The Tiny of Eel Pie Island
Read the story of The Tiny of Eel Pie Island, by Sacha Saucek, age 7
Lifting his face into the scented air of spring, old Richard Lindley imagined what the gentle laps of the River Thames must sound like as they nudged up against the squashy mud banks. He was walking along the tow path opposite Eel Pie Island with Toby, his assistance dog.
Suddenly he caught sight of a murky bottle bobbing towards him in the misty brown water. As he looked closer he thought he could see a damp and crumpled roll of paper inside. He stopped and shakily reached down over the edge of the tow path, despite Toby trying to pull him back.
Using his peeling walking stick he managed to hook the bottle and lifted it with a thud onto the bank. The cork rolled out and revealed a message in a bottle! Toby tried to tug Richard away but with a gentle pat he was told to wait patiently while Richard unrolled the message.
“I am the Tiny of Eel Pie Island.
I live underground by the roots of the trees, roasting acorns and chestnuts on the river breeze. I’ve been alone for so many years, please come and find me and stop my tears.
Smokey nuts will waft your way, please come and find me today!”
Richard stared open mouthed at the message, then at Toby, who let out a small warning bark, then back at the message. Through the silence that was always around him he heard the joyful noise of his own heart bursting inside him. Scrambling to his feet he told Toby to come quickly, towards the old footbridge up ahead that led onto Eel Pie Island.
Rushing as fast as he could he was brought to a halt by Toby who led him out of the path an young boy on his bike who was frantically ringing his bell. “Good boy, Toby”, Richard signed. “Come on, this will be our greatest adventure. Just you and me, let’s go Toby!”
A gust of wind seemed to push Richard and Toby onwards as they climbed the rusty, mint footbridge. Richard curled his pea-green jacket tighter around him and smoothed his thumbs over the message kept tightly in his fist.
Heading for the biggest tree he could see, Richard trod carefully through the undergrowth. Roots started to spring up through the moss and earth, and Richard felt his breath speed up as he imagined what he might find.
Remembering the message, he closed his eyes and searched the air for the smell of toasted nuts. He lay down unsteadily under the tree, face down, smelling his way. A roasty aroma suddenly filled his nostrils and made his head spin. Richard burst open his eyes. Below him was a tiny hole, where pale smoke drifted out and across the river.
“Dig, Toby!” signed Richard madly, and they both scrapped away at the hole until their nails and paws were clogged in earth.
A few seconds passed where Richard and Toby seemed not to take a breath. Slowly, a tiny hand crept through the earth, followed by a tiny arm, a tiny shoulder, then a tiny head. On that tiny head was the hugest smile Richard had ever seen. Scooping up the tiny man in his hand, they smiled at one another with wonder and amazement.