B. F. Clark
Tommy Webster opened his eyes to a bright and breezy day. The sun beamed through his bedroom window. Great!" he thought, "A sunny day for the fair".
Tommy had been looking forward to this day. He remembered from last year just how much fun the Tupperville Fair could be. There would be lots of fun things to see and do: The water slide; go-karts; the haunted house and, best of all, the Ferris wheel. As Tommy was thinking about all these things his mom called out, "Breakfast Tommy. If you hurry up you can come over to the fairground with me. I have to take a cake to Mrs Jones". He dashed downstairs.
After breakfast, he washed and dressed as quickly as he could and in no time at all they were off to the fairground.
When they arrived, Tommy's mom saw Mrs Jones at the cake stall. "I'm just going to talk to Mrs Jones, Tommy. Here's some money to get an ice-cream. Come straight back". Off he ran to join the line at the ice-cream truck.
As he waited, he looked around the grounds at all the busy people doing this-and-that for the fair. He noticed an old man with a white beard putting up a little table and he could see that the poor man could hardly manage. Without a second thought about his ice-cream, Tommy went over to see if he could help.
The old man was very surprised when little Tommy came to his rescue as the table was about to collapse. "Well now, young man", he said. "that was very kind of you. I think you deserve a little reward". He removed a cloth-cover from a big wooden box by the table. The box looked almost as old and as worn out as the old man. Tommy noticed that there was faded writing on the side of the box and he could just make out the words, "Mr. Wizard's Magic Box" . "Are you really a wizard?", Tommy asked. The old man raised his head and peered out at Tommy from under his bushy white eyebrows and said questioningly, "Do you think I might be?" Tommy looked long and hard at the old man's wrinkled face, then said, "You look like a wizard to me". The old man smiled. "Then I MUST be", he said laughingly. With that, the old man raised himself up and handed Tommy a shiny little tin with a twist-off lid. "This is one of my magic toys", he said. "Inside, you will find some very special friends of mine. Look after them carefully and they will always look after you". "Wow!, thanks Mr. Wizard. I promise that I will look after them". "There is just one thing before you go", said the old man. "You must promise to only use my magic friends for good deeds." Tommy held up his hand and gave his promise, then he thanked the old man again, said goodbye and ran off to find his mom. In all his excitement he forgot about the ice-cream.
When he got back to his mom she had just finished talking to Mrs Jones. He excitedly told her about the old man and showed her his special present. "Well what's inside?", she asked. "I haven't opened it yet, but I will right now", said Tommy. He carefully unscrewed the top, half expecting something to jump out, but nothing did. He lifted off the lid and saw to his dismay that it was just a pot of bubble- blowing liquid, with a blowing ring attached to the underneath of the lid. Tommy's mom could see he was very disappointed. "Never mind", she said soothingly, "I think it was very thoughtful of you to help the old man and kind of him to give you a reward. Put the lid back on and we'll go and see more of the rides being put up.
"Wow!", said Tommy as they watched the Ferris wheel being built. "Please can I go on that this afternoon Mom?" "We'll see", she said, and they headed home.
Before lunch Tommy went up to his room to play. As he took off his jacket, the shiny little tin of bubble liquid fell out onto the floor. Tommy picked it up and remembered the old man's words, "Inside you will find some very special friends of mine", and felt very cheated that it only contained bubble liquid. "Well", he said to himself, "At least I can have some fun blowing bubbles". He unscrewed the lid and dipped the blowing ring into the tin, pulled it out, held it up to his lips and blew gently.
A beautiful bubble began to form and as Tommy watched it he couldn't believe his eyes. For this was no ordinary bubble! It had a face! Tommy stood with his mouth wide open in astonishment. Then the bubble spoke to him! "Hello", it said in a bubbly voice, "My name is Om. What's yours?". "Er, er... er...T..Tommy", said Tommy with a stunned voice. "Well hello Tommy. I guess Mr. Wizard asked you to look after us?". "He, he gave you to me for helping him with his table", replied Tommy, hardly believing he was talking to a bubble! "Aha", said Om, "And did he tell you about us?" "N-No, he just said that some of his friends were inside the tin and that if I looked after them they would look after me". "Indeed we will", said Om. "But first I should introduce you the others. Would you please blow some more bubbles Tommy?." Tommy dipped the ring into the liquid and blew . Sure enough, floating before him was another bubble with a face. " Hi, I'm Alphie", it said in a deeper bubbly voice than Om. "Er..pleased to meet you said Tommy" and dipped the ring in again.
