wildforce71: (triskell)
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Wilfred loved the lesson on magnetism - all about magnets picking up pins, and magnets picking up other magnets. There’s something wonderfully fluey about magnets - except that only metal things stick to them. And then the metal things turn into magnets, too!

Wilfred took a book out of the library about magnets. There was even a picture of one on the cover. But it was not as much fun. Nothing stuck to it. “I want a real magnet,” said Wilfred. His mother only said, “Maybe for Christmas…” But that was far too long to wait!

So Wilfred stole a magnet. He picked one up in the classroom when no one was looking and pushed it into his trouser pocket. He held his breath, but nobody said “Saw you, Wilfred!” or “Wilfred’s nicked the magnet, Miss!

He whistled all the way to the school gates, patting his trouser pocket. Stealing was easy. He might even take it up for a living!

As he sat down in the park, he didn’t notice the bent iron nail in the grass. It didn’t hurt when he sat on it - it was under the pocket with the magnet in.

But when he got up, the nail clung to the magnet - even through the cloth of his trousers. It clung so tightly that even if Wilfred has noticed, he could not have pulled it away. But Wilfred did notice the tobacco tin.

It lept out of the litter-bin by the park and clung to the bent iron nail. He was so embarrassed. People might think he smoked. He tugged and pulled, but the tin was magnetic now. It stuck fast. And then the litter-bin followed!

It tore itself free of its concrete base and bawled out of the park gate. Wilfred tried to run, but the bin was too fast for him. With a clang, it stuck to the tobacco tin, which was stuck to the bent nail, which had stuck to the magnet…

Wilfred turned up the collar of his blazer and hoped nobody would recognise him. But as he walked past the dairy, a milk float veered onto the pavement and - clang - it buffeted Wildred from behind. And stuck fast to the litter-bin.

The milkman, who had fallen out of his float, picked himself up and shouted and shook his fist. Wilfred took fright and started to run. But it was not easy, with the nail and the tin and the bin and the milk float hanging on behind.

It was even more awkward when the Number 14 bus joined on. It was full of passengers!

Wilfred cut across the embankment to try and throw them off. But he only succeeded in attracting the 5.30 bus to London. It hurtled off the rails and clung to the Number 14 bus, the milk float, the bun, the tin and the nail.

It was just about then that the Russian spacecraft fell to earth. It seemed to have been pulled out of its orbit by a huge magnetic force…

Wilfred crawled on wearily, his blazer over his head in case he was spotted by someone he knew. And the nail and the tin and the bin and the milk float and the Number 14 bus and the 5.30 train followed on behind. So did the big, bleeping spacecraft with a hammer and sickle painted on the top. Then, just as he reached his own front gate...the pocket tore off his trousers.

The magnet inside clung to the bent iron nail, the nail to the tobacco tin, the tin to the litter-bin, the bin to the milk-float, the float to the Number 14 bus, the bus to the 5.30 train, and the train to the spacecraft. But nothing clung to Wilfred!

A great heap of magnetic metal lay in the road. And later, the men from the Council had to come and take it all away. Wilfred’s mother shouted at him for tearing the pocket off his trousers. And Wilfred decided he would not take up stealing for a living.


Geraldine McCaughrean. Yeah, she’s going to show up a lot.

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March 2017

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