Continuing my foray into an old book from childhood, Enid Blyton’s collection of Anytime Tales originally published in her Holiday Books.
This is another tale with a warning from the 10th Holiday Book. I found it has scarcely more to offer than ‘Little Queenie’ from a previous post. Once again, it is a story with the obvious metaphorical consequences. Just swap a heart of literal stone for a nose which extends in length each time Ina shoves it into other peoples’ business.
I can almost hear Enid shrilling ‘Now then children, always remember…’ Interfering Ina is another lesson in decent Blyton behaviour. I wonder if she ever warned her own daughters against the vices of unkindness (as in Little Queenie), and nosiness, by stating the unpleasant possible consequences.
Cross Aunt Tabitha
Here is a lesson to children that by being good and kind to others in the face of dire adversity will bring its own rewards, which it does to Phyllis and Jane. It’s a much nicer tale as nothing physically disfiguring occurs. The ‘adversity’ is the character who gives her name and disposition to the story’s title. She’s a thoroughly grumpy old bat with little to recommend her, except for her nice home, and her maid Mary.
When they go to stay with her, their Aunt Tabitha terrorises her two nieces (probably Great or even Great-Great, given the fact that Phyllis and Jane are children and their mother is a young woman.) So frightened are Phyllis and Jane in their efforts to remain quiet, and to not spill the tea-things, that they decide to abscond back home.
However, Mary the long-suffering maid becomes poorly. Being kind girls, Phyllis and Jane decide that they must help finish ‘bottoming’the sewing room which Mary has started but is too unwell to finish. The timely discovery of some missing money Aunt Tabitha lost some time back, not only brings presents for the lasses, but also the redeeming of Aunt Tabitha’s good humour – we knew it was there somewhere – and the hope that the girls’ kindness has induced some humility in Aunt Tabitha enough to be nicer to folk in future. Well, Blyton’s view of the world is rosy after all!