The next bubble definitely looked like a girl and had a much higher voice. "Hello, I'm Betty". "H-Hi", said Tommy, still hardly believing what was happening. He blew two more bubbles which introduced themselves as Gemma and Pip, then Om said "OK. We're all here now Tommy, so I'll explain who we are. "We are the Syllabubbles and we were made by Mr. Wizard many many years ago to help him teach his students how to say magic words. Magic words are usually quite long, like "ABRACADABRA" and Mr. Wizard wasn't very good at writing things on the blackboard, so he made us". "How could you help?", asked Tommy. "We can change ourselves into syllables". "What's that?", said Tommy with a puzzled expression. " A SYLLABLE is part of a word. All words are made up of one or more syllables. Your name, Tommy, is made up from two syllables, "TOM" and "MY" and you put them together to make TOMMY. ABRACADABRA has five syllables. Watch this." To Tommy's amazement the five bubbles started to change their shapes into groups of letters. Om and Alphie both shaped themselves into 'AB'. Betty and Gemma each became 'RA' and Pip twisted himself to become 'CAD'. Having done this they floated into the correct positions to spell AB-RA- CAD-AB-RA.
What do you think of that?", said Om, whose face was now situated on the cross-bar of the first 'A'. "That's fantastic!" said Tommy. "Can you make words longer than five syllables?". "We can if you blow us big enough", said Gemma. " Then we can split ourselves into two", said Alphie. "Or we can just make one big letter each", added Pip. "So you see how useful we were to Mr. Wizard", continued Om.
"But the best thing is that we can also change into the objects that we can spell. Watch." Betty changed her shape to form 'BASE' and Om changed his shape to form 'BALL'. As soon as they joined together, Tommy was astounded to see them change into a baseball floating right before his eyes! After a few seconds they changed back to bubbles. "Well I'm glad Mr. Wizard passed you on to me", said Tommy, "I think we can have lots of fun together AND you can help me with my spelling!" At that moment Tommy's mom called out for him to come down for lunch. "Quick", he said. "You'd better get back in the tin. I've got to go." One-by-one the five bubbles floated to the top the tin , popped themselves and dropped into the liquid. Om was the last to go. "Don't forget to blow us if ever you're in trouble Tommy. You'd be surprised how much help we can be." With that he popped and dropped into the tin and Tommy put the lid on tight and put the tin back in his jacket pocket.
All through lunch Tommy could hardly contain his excitement but he remembered his promise to Mr. Wizard to keep his magic friends a secret. Luckily, his Mom put his excitement down to the fair.
After lunch it was back to the fairground. Tommy was really looking forward to a ride on the Ferris wheel and, as he had been behaving himself lately, his mom said it was okay. He paid his money to the man, who helped him onto the big bench seat before securing him in with a bar. The wheel moved round a little so that the next rider could get on. As each person got on, Tommy's seat rose higher and higher, so that soon his mom looked no bigger than an ant below him. When he had gone over the top and halfway down the other side, the wheel was loaded and it started to rotate slowly without stopping. Tommy loved it. He really liked the moment as he reached the highest point on the wheel and could see the whole fairground spread out below. He could see the top of the big tent and was level with the flag on the top of the helter-skelter. It was great.
Tommy counted the times he reached the top. He knew from watching the wheel that he would go round about ten times. But he had only counted up to six when the wheel started to slow down. "Drat", he thought. "I'm going to get a short ride". Just as he reached the top for the seventh time, the wheel came to a full halt. Tommy waited patiently for the wheel to inch around until his turn to get off. But nothing happened! He looked down to see a few men gathered around the engine that powered the wheel. A small crowd began to gather below. What was going on? One of the men below shouted up to the people on the wheel, "It's OK. The wheel is stuck, but we'll soon get it moving again. Don't panic. and stay in your seats." "Wow!", thought Tommy. "This is exciting!" But he did hope that he wouldn't be up there too long.
