Chapter 1 - Kidnapped

Dan and Alison were not in the mood for talking

Art: Paul

Jack crept into the park behind Dan & Alison

Art: Gloria Dexter


One miserable Thursday afternoon, eleven year old Jack Hughes crept into the park behind his brother Dan and girlfriend Alison. He hid in the bushes, hoping to hear what was wrong with Mum and Dad. Although he could not ask Dan any more than he could ask his parents, Jack knew Dan would tell Alison. He told her everything.

Today, Dan and Alison were not in the mood for talking, which left Jack feeling awkward watching them smooch. By the time Alison left and Dan set off home, Jack felt no better than a rotten little spy. Glumly following his brother he kept out of sight, ashamed Dan might discover him sneaking around snooping.


Jack saw an old woman waylaid Dan by the hill in the park. She looked filthy dirty and was dressed like a tramp. He wondered if she was begging. When she started stroking Dan’s face and called him Thomas, Jack could not believe Dan just stood there and let her!

 Horrified when she suddenly kissed his brother full on the lips, Jack could take no more. He burst out of hiding, shouting at her to get away and leave Dan alone. Freezing Jack with a stare, the old woman shimmered as if going out of focus. In her place a beautiful lady stood willowy, pale and radiant as a princess.   

the old woman shimmered

Art: Gloria Dexter


With tangled golden curls sparkling in the watery sunset, she playfully wagged a finger at Jack. In a low musical voice, sounding cosy as a secret shared, she cooed: “Frère Jacques, frère Jacques. Not today, but I will come back! I promise when your day comes, together we will have such fun. Until then silence learn, a kiss sweet Jacques ‘til I return!”

Blowing Jack a kiss which stung like a smack on the mouth, the beautiful lady took Dan’s hand and they vanished. There was no lightning flash or thunderclap. They were simply gone - like they were never there at all.

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Jack's dream

Go to the Story of the Book

for a summary of

Thomas the Rhymer