The mountain was huge but his home was tiny. Humble McBumble lived all alone in a wee hut half way up Ben Macdui, in Scotland. His hut was built out of pine from the forest and nearly everything that he ever needed he was able to get from either the forest or somewhere else on the mountain. He wasn't very tall but he was very old and very wise. He had a long ginger beard and wore a really funny floppy hat and a kilt (even in the winter). Although I said he lived all alone he still had lots of friends. All the animals and the birds were his friends and he had different names for almost all of them.

The air was becoming cold and flocks of birds were flying south towards the sun, winter was nearly here. All the golden coloured leaves from the trees had fallen to the ground and the mountain looked very bleak. Some of the animals that lived in the forest had, for a long time been gathering food for their hibernation and they would soon be going to sleep until the spring!

This story is about one of those animals that lived in the forest, Johan the fox. Johan the fox was strolling through the forest one morning in the middle of December looking for breakfast. The weather was bad, snow lay on the ground and the wind was getting stronger. Food was scarce at this time of year so Johan had to search further than usual and the snow and wind made hunting very difficult. The wind was getting much stronger, Johan wanted to turn back and head for home but he said "just a little further, I'm too hungry to go home without eating."

But just then the wind howled through the trees. Johan didn't realise that he was walking under a slightly rotten tree. He heard a long cracking sound and as he turned around to see where the noise was coming from he saw the huge dark tree crashing toward him. He started to run... as fast as he could, but his paws were getting caught in the deep snow. He thought he had escaped when the tree crashed to the ground right beside him. But just as he was about to make his final bound to freedom the trunk of the tree rolled over gently and on to his tail.

Poor Johan! There he was, hungry, a long way from home and his tail trapped under a huge heavy tree. He wasn't happy at all. Luckily though, because the snow was soft, it didn't hurt very much, but no matter how hard he tried the tail would just not free itself. Just at that moment it started to snow again and Johan had a horrible thought.... If it snowed too heavily and for quite a long time the snow would rise above his head and he wouldn't be able to breathe! Now he was very worried.

That morning Humble McBumble was out for his usual early morning stroll through the forest. He hadn't walked far when he thought he heard a very quiet cry. "What was that noise?" He muttered to himself but supposed it was just the wind and carried on walking. Then he heard it again and started to look around to see if he could find where it was coming from. He heard it again and this time was able to tell that it came from the direction of a fallen tree.

Rushing as fast as his old spindly legs would carry him, he worked his way through the snow. When he arrived at the fallen tree he couldn't see anybody...until he peered over the other side and there lay a small fox curled up and sheltering from the wind and snow. "Johan! What are you doing there?" said Humble. "The wind blew this rotten tree over and it rolled on to my tail as I tried to run away," whimpered Johan. He was becoming very cold. "I've been here for hours and the level of the snow is slowly getting higher. I've tried everything I can think of to get free, but my tail just will not come free" he said. "Well, I'll just have to give it a push and you can be on your way" said Humble. But Humble McBumble wasn't very strong and try as he might he just couldn't move the tree. "OK" he said, "we'll try something else, now let me think...mmm…"

After some serious thinking and much head scratching Humble McBumble eventually said "I know what we'll do" and off he went searching around the forest floor. He returned with a branch from one of the pine trees that had also fallen in the wind. He tried to lever the tree trunk off of Johan's tail, but he was just not strong enough and the tail stayed trapped under the tree. Humble McBumble took a step backwards and looked at the tree trunk, then at the fox, back to the tree trunk and then again back to the fox. He looked at the snow that lay all around him and then he looked up at the sky. It didn't look as if it was going to stop snowing for a long time...something had to be done quickly.

Humble McBumble had an idea. He hurried back to his hut and when he eventually got there he disappeared for a short while into his tool shed and then all of a sudden he came rushing out carrying a large saw. Back into the forest he went, hoping to remember the way because of course the snow had now covered his footprints. As he struggled through the snow he thought to himself, I hope I'm quick enough I couldn't bare the thought of Johan dying under the snow. The snow fell even heavier and the wind howled even louder but Humble McBumble kept on going. Eventually he came across the place where Johan had been lying. But all he could see was the tree trunk and white snow covering the ground. He thought he was to late, but just then he saw a little brown nose poke its way through the snow, he rushed over and started digging at the snow with his hands and there was Johan, still alive.

