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Christmas Stories Online

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Disaster strikes Ballyyahoo when Santa and Rudolph turn up on Christmas Eve and instead of leaving gifts, they steal all the presents away.

It turns out Santa and Rudolph aren’t all they seem.

They’re a pair of wicked villains in disguise and they’re determined to destroy Christmas in Ballyyahoo.

Kevin and Gerry try their very best to save Christmas. But, when they find themselves locked in a box, on a boat, in the middle of the stormy Irish Sea, there’s only one person who can help them.

But will the crime-fighting Witch of Ballyyahoo, come to the rescue in time?

All Ballyyahoo eBooks come with extras – inside you will find links to free stories, information about the nature and wildlife of Ballyyahoo and lots of photographs.

CLICK BELOW TO GET CHRISTMAS IN BALLYYAHOO
 You can read the first two chapters free below.

 


CHAPTER ONE – THE HOOLEY

Kevin and Gerry couldn’t wait for Christmas. They were bored as usual. They were stuck indoors because it was cold, wet, and windy in the tiny Irish town of Ballyyahoo.

They weren’t just bored. They were disappointed.

You see, they had recently learned that there was a real live witch in Ballyyahoo. The witch of Ballyyahoo saved Gerry and his Mum from a vicious burglar who had broken into their house.

Later, she had made Gerry and Kevin deputies, so that they could help her with the fight against crime in Ballyyahoo. The two boys thought their days of boredom would be over.

They thought that now they were deputies they would be flying around Ballyyahoo on broomsticks, turning burglars into toads and turning toads into giant packets of crisps!

But after they turned a bowl of vegetable soup into a bowl of bubbling, chocolate soup, the witch wouldn’t give them any more spells.

She said they’d get sugar-rot of the teeth and stomach, and that they’d end up so unfit that the criminals would run rings round them.

The witch said it would be better for Gerry and Kevin to learn their witchcraft slowly, surely, and very, very carefully.

When, at last, it was Christmas Eve, Kevin and Gerry got on their bikes and cycled into Ballyyahoo. For once, they had something to be excited about.

Christmas Eve in Ballyyahoo is just about the best Christmas Eve you could ever have.

The reason Christmas in Ballyyahoo is the best is because everyone, and that means every single person in the whole of Ballyyahoo, gets together in the middle of the town and enjoys a massive hooley.

All down the main street of Ballyyahoo, there are big thick logs that come from Ballyyahoo forest. People use them to sit on in the summer, or to rest shopping bags on while they fumble for their car keys.

There’s always a few small ones as well, so old people, or just plain tired people, can put their weary feet up and rest them.

On Christmas Eve, these logs have a very special purpose. The people of Ballyyahoo drag them into the road and carefully place boards on top of them to make tables.

The Christmas tables are huge and they look really Christmassy, with their log legs and holly decorations.

All the decorations are hand made by the kids of Ballyyahoo and all the materials are collected from the wonderful Witchy Woods of Ballyyahoo.

Everyone enjoys walking in the Witchy Woods. The woods are dense with trees and full of beautiful flowers, cones, twigs, branches, and holly, lots and lots of holly.

The people in Ballyyahoo love fresh green holly with its shiny red berries. Kevin and Gerry help with the preparations, even though as a rule, they don’t like work.

In fact, nobody in Ballyyahoo minds helping out with the party and that’s because nobody thinks of it as work, and that’s probably because the party starts when the helping starts.

Miss Parrot and Miss Parrot always come along and bring their giant bag of party hats. Every single hat is different, apart from the fact that every single one has got holly leaves and berries, knitted like bobbles, on top.

The two Miss Parrots make the hats themselves, and they are the best knitters in Ballyyahoo. They knit so fast that they have to buy new knitting needles every week because they wear them out.

Everyone brings something to the party, and even though the table goes the whole length of the main street, it’s always chocker block full with fantastic foods and drinks.

