Jack and Jill went up the hill – but not to fetch a pail of water. Oh no! They had another plan in mind. You see – there was a big hedge just beyond the crest of the hill. They had discovered it, unseen from the well, on their last trip up the hill. But Jack and Jill had found more than a hidden hedge; behind the hedge was a perfect place for discovering each other.
As they giggled and teased, searching for just the “right spot,” Jack suddenly stopped and looked around.
“Do you hear that?” he asked Jill. Jill stopped, listened, and said, “Yes, it sounds like music, and it’s getting louder.”
“Oh, no!” said Jack. “It’s the Pied Piper. I hope he’s not leading any rats up here!”
Jack ran towards the sound of the music and spied the Pied Piper on the side of the hill. Sure enough, there were about forty rats following the sounds of the pipe. Jack motioned for the piper to turn away and lead the rats back down the hill.
The piper got the message and started to turn away, but first glanced behind Jack to see Jill peeking around the hedge. He grinned and continued away from the scene, but not before yelling back to Jack, “I know what you’re doing. God sees you!”
“Pervert!” muttered Jack as he got back to the business at hand. Back beside Jill, he noticed that Jill was looking beyond him and turned to see what she saw.
Running up the hill was a small girl with a red hooded cape wound around her. The look on her pale face showed sheer terror. “Help me!” she screamed.
“What’s wrong?” said Jill. Jill knew Red; they were neighbors.
“The wolf is chasing me again! I’m so scared.” She rushed toward Jack and Jill for protection.
Jack looked behind her and went to the edge of the hill to see where the wolf might be, but he turned back to Red and told her he could see no wolf.
“Can I stay here with you guys until I’m sure?” she pleaded. Jack and Jill rolled their eyes at one another and nodded. Sure.
Just then they heard the sound of laughing and screaming children running up the hill being chased by an old woman with a broom in her hand.
When they crested the hill and saw Jack, Jill and Red huddled together, they slowed and stopped screaming, surprised to see people by the hedge. The old woman finally caught up with the children and plopped down, panting from her up-hill effort.
“It’s the old woman who lives in the shoe and all of her noisy kids,” said Jack.
“Hey! Jack and Jill! What are you guys doing up here?” asked the oldest boy.
“Just hanging out,” Jack answered; his hopes for a wonderful day with Jill were dimming fast.
“My mother makes us come up here a lot so we can get out of her shoe. Oh, look! Here comes Mary with her damn lamb.”
Jack groaned as Mary’s little lamb came scampering toward Red, who welcomed him with a big hug. Mary and Red played with the lamb as the rest of the children played tag. Jack and Jill stood, surrounded by the craziness. They turned as they heard the sound of a horn.
“Oh, no,” said Jack. “Here comes Little Boy Blue and his corny horn. Hey, Blue, stop that awful noise. What are you doing up here?”
“My mother sent me to get Red; it’s time for supper.” He called to his sister who came running to meet him. Then they both ran home together. Mary also started for home, and the lamb was sure to go.
By this time the old woman who lived in a shoe was rested enough to start home. She called together all of her children who followed her down the hill.
At last Jack and Jill were the only ones left near the hidden hedge. Jack took Jill’s hand. “At last we’re alone,” he said sitting down in the grass and tugging Jill’s hand to sit beside him.
“I gotta go home,” said Jill. “All this activity has been very upsetting. And I have a headache.”
Mary Bowers has participated in the Imaginative Writing Classes taught by Marilyn Myerson and is a member of OLLI writing groups. Highly respected by her colleagues, Mary is referred to as “the queen of narrative” by fellow members of the groups. Three of Mary’s stories can be found in the 2013 publication of member-created works. Reflections: Prose, Poems, Photos, and Artworks. The 374-page volume consists of written and visual materials submitted by OLLI members to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the OLLI chapter on the USF Campus.