Daniel’s story

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There once lived a young boy today known as a hero in Weeping Woods, his name was Tom Morgan. Perhaps you’d like to hear just how it became that way.

Well, it all started on a warm summer’s day. The school holidays had just begun, and Tom was thrilled at the thought of six weeks off school. As usual, his mother told him to go out and pick some mushrooms from the Weeping Wood, which was only just behind their small, wooden cottage home, and gave him the normal warning about how he shouldn’t eat any mushrooms he didn’t know were safe. He put on a short, red t-shirt (his favourite), a pair of sky-blue jeans and some orange and black trainers. He took his LUFC cap off his bedside cabinet and laid it gently over his short, dark brown hair.

After hugging his parents goodbye, he set off along his usual path. The branches on the old, spindly trees hung low, allowing Tom to see the birds tweeting tenderly upon them. The sun was flickering through the leaves, casting shadows on the ground making it look like the light was dancing. Suddenly, he stopped. Ahead was a bright blue mushroom lighting up the dark forest around it. He moved closer and felt a warm sensation inside him as if he was being pulled towards it. He remembered what his mother had told him about not eating mushrooms he didn’t know were safe. A second later he had forgotten all of that, he took a bite…

The texture wasn’t particularly nice, more like a squelchy, slimy substance, but the taste was lovely, all the flavours of bubble gum mixed together. He had never tasted anything like it before. He was just about to take another bite when he started to feel queasy, his head started to spin. It then stopped, and he fainted.

He woke up a few minutes later. Wondering how long he had been unconscious, he got to his feet. Looking up he could see a dark dome around him, what had happened? Then he realised, he was trapped inside his own cap! Surely, he was dreaming? He looked down, he was naked too. He dived out off the hole in his cap, picked up some leaves and wrapped them around himself. He suddenly noticed that the mushroom had moved to the side revealing a large, black hole. He stepped towards it. Then without warning the earth gave way and he slipped down the hole. 

He struggled to his feet and found himself in a dimly lit, cavernous room. Hastily, he looked back up the tunnel he had fallen down. For a second, he could see day light, but then the hole closed. His heart sank. The room became even darker apart from a few fluorescent mushrooms.

The next second, he thought he saw them blinking and smiling at him. He rubbed his eyes, they were alive! In shock he staggered back towards the wall. He looked forwards and his eyes met an incredible sight. Upon an ornate, wooden chair sat a large, friendly looking mushroom with a gold crown on his head. Beyond the chair he could see a whole kingdom of mushrooms, stretching further than he could imagine.

“Welcome to the Kingdom of Mushrooms,” said the mushroom while standing up, “My guards have told me a lot about you, you are a hu-man. I assume you ate the blue, shrinking mushroom?” 

“Ummm, yes.” Tom stammered uncertainly, finding it hard to believe he was actually talking to a mushroom. “I suppose you are wondering how to get back to your normal size?” He asked, his green eyes twinkling. Tom nodded enthusiastically. “You must create and drink the potion of normality, but it won’t be easy. The potion needs three key ingredients for it to be successful, one of which I can give you, the other two you will have to get yourself. The ingredients you need are: four crushed mushroom turnips, which I can give you, the saliva of the mud mushroom and some honey-bee honey. No one who has eaten the shrinking mushroom has ever managed to return to their normal size before.” Tom’s heart sank, he feared he would never make it back home and he felt sick at the thought of drinking mushroom saliva.

Recognising Tom’s fear the Mushroom Lord said, “Don’t worry I am going to lend you my finest flying mushroom, her name is Florence, she will help you get what you need and move from place to place quickly.” A beautiful mushroom, with large silver wings, came fluttering into the room. She was only just a bit bigger than Tom, but he could tell she was strong enough to carry things double her size. 

The Mushroom Lord handed Tom a small goblet, a spoon, a map and a pouch to carry everything, he told Tom, “The Xs on the map show you where you can find the other ingredients. Once you have collected them both you are to come back here so we can brew them in the potion cauldron with the turnips. Here are some clothes you can wear for the journey.” Tom quickly put the clothes on, relieve not be holding leaves anymore. 

The hole above him opened again, Florence smiled and told Tom to climb on her back. Florence’s wings started to beat, as they rose gracefully and steadily up the hole. They were soon flying through the wood, when disaster struck… 

Tom grasped his face, it was covered in something sticky, he realised they had flown into a spider’s web. He could see a huge shape to the right of him scuttling across the web towards them. Florence was fidgeting wildly in vain attempt to get free. “Keep still!” he told her, “It will only make it worse and attract the spider. Try and reach into my bag and grab the spoon.” Florence did as Tom had told her and reached into his bag pulling out the spoon. “Now cut yourself free with the handle.” he ordered. Quickly she released herself and flew free of the web, she passed the spoon to Tom who began to cut himself free. The spider was coming closer, Tom could see its fangs and he was sure it was salivating at the thought of eating him. Tom felt scared, his hands began to sweat and shake, would he managed to get free in time? Finally, he cut himself free and began to fall through the trees. Thankfully Florence swept underneath him and he grabbed onto her as she soared up, up and away towards the swamp, watching out for more webs. Above the horizon, Tom could see the sun gleaming in his eyes as it shone over woods. He kept checking the map trying to locate their position in comparison to the swamp.