After ten minutes, a fire truck arrived on the scene. The crowd watched as the firemen swung the ladder of the truck up to the wheel, but the ladder wasn't long enough to reach all the way up the wheel! Tommy wondered just how everyone was going to get down. Then he had an idea. He felt in his jacket pocket for the tin of bubble liquid and carefully took it out. He didn't want to drop it. He unscrewed the lid, dipped the ring in and blew a bubble.
There, before him floated the face of Om. "Hi, Tommy". "Exactly", said Tommy. "Look". He pointed down to the ground. "Oooh!" exclaimed Om. "We are high, aren't we. Why did you blow me?" Tommy explained that the wheel was stuck and that he had an idea of how to get everybody down safely. "We need a helicopter" said Tommy. "Can you make a helicopter, Om?" "If we can spell it, we can make it", he replied enthusiastically. "Good", said Tommy. "All I need to do is to work out how to spell it. Let me see. HE-LI-COP-TER." He counted off on his fingers as he said each syllable. "We'll need four bubbles. I'll blow them." Out came Betty, Gemma and Alphie. He told them the situation and that a helicopter could save the day. "The only problem is that we can't have a helicopter appear as if by magic. People will want to know what I did, and I promised to keep you a secret." He thought for a moment. "I know", he said. "You could float off to a safe distance before joining together and making the helicopter. Then you could fly in and drop down a basket on a rope to save the people. That way, no-one will know there isn't a pilot." "Sounds like a good idea to me", said Gemma. "Do we all know how to spell HELICOPTER?"
Tommy went over each syllable and then off they floated. Tommy's mom saw him blowing bubbles and smiled to think how calm her son was in such a scary situation.
The Syllabubbles soon had drifted off to a quiet field. They settled down on the grass and began to change their shapes. Om became 'HE'. Betty turned into 'LI'. Gemma and Aplhie became 'COP' and 'TER'. They floated together and in an instant there was a flash and there stood a gleaming helicopter. The blades started to whir and off it took. Rising high above the field it turned to head for the fairground.
By this time, the crowd were becoming quite worried. The Ferris wheel was still broken and the fire brigade did not have a longer ladder. As they were wondering what to do, someone saw the helicopter and pointed. "Look!" The helicopter came in over the wheel and started to hover.
The blades made a lot of wind as a rope with a basket on the end dropped down from the side of the helicopter. Dangling right by each seat on the wheel, it was easy for the riders to clamber in. One by one they were lowered safely to the ground until the only one left was Tommy. He loved his ride down in the basket. As he stepped out onto the ground, the crowd gave a loud cheer and Tommy waved up at the helicopter. "Well", said the Fire Chief, "I'm sure glad those guys showed up. Anyone know where they came from?" Everyone shook their heads. The basket was winched up into the belly of the helicopter and it flew off into the distance. Tommy wondered how the bubbles would get back home.
The bubbles still hadn't showed up when he went to bed. He was a little worried, so he blew the remaining syllabubble, Pip, and asked him what to do. "They'll show up soon", Pip said.
Sure enough, it wasn't long before Tommy saw them floating outside his window. he was overjoyed and undid the latch to let them in. "I'm glad you got back OK. Are you alright?" "Sure", said Gemma. "We had so much fun as a helicopter that we spent the afternoon rescuing two sailors and a mountaineer! Your helicopter idea was very good." "Well you must be tired out", said Tommy. "We certainly are", replied Om. "Time to go to bed". Tommy watched as one by one the bubbles drifted over to the pot of bubble liquid, said "Goodnight Tommy", popped and dropped into the silver tube. Om was last to go. "Bye for now, Tommy. You know you can rely on us if you ever need help, don't you?". "Oh I know", said Tommy "And thanks for a great day". With that Om popped and dropped into the liquid. Tommy carefully screwed on the lid and put the shiny tube under his bed. He climbed under the covers and settled down to sleep and dream of Mr. Wizard, his amazing new friends, the Syllabubbles, and all the adventures they would have together.
copyright B F Clark 1987 all rights reserved
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