Andrew, Fay and their five-year-old daughter, Sylvie, are travelling along the A40, when Sylvie looks out of the window, and asks, What’s that funny pointed hill thing?
That’s Sugar Loaf Mountain, Andrew replies.
Is it sugar? Sylvie asks.
Might be, Andrew laughs.
Fay smiles as she drives. Are you feeling better? she asks Andrew.
Just indigestion. It’ll be those pasties we had for lunch.
Why’s it called Sugar Loaf Mountain? Sylvie asks.
Maybe Daddy can tell you a story about it at bedtime, Fay says.
Will you, Daddy? Will you?
Sylvie is tucked up in bed. As Andrew sits beside her, his hand on his chest, he groans, Oh, that hurts.
Shall I get mummy? Sylvie asks.
No, don’t bother her.
Andrew begins. Once upon a time, Gwydion, a Welsh wizard, was in the Usk Valley in early evening and it was getting dark. Gwydion was grumpy because he was hungry – yes, even wizards get hungry. The woodland was quiet because the birds were roosting.
Sleeping. But Mr Brock the badger was wide-awake. Can I help you? he asked the wizard.
Why aren’t there any people living here? Gwydion asked. If there were people, there’d be a pub. I could have a pint and get a jam roly-poly – I’ve got a sweet tooth.
Like me, Sylvie laughs.
Andrew, holding his chest, draws a deep breath.
Daddy? I’ll get mummy.
It’s all right. Come with me, Mr Brock replied. Soon the wizard and the badger emerged in moonlight onto the lower slope of a pointed mountain.
It’s the sugar loaf! Sylvie shouts.
Why are we here? Gwydion asked.
If you’re a wizard, why not do some wizardry? the badger asked.
To do what?
There’s no pub because the folks round here are too poor to have sugar so there’s no beer or jam roly-polys.
With his stave Gwydion struck the brown sandstone. Thunder rolled. Lightening flashed. Mr Brock almost fell over as the ground erupted into pile upon pile of brown sugar. Gwydion ate a handful and said, As long as people believe in me there’ll always be sugar here for them if they look hard enough.
I believe in Gwydion and the Sugar Loaf Mountain, Sylvie shouts.
Andrew is silent. His head droops.
Sylvie starts shouting, Mummy! Mummy! Daddy’s real poorly.
To honour the tenth anniversary of Andrew’s death from a heart attack, Fay and Sylvie decide to go to the Sugar Loaf for the first time. Although Sylvie is now fifteen, Fay feels she must say, You do know it’s not really made of sugar, don’t you?
There’ll be sugar, Mum.
As they leave the wood, they see a silver bowl full of brown sugar hidden under a holly bush.
Fay says, That’s not possible.
It is, Mum. In Dad’s story the wizard said, ‘There’ll always be sugar here if you believe.’
The one Daddy told me the night he died. Silently adding, And on all the nights he was in my dreams.
I hope you enjoyed this story. Remember, I publish a new story every Sunday.
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© Phil Cosker 2022
Phil Cosker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved; no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any mean, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.