The Magic Faraway Tree
Once upon a time there were three children named Jo, Fanny and Bessie. They lived with their mother and father in a little cottage in the countryside. Behind their cottage was a ditch, and beyond this was a mysterious forest known as the Enchanted Wood.
One day the children decided to go exploring in the Enchanted Wood.
“If you are good children and finish all your chores this morning I shall give you the afternoon to have a picnic in the woods,” said Mummy.
So Jo worked hard in the garden that morning while the girls helped Mummy with the housework. When they finished, Mummy gave Bessie a little basket which contained sandwiches, cake and milk for lunch and said they could go. The children set off for the Enchanted Wood in a great state of excitement. They jumped over the little ditch and into the woods and stood still for a moment, taking in everything. Although it was a lovely summer day, the trees stood so close together that only a glimmer of sunlight filtered through the dark green canopy, making the woods seem dim and more mysterious than ever.
‘Wisha wisha wisha,’ whispered the trees and the children felt sure there was magic in the air. With Bessie carrying the basket, they skipped merrily down a little path and followed it into the heart of the woods.
The Magic Faraway Tree is listed as one of the classic favourite children's stories and has been read, joyously, for decades. A group of travellers are staying in Riversleigh Manor, which is close to the cottage that Jo, Bessie and Fanny lived in with their mother. Over coming months we are going to have an adventure and find the tree and visit lands above it. The project will culminate in the production of an Advent-URE calendar in December 2006.