The Children of Green Knowe - Episode 4 shown Wednesday 17th December 1986 at 17:00 on BBC1 and repeated on Sunday 21st December 1986 11:20 BBC2
Tolly takes Gran to the taxi driver. He is waiting by the car to take Gran shopping. Tolly puts a blanket over her legs as the day is very cold and snowy. She promises him that Christmas will start when she gets back for tea. Tolly goes off to find Boggis. Boggis gives him some food and they sit down to eat. Tolly asks him about his family. Boggis tells him that his boys and his grandson were killed in the World wars. Boggis tells Tolly that he thought it was the old Knowe curse that was responsible. Tolly asks about it. Apparently after Black Ferdie was sent to Botany Bay, his mother old Petronella was consumed with anger. She was suspected of being an old witch by the villagers. This fear was even more compounded when the old woman broke into the gardens during an eclipse of the moon. she was seen dancing and cackling, repeating the following rhyme. She thus laid a curse on Green Noah. As the tree grew, a series of unexplained accidents occurred with the men in the family. Almost all had something to do with horses bolting. Such was the fear of the villagers that the old name of Green Knowe was forgotten and the more preferable name of Green Noah was taken up.
Snippet snappet shapen yew
Devils image take on you
Evil grow evil be
Green Noah demon tree
After lunch, Tolly heads off outside and into the stables. He goes into Feste's stall and leaves two sugar lumps for the horse. He then goes inside to prepare tea for when gran gets back. He sits by the fire as the clocks in the house chime. He hears some strange sounds coming from the room and goes off to investigate. Something frightens him but before he finds out what it was Gran arrives home. She has had a wonderful time shopping and she has brought with her a Christmas tree. Again she calls him Toby and finds out from Boggis that Tolly now knows the curse. Gran tells him that curses do not last forever and that she believes in St. Christopher. Tolly asks about him and is told that he is the stone man statue down at the Chapel. Linnet loved the statue but before she can finish she suddenly asks Tolly if he will go to midnight mass with her. Boggis asks for a story about St. Christopher. Tolly although listening puts out some of the candles while she starts.
Linnet is upstairs is bed when she suddenly hears beautiful music coming from the garden,. She leans out of the window and sees the stone man of St. Christopher walking across the garden. He is carrying a small stone child. Linnet repeats the song she has just heard and then goes back to bed. Tolly is in the garden making decorations. He asks Gran if they can give the children a present to which she agrees. He ties a small green bow to his gift and leaves it outside for them. To T.A.L. from T.
Later on there is a storm brewing. The wind is howling and there is thunder in the air. Tolly can hear the voice of someone. Gran informs him that is the grandmother rocking the children. Tolly heads outside with his flashlight and pretends to be a car driving around in the cool night air. He hears a cry in the dark and heads towards it. Suddenly the torch fails and he finds himself alone outside in pitch black. He can hear the sound of wood and stone moving and calls out for Granny. The tree is moving towards him but he can only see it when lightening flashes. Tolly tries to run but he is finding it difficult to escape. Green Noah is determined to claim another Oldknow male victim. Linnet calls to St. Christopher to save him. As Tolly is being pursued by the evil tree St. Christopher intervenes and the old tree is hit by a powerful bolt of lightning from St. Christopher's staff. Green Noah has gone and the night air becomes still again. The statue's intervention has thus rid the Oldknows of both the evil demon tree Green Noah and the gypsy curse.
Somehow Tolly finds himself back in the house. Toby is watching over him and they can here Feste calling them. Boggis bursts into the house looking in a bad way. He is badly shaken and in need of something to drink. He says that something have been happening that should not have been happening. He refers to stones and wood moving in the grounds. He looks at Tolly. Tolly and Linnet laugh together whilst Boggis consoles himself with a drink of brandy.
Gran and Tolly head for church mass down a long path. They can hear the organ music being played in the distance. When inside the church, Tolly finds he is very tired as it is very late and he thus falls asleep in the church. He beings to dream of another time in which the church is celebrating mass. Toby and his mother are in the congregation, Alexander and Linnet are in the choir. Both Alexander and Linnet wink at him as they walk passed.
Tolly wakes up - it is Christmas day. A stocking is hanging above him in his bedroom. Inside there are small gifts and games for him including an apple. He puts on some clothes that belonged to Toby and wanders into the stables. There he closes his eyes and calls for Feste but nothing happens. He leaves the apple where he used to leave the sugar lumps and suddenly hears the sound of a horse behind him. There finally he sees a horse and gives him the apple. Boggis appears and Tolly shows him the half eaten apple. Boggis shows him a huge branch of tree which was in the middle of the front lawn. He cannot imagine where it fell from or how it got to be on the lawn. Tolly goes back into the house and again meets the children. They are much more comfortable with everyone. He asks them about the animals to which they say everything is fine now. Everyone wishes everyone else a happy Christmas. Dinner is soon served and everyone has a wonderful time. Granny sits by the fire and opens some presents. Tolly has given her the bracelet that Linnet put around the rabbit's neck. Granny is overjoyed as she lost it many years ago. Granny sits him down and then decides to tell a story. Toby, Alexander and Linnet all sit down near the fire. Tolly asks for one about a River to which Granny begins.
And so ends a magical little drama receiving its well deserved (and long overdue) place in Little Gems.
The Children of Green Knowe is a very still drama almost timeless in its programming adn adaptation. That timelessness is still very apparent in the original book. If it were not for the changes in the weather and the arrival of Christmas, you would hardly know what time of year it was. You automatically develop sympathy for poor Tolly being abandoned at boarding school. But you soon become enveloped in the wondrous magic of his adventure exploring the grounds of Green Knowe (as it was). You never really know if Granny knows to the full extent what has been actually happening "curse" wise. She definitely knows about or initially suspects the presence of the ghost children. She does not however, warn Tolly of the dangers of the Demon Tree. She knows he bears a some form of resemblance to the Know family and even bears the name of Toseland, yet she does not make any efforts to tell him of the dangers he potentially faces. As Tolly is at boarding school, he must therefore be safe, yet on his 7th or 8th year (not sure about this one), he receives (for the first time), a letter from his grandmother asking him to come and stay with her. Upon staying with her, she unwittingly (of is it deliberate) brings him into range of Green Noah.
We still do not know why Tolly is helped by the children (especially Linnet), yet other members of the Know family are killed by the Demon Tree. Why if the curse was real, did no one destroy the tree by fire (since lightening finally does it). Did the children try to contact any of the other family members who came after their subsequent deaths caused by the plague.
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