It’s been a while since I posted any children’s writing; we’re very much overdue an update from Otto the Bear about where Caroline’s at along the cancer trail at the moment (though I’m assured that Otto is busy working on something during lockdown!) so this is to keep the pages going and hopefully inspire young people to write and send in their own stories for us to publish at Kids of the Wild (details below).
We’ve had a few garden campfires during lockdown, including a virtual gathering with my sisters in Cornwall and with Caroline’s best friend Evie, where we’ve linked up our individual campfires on Zoom! They usually result in the telling of campfire stories and tall tales of pirates, ghosts, mysteries and all those terrible creatures which emerge from the flames once the stars start to prick through.
Caroline wrote this evocative story for a legend writing topic in English during lockdown. It’s an adaption of a tale she’d recently heard, with her own beginning and end added, which I think makes for an excellent campfire story. It would work well for Scout and Guide camps as well as to tell your own children on a post-Coronavirus camping trip.
But beware! It’s a spooky and nerve-wracking story, especially if you’re camping near woods that creak, groan, whisper or go silent during the night.
So throw a log on the fire, draw your camp blankets tight, make sure you’re sitting comfortably, don’t forget to breathe, and don’t stray near the trees…you never know what might be out there.
Arnita & The Magyk That Possessed Her
Now, listen closely – for this is more than just a legend – this is a warning, a call for help.
If Magyk can flow through you you will never know, not until it is too late, until your souls have already fallen into the abyss of the Lost…
Many years ago, more, in fact than many – in a land many lands away, there was a girl. An ordinary girl?
Young, amber-eyed, raven-haired Arnita was barely 8; her house was a small one, deep in the forest of Pirella.
One evening Arnita had been out collecting firewood.
When she got home the cottage was oddly still, as though frozen in time.
No fire on the hearth.
No stewpot on the stove.
Arnita called out “Mama?”
And her Mother’s voice called back, “I’m in the cellar.”
Now, that was very strange. Their cellar was cold and damp, and fuggy and dark. They all hated going down to it, even Tori, their cat! And Mama called back “I’ve found something. Quick… Come and see!”
So, Arnita lit a tiny candle, opened the door to the steep, stone cellar steps and started to climb down, her dying candle barely touching the thick, black gloominess.
“Don’t be scared, my love.” Mama’s voice cooed from the darkness.
But as soon Arnita reached the bottom of the steps, she felt the icy cold, wet earth beneath her feet… Her candle – blew out!
And it was then… Then she heard it.
The front door… Opening upstairs… And Mama’s voice calling “Arnita, darling, I’m home!”
Arnita couldn’t do anything – couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, could barely breathe.
Because whatever was in the cellar, whatever made the place so horrible, it had her now…
Finally, Arnita found her small voice, “Mama, I’m in the cellar! Hurry!” and Mama hurried, rushing down, with her own flickering candle.
But her little girl was gone.
Nobody knows where.
Out there – somewhere.
The Magyk knows where she is though – it took her to the Lost – a place where souls roam pointlessly, only there for company of the Magyk.
Arnita’s mother searched and searched, but she never found her precious little girl, for there is only one way to free young, amber-eyed, raven-haired Arnita – you must make an exchange with the Magyk – your souls for her souls.
But be wary for Magyk is not always as honourable as other stories may tell. It may just take you to the Lost also…
So, when you next walk through the forest, (perhaps looking for wood for your campfire?), maybe a little lost…
And you get that tingling on the back of your neck – like you’re being watched.
Be very, very careful.
‘Cause you may just run into the Magyk.
Patiently, oh so patiently waiting.
To take you!
As told by Caroline Brown, May 2020
Yikes! Thank you Caroline for this spooky, spine-tingling tale.
To read more children’s articles see the children’s writing pages.
Wild wishes for terrifying tall-storytelling fun at your garden campfires during lockdown!
Don’t forget to follow Kids of the Wild for more outdoor inspiration and lockdown activities. There are also lots of other campfire stories and songs to inspire you over at Cool of the Wild, including one of Caroline’s camp fire game recommendations.
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If your child has written something awesome that Kids of the Wild readers would enjoy, I would LOVE to read it and maybe publish it on the blog – please get in touch via the contact page (your email will not show publicly) or on Facebook.
It can be any short article (with photos if you have them) about an adventure, nature or wildlife, an outdoor activity, animal or event. I can’t wait to read yours.