DICKON


One morning, Mary was watching the robin on his perch on the wall, when suddenly something happened that felt like magic! A gust of wind blew the ivy on the wall, and under the leaves Mary saw a door! She felt for the key in her pocket and tried it in the lock. It was very stiff, but she could just turn it. The next second, she was in the Secret Garden!
Mary's heart thumped as she looked round. It was overgrown and untidy, but she thought it was the loveliest place. She saw green shoots of bulbs pushing up through the soil, and she pulled the weeds away to make room for the crocuses and snowdrops. Time slipped by as she went on weeding and clearing dead leaves and grass.

At supper time, she longed to share her secret with Martha, but she dared not in case she should be forbidden to go again to her Secret Garden. Instead, she said, 'I wish I had a bit of a garden to grow things in.'
That's a lovely idea,' said Martha. I'll get Dickon to bring some garden tools and seeds to plant.'

Mary worked with her hands in her Secret Garden every day. She was careful that Ben Weatherstaff never saw where she went. One day Ben said to her, 'This fresh air is doin' thee good. Tha's fatter and not so yeller. Tha looked like a young plucked crow when tha first came.' Mary laughed. She even liked Ben on his grumpy days.

One day Mary saw a boy sitting under a tree. Two rabbits and a pheasant were near him, and a squirrel clung to the tree above his head. They all seemed to be listening to the tune he was playing on a pipe.
The boy got up slowly, so as not to frighten the animals. His blue eyes smiled from his round, rosy face. I'm Dickon,' he said to Mary. 'I've brought tha garden tools and some flower seeds.'
His smile was so gentle and kind that Mary forgot to be shy. She felt that if animals trusted him, she could trust him, too. After a while she asked, 'Do you know about the Secret Garden?' 'I've heard of it,' he said, 'but I don't know where it is.'

Making sure no one was watching, Mary led him through the door in the wall. Dickon was amazed. He looked round at all the plants and trees. 'All these will grow,' he said. There'll be flowers and roses everywhere in a few weeks.'
They worked together, weeding and pruning. Mary felt she had never known anyone like Dickon. Trying to speak in a warm, Yorkshire voice like Dickon's and Martha's, she asked, 'Does tha like me?'

'Eh!' he laughed. That I does, an' so does the robin.'
After dinner, Mrs Medlock came to take Mary to see Mr Craven. 'He's going away tomorrow, and he wants to see you first,' she said.
Mary felt a little afraid, and very awkward and stiff. But Mr Craven wasn't a bit frightening, nor was his back really crooked. His face was handsome, but looked full of worry and misery. He asked if there was anything she would like. Mary asked for a piece of garden to grow her own flowers.

'Of course,' said her uncle. Take any bit that's not being used.' Mary knew which bit this would be. She could call the Secret Garden her own!


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