Noah Barleywater Runs Away
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Eight-year-old Noah's problems seem easier to deal with if he doesn't think about them. So he runs away, taking an untrodden path through the forest.
Before long, he comes across a shop. But this is no ordinary shop: it's a toyshop, full of the most amazing toys, and brimming with the most wonderful magic. And here Noah meets a very unusual toymaker. The toymaker has a story to tell, and it's a story of adventure and wonder and broken promises. He takes Noah on a journey. A journey that will change his life.
man. ‘I haven’t even had my lunch yet.’ ‘But you said—’ ‘Anyway, I want to know what brought you in here.’ ‘Well, at first it was the tree,’ replied the boy. ‘The one outside your door. I was standing on the opposite side of the street, just looking across at it, and I thought it was quite the most impressive tree I had ever seen in my life. I don’t know why exactly. I just had a feeling about it, that’s all.’ ‘I’m glad you like it,’ said the old man. ‘My father planted it, you know. The day
screamed Mrs Shields, slamming her duster down on the desk and throwing a piece of chalk at him, which bounced off his ear and fell to the ground before picking itself up and making its way slowly back towards the front desk. ‘I’ve spoken to you before about talking in class, haven’t I? Well, haven’t I?’ ‘Yes, miss—’ began Jasper, before Mrs Shields cut him off. ‘Jasper!’ she roared. ‘No talking!’ It took me a long time to form any kind of friendships with the other children in the class, and
clenching his jaw and fists so tightly he thought his fingers might go right through his palms and out the other side if he wasn’t careful. He noticed there was one last puppet in the box, and he took it out and looked at it – it appeared to be the puppet of an elderly rabbit whose whiskers twitched when you pulled his string – before placing it next to all the others. ‘Did you get home before he died?’ Chapter Twenty-One Dr Wings’ Puppet When I reached the toy shop (said the old man),
history, am unable to walk to the edge of my own village without having to stop and take a rest – well, it’s something I never could have imagined happening to me.’ Noah turned to look at the old man and hesitated, wanting to phrase this question just right. ‘Do you think … ?’ ‘I do sometimes, my boy,’ admitted the old man. ‘When I can’t avoid it.’ ‘No,’ said Noah, shaking his head. ‘What I wanted to ask was, do you think I could stay here with you?’ ‘What, here?’ asked the old man, looking
shaking his head sadly. ‘Perhaps if I keep looking …’ ‘Don’t mind him,’ said the dachshund. ‘He’s always hungry. It doesn’t matter how much you feed him, he still wants more.’ ‘You’d be hungry too if you hadn’t eaten in more than twenty minutes,’ sniffed the donkey, sounding a little hurt. ‘Anyway, it’s true,’ continued the dachshund. ‘You were standing there when I went for my run earlier, and I’m just back – I go through the fields and out to the well every day; it keeps me supple, you see –