I couldn’t wait to try out my Little Sister’s clever trick on the Rascally Trio. How they would laugh, I told myself. As with so many things where the Rascals are concerned, I was in for a big surprise…
I will explain the trick to you so that you can try it out on other people, should you so wish. Simply hold out your hand, palm upwards, to your selected victim / favoured
subject, and tell him or her that you have a little man in your hand. While they watch, you carefully pretend to remove various garments from your invisible man - a hat, a coat, shoes, socks - and hand each item over for safe keeping. Then you ask, artlessly:
“Do you believe that I am holding a little man in my hand?” To which you should receive the response: “No!” thus allowing you to crow, triumphantly: “So, why are you holding his clothes then!?” It’s a great leg-pull,
don’t you agree?
I waited till we were back from our Seaside Day and the Rascals were out in the back garden. Tala (elder of the twins by one important minute)
had immediately started watering the garden with the small yellow watering can; Faris was checking on the welfare of the Flowerpot People (aka as “Our People”); Lilia was surveying the scene and working out her next move, preferably one which we
wouldn’t be expecting. I called the three of them into the Room Outdoors.
See the little man in my hand, I began. The Trio watched me, entranced, as I removed
his hat, his coat, his shoes and socks. Faris held his hat, Tala his jacket, Lilia his right shoe. The other shoe and the two socks I divided up between them. “Now, do you believe,” I asked them, trying not to laugh, “that I have a little
man in my hand?”
Three pairs of eyes gazed trustingly into mine, three heads nodded in agreement. “Yes!” they chorused in unison. Well, that
went very well, I thought…
I am trying to decide whether this unexpected reaction is proof that I am a most convincing story-teller - or proof that the
Rascally Trio possess the most fertile of imaginations. Alternatively, perhaps they have been infected, through some kind of osmosis, with my own innate gullibility. I do hope not - I am the most gullible person I know and it has caused me no end of trouble
in the past.
I must have told you the story of how my brother, six years older than I am, told me that the beautiful white house which we passed on our way to
my favourite park was made of cardboard. I believed him implicitly - I can’t remember how long it was before I cottoned on to his trickery. It wasn’t so much the feeling of being tricked that upset me - it was the sheer disappointment that the
white house was made of plain old bricks and mortar like any other residence.
This has set me thinking. The Rascally Trio would surely forgive me for trying
to trick them - but how would they deal with the disappointment of realising that I don’t have a little man who I keep as a pet and will produce for them on every future visit? Why, it’s almost as bad as their disappointment when they discovered
that I had forgotten to buy biscuits for the biscuit tin. There are few things more disappointing than an empty biscuit tin where the Trio are concerned.
before I introduced the Trio to my little man, Tala (who seemed to have appointed herself the Rascals’ official spokesperson) told me she thought I really ought to adopt a pet. I couldn’t help suspecting that the three of them had an ulterior motive,
as they would so love a puppy or a kitten to “gentle” and if not allowed one at home, then my home was the next best place for a pet. For gentle, read stroke - it’s their mother’s admonition every time they smother any poor animal they
meet with just too much affection. I explain that looking after their Grandad takes up most of my time but, in any case, I consider all the birds which visit our garden my pets.
Tala considers this carefully then suggests: “You could get a fish. They don’t need much looking after…” There is a certain wistfulness in her voice - there is, after all, no way you can “gentle”
a fish - but she has my best interests at heart.
I’m thinking maybe, for the Rascals’ sake, I will keep my little man - invisible, he may be, but as
pets go he is absolutely no trouble at all….