A story for children (8 to 11 years)
SOMEWHERE ELSE…or A Story You Can Hardly Believe
‘I would like to play with Terry Datchet,’ said Jack, who was a kind boy, ‘but he is
‘It’s not just him being odd,’ said Jack’s friend, Harry. I don’t mind his odd looks, his
being so short and round, with that spiky red hair on top of that pointed head. No, it’s
the way he always seems to break our toys. It is almost as if he does it on purpose.’
‘Yes, answered Jack, ‘and when he does it his eyes change to green.’
So Terry found himself a loner. He sat for hours on his own, making things. His
favourite models were little houses and dinosaurs made from kits. Sometimes he
showed them to classmates and told them strange stories. But the others saw his eyes
change to green and they edged away.
As he got older, things slowly changed. He left school but didn’t fancy being with
others so he began to work on his own. He said to himself:
‘Instead of little houses and dinosaurs, I will make big wooden pens and fill them
with the nearest things to dinosaurs that I can get:- birds…yes, birds…ducks,
hens and geese.’
And when Terry fed them, he thought of their long-lost cousins, the dinosaurs of
But then came another change. It was Alice. Alice was shorter and rounder than
Terry and she decided that it was time that she found a husband. So whether he
wanted a wife or not, Terry found himself married. Yet he didn’t come off badly.
His untidy house soon became very tidy and Alice not only cooked his dinner but
she also listened to his strange stories. Then she rolled her eyes and chuckled in
cackling sort of way and cried:
‘Hey, that’s a story you can hardly believe.’
But one evening, everything changed. Terry went into the near-darkness of the
fowl pen to feed the ducks, hens and geese. He had a bag of seeds and a pan of
wriggly fat worms. When he entered the duck-house he stopped in amazement.
There, just inside the doorway was a strange, gangly creature.
‘As sure as eggs is eggs,’ he said…and there were plenty of those about… ‘it’s…
it’s a dinosaur. How did it get here?’
But he had surprised the creature and it flapped away from him.
‘Goodness. It’s a dinosaur with wings. It’s a small pterodactyl,’ he gasped.
He held out a nice wriggly worm to the creature but it backed away. To show
how nice the worms were, Terry ate one, then threw some more to the pterodactyl.
It gobbled them up and its eyes glowed green in the darkness, showing it wanted
Every evening Terry fed his new pet and as the weeks passed by it rapidly grew. But
then came winter weather…and the strange creature was no more to be seen in the
duck-house. Terry was very disappointed and thought:
“It looks as if I shall have to go back to the old life. Never mind, I will make one
or two changes. I shall go out on Tuesday and Friday evenings.”
So he said to Alice:
‘While I am out, you can have your sister Millie here to keep you company. I
shall be down at the pub, the Puss in Boot.’
The Puss in Boot was the only pub in the village… whose name, by the way, was
Somewhere Else. It was a good name for a village. If a lost holidaymaker asked:
‘If this village isn’t
Little-Pudding –by-the-Wall, what is it?
The local villager would say: ‘Oh, it’s Somewhere Else.’
Which it was.
The pub had a sign swinging at the front. The picture was of a grinning cat
inside a large boot. When Terry got there he tried to talk to the others, telling
them his strange stories, but the listeners didn’t seem very happy and they looked
at his green eyes and whispered:
‘He is off on his wild tales again.’
Spring came and warmer evenings. One day, Terry went out to feed the ducks, hens
and geese. He stopped in wonder.
‘Wow…and wow again! It’s back. My lovely pterodactyl. But look…ooh, look…
it’s much bigger! Grossly muchly bigger .Look at its green eyes.’
Terry ate a worm and was just about to throw one to the dinosaur, when…hey
presto… it stretched out its long neck…and ate a duck. Just like that! It was not
a pretty sight but somehow Terry found himself watching in great delight. He thought:
“Why, I can charge an entrance fee to see my amazing pet…even if it does mean
losing the occasional stupid duck.”
The next evening was a Friday so Terry left Alice and Millie cackling away in the
kitchen and made his way to the Puss in Boot. But when he told the people there
about the amazing creature they could come to see, his eyes going green as he did so,
they edged away, mumbling:
‘He’s rambling worse than ever tonight.’
Terry stumped his way home angrily.
‘Don’t know what they are missing,’ he growled as he looked into the near-darkness
of the duck-house.
Alice was alarmed when he didn’t come home that night…and even more alarmed on
the next morning. When the police arrived, the first thing that the Chief Inspector
noticed was a pair of boots by the duck-house doorway.
‘That’s strange,’ he said to Steve, his young assistant. ‘I reckon he’s wandered off. I
hope he hasn’t fallen in the river in the darkness.’
‘He wouldn’t have gone rambling without his boots,’ said Steve.
His Chief was annoyed at Steve’s doubts.
‘Of course he could go for a walk without his boots,’ growled the Chief. ‘After all,
he was an odd sort of chap.’
‘Yes,’ said Steve, ‘but what’s that foot doing inside the boot? He might well have
gone walking without his boots but he wouldn’t go for a stroll without his feet.’
‘Great heavens! You’re right!’ cried the Chief. ‘Something has chewed up his
‘No,’ said Steve. ‘It hasn’t chewed his foot. It’s eaten him and LEFT his foot.’
‘Huh! I reckon you will do well in the police force,’ muttered the Chief.
Sad to say, no one ever found Terry Datchet. The owner of the Puss in Boot was
pleased because each night lots of the villagers of Somewhere Else came to the pub to
talk about the mystery and he sold them masses of food and drink
‘I shall be able to sell the pub and retire soon,’ he muttered.
The new pub owners have re named the pub and put up a new sign. If you ever
go to the village of Somewhere Else you will see the newly painted pub. The
sign now says: “The Foot in Boot”. Strange to say…very strange to say…the picture
shows a pterodactyl with green eyes. Visitors to the Foot in Boot often say:
‘Funny name for a pub. And what’s that odd picture on the sign outside?’
Then you can be sure that one of the local people there will say:
‘Ah. That picture could be a Terry Datchet.’
Then another will say:
‘Ah. But it might be a Terri-dactyl.’
Then a third will say:
‘Ah, we might tell a very strange tale about it all, mightn’t we, Alice?’
Then a little rounded woman in the corner will shriek with laughter and say:
‘Hey, THAT’S a story you can hardly believe…a story you can hardly believe…