There must have been some extra toys in the box. Too many. So many, in fact, that its lid wasn’t closing, and Jack, possessing only a seven-year-old’s wisdom, wasn’t sure how to make it close. It was very important to him that it did close, though, and the only way he could think of doing it was for him to sit on the toy box and see if it flattened them out a bit.
But, can you guess what sitting on the toy box lid might do to the toys inside? Yes, you’re right. Toys got broken. Even Jack’s small weight was heavy enough to make a crumble, a crack and another. Then a long sound like Jack’s brother wheezing.
Jack jumped up from the box’s lid. What was that noise? He almost didn’t dare to look inside. He sat on the sofa for a few moments, staring at the television. His fourth favourite programme was on, and he watched the swirling background colours as the animated characters chattered. But Jack heard none of the chattering. All he could think about was what might have happened inside his toy box. All his precious things were inside there: a train set full of tracks and scenery, lots of crunchy plastic and metal cars.
And so much Lego you wouldn’t believe it. But it all usually fit into the box so well. What was it that was blocking the box up today?
The only way to find out, Jack reckoned, was to open it up and tip it out. So, he opened it up, but found the box too heavy to tip up, so began to grab the items inside in big strong handfuls. Mum caught him when he was almost at the bottom of the box. He tried to explain why he was doing it but she didn’t really want to know. She just seemed to want to shout and scold and generally be pretty cross and unable to understand that Jack was trying to help. That was all. He just wanted to find out what was going on, and to help.
Mum left the room to see to Jack’s older brother, with threats to Jack if he didn’t clear up by the time she got back.
Jack had every intention of tidying up quickly. He knew how important it was to keep the living room tidy, especially when you had plans to become an aeroplane. He didn’t want to hurt his feet on chunks of Lego again.
So, Jack grabbed the toys and blocks in handfuls as large as such a small lad could manage, and soon enough almost everything was back in. There weren’t any new toys since the last time he’d filled the toy box the previous day, but still the box lid would not close.
‘Jack,’ called his mother, ‘have you cleared up yet?’.
‘Yesm’ he said, looking towards her voice. ‘But I can’t close my toybox.’
Mum looked. ‘But, Jack, it’s closed,’ she said. Jack turned back to look at his toybox and was astonished to discover that his mum was right: the toys inside were flattened and the lid closed easily.
Jack was accustomed to things being confusing – after all he was a young lad and didn’t know all that much about the world yet, but this was an odd kind of confusion. It was as if all the things he usually understood were now going wrong. Things weren’t right, anyway. Mum left the room with a sweet goodbye and a ‘Good boy, Jack, for doing as I asked,’ but Jack had his mind on other things.
What was in his toybox? There was only one way to find out. And that meant to have a good rummage in the box again. Bits of Lego and Meccano spurted and flew onto the carpet next to him.
‘What you up to, Jack?’ mum called from the other room.
‘Looking for something,’ he replied, and moved all his stuff round. By the time he’d rummaged through everything, and put it all back, he realised that the lid was unable to close again. He was getting fed up of it now: really fed up. And then he heard a rustling inside the box, and a movement to accompany it. It made a funny sound, not quite a car and not quite a pig, but somewhere inbetween, like a meeoowweeek kind of sound. There it was again.
Jack peeped in the box and what did he see? His cheeky pig toy that usually fit into his hand quite easily had now swollen up. So, it was the shape and size of a beachball and had, as a result, pushed lots of other toys out on the floor.
‘Hello Piggie,’ Jack said, relieved at knowing what had caused his toybox lid to stay open. He hadn’t considered yet that it was a little odd for the piggie to have swollen. And then not swollen.
‘Hello Jack,’ Piggie said. ‘I don’t like being in there. I was just trying to get out.’
‘But how did you grow?’
‘I don’t know – it just happened. I like it though, don’t you?’
‘Yes, it’s nice to have someone to talk to,’ said Jack with a smile as he lifted Piggy from their toy box and moved him behind the sofa so he would be hidden from mum when she next walked in. ‘Where do you want to live, then, Piggy?’ asked Jack. ‘In your bed, of course,” said Piggy. ‘Warm and dry and not at all cluttered,’ Jack thought about it.
‘Alright,’ he said, ‘but no wriggling or I will throw you on the floor.’
‘And I will just bounce back in,’ said Piggy.
So, later on that evening when Piggy had shrunk again and been hidden in Jack’s pyjama pockets, mum tucked Jack up in bed. She kissed him on the nose and wished him a happy goodnight and as soon as she was gone, Jack pulled Piggy from his pocket. Piggy grew and sighed in contentment.
‘Aah,’ Piggy said, ‘this is so nice and comfortable. So cosy. So warm. So soft. Why haven’t I been in here before?’ he asked.
‘Only Belinda Duck lives in the bed with me,’ said Jack.
‘That’s so unfair,’ said Piggy. ‘Don’t you think?’ he added. ‘That’s how it is,’ Jack said, and tried to go to sleep.
In the morning, Jack was very unsure about what to do about Piggy. He’d had a terrible sleep because of Piggy’s growing and shrinking. It was annoying and disturbed Jack, a lot, but he wasn’t sure of how to tell Piggy. Jack thought that Piggy might be easy to hurt and definitely didn’t want to hurt him. But he really wanted a good sleep.
What to do? He couldn’t ask his mum because then he’d have to tell her about Piggy having changed and he knew mum wouldn’t find that easy to believe. Jack thought about it the whole of the day in school and his teachers told him off for daydreaming. Everything was going wrong, and it was all the fault of the magic that had brought Piggy to life. And Jack definitely didn’t like it.
So, how did Jack sort this out? What did he do about Piggy? Did he tell his mum, his dad, his best friend?
Jack asked to go to the park as soon as school was finished. He took his tiny Piggy in his pocket, and sat him on the chair. He left him there, and was relieved to share the bed with Belinda Duck. But the following day his best friend came into school. ‘I found this in the park,’ he said. And there was Piggy.
And Piggy was very, very angry.