Bella needs help cleaning Custard Castle - but she didn't bargain for a magic broom! A free online, printable children's fairy tale
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SPRING CLEAN

by Emma Laybourn

A Custard Castle story

Custard Castle

The King and Queen and Princess Fifi were sitting in the throne room, eating doughnuts.

Bella was there too, but she was not eating doughnuts. She was cleaning.

"Oops!" said the King. "I've spilt some more jam on the throne. Bella - clean it up!"

Bella threw her mop on the floor. She glared at the King, looking very cross.

"Why should I clean it up?" she said. "Nobody ever cleans this castle except me!"

"It's your job," said Princess Fifi. "You're the maid."

"But Custard Castle is too big for just one maid to clean!" said Bella. "There are three hundred rooms! I can't clean them all. You've got to help."

"Me? I'm a King!" said the King, alarmed. "Kings don't do cleaning."

"If you don't help," said Bella, "I'll go on strike and not clean anything, ever again."

"What?" gasped the Queen.

"You can't do that!" cried Fifi.

"Oh, yes, I can."

"But what do you want us to do?" wailed the King.

"You have to help me do a big Spring Clean," said Bella.

"A Spring Clean? What's that?" asked Fifi.

"It means we clean the whole castle from top to bottom. Then we won't need to do it again till next year. But everybody has to help!"

Bella looked so fierce that they agreed.

"I'll clean the bathrooms," said the Queen.

"I'll clean the state rooms," said the King.

"I'll clean the bedrooms," said Princess Fifi.

"All right!" said Bella. "Jack can clean the corridors, the Cook can clean the kitchen, and I can clean the rest."

She got mops and buckets, dusters and brushes, and soap and sponges, and handed them round.

"I'll wear my overalls," said the Queen.

"I'll wear my skateboarding gear," said Fifi.

"I'd better wear my oldest royal robe," the King said glumly. He was not looking forward to this.

Soon the castle was full of the sound of clanking buckets and scrubbing brushes.

The Queen was very happy cleaning bathrooms, because she could do some plumbing while she was there.

Fifi was quite happy cleaning bedrooms, because she could try on everybody's clothes while she was there.

Princess Fifi is happily going through a wardrobe with a bucket in one hand

The Cook and Jack the servant boy were fairly happy cleaning the kitchen and the corridors, because they were used to it.

And Bella was happy because everyone was helping her.

The only person who was not happy was the King. He was not happy at all. The state rooms were huge and dusty and musty, and Bella kept on pointing out bits that he had missed.

"I shouldn't have to do this," grumbled the King. His face was red, his hands were black with dirt and his oldest royal robe with grey with dust. "What about the Wizard? Why isn't he cleaning too?"

"You're right! I forgot about Wizard Watchit!" exclaimed Bella. She ran off to his tower to find him.

"We're doing a big Spring Clean," she told him. "You can do the towers."

The Wizard looked puzzled. "Do the towers? What with?"

"With soapy water and a brush," said Bella, and she hurried away.

The Wizard scratched his head. He had never heard of a Spring Clean.

"A big sprinkling?" he said to the ghost. "What's that all about?"

"Woo woo woo," said the ghost.

The Wizard shrugged. "Oh, well. If that's what Bella wants..."

So he did a spell to sprinkle soapy water and brushes all over the towers of Custard Castle. The brushes bounced off the towers, but the soapy water cleaned them quite well.

Meanwhile Bella was cleaning her way through the castle. After a while she reached the treasure room.

Cautiously she opened the door.

"RRRARGH!!" went the Thing that guarded the treasure room.

"Sorry, Thing," said Bella, "but I need to clean the treasure." She lit the lamps and began to dust the piles of coins.

The Thing jumped off the treasure pile and huddled in a corner. It was a small, blue, fluffy Thing, and it did not like its treasure room to be clean and bright. It liked it to be dark and dusty.

Bella began to sweep its corner.

"EEEGH!!" went the Thing, and it fled. It ran out of the treasure room and hid in the cupboard under the stairs, next to the sleepy little dragon they kept there for lighting the fires.

Five minutes later, the cupboard door was flung open. Bella began to polish the dozing dragon.

"RRUURKK!!" cried the Thing. It fled again.

This time it bounced down the steep stairs that led to the dungeon. It was nice and dark and dusty down there.

The dungeon was peaceful - for a while. But not for long.

Soon Bella came down the stairs, sweeping as she went. She had done so much sweeping that her broom was almost worn out.

"Last bit," she said. She pushed open the dungeon door, and lit a lamp inside.

"WHURGHH!!" protested the Thing. It jumped into Bella's bucket to hide from the light.

Bella did not notice it there. She was too busy cleaning the dungeon.

First she swept the floor. Next she polished the chains.

Then she noticed a rusty iron hook sticking out of the wall. It looked dirty, so she began to scrub it.

As she scrubbed, the wall behind it moved. There was a creak and a groan. Slowly a hidden door opened, and revealed a passage.

"I never knew that was there!" gasped Bella. "It's dark and damp... and absolutely filthy!"

She picked up a torch and her bucket. Then she set off down the secret passage.

At the end of the passage was a tall, dark cupboard.

