The Magic Sweet Shop – Pre-Intermediate Level

As Betty and Robin were going for a walk over Breezy Hill, Robin saw a narrow path that he had never noticed before. “Look!” he said in surprise. “Where does that path go to? I’ve never been along it.”

“Perhaps it’s just a rabbit path,” said Betty. “There are lots of rabbits on Breezy Hill.”

“No, it isn’t a rabbit path,” said Robin. “It’s too wide for that. Let’s go down it and see where it leads to.”

So off they went down the little green path.

When they had gone some way they came to what looked like a tiny village of just three or four houses. They were set close together on a hillside, with two little shops in the middle. One of these was a candy shop.

It was a funny little shop with a small window of thick glass. Behind the window they could see tall, thin bottles of brightly coloured candy.

“A candy shop!” cried Betty, surprised. “I didn’t know there was one on this hill, did you, Robin?”

“No,” said Robin. “It’s a funny place, Betty. There doesn’t seem to be anybody about and yet I feel as if people are watching us from behind curtains. But whenever I look, I don’t see anybody!”

Betty looked all around. There were no signs of people anywhere. The doors of the houses were shut, and not a sound was to be heard. It was a strange little place.

Betty put her nose to the candy shop window and looked at the bottles of candy. She began to read the labels on them. Then she cried out in surprise.

“Robin! This shop seems to have some very unusual candy! Just read what they are!”

Robin looked at the labels. The names written on them were certainly very strange. A bottle of blue candy was labelled with the word “Giant”, and a bottle of pink bottle of candy was labelled “Tiny”. On another bottle was the word “Invisible”.

“You know, this must be a magic candy shop,” said Betty excitedly. “Let’s go in and buy some candy! I’ve got a penny and so have you.”

So they pushed open the door, which had a little bell, and went inside the dark shop. At first they thought there was nobody there. Then they saw a small, thin man sitting in the corner reading a brightly coloured newspaper. He had a pair of large glasses on his long nose and two long, pointed ears.

When the bell rang he looked up. He didn’t seem at all surprised to see the children.

“How can I help you this morning?” he asked, putting down his newspaper.

“Could we each have a penny bag of mixed candy, please?” asked Robin. “They look such funny candies.”

“There’s nothing funny about them at all,” said the shop-keeper, moving his pointed ears around like a dog. “They’re quite normal.”

He took five bottles from the window and emptied a candy from each into two bags. Each candy was a different color. Betty looked at what was written on the bottles so that she would know which of the candies were which. She saw that there was a blue “Giant” candy, a pink “Tiny” candy, a purple “Invisible” candy, a yellow “Prickly” candy and a red “Home-again” candy. She was very excited.

The shop-keeper handed each of them a bag. He took their pennies and put them into a box. Then he picked up his newspaper and began to read it again.

“Shut the door when you go out,” he said.

They ran outside and shut the door quietly behind them. Then they stopped to look at the very strange candy. “I am not sure if we should eat them,” said Betty. “What if they make something bad happen to us?”

“Let’s go back and ask the shop-keeper about it,” said Robin. Betty agreed so back they went.

“What will happen if we eat these candies?” asked Betty.

“Try them and you will find out!” answered the shop-keeper, without looking up from his newspaper.

The children didn’t like to ask him any more questions, so they went outside again. There was a small road in the village that lead towards the top of the hill. They followed this road, talking about the strange candy shop. They were surprised when they came to a big white gate that went all the way across the road.

“This is stranger and stranger,” said Robin. “I’ve never seen that village before, and now here is a gate across the road that leads to it.”

“We’ve never been this way,” said Betty. “What shall we do? Climb over the gate? We are nearly at the top of the hill.”

“Yes, let’s,” said Robin. So they climbed over the gate and followed the road. There were thick bushes on both sides of the road. These were covered by flowers that were were as thick as snow. It was lovely.

They came to the top of the hill and looked down. To their great surprise they saw a much larger village on the other side!

“How strange!” said Betty. “There has never been anything on the other side of this hill before. Now there are houses and shops everywhere!”

They went on down the hill towards the small town, and soon came to some very unusual looking people. They were very round, and their arms were very long. Their faces were as red as tomatoes and they all wore big white collars around their necks, which made their faces seem redder than ever. Some of them were riding in small cars, which looked more like big toys.

Betty and Robin stood in the middle of the road and looked around them in amazement. A bright yellow car came along going very quickly. Robin jumped to one side, but Betty was too late and the little car ran into her. To her great surprise, it exploded like a balloon and flew up into the air in a hundred pieces! She fell over on the road, but wasn’t hurt at all.

