To Kagome Higurashi

My Dear Kagome,

I wrote this note for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls gorw quicker than notes. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what yo think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Mother, Kun-Loon Higurashi.

xxx

Once there were four children whose names were Souta, Kagome, Sango and Shippo. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from Japan during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the country, ten miles from the nearest railway station and two miles from the nearest post office. He had no wife and he lived in a very large house with a housekeeper called Mrs. Macready and three servants.

He himself was a very old man with shaggy white hair which grew over most of his face as well as on his head, and they liked him almost at once; but on the first evening when he came out to meet them at the front door he was so odd-looking that Kagome (who was the youngest) was a little afraid of him and Souta (who was the next youngest) wanted to laugh and had to keep on pretending he was blowing his nose to hide it.

As soon as they had said good night to the Professor and gone upstairs on the first night, the boys came into the girls' room and they all talked it over.

"We've fallen on our feet and no mistake," said Souta. "This is going to be perfectly splen-did. That old chap will let us do anything we like."

"I thivk he's an old dear," said Sango. "Oh, come off it!" said Shippo, who was tired and pretending not to be tired, which always made him bad-tempered. "Don't go on talking like that."

"Like what?" said Sango; "and anyway, it's time you were in bed."

"Trying to talk like Mother," said Souta. "And who are you to say when I'm to go to bed? Go to bed youself."

"Hadn't we all better go to bed?" said Kagome.

"There's sure to be a row if we're heard talking here."

"No, there won't," said Souta. "I tell you this is the sort of house where no one's going to mind what we do. Anyway, they won't hear us. It'a about ten minutes' walk from here down to that dining room, and any amount of stairs and passages in between."

"What's that noise?" said Kagome suddenly. It was a far larger house than she had ever been in before and the thought of all those long passages and rows of doors leadig into empty rooms was beginning to make her feel a little creepy.

"It's only a bird, silly," said Shippo.

"It's and owl," said Souta. "This is going to be a wonderful place for birds. I shall go to bed now. I say, let's go and explore tomorrow. You might find anything in a place like this. Did you see those mountains as we came along? And the woods? There might be eagles. There might be stags. There'll be hawks."

"Badgers!" said Kagome.
"Foxes!" said Shippo.
"Rabbits!" said Sango.

xxx

But when next morning came there was a steady rain falling, so thick that when you looked out of the windows you could see neither the mountains nor the woods nor even the stream in the garden.

"Of course it would be raining!" said Shippo. They had just finished their breakfast with the Professor and were upstairs in the room he had set apart for them a long, low room with two windows looking out in one direction and two in another.

"Do stop grumblig, Shippo," said Sango. "Ten to one it'll clear up in an hour or so. And in the meantime we're pretty well off. There's a wireless and lots of books."

"Not for me," said Souta; "I'm going to explore in the house."

Everyone agreed to this and that was how the adventures began. It was the sort of house that you never seem to come to the end of, and it was full of unexpected places. The first few doors they tried led only into spare bedrooms, as everyone has expected that they would; but soon they came to a very long room full of pictures and there the found a suit of armor; and after that was a room all hung with green, with a harp in one corner; and then came three steps down and five steps up, and then a kind little upstairs hall and a doors that led out onto a balcony, and then a whole series of rooms that led into each other and were lined with books most of them very old books and some bigger than a Bible in a church. And shortly after that they looked into a room that was quite emtpy except for one big wardrobe; the sort that has a looking-glass in the door. There was nothing else in the room at all except a dead blue-bottle on the window-sill.

"Nothing there!" said Souta, and they all trooped out again all except Kagome. She stayed behind because she thought it would be worth while trying the door of the wardrobe, even though she felt almost sure that it would be locked. To her surprise it opened quite easily, and two moth-balls dropped out.

Looking into the inside, she saw several coats hanging uo mostly long fur coats. There was nothing Kagome liked so much as the smell and feel of fur. She immediately stepped into the wardrobe and got in among the coats and rubbed her face against them, leaving the door open, of course, because she knew that it is very follish to shut oneself into any wardrobe. Soon she went further in and found that there was a second row of coats hanging up behind the first one. It was almost quite dark in there and she kept her arms stretched out in front of her so as not to bump her face into the back of the wardrobe. She took a step further in then two or three steps always expecting to feel woodwork against the tips of her fingers. But she could not feel it.

"This must be a simply enormous wardrobe!" thought Kagome, going still further in and pushing the soft folds of the coats aside to make room for her. Then she noticed that there was something crunching under her feet. "I wonder is that more moth-balls?" she thought, stooping down to feel it with her hands. But instead of feling the hard, smooth wood of the floor of the wradrobe, she felt something soft and powdery and extremely cold. "This is very queer," she said, and went on a or two further.

Next moment she found that what was rubbing against her face and hands was no longer soft fur but something hard and rough and even prickly. "Why, it is just like branches of trees!" exclaimed Kagome. And then she saw that there...

Author's Note:{Oks! I hoped you enjoyed youselves while reading this SHORT STORY.. Good BYE -Peeks Through The Magic BOX- Ohh.. R&R!}