After what seemed like hours they arrived at the swamp. After landing on the bank of the swap, Tom unmounted Florence and began to search for the mud mushroom. Helpfully the map had a picture of what he was looking for. He searched for the mushroom’s distinctive cap, mud brown with greyish spots on it. After a while, he found what he was looking for, as he went to pick it up it scuttled away. Frustrated, Tom ran to where he thought it had hidden. He decided to try to talk to it, but after he had finished his sentence it started to shriek madly in a language he didn’t understand. Florence offered to help and started to communicate with the mud mushroom. Their voices got higher and higher until Tom thought he was going deaf. Eventually, Florence told Tom to give her his goblet and the mud mushroom spat in it. The spit was pink, thick and gooey, it slithered down the edge of the cup and made a sploshing noise when it reached the bottom. Tom carefully returned the goblet to his pouch, fixing it so the goblet was facing upwards and the saliva wouldn’t spill out. One ingredient remaining he thought. 

Suddenly, a group of pond skaters came swishing towards them, making a violent hissing noise. “Time to go!” said Tom hurriedly, but in his attempt to flee he fell over and his foot got stuck in the mud. The pond skaters were coming closer and closer, the more he struggled the more he seemed to sink. He could see their antennae twitching as they sped towards him, like an evil mob. Quickly, Florence jumped in front of Tom, grabbed his hands and dragged him out of the mud, using her amazing strength. Tom jumped on her back and they sped off into the sky. Looking down Tom could see the pond skaters were unpleasantly annoyed at losing out on a meal.

Tom’s heart was still pounding as they headed towards the bee-hive. This was the task he had been dreading the most, one sting and he would be gonner. Florence deposited him on a branch just above the hive, which was swarming with what looked like thousands of bees. All Tom could hear was their loud buzzing ringing in his ears. To Tom’s relief, the bees didn’t seem to notice as he clambered down towards the hive. He looked for an area that wasn’t covered in bees so he could find a hole to get inside the hive. The outside of the hive was slippy and every once in a while he felt he would fall or slide off. Eventually, he reached an empty hole, lowered himself inside and collected the sticky honey using his spoon, which he then licked clean. The honey smelt and tasted very sweet and the sugar rush gave him an energy boost to face the climb out. 

Carefully, Tom crawled to the edge of the hole peering out carefully to check if any bees were close by. Finally, when the coast was clear he pulled himself clear and started his ascent up the slippy wax. He eventually reached the top, exhausted from the climb, but just as he reached Florence the buzzing suddenly got louder and bees were heading towards them in an angry swarm. 

Florence set off as fast a she could, her silver wings flapping madly. Petrified Tom hung on tightly until the buzzing faded away and the bees were no longer following them. After a while, they reached the blue mushroom, Tom was relived to be back. Once again, the ground opened up and they floated down the hole. When they reached the cavern the Mushroom Lord took Tom’s ingredients and put them in the large, rusty cauldron, that was sitting on top of a small fire, and mixed them together carefully.

 After what felt like ages, the Mushroom Lord used a wooden ladle to scoop out some of the potion into an elegant glass. The potion was turquoise, thick and gooey, Tom dreaded the thought of drinking it. He held the glass close to his face and smelled the potion, amazingly it smelt sweet like the blue mushroom. 

“You’d better take that outside before you drink it,” said the Mushroom Lord, “hopefully you’ve learned not to eat unusual mushrooms that might not be safe.” Tom nodded and thanked the Mushroom Lord for all his help.

Carefully Tom climbed onto Florence for the last time and they flew out of the hole back to the blue mushroom where all his clothes were lying neatly in a pile with a basket mushrooms. Tom thanked Florence and gave her a hug. “You’d better take your mushroom clothes off before you drink the potion.” She warned him as she flew back down the hole.

Quickly, Tom undressed and taking a deep breath glugged down the potion, it was sweet and slimy and tasted just like the blue mushroom. Tom’s body felt like it was being stretched and, before he knew it, he was his normal size again. He threw on his clothes, grabbed the mushrooms and ran home as fast as he could. Vowing he would never again eat anything strange looking, but he would keep his eyes open for the mushroom people who had saved his life.

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