This is an excerpt from a children’s book I am writing. It is inspired by my grandparents who lived in Rathgormack, County Waterford. (My grandfather – Gaga – was not shrunk to the size of a thimble in real life)
Chapter One – Gaga’s accident
“Where in the name of soda bread is he now?”
Granny Hooligang was worried. This was not the first time Gaga Hooligang had gone missing. A furious shriek came from the flower box outside the kitchen window. Granny dashed over to check the china tea-pot on the window sill. The lid was off. Gaga was missing.
Gaga’s tiny hands were clinging to one of the geraniums. His legs billowed behind him like a flag in the gentle breeze.
“Sweet Mother of Divine Teabags! What are you doing out there?, cried Granny.”
Wasting no time in planning the rescue mission, she made a bridge with her wrinkly hand so that Gaga could clamber onto it and nestle safely in the palm of her hand.
“I can’t live in that mini blue tea-pot anymore. Every time the wind blows, the lid falls off and I end up hanging on for dear life to the petals on that geranium. It’s exhausting, not to mention dangerous”.
Hmmm, he’s right, thought Granny.
“Eureka, I’ve got it! said Granny. “You can live in my Velcro hair rollers. Hop up now”.
Gaga smiled and scuttled up Granny’s arm to nestle into one of her bright pink rollers. For you or I, it would be quite a tight squeeze to live in a hair roller. But not for Gaga. This roller was like an enormous cavern, for Gaga was merely the size of a toddler’s thumb.
“This is much safer”, he said to Granny. “My trousers stick quite nicely to your rollers. And, I have a great view from up here”.
“I’m glad”, said Granny. “Now, let’s go outside. We have a lot of work to do today. I’ll chop the firewood and you roll the eggs the chickens laid this morning to the entrance of their coop. We need to go up the mountain today. I promised the fairies an “eggs-tra” delivery”, chuckled Granny.
“Right-o Granny. Let’s set to work”, said Gaga.
Gaga had not always been so teeny weeny. As a young man, he was almost as tall as a cathedral door and with feet so large, his shoes were especially made for him by a cobbler who owned a shoe shop in the village called “Two Giant Steps for Mankind”. His hands were also gargantuan like his feet. They were the perfect tools for his job as a wood cutter in the forest near the Hooligang’s cottage. It was quite an amazing sight to watch Gaga at work, balancing logs on his broad shoulders after chopping down the trees and cutting off the large branches.
“Tom Hooligang is the strongest forester in these parts”, the other men agreed.
One day, disaster struck. Gaga climbed to the top of a very tall tree to chop down some of the thicker branches. He hadn’t quite reached the top when he felt something tickle the top of his head. He thought it must be the leaves of the trees so he continued to climb.
Oh! There it was again. What was that?
A naughty, red squirrel was searching for a nut in Gaga’s bushy, black hair.
“Will you get off me please?” Gaga said to the squirrel. “I have work to do”.
The squirrel smirked, deciding to torment Gaga even further. He toddled to the edge of Gaga’s forehead and bent over so he was upside down, his eyes in line with Gaga’s. The squirrel squeaked gleefully as his little paws reached towards Gaga’s bushy eyebrows.
“Quit twiddling with my eyebrows, you silly squirrel! I can’t see properly”
The squirrel grabbed two fistfuls of Gaga’s eyebrows and yanked them in opposite directions. The squirrel pulled this way, then that way. For such a small creature, he sure was strong.
“Ahhhhhh”, screamed Gaga. “Will you give over this nonsense please? You’re going to cause an accident”.
The squirrel squeaked mischieviously, swatting his course tail against Gaga’s face, all the while steering Gaga’s eyebrows from left to right like the wheel of a car that was out of control.
In the confusion, Gaga couldn’t hold onto the tree any longer. He fell. His big, strong body hitting the hard branches as he plummeted towards the ground.
Gaga’s body lay tangled on the forest floor.