Snowy Christmas tree illustrating a page with Christmas stories onlineAll Ballyyahooians bring a present as well, and each person puts the present they brought under the Christmas tree.

When all the food is gone, Paddy Plant drives his digger up and parks it beside the tree, then everyone helps to put all the presents into the bucket of the digger so it turns into a giant lucky dip.

After that they all pull their party hats down over their eyes so they can’t see as they dip their hand in the digger bucket lucky dip, to take their Christmas present.

The party starts at lunchtime and always ends at teatime, just in time for everyone to go home and put the little kids to bed and finish off wrapping presents and stuffing turkeys.

This year, the party was the best ever. Seanie from Kelly’s shop is Ballyyahoo’s one and only one-man band. He prides himself on making all his own instruments out of whatever he can get his hands on.

This year he played the bin-lids, the rusty saw, the poker, and coal shovel, and of course, the very popular rake and wheelbarrow.

Occasionally, if there’s a special request, he will play the chainsaw in a tin-bucket song, but for some strange reason, nobody made any special requests for that particular song this year.

It took a few hours for all the food to be eaten, since there was so much of it and after that, they cleared the table to get it ready for the best part of the hooley: the dancing.

As usual, Maggie-Many-Cats set up her mobile disco from the back of her cat-mobile. She had brought her favourite record – sounds of the glittery seventies and had set it up to play on her wonky old record player.

She was wearing big wide trousers, a denim jacket trimmed with tartan and a tartan scarf to match that she said used to be the fashion in the old days.

She had done herself up in her favourite makeup too, and she had glitter around her eyes and silver sequins done in the shape of butterflies on each of her cheeks.

People would never dare say it in front of Maggie-Many-Cats, but last year, some of them, especially the older, deafer people, thought that Maggie-Many-Cat’s record player might have seen better days.

In other words – the music wasn’t loud enough. Everyone waited for her to put the old needle on the scratchy record, but she didn’t.

She went back to her cat-mobile and started dragging out a very large, very cumbersome, and very strange looking object.

Nobody could tell what the object was, but it looked like there’d been an explosion in a pile of wooden pallets and old tin bins.

People watched as she pulled the half wood, half metal object beside the record player and unwound a long wire with a plug on the end.

She plugged it in to the back of the record player and smiled.

“Are you ready to rock, Ballyyahoo?” she shouted.”Yes,” they all shouted back.”

“Are you ready to rock and roll, Ballyyahoo?”

“Yes”, they shouted.

“Git on with it, will you, Magser, before we all die for the want of a bit of music,” said old Paddy Plant, who isn’t as patient as he never used to be.

Maggie threw a mince pie at Paddy, but it bounced off his head. Still, he managed to catch it before it hit the floor and ate it before it went cold.

Next, Maggie placed her old needle on the scratchy record, as the town got ready to rock. The music that blared out was so loud that it blew Paddy Plant’s party hat clean off.

It turned out the huge object was a massive speaker Maggie-Many-Cats had made all by herself, out of seven old metal rubbish bins and a few wooden pallets that fell off the back of a lorry that got stuck in a pothole outside her gate.

The music got louder and louder, and soon the music of Ballyyahoo was so loud that it made the telephone poles rattle in County Clare.

The first one up to dance was Paddy Plant. You’d never think he was ninety-six-years old. He leaped up on the table and danced the whole length of it with a Christmas cracker on his head.

Then the two Miss Parrots got up and started dancing with Paddy. Some one threw them some Christmas crackers, and the Miss Parrots put them behind their ears and danced for an hour.

Afterwards, one of the Miss Parrots said the music had set her feet on fire, and she’d had to soak them in a bucket of cold seaweed and sea water, to stop them dancing all on their own.

Gerry’s mum, Dymphna, and Kevin’s mum, Aggie, got on the table and danced the legs off themselves.

Then, when everyone started clapping, they got carried away and started Zumba dancing backwards down the table until Dymphna slipped on a turkey and stuffing sandwich, nearly fell off the end of the table and almost knocked the Christmas tree over.