His idea was a clever one. He was going to saw the tree, not in half but into three pieces, two long pieces at each end and a small one in the middle where Johans tail was so that the small piece wouldn't be very heavy and therefore easy to move. This was exactly what he did. He was absolutely exhausted when he had finished but he was able to roll the middle piece off of Johans tail and pick him up in his arms and wrap him in a blanket, which he had also brought from his hut.

Humble McBumble carried Johan slowly back to his hut. He lit a nice warm fire and cooked a lovely pot of "hot forest" soup for them both. It was getting late now and Humble McBumble and Johan had had a hard day, they were very tired and decided to go to sleep in front of the fire, Johan on the rug and Humble McBumble in his favourite chair. When they woke up in the morning they both agreed that it would be wonderful if Johan could stay with Humble McBumble for the whole of the winter and that is exactly what happened.The End

Humble McBumble

Contributed by "Zain Rana Class 8 "

Once upon a time… in Persia there lived a handsome young man called Sasha, who was the Ruler and greatly loved by all. Sasha had only one enemy, Kashenor, a cruel wicked wizard whose desire was to put his own son Mizrah on Sasha's throne.

Sasha loved to collect ancient precious objects, and he always granted an audience to any passing merchants. One day, Kashenor, disguised as a merchant, was taken by Mansor, the Chief Minister, before Sasha. The Ruler bought everything the merchant offered him, but he also asked what was inside a small drawer in a antique box.

"I really don't know myself," replied Kashenor, pulling out of the drawer an old roll of paper written in a long'forgotten language, together with a tobacco jar full of black pweder.

"I'll give it to you as a present," he told the Ruler. Sasha wanted to know what the writing meant, so he gave the paper to his wise men, and a few days later, they told him what it said:

Sasha sniffed the powder and together the two said the word MUTABOR. Suddenly, their legs shrivelled into long thin limbs and their clothes became snowy white feathers, covering their whole bodies. All trace of the Ruler and his Chief Minister simply vanished. The two storks gaped at each other in astonishment. They flapped their wings and discovered they knew how to fly. At first, they were awkward, but soon became quite good at it.
Part II
"Doesn't the ground look so different from the air? Let's go and find other stroks," suggested Sasha cheerfully, so they headed towards a river estuary. What a lot of bird things they learned on the way. Sasha and Mansor found it so silly to see a stork prancing stiffly around in his funny dance that they forgot all about the warning and began to laugh. They were later to regret bitterly that laughter…

Full of their new knowledge, the two storks decide, as the afternoon wore on, to return to the palace. Slowly and majestically they flew over the city. Something had happened in their absence, for they could see that the streets were thronged with spectators and a long procession was entering the portals of the palace. Sasha was furious to see a strangers sitting in his golden carriage, escorted by his own servants and guards. Wicked Kashenor's trick had worked, for the wizard's son was on his way to seize Ruler's throne.

"Hurry!" urged Sasha. "We must dash back to the palace. Who is that imposter?"

"It's the son of Kashenor, that wizard you once banned from the palace," replied Mansor in horror. "He swore he'd get even. Remember?"

But even as he spoke, the Chief Minister shook with fear, for what he himself could not remember was the magic word. The two storks landed ion the ground, ready to become humans again, but Sasha could only stammer… . "I don't remember .. I don't remember … "They looked at each other sadly: "We'll never be human beings again!"

Followed by the Ruler, the Chief Minister rose into the air. "We'll go to Mecca and pray on the Prophet's tomb. Perhaps he'll help us remember the magic word." But Mecca was a long way away and the sun was setting . Tired and hungry, the two storks landed amongst the ruins of an old temple. As they looked around them, seeking food and water, a sudee3n long-drawn out screech made them jump in fright. Who on earth was living in such a lonely place? Sasha plucked up courage.

