Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The story of Chalky, the white stag of Brookfield Plantation, and his friends (for children)

Once upon a time, in a beautiful woodland full of tall oak trees, there lived Chalky the Stag.

He was quite magnificent with a full set of antlers on his head, and he was as white as a ghost.

In fact, he cut quite a ghostly figure as he roamed about the woodland at night.

Chalky lived in Brookfield Plantation, an area of trees just outside a busy town called Corby.

He was happy there with all his friends - Delia, his best friend, a doe; Barry a badger; Rufus, a red kite; Gerald, the great crested newt; Norma and Norman, the smooth newts; Lizzie, the lizard;  Freddie the fox; and Sid and Nancy the grass snakes.

Happy, that is, until one day, when some people with clipboards arrived at the wood.

Rufus, soaring high above the trees, spotted them first and called down to his friends:

"Oi you lot!  There's some people coming - quick, hide!"

Chalky and Delia, who'd been playing in a glade, scampered off into the trees, swiftly followed by Freddie.  Barry scuttled back to his sett.  Lizzie disappeared into a hole in the ground.  Sid and Nancy slid off into the long grass.  Gerald, Norma and Norman swum underwater in their pond.

Only Rufus remained, flying high above the people's heads, listening.

When the people had gone, Rufus called out to them again:

"They've gone, you can come out now!"

The friends all re-emerged from their hiding places and gathered in the glade.

"What's going on then Rufus?" asked Chalky, as he munched quietly on some grass.

"Well", said Rufus proudly, knowing that he was the only one in the know, "They're talking about building a waste plant."

"What's a waste plant Chalky?" asked Delia.

"I don't really know"  said Chalky, "but I'm sure it's probably not a good thing for us."

"Did they say anything else Rufus?"  Chalky enquired of his feathered friend.

"Yeah, something about a park.  Is that where the humans have fun?  I've seen parks with swings and stuff in the nearby town.  The little humans seem to like it there."

Um, thought Chalky.  He wasn't sure what it all meant.  But the sun was shining and it was peaceful in the woodland so he wasn't too worried.  He went back to playing with his friends and eating grass.

A few days later, Rufus called to the group of friends again:

"Oi, you lot - they're back again!  Hide!"

This time, Chalky and Delia hid close to where the humans were so they could listen to what they were saying.

Men in suits were talking and pointing at the trees.  Then Chalky heard them say something which made his heart beat even faster in his chest - they were talking about cutting down the trees.

Delia heard it too.

"Chalky, what do they mean?"  she said.  "Why are they cutting down the trees?"

Chalky looked at her very sadly, then told her "They want to build something called a 'resource recovery park' to go with their waste plant.  It's not a fun park for the little humans.  It's a group of buildings where I think they'll bring in waste for processing before it goes into the big waste plant."

Delia's eyes filled with tears.  "But what's going to happen to us?  Where are we going to live?"

"I don't know Delia, I really don't.  Let's go and tell the others and see what they say."

Chalky and Delia waited for the humans to leave, and then they gathered their friends together in the glade.

"We've got some bad news friends.  The humans want to chop down our trees."

The creatures looked shocked and upset.  Barry, the oldest and wisest badger, spoke first:

"That's bad news Chalky.  Where are we going to live?  Can they do that?"

Gerald, the great crested newt, spoke next:

"But I'm special, I'm very rare you know.  They can't just move me."

Barry replied, "Actually they can Gerald, in fact, we're all special.  We can be moved, it just makes it more expensive and causes the developers and council more paperwork."

Sid and Nancy hissed "We can slither off, we'll go and see what's over the other side of the noisy smooth bit, see if we can live there."

Rufus called to them "Don't waste your time Sid and Nancy, there's nothing there.  Big racetrack with noisy cars is that side, if you even make it across there with all the traffic that uses that road.  You'll probably get squished."

"What are we going to do Chalky?" sobbed Delia.

"I don't know"  said Chalky, "We just have to hope that there are some good humans out there who like us and the trees and want us to stay where we are.  Not all humans are bad you know.  Some of them like green spaces and fresh air.  So I've been told anyway."

"It's true"  said Rufus.  "Some humans are good, I've seen them.  We have to hope that there's enough good ones who will do something to save us."

To be continued...

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