Luckily, a woman of around sixty-five years old, called Biddy, managed to catch her.

Everyone remarked on how amazing it was that a woman Biddy’s age was strong and fast enough to catch Dymphna in one hand and save the Christmas tree with the other.

But then none of them, apart from Gerry and Kevin, knew that Biddy wasn’t an ordinary woman, Biddy was a witch, the Witch of Ballyyahoo.

CLICK BELOW TO GET CHRISTMAS IN BALLYYAHOO PLUS FREE EXTRA STORIES

CHAPTER TWO – SCARY BOG MONSTERS

Soon the whole town was up on the table – even Sergeant Sid got up and did a bit of a jig before slipping back to the station.

He said he’d had some new ideas for the fight against crime, and he wanted to get them written down in his notebook quick before he forgot.

Kevin and Gerry didn’t get up to dance, because they’d never have lived it down if they did, but it didn’t stop them from having a good time.

The boys were in a great mood, even before the party started, because at last, the copy of Scary Bog Monsters Annual they’d ordered from the library had finally arrived in.

They’d both had the book on their birthday lists, but their mothers had refused to get it for them, because they said Scary Bog Monsters was a load of old rubbish, only fit for fools, and it would make them into even worse eejits and gobdaws than they already were.

As usual, both their mothers were in total agreement. Gerry and Kevin knew better than to argue. There was no point. Their mothers were sisters, and if you made any headway getting round one of them, the other one was sure to stick her nose in.

So they had ordered the book from Mister Bukend in the library last March. Since then, they’d been calling in practically every day, until he barred them from saying the words scary, bog, or monsters, in the library ever again.

Last Easter, Kevin came up with a plan, and like most of his plans, some of them were good, and some were terrible. This one was terrible. He tiptoed up to the counter, and asked Mister Bukend if the annual they’d ordered was in yet.

Mister Bukend’s face had turned scary purple, and he threatened Kevin with a lifetime library ban and a good ear pulling!

Kevin couldn’t understand it. He hadn’t even whispered the words scary, bog, or monsters.

He put it down to the fact that adults in Ballyyahoo can be a bit on the contrary side, especially if the wind blows from the west, so all they could do was wait until the wind changed direction.

When the party was over, their mums stayed behind to help with the clearing up and let the boys go ahead. Kevin and Gerry had got a large bag of sweets each.

They couldn’t wait to get home to enjoy munching them while reading the Scary Bog Monsters Annual and watching the Scary Bog Monsters Christmas Special on the telly – all at the same time!

They got on their bikes, turned on their lights, and headed up the road towards home. On the way, they had to pass the Garda station.

They had made a plan to switch off their bicycle lights when they got within ten feet of the station and duck down when they got within three feet of the windows. They didn’t want Sergeant Sid, the only Gard in Ballyyahoo, to see them.

You see, Sergeant Sid gets bored when he can’t find a crime to solve, so he passes his time by making up crimes.

Gerry and Kevin both knew that cycling with no lights was a serious crime, but they also knew that if Sergeant Sid had caught a glimpse of them, even if they had the biggest lights ever seen on a bike, he would have found some other crime to charge them with anyway.

Once, they had been fined two packets of crisps and a ham sandwich for walking the wrong way down a one-way street.

When they complained that Ballyyahoo Main Street wasn’t a one-way street, and that the law wasn’t supposed to apply to walking, Sergeant Sid fined them another sandwich, plus a banana – for having the cheek to answer him back!

All they had for lunch that day was two apples and one banana – between the two of them.

Sergeant Sid said they were lucky he was having a problem with his false teeth, or he would have fined them two apples as well!

The plan to avoid being seen by turning off their bike lights turned out to be one of Kevin’s terrible plans.

Sergeant Sid came running out through the station door with his huge notebook already open, and his pen ready for action. They turned on the bicycle light quickly, hoping that he wouldn’t have noticed.

“Happy Christmas, Sergeant,” said Gerry.

