It was the middle of the morning at the school in the wood and so far, it had been a day like any other. The animals lined up at the edge of the school and filed in dutifully, neatly setting out the tables and chairs ready for the day’s learning.
The school day began with an assembly, taken by the deputy head of the school, a small grey owl called Mrs Screech. She would begin by telling them a story.
The morning’s story was about two pairs of elves, who were collecting and storing apples for the winter. The Good Elves collected the apples in Good Time and packed them Carefully in a barrel so that when winter came they had Plenty of Food to Eat. But the Bad, Careless Elves spent their time playing and did Not collect enough apples and threw them Untidily into the barrel so when the winter came the apples were Rotten and No Good and the elves were Sad and Hungry.
“I hate this story,” whispered the squirrel to her sister, Harriet.
“Ssh,” Hazel, replied her sister. “Mrs Screech hasn’t finished. We’ll get into trouble.”
Hazel gazed around the classroom, weighed down by the tedium of the story, longing to run up one of the trees and swing joyfully from a branch.