A new witch takes over at Custard Castle - but what will happen to the Wizard? A free online, printable children's fairy tale
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THE NEW WITCH

by Emma Laybourn

A Custard Castle story

Custard Castle

The King of Custard Castle stamped over to the Wizard's tower, looking very cross.

"Wizard Watchit!" he shouted. "Come down here! I want you."

The Wizard ran down the stairs, and the ghost drifted after him. "What is it?" he asked.

The King glared at him. "I don't want you!" he snapped.

"But you just called me here," said Wizard Watchit.

"I called you here to tell you I don't want you!" said the King.

"What?"

"I'm fed up of having a wizard that doesn't work properly. You're fired. Sacked. Out of a job."

"Woo woo!" wailed the ghost in horror.

"But I've done nothing wrong!" protested Wizard Watchit.

"Nothing wrong?" spluttered the King. "First you filled my moat with custard, and then you made the castle invisible, and then you lost my Grand Dining Room!"

"No, I didn't," said the Wizard. "It ran away all by itself."

"Humph! I don't care," snorted the King. "I'm getting a witch instead of you."

"A witch?"

"A very grand and high-class witch. She won't fill my moat with custard. She's arriving tomorrow - and she'll want your tower to live in! So go and pack!" roared the King.

He marched off. The Wizard felt very upset. He slowly trudged upstairs to pack.

"I've done my best," he told the ghost as he threw his magic books into his cauldron. "But some people are never happy."

"Woo," the ghost agreed.

Sadly the Wizard looked around. "I'll miss this place, and I'll miss you," he said.

"Woo woo woo woo!"

"No, you can't come with me," said the Wizard. "You belong here." He took his emergency pies off the shelf and tossed them in the cauldron with his spare cloak.

Then he carried the cauldron down the stairs, wondering where he could go and live. He would have to think of somewhere...

The ghost hovered in the empty room at the top of the tower. It wouldn't be the same without the Wizard here.

What would this new witch be like? The ghost hoped she would be friendly...

Next day, a huge silver carriage rolled up outside the castle, pulled by four black horses.

"Aha!" said the King, rubbing his hands. "The new witch! Let's go and meet her."

He went outside. So did the Queen and Princess Fifi, and Bella the maid and Jack the servant boy.

The witch stepped out of the silver carriage. She was very tall, and very thin. She wore a swirling silver gown covered with emeralds, and her witch's hat was made of green velvet studded with diamonds.

She looked around at the castle, and frowned.

"Hmm," she said. "Not very smart, is it?"

"It's got three hundred rooms!" said the King.

"Good," said the witch. "I shall want at least sixteen of them. The best sixteen."

She held out her hand graciously to the King.

The King did not dare to tell her to go to the Wizard's tower. Instead he bowed and kissed her hand.

The Queen curtseyed to her. But Fifi just stared. She had never seen anyone so grand.

"Take the bags," ordered the new witch. Bella began to carry her twenty-seven enormous bags into the castle.

"Take my horses," commanded the witch. Jack began to lead the four black horses to the stable.

"I'll have my tea now," said the witch.

"Oh! Right," said the Queen. "I'll just tell the Cook."

When the Cook brought the tea, the witch was not impressed.

"I expect my tea in a golden teapot," she said. "And I expect caviar, not doughnuts!"

"They're royal doughnuts," said the King.

"I don't know what caviar is," said the Cook.

"Caviar is very grand food indeed," said the witch, looking down her long thin nose.

The Cook was not happy, because her doughnuts were not grand enough for the witch.

Bella was not happy, because she had to unpack twenty-seven bags.

Jack was not happy, because the witch's horses kept kicking him.

But the King was very happy.

"I want you to make my castle as grand as grand can be," he told the witch. "I want all the other kings to be jealous!"

The witch looked down her long nose at him. "You'll need to pay me first," she said.

"Of course!" the King said eagerly. "I've got lots of treasure. Come and see."

He led the new witch to his treasure room. As soon as he opened the door, the Thing that guarded the treasure yowled horribly.

"RRROWLGGH!!"

The new witch frowned at the Thing. Although it was small, it was extremely loud.

"What a terrible noise," she said. "We can't have that!"

She waved her hand - and suddenly the Thing fell silent. It opened and closed its mouth, looking most surprised.

"That's better," said the witch. Then she frowned at the pile of treasure. "There's not much treasure here, is there? Never mind. It'll have to do."