“When I went to school, Christmas occurred on the 25th December and not on the 24th,” said Sergeant Sid, pointing his pen at them.

“Yes, Sergeant, of course, Sergeant, what Gerry meant to say was happy Christmas tomorrow,” said Kevin.

“Good save,” whispered Gerry.

“I heard that,” said Sergeant Sid.

“Now, let’s see those two-wheeled vehicles. I’ve already got you down for the very dangerous activity of riding a two-wheeled vehicle with no lights. Now, what else? Right, well, you are wearing light reflecting jackets, so that’s good,” he said, sticking his pen in his ear and wiggling it about.

“We always wear them,” said Gerry, trying hard to get in Sergeant Sid’s good books, which is an impossible task, because Sergeant Sid doesn’t have any good books. In fact all Sergeant Sid’s books are bad. Very, very bad.

“Is that so?”

He pointed at Kevin, “Tell me now, young Kevin, are you aware that your reflective vests are inside out?”

“Inside out?”

“What difference does it make? It’s exactly the same on the inside as it is on the outside,’ said Kevin.

“No, young Kevin, it is not. The inside of the vest has a label and the outside does not. The inside has seams and the outside does not. It’s not the same, not the same at all.”

“That’s not fair,” said Gerry, after he did a quick check to see if his vest was on right.

“This isn’t about fairness, this is about the law! In Ballyyahoo, the law is the law!” said Sergeant Sid, leaning over to check the underneath of Gerry’s bicycle saddle.

“Aha!” he said.

“What?” I haven’t done anything wrong. I’ve got my jacket on the right way and everything else is in order.”

“Is that right? What do you call this then?” said Sergeant Sid, pointing underneath the saddle.

Gerry looked and saw nothing.

Sergeant Sid put his hand under the saddle and picked off something tiny and black with his fingertips and placed it into the palm of his hand. “Look!” he said.

Gerry and Kevin looked closely at Sergeant Sid’s hand. There was a tiny little spider sitting in the palm.

“It’s just a little money-spider,” said Gerry.

“No,” said Sergeant Sid, “It’s an illegal passenger.”

“What? I didn’t know it was there, and anyway, it’s a teensy weeny little spider! How can that do any harm?” said Gerry.

But it was no use. By the time Sergeant Sid finished, they had both been fined most of their sweets for riding two-wheeled vehicles with no lights, wearing light reflective vests inside out, and carrying an illegal passenger.

Both boys agreed their encounter with Sergeant Sid could have been worse. At least he didn’t fine them their Scary Bog Monsters Annual!

As they continued making their way home, they noticed lots of lights coming from old Paddy Plant’s house.

They decided to call in, hoping that he might take pity on them and give them a few sweets. Their mums had made them both do a lot of hard work around Paddy Plant’s place in the past.

Paddy was in a very good mood. Not just because he’d had a great time at the party. Paddy was also looking forward to the arrival of his daughter and her husband on Christmas morning.

They were travelling all the way from Canada, and this Christmas Paddy was going to see his Grandson for the very first time.

He had a wheelbarrow set up in front of the fire with presents, wrapping paper, and string, and he was busy trying to wrap presents for them all.

It didn’t look like he was very good at present wrapping, as all the presents he had wrapped looked like they’d been wrapped by a one eyed donkey.

“Just in time, lads, I need a hand, come on in,” said Paddy.

They both groaned, thinking he’d want them to rake leaves, or clean the chimney, or something else involving hard labour.

Paddy opened a cupboard under the stairs and pulled out something that looked like a pile of logs. He set it on the floor, and it revealed itself to be a little truck, with a steering wheel, brakes, wheels, and pedals, all made of wood.

Paddy opened up the small boot on the back. Inside were lots of little wooden cars, all different types and colours.

“It’s for my grandson, he’s three, and he loves anything that moves,” said Paddy.

“Wow! It’s deadly, Paddy,” said Gerry.

“Did you make all these yourself?” asked Kevin.

