Little Gems - The Witches and the Grinnygog
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The Witches and the Grinnygog by Dorothy Edwards
Our story begins with an aerial view of a quiet English country village with a large church towards one corner of it (a bit like the vicar of Dibley). On a busy road outside the village, a truck is driving at some speed and does not slow down as it enters the quiet village. It narrowly misses some pedestrians and honks loudly at them for attempting to cross the road. The truck continues hurtling through the village. A woman (later revealed as Mrs. Firkettle) has just bought some groceries and is walking slowly up the road when the truck hurtles around the corner narrowly missing her as she falls onto the grass verge. She is very shaken at the near miss and furious that she had to drop her shopping including newly purchased eggs. Suddenly she notices an object that fell off the truck as it drove by. At first glance it looks like a small stone gargoyle with a smiley face and hugging arms. She decides she will keep it as it will teach the truck driver a lesson.
Meanwhile at the village church the local Vicar Sogood returns home, four children (Colin and Nan Sogood & Essie and Dave Firkettle) are anxiously awaiting his return after he summoned them. The Vicar is concerned about the loss of St. Cuthberts, an old church in the marches which had been knocked down to make way for a new motorway. There were huge protests at the time about it according to the newspapers. The Church was being taken down stone by stone to be relocated elsewhere. The Vicar's parish is called St. Edmund's and he lives in the house attached to the Rectory. The Vicar is concerned that the same thing could happen to his church and no one would know anything about it. He is concerned that history is being lost.
Back with the truck, the wagon has arrived at the works area and the truck is backing up slowly. A Patrick Flanagan guides the driver back and then goes ontop of the wagon to check the lines. As he is walking across the top of the canopy lying over the truck, he sees a hand moving, almost searching for something over the canopy. Flanagan believes they may have a tramp or stowaway on board hitching a ride and so orders the person out from under the canopy. No one emerges and so Flanagan goes under the canopy to force him/her out. A few seconds later, Flanagan emerges empty handed. No one is on the truck and he could so have sworn that he saw a hand. The only thing he does find is some old rag clothing that looks like it is hundreds of years old.
At the rectory the children are keen to know what is on the Vicar's mind. The Vicar is definitely up to something and is about to let the children in on the act. The Vicar shows the children what he has been doing and he takes them into the old laundry house. There they find that he has been gathering all his old hoarding and relics of the past and put them down for everyone to see. Colin looks at a series of old books whilst David examines an antique train. It is during the chats that we discover the sad truth that the children's mother (Colin and Nan's mother) is in fact dead. The Vicar wants to recreate the life story of his parish. He wants to transform the old laundry into a museum for the church showing all its history. The Vicar, however is writing a book and the deadline is very close, hence he is really unable to help at the current time. He asks the children if they will put together the museum and help run it. The children seem very keen especially as it gives them quite a lot of responsibility. They set straight to work moving things away and cleaning up. Colin is given the task of translating the five diaries of a former Vicar (Canon Alloway) of the parish who lived 1760-1790. The books are very old and no one quite knows what they contain.
Over at Mrs. Firkettle's house, she has returned home with her shopping. Her young son Jimmy Firkettle is looking at the stone statue in her shopping bag. His mum starts complaining that half of the eggs are already broken after the near miss with the truck. She asks Jimmy to go and fetch Grandad as she has something for him. Grandad likes his garden gnome and puts it in the rockery with the aid of some cement. Grandad and Jimmy for a moment think they can see some gold in it but mum disagrees and suggests he should get his reading glasses on. She leaves them gazing at the stone statue looking very fine in its new home.
A few days later the children and the Vicar are listening to the radio, suddenly there is a plug for the Church museum much to the surprise of the kids. The radio DJ continues talking about an incident with a builder called Flanigan, a ghostly hand and the old clothing. The children wonder if the old clothing might have come from St. Cutherberts (since that is where Flanagan's truck had been). They also wonder if the clothing may be of use to their museum. Meanwhile as they are collecting materials, Jimmy Firkettle wanders off on his own and enters the church. He seems drawn to a stone font and feels behind, there he finds some old rags. He takes them back to the older children stating that they are from a hole in the church and used to belong to a witch. The children are totally confused as to what Jimmy is talking about and so poor Jimmy heads off home. As he leaves the museum, Flanigan turns up and offers the children the old clothes wrapped in some brown paper. He thinks they may be of use to the museum. The children then start to question him about St. Cuthberts and the ghostly hand, but as Colin opens up the parcel, he finds there is only soil and old bits inside the wrapping. Flanigan is stunned as he saw his wife (a history school teacher) wrap the parcel just an hour ago. Flanagan starts to get spooked and decides to leave sharpish.
Back in the garden Grandad has finished the placing and set for his little stone statue and now he only needs a name. Jimmy thinks he sees the lips move on the statue and hears a name in his head and runs off. He runs to find the older children after he hears a voice in his head saying that Grandad's leg would soon be better. "One will come and ease the pain. Jimmy rushes to the church where Dave is fitting a bell to the door. It rings loudly as Jimmy opens the door. The children are initially pleased to see him as he has tested the door bell for them. However when Jimmy tells them his story, they do not believe him and he is ushered out and taken home by his older brother and sister. Colin and Nan, however, start to think about what Jimmy said.
Later that night. Colin is still translating one of the books. It is dark outside and a shadow is seen in the grounds near the window. Colin hears something but dismisses it as a trick of the night. As he continues to read out aloud, he is suddenly aware of a presence and turns around to see a man standing behind him. The man politely introduces himself as Mr. Alabaster. Colin is worried as he does not understand how the man got in since the bell on the door would have sounded had he come through the main entrance. No windows are open so there is no real explanation.. The man wants to see a catalogue of his findings in the museum. Colin explains that they have only just started making the museum and filling it with exhibits.. The man states he is an anthropologist and that he has traveled far to see the collection. He is very interested in witchcraft and pre Christian beliefs. He asks if Colin has by chance seen a Grinnygog. Colin states that he has not and that he does not know what a Grinnygog is. The man says he may find out more by translating the book and that he would be very much interested to see what it may have to say about Grinnygogs. Mr. Alabaster spells the name Grinnygog for Colin and as he is writing it down he vanishes out of the room. Colin looks at the bell on the door but it has not been disturbed. He starts to wonder about the name Grinnygog.