The little round man in the car shot up in the air and down again. He landed heavily on the ground next to Betty. He was very angry!

“You silly, stupid, foolish, girl!” he cried. “Why didn’t you get out of my way? Look what you’ve done to my car. It’s gone pop!”

“Well,” said Betty, getting up and brushing the dirt off her clothes. “I’m sorry about your car, but you should not have come along so fast. You didn’t even sound your horn.”

“You rude girl!” cried the man, looking as if he was going to hit Betty.

Robin was not going to let anyone speak to Betty like that, and he certainly wasn’t going to let the anyone hit her. He pushed the little man away.

“Don’t speak to my sister like that!” he said. “You are the one who is being rude. You might have hurt her very badly running into her like that! It’s a good thing your car has gone pop. You won’t be able to drive so dangerously again for a little while!”

The little round man went quite purple with anger and started shouting.

“Help! Help!” he cried. At once many more of the strange looking people came running out of the houses. They took hold of Betty and Robin.

“Take them to prison!” shouted the man whose car had exploded. “Give them nothing but bread and water for sixty days!”

Robin was very angry but he could do nothing against so many. He and Betty were taken away to a big yellow building and put in a tiny room together. Robin pushed on the door but it was no use. It was locked from the outside.

“Look here, Betty!” said Robin. “Let’s eat a piece of the candy. Perhaps something will happen that will help us to get out of here!”

So they each picked the blue candy from their bags and put it into their mouths. They began to grow taller before they had even eaten half of it. Yes, and fatter, too! In fact they were soon so big that their heads touched the top of the room.

“Those must have been from the Giant-candy bottle!” said Robin in excitement. He kicked at the door and it nearly broke, for his feet were now very big.

“Stop that!” cried an angry voice outside. “If you prisoners kick the door again, I shall come in and beat you both!”

“Get ready,” Robin said to Betty. “I’ll kick the door again, and when he opens it we’ll walk out and give everyone a surprise!”

He kicked the door hard. At once it was unlocked and a very angry man came in. But then he saw Betty and Robin. They were both as tall as the room and nearly filled it. His red face turned white and he ran for his life.

“Now we’ll go,” said Robin. He and Betty somehow managed to squeeze through the door and walked outside. The people now looked very small to them. The two children laughed to see the looks of amazement on their red faces. Everyone ran away before them.

They went down the road, frightening everyone they met. Soon they came to place where a much wider road led off to one side. There was a sign pointing along this road that said:

TO GIANTLAND

“Look! ” said Betty. “How exciting! We are giants now, Robin, so why don’t we take the road to Giantland. It would be fun to be with giants.”

So they took the road to Giantland, feeling more and more excited as they went. After walking for half an hour they came to some huge trees and knew that they must be getting close to Giantland. They were soon there, but the giants were far bigger than the children had thought they would be! Although Robin and Betty were much bigger than they usually were, they were still much smaller than the giants!

A very large giant with eyes like dinner plates saw them first. He looked at them in surprise and then called to his friends, in a voice like thunder.

“Well look here! Look at these strange children!”

In a moment there were giants all around Betty and Robin. They didn’t like it at all. One of the giants pushed his finger into Robin’s chest.

“He’s real,” he said, in a very loud voice. “He’s not a doll.”

“Of course I’m not a doll! ” shouted Robin, angrily. “Don’t push your finger into me like that! ‘

The giants thought it was funny to see how angry Robin was. They pushed him again with their big fingers. Robin felt sure he would be hurt.

“Aren’t they terrible, unkind things,” said Betty, almost crying. She didn’t like the great giants with their huge eyes and teeth. “Can’t we escape, Robin!”

“How can we?” said Robin, trying to push away a finger. “Oh, Betty, I know! Let’s eat another candy!”

The children quickly took out their candy bags and ate the pink candy. In a moment they felt themselves growing smaller, and smaller, and smaller.

The giants seemed to grow bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Soon they were so big that they seemed like mountains! The children looked smaller than insects to the giants.

“Quick!” said Betty, taking hold of Robin’s hand. “Quick! Let’s go somewhere safe before they step on us with their great feet!”

There was a large hole in the ground not far from them and Betty and Robin ran to it. It seemed like a dark tunnel to them, but really it was a worm hole! The children were now so small that even a worm hole seemed huge to them.

They went down the hole and suddenly came to what they at first thought was a large snake. But it was only a worm, which politely pushed itself against the side of the hole so that they might go past. They ran on, very frightened. A great beetle ran by them, stepping heavily on Betty’s toes. It was all quite scary.