“I sure did. I’ve been working on them for months. I know when you kids get a bit older you all like the computers and the games and all that stuff, so I thought I’d better hurry up and make these before the grandson grows up and wants something with a screen.”

“Could you make one with a screen?” asked Gerry.

“Don’t be such an eejit, boy,” said Paddy.

“Now, come on, help me get it wrapped up.”

He handed them a giant roll of Christmas wrapping paper with holly leaves all over it.

It took a lot of paper to go round the truck, and it looked a bit misshapen when it was done, but Paddy was smiling, and that wasn’t something that happened often.

“Now, lads, I suppose youse are too old for Christmas Presents and Santa and all that?”

Kevin and Gerry didn’t answer. They knew it was a trick question and they didn’t want to get themselves tricked out of any possibility of a present.

“Never mind, come over here to the tree and take a look and see if there’s anything underneath it with your names on it.”

The boys didn’t need telling twice. They were under the tree in a flash and scrambled around until they each found three presents with their names on.

“Three presents?” said Gerry.

“Yes, I thought I’d be generous this year, since you haven’t been annoying me as much as you did last year.”

Kevin had his first present in his hand weighing it up and was trying to guess what it was.

Gerry unwrapped his in an excited rush and tore off the wrapping so fast that the contents fell out and rolled across the floor. It was a tangerine.

Gerry looked at Kevin and was about to complain, but Kevin shot him a warning look. The last time they had complained about something to Paddy, he had made them clean his toilet with a toothbrush!

The second present was a walnut and all their excitement had faded by the time they both got to the third and largest presents. They were fully expecting a bag of carrots and that’s exactly what it was.

“Your mothers warned me about sweets. She said anyone who gives you sweets for Christmas would have to pay the dentist. I heard them dentists charge a fortune, good job I got these,” said Paddy, taking out his false teeth, looking at them, and shoving them back in, quick as a flash.

Kevin’s chin was practically trailing the floor with misery, and Gerry’s bottom lip looked like it was trying to escape from his face when suddenly Paddy started laughing.

“Don’t look so miserable – sure I’ve done you a favour. I just saved you ending up like me with an oul pair of false teeth.”

“Aw Paddy, it’s Christmas!”

“Never mind, here’s something to eat later on,” said Paddy.

Paddy opened a drawer and took out two bars of chocolate.

“There yis go now! Your mothers didn’t say you couldn’t have chocolate. Sure chocolate’s not sweets, is it?”

“Oh no, Paddy, chocolate’s not sweets at all, chocolate’s chocolate,” said Kevin, nudging Gerry, who looked like he was going to be eejity enough to argue.

“Now, go on home, but before you do, call in to Biddy and give her back her special mixing bowl. Tell her I made a pudding, a cake, and a dozen mince pies – the bowl worked like magic!”

The boys wondered if Paddy knew that the bowl probably was actually really magic, or that Biddy was a witch, but decided he couldn’t know, and if he did, he’d never tell.

Biddy had sworn them to secrecy and they both knew that when Biddy the witch swears you to secrecy she means it.

Biddy wasn’t alone when they got to her house. There was another woman with her. The woman had long blonde hair and a lovely happy smile. Biddy introduced her as her cousin, Joon, who had travelled from Wales to spend Christmas Eve in Ballyyahoo.

Biddy and Joon were on their hands and knees on the floor trying to fix a vacuum cleaner, which was lying on the floor in what looked like a thousand little pieces.

“Joon’s vacuum cleaner broke down and we’re trying to fix it,” said Biddy.

Joon reached into her bag and took out something parceled up in a tea towel, she unwrapped it and handed the boys a steaming hot mince pie each.

“Eat them now, before they get cold, it was hard work keeping them hot all the way from Wales to here,” she said.

Then she started laughing and nudged Biddy. They both laughed as they watched the boys throwing their mince pies from one hand to the other to stop them burning their fingers.

“Put the bowl in the kitchen for me, boys, I can’t stop and chat,” said Biddy.

