man with jingly bells on a very silly-looking hat tapped on the bus driver’s window with a stick with matching jingly bells on it. “Good morrow, good sir, and bountiful blessings on this glorious day. My name is Archibald of Ditherington.” He jingled as he bowed. “But you may refer to me as Motley Fool.”
“Isn’t that a rock band?” the driver asked.
“Forsooth, you jest!” Motley Fool said with a jingly shake of his stick. “Do you bringeth the peasants of the town?”
“Huh?” said the bus driver.
The fool cleared his throat. “It matters not. Beckon the young folk to make haste to the castle, then parketh your cart yonder.” He jingled his stick more curtly in the direction of the parking lot.
“You what?” the bus driver asked.
Motley took a deep breath. “Get the kids off the bus, then park over there.”
“Oh, right!” The bus driver nodded and then shouted back to us, “Off here! And don’t leave anything on the bus!”
He looked directly at Pradeep as he said the last part.
Text copyright © Mo O’Hara 2015
Illustrations copyright © Marek Jagucki 2015