The Little Boy Who Wanted a Castle by Carolyn Sherwin Balley

Story type: Literature

There was once a boy who thought a great deal about castles. He had a very beautiful picture book with coloured pictures of castles that showed how large and different and fine they were, and, presently, after thinking a long time about it, the boy decided that a castle was where he would like, most of all, to live.

So very early one morning, when it was a sunny day and pleasant enough for any sort of an adventure, the boy made up his mind that he would go out for a little journey and try to find himself a castle.

He told his mother about it, for he always told her everything, and she smiled down into his face as she buttoned his coat.

“Are you sure that you can find a castle?” she asked.

“Oh, yes indeed, very sure,” the boy answered. “And if I can’t I’ll ask some one on the road and he’ll be able to tell me.”

“Well, don’t go so far away from home as to be late for supper,” said his mother, kissing him good-bye. And the boy said good-bye to his mother and started off, but he made up his mind that probably he wouldn’t be home that night because he would be having his supper in his castle.

The road was wide, and long, and winding, and the boy went down it for a long way. He saw no great golden castle, only pleasant little white houses with gardens, and people passing by with loads of vegetables and fruit and flowers going to the town. At last he came to a sharp turn in the road, and he saw an old man standing there with his dog.

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“Please, sir,” asked the boy, “I am taking a journey to find a castle. Can you tell me how to find one?”

The old man looked surprised. “I’ve heard about castles around here,” he said, “but I don’t know as you’ll find one in a day. You’ll know one, though, by the gold on the roof,” he explained.

So the boy went on farther still, and he came to another turn in the road. A girl with her flock of geese stood there, and the boy spoke to her. “I am taking a journey to a castle,” he said. “Can you tell me how to find one?”

The girl laughed. “You’ll know it by the garden,” she said. “All castles have very pretty gardens.”

So the boy went farther still, and where the road curved he met an old granny walking toward him with her knitting in her hand.

“Please, granny,” said the boy. “I am taking a journey to find a castle. Can you direct me to one?”

The granny looked down through her spectacles at the boy. “Perhaps you will come to a castle beyond the last turn in the road,” she said, pointing behind her. “They say there are castles hidden hereabouts. You’ll know it by the fine feasts they give every day at sundown, and the king and queen will be waiting at the door to welcome you.”

“How shall I know the king and queen? Do they always wear crowns?” asked the little boy.

“Not always,” said the granny, “but you can tell a true king and queen because they are so good and wise and kind.”

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So the boy thanked the granny and went on, but it was growing late in the day and he was tired. The bend in the road seemed a very long way off and he had to sit down several times before he reached it. His feet ached and his back was tired when he came to it, but when he turned and came out on the other side, he saw something wonderful.

Just a little way ahead lay the castle.

He could be quite sure that it was a castle because the roof shone with gold in the setting sun and in front lay a pretty garden of flowers of all kinds; pink roses, and tall white lilies, and purple violets. In the doorway stood two people waiting; they must be the king and queen, thought the little boy. As he ran and came nearer, he could smell the feast–a savoury meat pie, and freshly baked cake, and sweet fruits.

The boy ran faster and came to the gate and went up the walk. At the doorway he stopped. Why, it was his own house that he had come back to by way of the turns in the road. This was his own pretty garden that he saw, and his own fine supper that he smelled. His own dear father and mother waited in the door, with their arms outstretched to greet him.

“You are the king and queen,” shouted the boy, “always good and kind!”

“And this is our castle,” laughed his mother. “Come in, my little Prince. The feast is waiting for you.”

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