Ellabelle lived in an old, dead tree next to a meadow deep in the woods. Nobody knew how long she had lived there. Ellabelle knew all the flowers, the birds, and animals of the forest. But her best friend was old Thornaby the crow.
Ellabelle knew how to grow sweet herbs in the meadow. She went down to the village of Dapplediggs every week with her sweet herbs for the people to put in their sweetmeats, pies and stews.
The townfolk were happy to get the sweet herbs, and served Ellabelle tea and toast. She told them stories of her life with the animals the forest.
One a day a rich man came through Dapplediggs and smelled the sweet herbs. “I must have some for the kitchen in my castle,” he said. The man had great wealth and was used to getting anything he wanted. And he wanted the sweet herbs all to himself.
The rich man said to Ellabelle, “If you sell your sweet herbs only to me, I’ll buy them all for 10 gold coins.” Ellabelle’s eyes grew large with greed. She signed a paper so all her sweet herbs would go to the king.
But now the townfolk had no more sweet herbs to put in their sweetmeats, their pies and their stews. “Ellabelle, why did you sell all your sweet herbs to the rich old man, who already has everything?” they cried.
“For 10 gold coins,” shouted Ellabelle. “Now go back to your village and leave me alone!”
Now Ellabelle sat with nothing to do. No sweet herbs to deliver to the people in Dapplediggs. Now all her sweet herbs must go to the king!
She counted the gold coins over and over, thinking of all the things she could buy. A new red hat, a new velvet coat, new pointy shoes! But Ellabelle and Thornaby missed their friends in town.
“Oh, Ellabelle!” croaked the old crow from his tree branch. “Now you have gold … but you’ve lost all your friends.”
“Silence!” she shouted and sat on her tree branch. But there was no smell of sweet herbs drifting up from the village of Dapplediggs.
Silly old Ellabelle started to get mad at the old king for making her lonely.
Ellabelle got on her magic tree branch and flew to the castle in a huff. “You awful old man!” she yelled “You made me lonely! The people have no herbs to buy and I have no place to go! Take back your gold!”
The rich man, who was greedy but wise, saw Ellabelle, Thornaby and the townfolk of Dapplediggs were unhappy. He tore up the paper she had signed.
“Ellabelle, you may grow your herbs for your townfolk,” he said. He took back his gold, of course!
Now Ellabelle could grow the sweet herbs and bring it down to the village of Dapplediggs for the townfolk.
“Hurray for Ellabelle!” the townfolk shouted. Now they could make their sweetmeats and pies, their soups and their stews as delicious as ever. They could sit down to tea and hear Ellabelle’s tales of her friends in the forest.
“But what about my new red hat?” said Ellabelle.
“Oh, Ellabelle!” said the townfolk of Dapplediggs. And they put on a big feast for silly Ellabelle and her best friend Thornaby.
Copyright Angela Daughtry 2011
The author lives in Florida, USA.
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