“We’ve got to get this fixed, or else,” Joon said, as she took a flask and poured some frothy red liquid with blackberries floating in it into two big glasses.

“Or else?” asked Gerry.

“Or else, what?” asked Kevin.

“Or else there’ll be serious problems in Wales tomorrow,” said Joon, laughing, as she took a sip of her drink and chewed a blackberry.

“This is lovely, the blackberries were big and beautiful in Wales this year,” she said.

“This is great stuff, a great year for blackberries altogether,” said Biddy, taking a drink.

She looked over at the boys.

“Off you go, now, I’ll told your mother I’d call in, so see you later,” said Biddy, trying to turn a screw in the broken down vacuum cleaner with a screwdriver that looked so old and rusty it could have been dug out of the Ballyyahoo bog.

Kevin and Gerry thought that Biddy and Joon were probably gone a bit mad, and they couldn’t wait to get home to start reading their Scary Bog Monsters Annual.

When they got there, their mothers were waiting in the hall. Dymphna, Gerry’s mum, was half in and half out of her coat, and Aggie, Kevin’s mum, was putting lipstick on.

When Dymphna got her coat on properly, she turned to Gerry.

“Listen, Gerry, we’re just going down to the Zumba Christmas party for an hour or two. Your dad’s working tonight, and Biddy’s going to call in later, we’re trusting you two to behave yourselves till she gets here, so no messing,” said Dymphna.

“Yes, you too, Kevin, absolutely no messing, or you’ll be fishing that stupid Scary Bog Monsters Annual out of the bay tomorrow,” said Aggie.

“Don’t worry, sure we’ll be as good as gold, Auntie Dymphna,” said Kevin.

“We’ll be fine, we’re just going to read a book,” said Gerry.

“Well, make sure that’s all you do, or there’ll be no Christmas in Ballyyahoo for you two,” said Dymphna.

“Now, stay in and lock the door, and keep it locked until Biddy comes,” said Aggie.

“Why? It’s not as if anything ever happens in Ballyyahoo,” said Gerry.

“You never know,” said Aggie, staring at Kevin.

After their mums left, they settled down with the book and demolished all of the chocolate.

Biddy and Joon were still busy trying to fix the vacuum cleaner. Biddy was concentrating very hard.

“Didn’t you say that you’d keep an eye on those two boys?” said Joon.

“Oh, be the lambadivinethingimebobs! I nearly forgot all about them,” said Biddy. She reached in her handbag and took out a smooth grey stone with a hole in it. She looked in the hole.

In case you haven’t guessed, this stone was no ordinary stone. It was a special stone. Biddy could look into the hole and see things you’d never expect to see in a hole in a stone. She calls it an istone – short for incredible stone.

Actually, these stones are not just incredible; they are in fact magic as well. But you can’t just pick up any old stone with a hole in and expect it to be magic.

Istones can only be found in Ballyyahoo, and unless they have been through Biddy’s special process, they have no magic at all.

Biddy uses her istone to watch over Ballyyahoo and make sure everyone is okay.

Happily, all was well around the town. Even Kevin and Gerry were quietly reading their book – not a hint of mischief!

“Oh they’re fine, Joon. Let’s try and get this job finished, and then I’ll go up there,” she said, taking a big bite from a mince pie.

When she’d finished eating, Biddy took out a small soldering iron and started trying to solder two of the vacuum cleaner parts together, while Joon mixed up some cement and started applying it to a hole in the side of the machine.

“You’d think there’d be a spell for this, wouldn’t you, Bid?” said Joon.

“Yes, you’d think so, but there’s never a spell for the boring stuff,” said Biddy.

“Typical,” said Joon.

Back in Gerry’s house, it was time for the Scary Bog Monsters Christmas Special on television. The boys turned the sound up and started watching.

They were so caught up in the show that they didn’t notice that Biddy hadn’t arrived until the adverts came on.

