Chapter 1 : A Peaceful Little Village
In a little village, next to the school, bakery and butcher stood an old church with a big clock tower.
This was no ordinary clock tower. In this clock tower lived a friendly little ghost.
At midnight it left the clock tower and roamed around in the village until the clock struck one. Then it disappeared again into the clock tower.
You would not have been able to see this little ghost as ghosts are invisible to people, but not to animals.
The friendly little ghost, let’s call him “FLG” was friends with the cat of the vicar. They liked to sit next to each other in the moonlight on the church roof.
The FLG was also friends with the church owl who cried “twit twoo” when they met.
The bats who lived next to the FLG in the clock tower were pretty quiet and nice enough.
One animal he did not like was the naughty fox who once ate the vicar’s chicken.
At night, the FLG loved to look through the bedroom windows at the sleeping children and sing them lullabies to make them sleep well.
The FLG would dream about being a child so that it could also go to school. Ghosts don’t get to go to school because schools are closed at night time.
Chapter 2 : The Big Clock Is Broken!
One sunny summer’s day the clock of the clock tower broke and the hands of the clock stopped at three o’clock in the afternoon!
The villagers were all very confused. The baker didn’t know when to get the bread out of the oven. The school teacher let the children play out far too long. The butcher didn’t know when to close the shop.
The clock needed to get fixed as soon as possible. The mayor sent for the clockmaker.
The clockmaker said he would come as soon as he could, but it would take a few days to get there. In those days, people travelled by horse and cart and the clockmaker’s horse was old and slow.
In the meantime, the FLG stayed fast asleep in the clock tower, because the clock didn’t strike midnight anymore. The children in the village were restless and sleeping badly and nobody knew why. But we do! It was because the FLG didn’t sing to them anymore at night. The owl and the cat were wondering where the FLG was. Animals aren’t good at clock reading so they did not notice the clock was stuck.
Then one afternoon the clockmaker arrived at last. He found a small part which was broken. He replaced the part, applied a little bit of oil and turned the hands of the clock around a few times. Then he positioned them at precisely five o’clock.
Little did he know that he had given them a few turns too many! To the villagers the clock seemed fixed, but they didn’t know the clock had been set at five o’clock in the morning instead of five o’clock in the afternoon. When the FLG next woke up on the twelfth stroke of the church bell, the sun was shining brightly.
Chapter 3 : The Friendly Little Ghost During Daytime In The Village
The FLG was completely surprised! Instead of the moon being out, the sun was shining. Blinking into the bright light, the FLG left the clock tower.
Everything looked different. The children weren’t asleep in their bed. They were sitting at desks in their classroom. The FLG looked through the window and was very happy to see what happened in a school.
There were lots of things going on in the market place. The wife of the vicar was buying bread at the bakery; the vicar was leaving the church and the mayor was talking to some villagers about important things.
And the animals! The owl was nowhere to be found, neither was the fox. But the FLG did find the cat sleeping in the hay in an attic. No, the cat didn’t want to come along to sit on the ridge of the roof of the vicarage. Cats do such things only in the moonshine!
But the FLG met some other animals : Fiddle, the dog; Pull, the horse; Rupert, the rooster who was running around the yard of the vicar’s house with Chuck the chicken.
“Where did you come from?” asked Fiddle, the dog. “I have been here longer than you!” said the FLG.
“Come and keep me company with me while I plough the field” said Pull, the horse, “the farmer won’t even know you’re here.”
“What sort of strange animal are you?” Rupert, the rooster, asked haughtily. “No, chicks have feathers and I wear a white gown.” answered the FLG.
“You won’t eat my eggs, will you?” asked Chuck, the chicken. “No.” answered the FLG. “Ghosts don’t eat at all.”
And so, little by little, day after day, the FLG got used to the daytime life in the village. From twelve o’clock at noon until the clock struck one o’clock in the afternoon.
Chapter 4 : The Friendly Little Ghost Is Helpful
The FLG did find the daytime life quite interesting.
It floated through the wall of the classroom and sat at an empty desk. This is what it wanted to do for so long: to be at school together with the children. When the teacher asked a question the FLG also rose its hand to give an answer; but as people can’t see ghosts the FLG never got a turn to answer. “Then I will do something else to please the teacher.” the FLG thought. And it wiped the blackboard clean at the end of the lesson. The teacher did not know who had cleaned the blackboard so neatly. She was very confused.
The farmer fed Pull, the horse, every day with a bag of fodder. Pull always spilt the hay on the ground. Imagine trying to eat fodder out of a bag without using your hands! It’s not easy. But now the FLG wiped the spilled fodder neatly together and fed Pull himself. The farmer could not figure out how Pull was able to eat so neatly. “I couldn’t eat that neatly if I tried!” he thought.
