The competition closed and the judges met to discuss the submissions. There were lots of very imaginative responses to the idea of ‘How Morland Court Got Its Name’ and we are delighted to publish Emily Henderson’s winning entry below. Thank you to all those who entered and a special congratulations to Emily.
How Morland Court Got Its Name
by Emily Henderson
“Swish went the great big sword. ‘Avast Ye!’ yelled the Pirate Captain and Granddad leapt off the cannon and brought his sabre down on…”
“Oi! Careful Bobby!” snapped Moira, after nearly being hit over the head with the branch her little brother was using to tell the story of the great battle. She wrinkled her nose at him, which made all her freckles seem to move about in disapproval.
“Sorry,” mumbled Bobby, slightly annoyed at the interruption. He’d leapt off the tree stump and almost forgotten where he was in the story of the fight with the Pirate Captain so many years ago. “But anyway – that is how my Granddad killed the pirate and stole the treasure from his sinking ship and when he got home he buried it under this tree.”
“I see,” said the man in the grey suit, “but it does all sound rather fanciful. How do you know it’s not just a story?”
“Because he also took the Captain’s parrot as well. They live for a really, really long time, parrots,” toned in Moria. “Olivia’s seen it too.”
Olivia, Moria’s best friend, rarely spoke but she looked up from her seat on the fallen tree and nodded. “His name is Theodore,” she said in a soft voice from behind her long brown hair.
“I see.” The man stretched in the evening sunshine and took off his tie, tucking it into one of his green Wellington boots, covered in mud from walking around the churned up ground. “But you know, that still doesn’t make it safe for you to be here. Just because everyone has left work, doesn’t mean building sites are a good place to play.”
“Yeah, but you’re here and you’re not a builder,” Moira protested. She’d noticed some mud on the hem of her dress and was now wondering what her mother would say when she saw it.
“No, but I do work here. Well, I work here and in London. I draw the pictures of how the buildings will look and decide on some of the other details.”
“You’ve got a job where you just have to draw pictures?” Bobby looked up in amazement from poking a worm he’d found. But Moira was unimpressed.
“Mum says you’re probably going to send lots of people from London to live here, like they did in the Ortons. When this is our land and our treasure.”
Olivia looked up nervously. She’d been in trouble before because of Moria’s cheek and she didn’t want it to happen again. But the man just laughed.
“Tell me, why hasn’t your Grandfather dug up his own treasure in all this time?” he asked.
“He said the tree was only small when he buried it and then it got really big and he couldn’t get past the roots,” said Bobby. “He used to bring us here and tell us about all the ships he sailed on in the Navy and the rubies and emeralds and gold balloons.”
“Gold doubloons!” Moira corrected.
“But he’s not very well now so we thought we’d dig it up for him since the tree’s been cut down.”
“Before the Londoners steal it.” Moria’s mood was getting worse and she tried to rub the mud from her dress and made it worse too.
“Well how about I promise that any treasure found by the workers comes straight to me and I’ll make sure your Grandfather receives it?”
Bobby looked at his sister Moira who scowled.
“That would be very kind of you,” Olivia spoke up, giving a nervous smile. She seemed to come out of her dream world and then suddenly noticed the lengthening shadows and started to panic. “Oh, what time is it?”
The man looked at his large gold digital watch, which made Bobby’s eyes widen. “Quarter past five exactly,” he said. All three children let out a cry as they realised they were late for dinner and began to leave. “Wait! What are your names? So I can find you to give you the treasure.”
“That’s my friend Olivia,” Moira called, “he’s my little brother Bobby and I’m Moira.”
“Moira, Olivia and Robert. Owners of this land and the treasure within.” The man chuckled and waved as they squeezed through a gap in the fence. He turned, picked up his briefcase and walked towards the main gate where his car was parked.
It was the following Spring when the first people were housed. Moira’s father read the small article about it in the Evening Telegraph aloud. “Morland Court, they’ve called it and they’ve spelled it wrong. Should be M-O-O-R, not M- O-R. Sounds a bit la de da to me,” he said, as Moira’s mother shoved his feet off the table so she could serve dinner.
“MOR-land Court,” she put on a voice like the Queen and then laughed. “You’d think they could have named it after someone local at least.”