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Bertie and the Ghost
Do you believe in ghosts?
Of course you do. And so does Bertie, because he was once haunted by one. It was Halloween, and Bertie’s annoying little brother dared him to sleep in the north tower of the Palace – which everyone knows is haunted. But fortunately the ghost turned out to be not the scary sort, more the nuisance type of ghost.
Story by Bertie. Read by Natasha. Pictures by Sophie Green. Duration 18.48
It was Halloween, which as you know, is a spooking time of year when ghosts and goblins come out and play tricks on people.
Tim the Tadpole was feeling just a bit frightened about the whole idea of Halloween. But he thought that if he could so something funny, that would help him forget about how frightened he really was.
So he swam up behind Bertie and said:
But Bertie didn’t shriek and shake with fright like like he was supposed to do. In fact he didn’t do anything at all. So Tim again said
Bertie still didn’t move
And so Tim said,
“Bertie why aren’t you frightened when I come up behind you and say woooooo?”
Bertie opened his eyes – he had been dozing after a big lunch of flies and green slime.
“Because little Tim, if you want to truly frighten somebody, you need to go more like this:
And Tim was so scared that he swam around the pond six times backwards.
He was still shaking and he said.
“Ooh, Bertie, that was so very scary. Just like a real ghost. In fact, I wanted to ask you – do ghosts really truly-wooly exist?’
“Oh yes,” said Bertie. “I know because once I was haunted by a ghost.”
And when he said that, Tim begged Bertie to tell the story of how he was haunted by a ghost.
It happened one Halloween when Bertie was still a small prince and lived in the palace. The royal family was eating pumpkin soup for dinner when Prince Harry, who was Bertie’s annoying little brother, said;
“Bertie I bet you are scared of ghosts.”
And Bertie replied.
“Don’t annoy me when I’m eating.”
But Harry went on:
“In fact, I bet you are far too scardy to sleep in the haunted room tonight.”
The haunted room was in the north tower, and legend held that anyone who slept there on Halloween would meet the Ghost of King George who had lived 400 years ago and had been murdered by his wicked step-mother. The last person who had slept in that room had been Bertie’s great- uncle Charles, and he had gone stark raving mad. For sure, Bertie didn’t want to sleep in the haunted room. But equally he didn’t want to admit that he was frightened. So he pretended not to be listening. But Harry wouldn’t stop. He started to chant:
“Scaredy -cat, scaredy scaredy scaredy ca!t”
The royal nanny told Harry to pipe down, but Bertie knew that he would have no princely honour until he dared to sleep in the haunted room. And so after dinner he took his pillow, his duvet and his soft toy giraffe over to the north tower and settled in for the night.
I don’t know if you have ever tried to stay the night in a haunted room, but it isn’t easy to get off to sleep. Every time the wind blows and the trees rustle outside your window you feel, well, just a bit like you are about to meet a ghost. And if you hear any creaking floorboards, that’s it. You are really frightened.
So Bertie didn’t sleep. He sat up in bed and waited for the ghost of King George.
And around midnight, he turned up. At first Bertie didn’t see him. He just heard him laugh. But it wasn’t a scary laugh. It was more deep and jolly like;
“Ho Ho Ho.”
And then the King appeared on the end of Bertie’s bed and said:
“Hey you heard this one? What do you call a witch who lives on the beach? A sandwich of course. Ha Ha.”
And Bertie laughed too, because the ghost was much funnier than he had been expecting.
“And how about this?,” went on the King. “What do you get when you cross a black cat with a lemon?”
“I don’t know,” admitted Bertie
“A sour-puss ! HA! Oh dear. I can’t tell you how glad I am that you came to sleep here tonight. I haven’t shared a good joke with anyone in centuries.”
After that, Bertie and the Ghost sat up and told each other jokes and stories until it was almost dawn. They were both laughing so much that Harry could hear them, and his room was in a different tower all together.
When the sky was just starting to get light the ghost said, “Well I must be off now. But it would be so nice to spend a little more time having fun. I say, will you let me haunt you?”
Bertie said that he was awfully sorry, but he didn’t think it would do for a prince to be haunted. When he heard this, the ghost looked so awfully sad. In fact, he might have cried, only ghosts can’t cry. Bertie felt really really mean, and so he said:
“Well alright then. I’ll let you haunt me. But you must promise not to frighten anyone. Except for my pesky brother Harry of course…. And the royal nanny. It might be quite fun for her to see a ghost.”