"What a dirty old cupboard!" said Bella, brushing cobwebs off it. She opened it and peered inside.

A dozen spiders crawled out. And then something fell out of the cupboard - something long and thin.

Bella jumped backwards, before she realised what it was.

"A broom!" she cried. "Just what I need! Mine's worn out. This broom is very dirty, though."

The broom was covered in grime and cobwebs. Bella reached into her bucket for a cloth to clean it.

But instead of a cloth, she pulled out the small, fluffy Thing.

Bella did not notice. She began to polish the broom with the Thing.

As soon as she rubbed the broom, it shot up into the air with the Thing clinging on to it by its tiny claws.

"AAROOGGH!!" howled the Thing.

"Oh, my goodness," said Bella. "It's a magic broom!" She jumped up to try and grab it, but the broom flew away. It swooped down the passage with the Thing hanging on to it.

"EEYARGGH!!" yowled the Thing.

"Come back!" cried Bella.

The broom flew out of the secret passage and into the dungeon. It flew through the dungeon and headed up the stairs.

Bella ran after it. Every time she nearly caught it up, the broom darted away again, with the terrified Thing yowling as it clung on.

The broom swooped and swirled along the corridors of Custard Castle. Bella ran after it, shouting, "Stop, broom! Stop!" She was terribly afraid that the Thing would fall off.

Everybody ran out of the rooms they were cleaning, to see what all the shouting was about.

"YAEEEGH!!" screamed the Thing as the broom did a loop-the-loop.

The Thing howls as it rides the magic broom

"Whatever is going on?" cried the King.

"It's a magic broom," said Bella, "and it won't stop flying!"

"Magic? Wizard Watchit - sort it out!" ordered the King.

Wizard Watchit stared at the broom zooming up and down overhead.

"I know that broom!" he exclaimed. "It belongs to my Aunt Hogweed, the witch. She must have left it behind last time she came to visit me."

"Why did she hide it in the dungeon?" asked Bella.

"I've no idea," said Wizard Watchit.

"Well, do a spell to stop it!" said the Queen. She ducked as the broom shot over her and flew into the throne room.

"I don't know any spells for runaway brooms," the Wizard said.

"Then think of one - quickly!" yelled the King.

So the Wizard made up a spell and said it in a hurry.

"Stop your swooping, start your sweeping,
Before your passenger starts weeping!"

To his great relief, the broom slowed down. It drifted to the floor of the throne room, with the Thing still hanging on to it.

The broom landed. It stood upright and began to sweep the throne room.

"There we are! No problem!" said the Wizard smugly.

Jack tried to pick up the Thing. It bit his finger and clung on to the broom.

"Ouch! The Thing seems to be all right," he said.

"And now that magic broom will finish all the cleaning!" cried the King. "Well done, Wizard! Jolly good spell!"

The Wizard looked hard at the broom. It was busy sweeping behind the throne. Suddenly he realised why his Aunt Hogweed had hidden it away.

"Um..." he said. "Must go now! Bye!"

He ran off to his tower. As he ran he heard a shriek behind him.

Then everyone began to scream and shout, because they had all just noticed what the broom was doing.

"It's not brushing the dirt away at all!" cried Fifi. "It's bringing it back!"

For wherever the broom swept, piles of dust and cobwebs appeared.

"That's a magic broom all right," said Jack, watching the throne grow dirtier and dustier.

"Oh, no!" wailed Bella. "We've just cleaned everything! We've got to get this broom out of the castle!"

She grabbed hold of the broom and tried to drag it away. The Thing was still clinging on to it.

The broom was very hard to drag. It tried to keep sweeping. And wherever it swept, piles of dirt and dust appeared.

Bella dragged it slowly through the castle, leaving a dusty, dirty trail behind.

She stopped just outside the treasure room. "This is hard work!" she gasped. "I can't drag it all the way back to the dungeon!"

"EEGURGLE!!" squealed the Thing.

"Really? All right then," said Bella. She opened the door of the treasure room and dragged the broom inside.

At once it began to sweep. Piles of dirt began to appear around the treasure.

"GARRAGH!!" said the Thing happily. It jumped off the broom and sat on top of the heap of golden coins while the broom swept around it. Soon it was surrounded by dust and cobwebs.

Bella left them there and closed the door. She could hear the Thing singing and the broom sweeping. She went back upstairs to find the King.

"The broom's busy sweeping your treasure room," she said. "It's as good as an extra guard."

"My treasure will get all dirty!" protested the King.

"It doesn't need to be clean," said Bella.

"But what about my throne?" wailed the King. "It's a terrible mess!"

Bella looked at the throne. Now it was not just smeared with jam. It was covered in dirt and dust and cobwebs too.

"You'd better clean it up," the King told her.

But Bella shook her head.

"You can if you want to," she said. "But I've finished my Spring Clean. I'm not going to clean a single thing until next year!"

THE END

Copyright © 2015 Emma Laybourn

Download the ebook of SPRING CLEAN:
   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
    Dragon Dilemma
    The New Witch

You can read six more Custard Castle stories in the ebook:
    The Ghost of Custard Castle
Find out more here!

The cover of the ebook: The Ghost of Custard Castle

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