"Let's go and find out!" he said, and off they went through the crumbled buildings. From a dark corner, a pair of big yellow eyes glowed and the mournful cry of some strange creature echoed louder than before. It was a huge owl.

"Thank goodness," it said, "I've been waiting for years. The speel is sure now to be broken …" "Sasha and Mansor started at each other in amazement on hearing the owl talk.

"Who are you?" they asked it.

Part III
I'm Naja, the King of India's daughter. Many years ago, an evil wizard called Kashenor wanted me to marry his son Mizrah, so that he would seize my father's kingdom. One day, disguised as a slave, Kashenor gave me a cool drink in the garden. That turned me into an owl. Kashenor said I'd remain a horrible bird till the day someone came, wanting to marry me. That's why I've been sentenced to making my home in these ruins." "So you're one of Kashenor's victims too!" exclaimed the Ruler, and he went on to tell the owl his own story.

"What shall we do now?" they asked themselves.




"There's hope yet," replied the owl. "For now and again. Kashenor meets the other wizards in one of the ruined halls. While they're banqueting, they boast of what they've done. If Kashenor should brag of what he did to you, then the might repeat the magic word you've forgotten!"

"Goodness, yes!" agreed the storks. "Before we go, "she said, "One of you must promise to marry me. Otherwise I'll remain a bird forever!"

"Very well! I promise I'll marry you, but only if I mange to hear the magic word and break the spell," said the Ruler.

So the owl led the strokes along a narrow passage beneath the temple, to a hall.

"This is their meeting place. We can spy on them from this hole." The three birds took turns at keeping watch. Then one evening, the murmur of voices announced the arrival of the wizards. As they ate and toasted each other's health, Kashenor rose to his feet.

"Guess how I succeeded in placing my son on the Ruler's throne?" he said, and when the wicked wizard said the word MUTABOR, the two storks thrilled with delight.


"Mutabor! Mutabor!" they repeated. "That's the magic word!"

Outside in the open air, the storks bowed three times to the east and said the magic word. Instantly they became men again, and the owl magically turned into a beautiful young lady. The three hugged each other with joy.

"I will keep my promise" he assured her, "and when I am on my throne, I shall marry you."

The Ruler's next task was to depose mizrah. Stealing the wizards' camels, they rode all night, and dawn found them at the city gates.

"The Ruler is alive!" cried the first people to see them. As they rode through the streets, the citizens pressed round, cheering widely.

"Sasha has come back! Mizrah has lied to us!" The wizard's nasty plan had failed. With a handful of followers, Mizrah had succeeded in seizing the throne, certain that Sasha would never be seen again. But when he heard the news, the wizard's son tried to escape. However, he was captured and thrown into prison. Kashenor too was put in chains, and the citizens themselves pronounced the sentence, when they learned what he and his son had done.

"Death! Put them to death!" shouted the Ruler's subjects. And so the wizards were executed. Mizrah, instead, was forced to sniff the black powder that had caused all the trouble and speak the magic word MUTABOR. He instantly turned into a stroke and was sent to live in a cage at the top of the highest turret.


And in the end, this whole affair brought much happiness to the palace, for Naja turned out to be the perfect wife of Sasha's dreams.

Part I

Contributed by "Tuba Class 7"

"The man that reads these words will a acquire the power to turn himself into an animal, any animal he likes, and to know its language. All he must do is to sniff the black powder and say the word MUTABOR. To turn back to a man again, he must bow three times to the east and repeat the word!"

But the roll of paper also contained a warning. It told the reader he must never laugh when in his animal shape, for he would then forget the magic word forever.

"Did you hear that, Mansor!" exclaimed the Ruler. "We can turn into animals! Shall we do it?"

"Sire, I'll try it tomorrow." At dawn next day, the Ruler and his Minister left the palace, and when they were well out of sight, Sasha took the tobacco jar from his pocket.

"What animal shall we choose?" he asked the Minister. Now Mansor had no idea, till he noticed a stork glide past.

"Storks!" he cried. "Let's become storks!"