Sidney Snail slept for most of the day and woke up later than he wanted. When he peeped out of his shell he saw it was a warm evening. The Giants who lived in the big house were having a party at the other end of the garden. They were eating and drinking, and Sidney heard loud music.
He realised it was starting to get dark and he wanted to see Ripple the Rabbit and Frankie Frog.
As Sidney moved forward he saw Ripple the Rabbit and called out to him. The two friends went down to the pond where Frankie was watching out for them. “I have been hoping to see you all day,” said Frankie. “Let’s do something.”
While the three friends were thinking about what they could do, it went very quiet in the garden. They looked around and saw all the Giants going into the house. Moving towards the tables, they saw lots of food on the table.
“Let’s have a party, ” said Ripple. “There is plenty of food for all of us”:
“What are those round things tied to the tree?” asked Sidney, after they’d eaten until they were full.
“They are balloons,” said Ripple. “One red, one yellow and one blue.”
“One for each of us,” said Frankie.
Ripple climbed onto a chair under the tree and untied the balloons. He gave the red one to Sidney, the yellow one to Frankie. The blue one he kept for himself.
The friends started to walk up the garden with their balloons. “This is fun,” said Sidney. All of a sudden, there was a big “whoosh” of wind.
The three held tightly onto their balloons and when the wind gave another big “whoosh” they were lifted into the air– higher and higher and further away.
“Help, help” they cried, but there was no-one to see or hear them. They hung onto the balloons as hard as they could because they knew they would fall if they didn’t. They could see twinkling lights everywhere beneath them, getting smaller and smaller. It was a lovely sight, but they were very frightened.
Then, the sky began to light up; hundreds and hundreds of twinkling stars started to shine. A path of light was being made for them. The three balloons and their passengers were being carried even further into the night.
The wind slowed to a gentle breeze and the balloons began to slow down also. “This is beginning to be fun,” said Ripple.
“It might be for you,” said Sidney “but where are we going and how will we get home?
“Never mind about that” said Ripple “I think we are going to the moon”.
They sky was suddenly bathed in an even brighter light. A voice boomed out, “well hello, who are you and what are you doing here?”
“We are Sidney Snail, Ripple the Rabbit and Frankie Frog. Who are you?
“I” said the voice “am the Man in the Moon”. “Come in and have a drink with me. You must be tired after your journey.
The three friends reached the Moon and a door with a window opened out. Mr. Moon helped them in with their balloons. “Where have you come from?” asked Mr. Moon.
“We have come from our garden a long way down from here. The wind pulled us up with our balloons,” said Sidney.
“You are lucky I was in tonight” said Mr. Moon “because your balloons could not have gone much higher.”
“What do you do here Mr. Moon?” asked the three friends.
“I put the light on at night to light the world so people can see in the dark” said Mr. Moon.
“Gosh” said the three friends “that is very clever. Do you have a light switch”?
“Yes, I can switch the light on and off, but sometimes the clouds get in the way so the light doesn’t shine”.
“Do you go to sleep in the daytime?” asked Sidney.
Mr. Moon smiled. “Not really, because when it’s day light and you are playing, I go to the other side of the world and turn on the light at night for the people there so that they can see”.
“That is even more clever,” said the three friends.
They chatted a long time to Mr. Moon, who was so glad to see them as he didn’t get many visitors. After a while he said, “Well, you will have to go now because I have to turn off the light and go to the other side of the world. My cousin, Samantha Sun will soon be coming, so I am not needed again until tomorrow night”.
“How will we get back?” asked the three friends.”
“I’ll ask East Wind, to be very gentle and she will blow you home. Do come and see me again,” said Mr. Moon.
The three friends went to the door, said goodbye to Mr. Moon, and thanked him for having them. East Wind arrived and said, “I’ll follow you and keep you safe until you are home.”
Then East Wind began to blow the three balloons very gently. Down, down they went. As they got nearer to the earth it began to get light, and they saw Samantha Sun starting to light up the daytime sky. The trees and fields came closer, and soon they were hovering over their garden.
“My job is done,” said East Wind, “goodbye my friends”.”
“Goodbye East Wind” said the three friends. “See you again soon”.
As they arrived in the garden there was a big bang, one, two three big bangs. They looked up and saw their balloons had all burst.
“Oh” said Sidney, “where have they gone?”
“Perhaps they have gone back to see Mr. Moon again,” said Frankie.
They looked up into the sky: The moon had nearly disappeared, but the friends could have sworn they saw Mr. Moon waving to them. They all waved back, said goodbye to each other and went home to sleep, Sidney arrived home and his mother wanted to know where he had been. “I have been to the moon and back with Ripple and Frankie,” he said.
“I think, Sidney, you have been dreaming,” said his mother.
Sidney sat down. “Has it all been a dream?” he asked himself. He would have to speak to Ripple and Frankie tomorrow. They would be able to tell him. After all, wasn’t it eating carrots that helped you to see in the dark?
Written By Barbara Brewin ©
Illustrated by Lenard Eccles