The King had not meant the witch to have all the treasure. But he did not dare to tell her so.

The witch ordered Bella to load the treasure into her twenty-seven bags. The Thing jumped up and down and yowled silently - but the witch took no notice.

"Now I shall make the castle as grand as grand can be," she said.

The new witch of Custard Castle looks very stern as she casts a spell

She waved her long, thin hand - and the towers turned gold. She waved her hand again - and all the walls and stairs turned gold as well.

She waved some more, and gilded the furniture. She gilded the carpets and curtains and cupboards.

She gilded the kitchen and the pots and pans. She even gilded the little dragon that lived under the stairs, which made it very unhappy.

The ghost was unhappy too. It did not like living in a golden tower. It was too bright and dazzling.

So the ghost left the tower and slipped into the castle looking for a place to stay.

It thought the castle looked very nasty; everything was too gold and shiny. But the witch did not stop there.

Next, she turned the windows into giant rubies. Where the light shone through, it looked as red as blood.

Then she covered all the gilded furniture with jewels. She covered the royal robes with jewels too.

The King was very pleased. But the Queen was not.

"That witch has covered my overalls with stupid jewels," she complained. "They get in the way. I can't work in them!"

Princess Fifi was not pleased either.

"That witch has banned me from sliding down the glided banisters!" she said. "And she says I'm not allowed to roller-skate on the golden floors!"

Even the King had to admit that the jewelled chairs were uncomfortable to sit on.

He went to find the new witch to tell her so. She was in his throne room.

She had already covered his throne with diamonds. Now she was busy turning his chess set into solid gold.

"Those chess pieces will be too heavy to play with," said the King.

The witch turned round and glared at him. "Are you complaining?"

"Er - yes," said the King, feeling very brave. "Yes, I am. Also, the windows are too red and my throne is too knobbly."

The witch drew herself up to her full height.

"I don't like Kings who complain!" she hissed.

Then she waved her hands at the golden chessmen.

The chessmen started to grow. They grew and grew until they were bigger than the King.

"Take the throne!" cried the witch.

The golden chess king walked stiffly over to the throne and sat down on it.

"That's the sort of King I like," declared the witch, "the sort that does exactly what it's told!"

"Hang on! It can't sit on my throne!" the King said in alarm.

"Be quiet," snapped the witch. "This castle has a new King now. You're going down to the dungeon!"

"But- but- "

"Take him away," snarled the witch.

At once all the other golden chessmen marched over to the King. They grabbed him and began to lead him to the dungeon.

"Help! Save me!" shrieked the King.

The Queen heard him and came running to help. So did Fifi and the Cook and Bella and Jack. The golden chessmen grabbed them all.

"Throw them in the dungeon!" yelled the witch. "I'm in charge now!"

And the golden chessmen took them down to the dungeon at the bottom of the castle. They opened the dungeon door and flung everyone inside. The door slammed shut.

"Hallo," said a voice. They turned around.

There was Wizard Watchit, sitting in a corner of the dungeon with his cauldron.

"What are you doing here?" said the King.

"I had nowhere else to live," said Wizard Watchit.

"Hurrah!" cried Princess Fifi. "The Wizard will save the day!"

"Will I?" said the Wizard.

"Yes! You've got your spell books and your cauldron!" exclaimed Fifi. "You can do a spell to get rid of that horrible mean witch!"

"So you can!" agreed the Queen.

"Good idea!" said the King. "That witch has gone too far. I want her out of my castle. Well, Watchit? What are you waiting for? Get cracking with that spell!"

The Wizard was not very happy. It had been nice and peaceful in the dungeon before everybody else turned up.

"Why should I? You invited the witch," he told the King. "You ought to get rid of her."

The King was furious. He was about to shout at the Wizard, when Bella said,

"The Wizard's right, you know. It's all your fault."

"You should ask him more politely," added Jack.

"Try saying please," the Cook advised.

"And thank you," declared Fifi.

"Well, go on, then!" said the Queen.

The King looked sulky. But everyone was staring at him, so he muttered,

"Please, Wizard, will you kindly get rid of the witch?"

"Can I have my tower back?" said the Wizard.

"I suppose so."

"And more pies? I've finished mine."

"All right."

"And royal doughnuts every morning?"

"Yes! Yes! You can have a thousand doughnuts if you just get rid of that witch!" cried the King.

The Wizard opened his big spell book. "Very well then. Let me see..."