“Biddy’s a bit late, isn’t she? I hope she’s okay,” said Gerry.

“Of course she’s okay, she’s a witch, isn’t she?” said Kevin.

“Yeah, but still, she did say she’d come over,” said Gerry.

“Let’s go up and check the stones, and see if we can see anything.”

The two boys headed up stairs. Because they had both been officially sworn in as deputies, they each had an istone, though Biddy had put theirs on a reduced power setting until they grew up a bit and stopped messing about like two eejits.

They turned their istones to face the direction of Biddy’s house and looked in. All they could see was Biddy and Joon still fiddling with the vacuum cleaner.

“Why are they doing that?” said Gerry.

“Don’t know, seems very important to them to get it done, though.”

“Weird,” said Gerry.

“Very weird,” said Kevin.

“Who cares if a vacuum cleaner breaks down anyway,” said Kevin.

“I wish ours would break down. My mother makes me clean the place with it every Saturday,” said Gerry.

“So does mine,” said Kevin.

Not for the first time, they wished their mums weren’t sisters who were always exchanging ideas about making their sons do lots of hard work to keep them out of trouble. Their mums were always saying things like “the devil makes work for idle hands!”

Kevin turned his istone in the direction of the main Ballyyahoo road and watched that for a while. There were no cars and nobody walking.

“Boring, boring, and more boring,” said Kevin.

“Come on, the adverts will be finished, we don’t want to miss anything.”

“Wait!” Kevin held up his hand. “There’s something coming. Look, it’s a lorry.”

Gerry peered into the stone. “Looks like a coal lorry,” he said.

“Yeah, but there’s no coal on the back of it though,” said Kevin.

“Who’s driving it?”

“Can’t see, it’s too far away.”

“Bit late to be out delivering coal,” said Gerry.

“Maybe he’s just using his lorry to visit someone in Ballyyahoo.

If I had a lorry, I’d drive it everywhere, lorries are so cool,” said Kevin.

Gerry nudged Kevin, “quick, the adverts are over, the show’s back on.”

They galloped down the stairs and jumped back on the sofa.

The show was a little bit more scary than usual, because Rosetta, the girl who usually managed to stop the scary bog monsters taking over the world, had been captured by the scariest of all the bog monsters.

Rosetta was usually clever, and always managed to outwit the scary bog monsters, but she’d been fooled because it was Christmas, and the bog monster had disguised itself as Santa!

The two boys got so caught up in the show, that they didn’t take their eyes off the screen until it was finished. So it was only then that they realized Biddy still hadn’t arrived.

They looked in their istones. Biddy and Joon were still trying to fix the vacuum cleaner.

“Huh, look at Biddy and her cousin – they’re still messing with that yoke,” said Gerry.

“Some witch Biddy turned out to be. She never does anything exciting,” said Kevin.

“No, she doesn’t even fly around on a broomstick,” said Gerry.

They turned the istone in the direction of the town again. The main street was quiet but then they saw the lorry again, but this time the back wasn’t empty. It was full – piled up high with wrapped Christmas presents.

Looking closer, they saw that the driver was Santa, and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer was sitting right beside him!

They looked at each other, puzzled.

“Santa and Rudolph in a coal lorry?” said Gerry.

“That can’t be right,” said Kevin, “look, the lorry was empty when it drove in to Ballyyahoo and now that it’s leaving, it’s completely full.”

“Why would Santa be taking presents away from Ballyyahoo?” said Gerry.

“Hey look! That parcel on top of the pile. That looks like Paddy’s present for his grandson,” said Kevin.

“What? Where?” said Gerry.

They looked closely and realized it was. They could tell by the way it was wrapped, plus it was the very same holly leaf paper.

They quickly turned the istone to face Paddy’s house, and what they saw made the two boys jump up with the shock.

Instead of sitting by his Christmas tree admiring his presents and looking forward to seeing his family, Paddy had a bunched up lump of Christmas wrapping paper stuffed in his mouth and his arms were behind his back – tied to his chair.

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