“Dragons don’t carry people’s love.”
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|London: Vintage Books|
They began to know the hours when certain trains passed, and they gave names to them. The 9.15 up was called the Green Dragon. The 10.7 down was called the Work of Wantley.
It was one morning as they say on the fence waiting for the Green Dragon, which was three and a quarter minutes late by Peter’s Waterbury watch that he had had given him on his last birthday.
“The Green Dragon’s going there Father is,” said Phyllis, “if it were really real dragon, we could stop it and ask it to take our love to Father.”
“Dragons don’t carry people’s love,” said Peter, ‘”they’d be above it.”
“Yes. They do, if you tame them thoroughly first. They fetch and carry like pet spaniels,” said Phyllis, “and feed out of your hand. I wonder why father never writes to us.”
“Mother says he’s been too busy,” said Bobbie; “but he’ll write soon, she says.”
“I say,” Phyllis suggested, “let’s all wave to the Green Dragon as it goes by. If it’s magic dragon, it’ll understand and take our loves to Father. And if it isn’t, three waves aren’t much. We shall never miss them.”
So when the Green Dragon tore shrieking out of the mouth of its dark hair, which was the tunnel, all three children stood on the railing and waved their pocket-handkerchiefs without stopping to think whether they were clean handkerchiefs or the reverse. They were, as a matter of fact, very much the reverse.
And out of a first-class carriage a hand waved back. A quite clean hand. It held a newspaper. It was the old gentleman’s hand.
After this it became the custom for waves to be exchanged between the children and 9.15.
And the children, especially the girls, liked to think that perhaps the old gentleman knew Father, and would meet him ‘in business’ wherever the shady retreat might be, and tell him how the three children stood on a rail far away in the green country and waved their love to him every morning, wet or fine.
Extract from the book The Railway Children
All Rights Reserved.
London: Vintage Books, 2012
Call Number: J English NES
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