Some people think that nothing ever happens in small towns like Ballyyahoo. But they would be very surprised. It’s not just cows blocking the road and making us late for school. There’s also the matter of the apples that go missing from old Paddy Plant’s tree. It’s probably Daffo the Donkey although Sergeant Sid blamed Gerry Mac last week and fined him a bar of nutty chocolate.
Most Ballyyahooians dread Sergeant Sid. He spends most of his time making up new laws for the kids of Ballyyahoo to break so he can steal our sweets!
SWEET-TOOTHED SERGEANT SID
Sergeant Sid has got a very sweet tooth! He fines us sweets for daft things like wearing trainers on a Sunday, or not carrying our school bags on the correct shoulder!
Sergeant Sid is always finding new ways of separating us from our sweets and so we never walk past the station when we know he’s in there.
It’s not just cows, donkeys and a mad policeman, there’s also the matter of the witch of Ballyyahoo! A little while ago, I was coming home from the Halfamoon beach when I noticed the two cats that are always sitting on Maggie-Many-Cats window ledge were looking a little bit stranger than usual.
Then Maggie-Many-Cats came running out of her cottage and started calling me to go in. She was all in knots and had practically chewed the fingers off herself because of something the cats dragged in.
The cats had been out hunting and as usual they had managed to catch some unfortunate little creature but this time they had brought home something different. A creature the likes of which Maggie had never seen before. I went inside and followed her into the kitchen.
THE HAIRY KITCHEN
Maggie’s kitchen is the strangest, hairiest kitchen you’ve ever seen. It’s very dark because she only has one tiny little window and when you first go inside it looks like there’s tiny little pairs of lights all over the place. But, when your eyes get used to the dark you realize that they are not lights. They’re eyes! And, every single pair of eyes is looking at you!
It’s kind of creepy looking and it reminds me of the kind of place that has skeletons dangling from the ceiling and ghostly faces peering out of the walls but as your eyes get used to the darkness you can see more and more and pretty soon you can see that every single one of those eyes belongs to a cat.
There’s one on the cooker, two on the fridge, at least half a dozen on the table and two on each chair. That why every one calls Maggie, Maggie-many-cats.
There’s so many cats that there’s no space to cook but Maggie-Many-Cats doesn’t mind because all she eats is mackerel and chips from the chipper. If she wants a change she gets plaice and chips and puts brown sauce on them instead of ketchup.
The cats are always bringing in mice and shrews because there is a mouse-hole in her back garden. If the mice are alive she puts them in her breadbox and sets them free later. But this time the cats hadn’t brought in a mouse.
No wonder Maggie was in knots and when she opened up her breadbox, I was in knots as well! There, inside the breadbox, beside a stale crust of bread and a few raisins that fell off a fruitcake – was a lizard.
I’ve never seen a lizard before in Ballyyahoo and as if that wasn’t strange enough this lizard had no tail! When I asked Maggie-Many-Cats what happened to the Lizard’s tail she said it was all that Biddy’s fault. Then she said Biddy was a witch!
Biddy lives in a creepy looking house over the other side of Ballyyahoo and my mum says Maggie-Many-Cats only calls Biddy a witch because years ago when they were both eejity young ones, they fell out over a young fella with a big wallet, a big guitar and a great big flash car.
Maggie-Many-Cats said Biddy-the-witch chopped the lizard’s tail off and that it must have escaped from her evil witch’s clutches – without its tail! She reckoned Biddy was going to put the tail in a cauldron with nettles and slugs, mix it all together with some other disgusting stuff, boil it over a hot coal fire and then turn the whole stinking mess into some kind of evil stinking witches stew!
NETTLES AND SLUGS
Now, Maggie-Many-Cats can be a little bit mad. Some people even call her Mad-Maggie-Many-Cats! But the more I thought about what she said, the more I realised it might just be true! I mean I have noticed that if the wind is blowing in our direction and Biddy leaves her windows open when she’s making stew we can smell it from our house.
Her stew doesn’t smell like minced-beef and onions. Biddy’s stew smells more like boiled shrews and lizard’s tails – a witches stew!
My mum says just because someone makes a bad stew doesn’t make them a witch and I know that but I think it’s worth a bit more investigation, don’t you?
So don’t forget to come back soon to hear more about the Witch of Ballyyahoo!
See you soon.