“I wish we could get out of here,” said Robin, after a time. “Oh look, Betty! There’s a tiny light far in front of us. That must be where the hole ends. Come on!”

On they went and at last came out into a wonderful place of sunshine and green grass. Nobody was about at all, but not far away were some great red and brown animals.

“They must be giant cows,” said Betty, looking at them. “I hope they won’t eat us!”

The cows saw the two small children and walked over to them. One cow put her head down toward them. Robin ran away and pulled Betty with him. The giant cows followed, excited to learn more about these new little animals in their grassy field.

Betty was frightened that she would be eaten up by one of the huge cows. She ran from flower to flower trying to hide. Then she noticed that, as the cows ate the grass, they would not touch the prickly thistles that grew among it. An idea came into her head.

“Robin! Let’s eat the Prickly candies,” she cried. “I know which they are – the yellow ones! I don’t know what will happen to us, but if we grow prickles the cows won’t eat us. They will think we are a kind of thistle!”

So they each took a yellow piece of candy and ate it. Then they looked at one another in surprise for at once prickles grew out all over them! The cows soon left them alone, and went off to eat in another part of the field.

Betty and Robin ran down a very big rabbit hole, frightening a family of rabbits as they went. They ran on to where the hole led up to the open air again and came out into the sunshine.

They were on a green hillside, and nearby was a notice which said:

BROOMSTICK HILL – CHILDREN FOUND HERE WILL BE TURNED INTO SNAILS.

“Oh no!” said Betty. “Look at that notice!” But, just as they finished reading it again, there was a strange sound in the air. To the children’s surprise about a hundred witches came flying through the sky on long broom sticks. They darkened the sky as they came together like black clouds. Then they flew down to the green hillside.

And, of course, the very first thing their sharp eyes saw was Betty. Her black hair was blowing in the wind! Robin had hidden behind a bush, but Betty was so surprised to see the witches that she hadn’t thought of hiding!

Just as the witches came flying over towards them Robin pulled Betty down beside him. “Get out your bag of candy!” he said. “We’ve got two left. Eat the purple one and we’ll see what happens!”

“Where are those children!” cried the witches. “How dare they come to our hillside! We will turn them into snails!”

Betty and Robin quickly put their purple candy into their mouths. They looked at one another and to their great surprise they couldn’t see each other. At first they didn’t know what had happened, and then they guessed the candy had made them invisible!

Betty put out her hand and tried to find Robin. She felt him and took his hand in hers. He was still a little prickly, but she didn’t mind. She pulled him down the hillside and then looked back at the witches. They were hunting all around the bush where they had seen Betty.

“There is no one here!” they cried. “How could they have got away?”

By this time Betty and Robin were at the bottom of the hill. They could not see each other, so they were still holding hands to make sure they stayed together.

“I’m tired of this adventure,” said Betty at last. “Are you, Robin? We always seem to be being chased by something. Who knows what it will be next time! Let’s go home.”

“But we don’t know the way,” said Robin, looking all round. “I’m hungry and want to go home, too. I wish I knew the way!”

“Let’s eat the last piece of candy and see what happens,” said Betty, feeling for her candy bag. “We’ve eaten all but the Home-again candy. Maybe it will take us home!”

So they each put a red candy into their mouths. Before they had finished eating it they could see one another and all their prickles had gone! They were very pleased, for they were both tired of being so prickly! They waited to see what else would happen. Would a big wind come and take them home? Or would their legs walk them safely back? What would happen?

Nothing happened at all. They sat there at the bottom of the hill and waited. But still nothing happened. It was very strange. Shouldn’t the Home-again candy take them back home? If not, how could they get home? They were quite sure they would never be able to find their way!

And then Betty began to look around her. She saw a big tree with an unusual shape that she seemed to know. She noticed a house not far off. She could hear a milk cart coming along the road. Suddenly she jumped up with a cry of happiness.

“Robin! We are home! This is the hill just outside our garden! That’s our house over there! There’s the milk cart, look! Why we’re home and didn’t know it! However could we have got here! I’m sure the hill outside our garden isn’t really a witch’s hill.”

It was quite true they were home again. They were just outside their own garden. They could even hear their gardener singing to himself as he worked among the flower beds!

“Well, how surprising!” said Robin, standing up. “We’re safely back after a lot of strange adventures. Let’s go and tell mother. Perhaps she’ll come with us and see that magic candy shop.”

That evening, they took their mother up the hillside to find the candy shop. They followed the little path but sadly, it did not lead to a candy shop. It led to a hill full of rabbit holes!

“It’s just a rabbit path!” said mother. “You must have dreamed it all, my dears!”

But they really didn’t, you know!