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Authors: Alan MacDonald

Trolls on Hols

BOOK: Trolls on Hols
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Trolls on Hols

by Alan MacDonald

illustrations by Mark Beech

For the brilliant Kate Shaw
who believed in trolls – A.M.

To my sister Janet – M.B.

Contents

Going Vestless

The Joy of Caravans

Paradise View

Painting Sheep

Swimming Lessons

A Darksome Night

A Bit of a Temper

Hide and Sneak

Missing Ulrik

Troll in the Hole

Beastly!

Wish you were Here!

Footnote

Also by the Author

Going Vestless

It was a hot, sunny day at the start of the summer. At Number 10 Mountain View the Trolls were out in their back garden. Mrs Troll lazed in a deckchair, leafing through a magazine while she cooled her hairy feet in a bowl of water. Her husband had stripped off his vest and stood knee-deep in a hole that he was digging with his bare hands. Every now and then showers of earth flew in all directions. Ulrik lolled on the grass, staring at the sky. It was only three days since he had broken up from school and he had nothing to do.

‘Mum,' he said.

‘Yes, my ugglesome?'

‘When are we going on holidays?'

‘We
are
on holidays.'

‘Yes, but I mean
real
holidays. Where you go somewhere.'

Mr Troll paused to wipe away a drip of sweat that hung from his snout. ‘We could go to that stinksome hole under the high street, we haven't been there for weeks.'

Ulrik shook his head. ‘That's a subway, Dad. I mean a proper holidays!'

Mr Troll climbed out of his hole and wiped his hands on his gigantic belly. He looked at his wife in bemusement. ‘What the bogles is he talking about?'

‘Ulrik's right. It's in my magazine,' said Mrs Troll. ‘That's what peeples do in summer – go on their holidays.'

‘Well, where is it then?' asked Mr Troll.

‘What?'

‘This holidays you want to go on.'

‘How should I know? I've never gone on it!'

‘Warren says it's the seasides,' explained Ulrik. ‘You take a towel and you have to lie on it till you get really hot, then you tromp into the sea to cool down.'

Mr Troll snorted. ‘Makes no sense. Why get all hot and blethered just so you can get cold again? Anyway, the sea is for fishes. Trolls don't belong in the sea. Caves and forests – that's where trolls live.'

‘And houses,' Ulrik pointed out. ‘We live in a house.'

‘Yes, well, houses as well,' agreed Mr Troll. ‘Caves and forests and houses.'

‘But couldn't we go on a holidays, Dad? We've never been!'

Mrs Troll lifted her feet out of the bowl and waggled her toes.

‘It might be nice, Eggy. Why don't we?'

‘But I've just started making a piddling pool!' objected Mr Troll, pointing at the muddy hole he had dug.

‘You can finish it when we come back.'

‘Please, Dad!' begged Ulrik. ‘Can we?'

Mr Troll sighed and picked up his vest. It was covered in dirt but he didn't mind since it was pretty filthy in the first place. ‘We'll see,' he said. He studied the cover of Mrs Troll's magazine, which showed a sandy beach crowded with hundreds of people who seemed to be wearing only their pants.

‘Hmm,' he said. ‘So how do you get to this seasides?'

Ulrik didn't know, he'd never been to the sea. In fact, he'd never been much further than the high street. He'd been to Troll Mountain, of course – that's where they used to live before they moved to Biddlesden – but there was no sea
back home, only mountains, forests and grey mist. He didn't know how far it was to the seasides. Could you walk there or did you have to catch a bus?

Mrs Troll had been thinking. ‘What about that shop on the high street, Eggy? The Trouble Agents. I'm sure they do holidays.'

Mr Troll looked puzzled. ‘You want to stay in a shop?'

‘No,' said Mrs Troll. ‘You ask the Trouble Agent and he finds you a holidays. It's like the supermarket only without the cornflakes.'

‘Oh,' said Mr Troll. ‘Well, if you want we can try it tomorrow.'

Next door Mrs Priddle stared out of her kitchen window while she chopped up carrots with more force than was strictly necessary.

‘Look at him!' she tutted. ‘It's disgusting!'

‘What is?' asked her son Warren, hurrying over to look.

‘That Mr Troll. Parading around in nothing but a tiny pair of shorts. As if I want to see that before my supper!'

‘What's wrong with it? Dad sometimes wears shorts,' Warren pointed out.

‘Yes, but he's not a troll. Look at the size of that belly. The least he could do is cover it up.'

Warren stood on a chair to get a better look at Mr Troll's belly. It was true it was impressively big. Warren had seen Mr Troll's belly before, bulging beneath the filthy vest he always wore, but today it was on display to the world. It was a pale green with a forest of coarse dark hair that spread from his chest to his belly button. When Mr Troll walked his belly wobbled like a blancmange. Warren thought you could hold a party on it. If Mr Troll lay on his back you could use him as a bouncy castle.

The front door slammed.

‘Roger, is that you? Come and see this!' called Mrs Priddle.

Mr Priddle came in humming to himself happily and planted a kiss on his wife's cheek.

‘See what, my darling?' he asked.

‘That!' said Mrs Priddle, pointing next door. ‘Can you believe it?'

‘Oh! He's not digging holes again?'

‘It's not the holes that worry me,' said Mrs Priddle. ‘Look what he's wearing!'

Mr Priddle peered out of the window. ‘Shorts,' he said.

‘He's practically naked! I've never seen anything so horrible in all my life.'

‘Well, don't look,' said Mr Priddle.

‘This is my kitchen, Roger. I'll look where I like. I'm not going to go round with my eyes shut just because that ugly brute can't be bothered to wear
a vest! This could go on all summer. Before we know it they'll all be parading around the garden in their underwear!'

‘Ugh! Mum!' said Warren, pulling a face.

‘Well, aren't you going to speak to him?' demanded Mrs Priddle.

‘You're the one who's offended. You speak to him,' replied Mr Priddle.

‘How can I speak to him? He's not wearing a vest!'

‘Never mind his vest!' said Mr Priddle. ‘I've got something to show you. Both of you. Come out the front.'

‘Why?' asked Mrs Priddle suspiciously.

‘You'll see. It's a surprise.' Mr Priddle groaned.

‘Oh Roger, you know I hate surprises!'

Mr Priddle forced his wife and son to shut their eyes and, holding them by the arm, he led them outside.

‘All right. You can look now.'

They both opened their eyes. ‘Oh my giddy bananas!' gasped Mrs Priddle.

‘It's a caravan,' said Mr Priddle.

‘I can see that, Roger. But what's it doing on our drive?'

BOOK: Trolls on Hols
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