And that’s how Bertie became haunted by the ghost of King George. Wherever Bertie went, the ghost went too. At first it was quite fun. When Harry tried to steal Bertie’s chocolate biscuits, the ghost slammed the tin shut on his fingers and made him go “ye—ouch!” And Harry was completely puzzled about how it had happened, because only Bertie could see the ghost.
Similarly, when the royal nanny went to the hairdressers, the ghost put green dye in the shampoo so that she came home looking like she had slime growing on her head.
And when Bertie was playing in goal for the palace soccer team, the ghost helped him save a penalty, and all the team’s supporters cheered Bertie to the sky.
But being haunted wasn’t all good. No. Not by any means.
Another time, Prince Boris, who bigger than Bertie and a bit of a bully, was giving Bertie some bother in the school playground. Bertie was trying to talk his way out of the situation, but the ghost came along and biffed Boris on the nose. Bertie and he had to go and see the headmaster and explain that it wasn’t him who had biffed Boris, but somebody else, and he couldn’t say who because that would be telling.
Unfortunately, the ghost had rather a silly sense of humour. Sometimes in class he would blow a raspberry at the teacher and Bertie would get the blame. And he also thought it was funny to put a whoopie cushion on the Queen Mother’s chair. And he liked splashing in puddles and getting Bertie’s school uniform all wet and muddy.
None of these things were so very bad, though Bertie was getting a little bit bored of the ghost and its tricks. And he was feeling rather tired because the ghost stayed up all night and told jokes.
And then one day the ghost went too far. It happened like this. The king who was Bertie’s father, wasn’t very strict in general, but he did have one rule. It was absolutely forbidden to touch his musket. His musket was like a very fancy gun, with gold plate and curly engravings. It hung above the fireplace in his study, and there it stayed. That was the rule.
But the ghost didn’t obey rules because he didn’t have to. He could do anything he liked, and nobody except Bertie would know that it was him who had done it.
One evening the ghost went through the wall into the King’s study and took the musket and brought it up to the top of the north tower. From there he had a good view of the Palace Gardens, and he started to use the musket to shoot the king’s vegetables. Splat ! went a prize pumpkin. Plop ! when one tomato after the other. And “ha ha ha !” went the ghost. The queen mother’s poodle came into the garden, and the ghost shot her too – fortunately he missed, but he almost scared the life out of her.
The King came outside to see what the noise was about, and he all he could see was the musket pointing out of the haunted room in the North Tower. The only person who ever dared to go up there was Bertie.
And so Bertie was in trouble. Big trouble.
He tried to explain that it was the ghost who had been shooting with the musket, but nobody would believe him. The king stopped his pocket money and banned him from watching TV for a whole month.
That was really it. Bertie was furious. He told the ghost that he couldn’t haunt him anymore because he was causing too much trouble. But the ghost just laughed and said that he liked haunting Bertie and Bertie could like it or lump it.
“Besides, it’s lonely up there in the tower not seeing a soul for hundreds of years on end. I’m having far too much fun to go back to that afterlife.”
And so Bertie was very sad and very fed up. He thought and thought about who could help him out of his predicament, and the only person he could think of was the palace librarian. The librarian read ever so many books and knew all about the history of the palace and the royal family. Perhaps he would know how to deal with the the ghost of King George. Or perhaps he would think that Bertie had gone nuts. It all depended on whether or not he believed in ghosts.
Fortunately, he did. “Why of course I believe in ghosts,” he replied when Bertie asked. “In fact, I was talking to one only the other day.”
“Not King George by any chance?” asked Bertie.
“No not that silly old fool,” said the Librarian. And as he was saying that, the ghost of King George was writing “Look behind you!” with a marker pen on the wall of the library.
“I met this particular ghost when I was visiting a library in a castle just north of here. Her name was Princess Beth and she was betrothed to King George, but his wicked step-mother murdered him before the wedding could take place. Sad story really. She’s still pining for her long lost lover after all these centuries, and she’s so terribly lonely.”
“I don’t suppose,”said Bertie, “that we could send our King George to live with Princess Beth in her castle.”
But the librarian shook his head. It was only possible for a ghost to move about if it haunted someone,, and nobody would wanted to be haunted by a ghost as mischievous as King George.
But Bertie was haunted by him already. And so the next day he took a royal train to the north of the country to visit the castle of Princess Beth. And because King George was haunting Bertie, he had to go with him.
And that’s the story of how the ghost of King George was reunited with his long lost lover, Princes Beth, and from then on they lived together in the castle in the north, and were happy playing games and telling each other jokes, and Bertie returned home, unhaunted, and free from ghostly bother.