The wife of the vicar had washed the bedding and had hung them outside on the clothesline to dry. But the sun was not shining and there was no wind at all. Not the slightest movement of leaves in the trees. This way the bed sheets would never be dry before night time. Until suddenly the sheets gently started to move on the clothesline as if someone was blowing against them. The vicar’s wife looked at the still leaves on the tree and the moving sheets and was very puzzled.
And so, the FLG did many good things for the villagers. They were a little confused by all these strange things happening. Not one of them could see the FLG helping them.
Even though the FLG was happy it could be of help to the good people of the village it started to feel a little sad. Not one of the villagers knew he was there to help and although the new animals were nice to him, he started to miss his old friends the owl, the bats and the cat. The bright light hurt his eyes and he longed for the moonlight and the silence of the night.
Chapter 5 : The Friendly Little Ghost Plays Practical Jokes
The FLG started to think of ways to make himself happy. He liked to laugh and decided to play some pranks on the people of the village.
He rang the doorbell of Val Vinegar who lived next to the vicarage. And then quickly crossed the road to do the same at Simon Salt’s house. Val came to see who had rang her doorbell; so did Simon. Val asked : “Simon, did you ring?”. “No,” said Simon, “I thought you just rang my doorbell.” “Probably some children being naughty” said Val. “Can’t be,” replied Simon, “all kids are still at school ‘till quarter past three.” Val and Simon couldn’t figure out what had happened. The FLG was watching them and found it very funny.
The vicar’s wife always put a little bit of salt in the soup she prepared for the vicar. But one day the FLG swapped the salt and sugar. The vicar’s wife didn’t notice any difference at first. But when the vicar tasted the soup his face twisted. “Oh dear, what happened to the soup?” asked the vicar. His wife tasted the soup and thought to herself: “Oh goodness, I am getting old. I must have mistaken the sugar pot for the salt shaker. How can I have been so confused?” “Never mind, I’ll just have a coffee instead, just one spoonful of sugar please.” The FLG was giggling in the corner of the room as he watched the vicar’s face when he swallowed the salted coffee. It was so funny to see the vicar look at his wife very disgusted as he poured the coffee away in the sink.
One of the FLG’s pranks gave the mayor a terrible fright. Every Thursday at twelve o’clock, the mayor opened the weekly village council meeting. The mayor would wait for the twelfth stroke of the church bell to announce the start of the meeting. The FLG thought it would be funny to make the bell ring an extra time. The mayor was just starting his sentence “The meeting has now…” when bell rang once more “BOING!!” The mayor was very surprised. “This is magic!” shouted one of the council members. “Bad luck!” shouted another. “We’d better fix that clock again!” shouted another.
Well now! thought the FLG when it heard people talk about the clock tower. I always sleep behind this clock. I’ll go and have a look at the clock tomorrow.
Chapter 6 : The Friendly Little Ghost Returns To The Night
The next day the FLG woke up and decided to give the villagers a rest.
Instead it went exploring the clock tower and found a few old, dusty statues and saw the bats hanging upside down from the beams.
The hammer of the clock had just hit the bell twelve times. The FLG sat down on the hammer and dreamed of the days when the village was quiet and peaceful and none of the villagers were angry, confused or surprised. The FLG felt bad about all the pranks.
The FLG promised that from now on it would leave the villagers alone. The cogs which moved the hammer were turning slowly and the FLG watched on as they moved the clock hands every minute. It didn’t notice the end of its dress was caught in the cogs. The clock struck one and the FLG fell asleep as the cogs tore a little piece off its dress.
The cogs stopped moving. The clock was stuck again!
The mayor had already asked the clockmaker to come and look at the clock after it gave him a fright with the thirteenth “BOING”. So this time the villagers didn’t have to wait too long for the clockmaker to arrive.
The clockmaker got into the clock tower and started checking the clock mechanism. “Nothing broken this time,” he thought to himself “but what is this? A piece of white cloth stuck between two cogs! How did that get here?”
He pulled at the piece of cloth, removed it from between the wheels and the clock started working again. He oiled the cogs, turned the hands of the clock a few times and placed them at three o’clock.
Then he found the mayor and showed him the piece of white cloth. Neither of them could work out where it came from or how it got stuck in the clock. They both thought it was very strange.
This time the clockmaker hadn’t given too many turns to the hands of the clock and for the FLG it was the end of the daytime trips. At midnight, the FLG woke up and was happily surprised that all was back to normal.
And so, quietness returned to the village. The children slept better at night and the villagers were no longer getting pranked.
And the FLG was delighted to catch up with his friends the owl and the cat.
And that was that.
(ENGLISH VERSION AND DRAWINGS BY DAUGHTER MARJAN)