He began to leaf through the book.

But secretly he was worried. He knew that there were no spells in his book for getting rid of witches.

And this witch was very powerful indeed.

What could he do?

* * *

Meanwhile the lonely ghost was flitting round the empty castle, wondering where everyone had gone. The only people it could find were golden chessmen - and, of course, the witch.

She was in the throne room, trying on the King's crowns.

The ghost had never seen the witch before. It had no idea that she had sent the King down to the dungeon.

So it wafted up to the Witch to ask her where everyone was.

The wispy ghost of Custard Castle

"Woo woo woo woo?" it asked politely.

The witch dropped the crown she was holding.

"Who's there?" she yelled.

"Woo woo," said the ghost.

The witch shrieked a spell at the ghost. The crown on the floor turned into a spider and scuttled away.

But the spell did not hurt the ghost. It did not have a body that she could turn into anything.

"Woo-" it began.

The witch shouted another spell. This time, the golden chessmen all turned into piglets and ran snorting through the castle.

But the ghost turned into nothing at all.

"Woo woo woo-" it said, still trying to ask her where the King was.

The witch screamed a third spell. The throne turned into a giant toadstool. The ghost did not.

"Woo woo?" said the ghost patiently.

But the witch was not listening. She waved both arms and shrieked a spell so loudly that the sound echoed round and round the castle.

The walls cracked. Gold began to peel off them. The ruby windows broke and smashed on the ground.

"Woo," said the ghost. "Woo woo woo woo?"

The witch stared at the wispy ghost in horror. She had never met anything before that her magic did not work on.

She thought this ghost must know much more powerful magic than she did. For the first time in her life, she was scared.

She snatched up a bag in each hand and began to run. The ghost floated after her, still trying to ask about the King.

"Woo woo?"

"Go away!" screamed the witch, and she ran out of the castle. She raced to the stables. She jumped onto one of her black horses and galloped away.

"Woo woo woo!" said the ghost in dismay. It was horrified. The King would be terribly angry that his new witch had left!

The ghost needed to find the King and say sorry.

But where could the King be?

The ghost wafted back through the castle, searching. Outside the empty treasure room, it found the Thing.

"Woo woo woo woo?" said the ghost.

"AARRIIHHGH!!" exclaimed the Thing. The witch's spell had been broken.

Then the Thing began to run. It scampered down the stairs with the ghost following. It ran all the way down to the dungeon and sat outside the door.

"Woo?" said the ghost, and put its head through the door, without opening it.

Sure enough, there was everybody inside - and there was his friend the Wizard, reading from his spell book.

They were all looking at the Wizard. They did not see the ghost.

The ghost pulled its head back again. The key was in the dungeon door, but he was too wispy to unlock it.

"Woo woo?" it suggested. At once the Thing leapt up to the key and turned it.

The door creaked open. Everyone stared at it in surprise.

"We're free! What happened?" cried the King.

The ghost tried to speak - but the King rushed straight through the open door without even noticing the wispy ghost or the little Thing.

So did everybody else. They all ran upstairs to look for the witch.

They saw the gold peeling off the walls and the broken ruby windows and little pigs running around.

But no witch.

"She's gone!" cried Fifi. "The Wizard's magic worked!"

"How wonderful!" said the Queen.

"That must have been a very good spell," said the Cook.

"Look," said Bella, "the witch has left twenty-five of her bags behind."

"And they're full of the King's treasure!" cried Jack.

Then the King said gruffly, "Thank you, Wizard. You can have your old job again. You'd better move back into your tower."

"And you should have a reward," added the Queen. "What would you like?"

The Wizard was speechless. He had no idea how all this had happened.

Then he caught sight of his friend the ghost behind the toadstool throne.

The ghost waved. The Wizard grinned.

"I'd like a feast!" he said. "Cook - how long will it take to make a thousand royal doughnuts?"

THE END

Copyright © 2016 Emma Laybourn

Download the ebook of THE NEW WITCH:
   Click here for Kindle (mobi) or click here for other ereaders (epub).

Read another Custard Castle story:
    The Thing in the Dungeon
    The Dragon under the Stairs
    The Messy Princess
    The Marvellous Moat
    The Surprising Storm
    Princess Fifi's Frog
    Spring Clean
    Dragon Dilemma

You can read six more Custard Castle stories in the illustrated ebook:
    The Ghost of Custard Castle
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