Stick Castle on the Farm

Welcome to Story Quest, a weekly podcast where we bring your stories to life!

In this episode we bring Abby’s story – Stick Castle on the Farm – to life.

If you have a story idea, you could be like Abby and have it turned into a Story Quest. All you have to do is send us your story idea here. We know you have the best imaginations and together we can create the most brilliant stories!

That’s just what Abby did. You can watch the story they suggested come to life below, plus they tell us all about the inspiration behind the story at the end.

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Read along to Stick Castle on the Farm!

You can read along to the story while you listen. Just follow the text below. Don’t worry if you find a word tricky – you can pause the video whenever to give yourself more time

Stick Castle on the Farm

Are you a fairy? Breathed the little girl staring at the shimmering creature in front of her.

“No I’m a blooming squirrel!” the creature shrieked angrily.  “Of course I’m a blooming fairy – now get me out of here!”

This story is actually not about fairies – well not mostly.  It’s about a farm. Rosebud Farm was owned by a very old lady called Old Rosie.  Rosie had farmed on the land for over 60 years as her mother had before and her mother before.  It was quite unusual as it was the only farm for miles – the soil around  Rosie’s farmhouse was rich and her crops always flourished, whereas the farms that had neighboured her land was dry and barren and soon was turned into houses and roads and other boring things like that.

When people asked her how she could be so lucky the old lady shrugged her shoulders and said she must have a fairy godmother and then she’d laugh at herself – after all fairies didn’t exist did they! Or… well, we’ll see about that in a bit.

Now Rosie’s great granddaughter Ama sometimes came to stay at the farm, with her mum and dad especially in the summer months, and the year our story started Ama was old enough to stay on her own.  She was super excited about that – the farm was a brilliant place to stay, with horses to ride and chickens to feed and  her own cosy bedroom with a patchwork  quilt cover.

The only slightly strange thing was that at night, when all was dark outside and the animals had been put to bed, weird noises could sometimes be heard.  Sometimes it was like a song on the wind, sometimes a cackle of laughter and general creaks and squeaks (although they might have just been the old farmhouse, it was hundreds of years old, and the older houses get the more creaky they are.

Ama didn’t mind the strangeness and the noises – it wasn’t scary, the shooshes and sighs were almost comforting as she slept in the blackness of night, the warm summer air blowing through the window.

When she came down to breakfast the next morning she could quickly see that something was wrong today.

“What’s up Granny?”

“It’s the horses – they’re not grazing the meadow as usual, Tonto is looking quite thin.  I might have to get the vet to see what’s up.”

Tonto was the biggest strongest horse and he NEVER had a problem with his appetite usually – what could be going on?

Still it was a lovely sunny day and Ama skipped happily out to feed the chickens and then explore the farm a bit – there was always something new – this time it was a litter or farm kittens in the barn.  Rosie said they mustn’t come into the house but she made sure they were all alright and gave them some food and Ama had a brilliant time playing with them.  She LOVED kittens.

The next night as she was lying in bed – the weather was windier and on the wind in that strange way – was that a cry she could hear?  It sounded a little like a sad wail – but then it stopped and Ama, worn out from her day sank into a deep sleep.

Next morning and another worried look was on Gran’s face.

“What’s up Granny?”

“Now it’s the potatoes!  They should be ready to pick but they’ve hardly taken at all.  The whole lot looks like it might have failed!”

This was a worry for Granny as she sold potatoes at the market to make money. 

“Where’s my fairy godmother when I need her!” she said in a sad voice and then laughed at herself.  “Never mind.  Let’s go and milk the cows.”

Milking cows was tricky because Granny insisted on doing it the old fashioned way and Ama laughed so much as she had a try – and basically got covered in milk.  I mean have YOU tried milking a cow?  Its not easy!

But even as she laughed she could see Granny with that look on her face again.

“There’s just not the same amount of milk as usual.  I can’t think what’s going on!”

Ama was worried for Granny – she had said perhaps she was getting too old.  Perhaps it was all too much for her these days.  Maybe she’d even be better off just selling the farm altogether!

Ama urged her not to do that!  She couldn’t imagine life without the beautiful farm.  Granny was getting old but surely she didn’t need to give up?  She said to Granny it was probably s just a bit of bad luck although she went to be a little more subdued. Once more in the night amongst the creaks and the squeaks she heard the strange wail on the wind.  It was coming from the thicket of woodland at the end of the main field.  Granny never went in the woodlands, she said it was good to let some things just be, especially when it came to nature But something was NOT right.  She got out of bed and put on her shoes, determined to find out what was going on.

And yes, you know as well as I do that getting out of bed and going outside without anyone knowing is NOT a good thing to do. 

It was windy but warm and she tiptoed towards the woods.  A strange light was glowing in the trees and she could hear the wailing getting louder.  Pushing through the bracken and brushes she was astonished to find herself face to face with – what was it?  A castle made of sticks??

It was not an enormous castle – more the size of a small cottage – constructed beautifully from twigs and branches of all sizes, wildflowers grew through the openings an – a fine turret covered in peonies rose from the roof.  There was a small drawbridge was placed at the front. It was from within this castle that the moans could be heard.

Shaking with curiosity and a decent amount of being totally terrified she tiptoed up to drawbridge and gently knocked.

It sprang open with a thunk!  And Ama was able to slowy creep inside.  Strangely she didn’t feel as afraid all of a sudden even though this was the weirdest thing ever to happen to her – although this changed when she came face to face – with a fairy?

Was that a FAIRY?  Shimmering, glittering, not quite human? A Fairy who seemed to be stuck under a cascade of thick branches which had fallen from the ceiling.  A fairy who was having a very good, and very LOUD wail!

“Are you a fairy?” Ama whispered.

“No I’m a squirrel!    What do you think?  Of course I’m a blooming fairy and get this lot of me now!   Please help!”

Ama came to her senses and began taking the branches off the poor fairy’s slender body.  Finally the fairy was free and  hugged Ama in delight in a sprinkle of glittery stars.

I am the fairy of the farm – or rather a spirit protector of the land and all things natural here.  

“So THAT’S why Granny’s farm has survived when all the others didn’t! She  always said she had a fairy godmother ! “

The fairy huffed.

“I’m too young to be anyone’s mother but yes, I put charms on the land to help things thrive  – well, until I got stuck under those silly branches. I’ll have to get a blooming fairy roofer in to fix that!

Ama had no idea fairies said “blooming!” so much.  It was funny.  Then she realised something.

“So that’s why the horses went off the grass – and the crop failed, and the milk…”

The fairy nodded in a sad way.  “So sorry about that. I couldn’t even wave a wand stuck under all that lot.  Things will get better soon now I’m free.  But I must ask you to not breathe a word of this – it might affect the charm.”

“Don’t worry” smiled Ama, “Gran says nature is best left alone at times – I’ll leave you and your castle in peace.”

And shaking hands in a puff of glitter Ama crept back to the farmhouse and slid back into bed.  There were no more wails on the wind, just the start of the dawn chorus and a new day.

Gran looked much happier the next morning.  Tonto had got his appetite back and she’d got double the amount of milk from the cows.   Ama beamed to think that any thoughts of selling the farm had completely vanished now.  

The rest of the holiday passed in peaceful sunshine, full of patchwork quilts and kittens – Ama was tempted to seek out the fairy castle but she kept her promise. And if Gran mentioned her fairy godmother taking care of the farm Ama just giggled – after all the fairy was young to be anyone’s mother – but she was taking care of the farm – all from her funny stick castle in the woods.  Let’s hope she did get that fairy roofer in!

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