Authors: Terry Deary
WORLD WAR II TALES
THE APPLE SPY
WORLD WAR II TALES
THE APPLE SPY
Illustrated by James de la Rue
Spiders and stories
Miss McLennan had a round, porridge-white face and little brown eyes. When she read us stories her little eyes grew wide and her voice grew excited.
Some of the kids in her class stared at her, mouths open, as if her words were dripping honey. Me and my brother Jamie thought she looked plain daft.
â“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is fairest of them all?”' the teacher read.
âIt's not you,' Jamie muttered and I sniggered. I snorted too loud. I couldn't help it.
Miss McLennan slammed the book shut. âMarie Bruce, go and stand in the corner,' she said and her mouth wrinkled like a breakfast prune.
I blew out my cheeks. She always picked on me. Jamie made trouble but I was punished. He liked that. Brothers.
The teacher went on, âThe wicked queen went into her most secret room and she made a poisoned apple.'
And the class went âOoooh!'
âFrom the outside it was beautiful, and anyone who saw it would want it. But anyone who ate a little piece of it would die.'
You know the story. The queen pretended to be an old apple seller and visited Snow White, who refused to eat the apple. Snow White didn't live in war time like we did. We would have eaten a barrel full of apples.
â“Are you afraid of poison?” asked the wicked queen. “Look, I'll cut the apple in two. You eat half and I shall eat half.”'
âDon't do it, Snow White,' Jamie cried out loud. Miss McLennan glared at him.
âNow, the apple had been made so that only the one half was poisoned. Snow White stuck her hand out and took the poisoned half.'
Jamie listened, and it saved our lives.
No, really. Snow White saved our lives.
Poisons and platforms
The class were sitting on the polished wood floor, legs crossed and arms folded.
Miss McLennan said, âSnow White barely had a bite of apple in her mouth when she fell to the ground, dead.'
Jamie jumped to his feet and said, âAn apple a day doesn't keep the doctor away.'
The teacher slammed the book shut and banged it on her desk. Her porridge face turned raw-beef red. âJamie Bruce, I am sending you home right now. You cannot spoil story-time for the whole class. Get out. I will send a letter to your father.'
âAnd you can go with your brother,' she screeched at me.
We were out of the classroom faster than a sausage out of a frying pan when our cat was in the kitchen.
The September sky was a cloudless blue as we raced down the hill towards the harbour. âWhere are we going, Jamie?' I cried.
My ribbons were coming loose and my hair whipped around my face. Jamie's short grey trousers slapped at his legs.
âTo the station,' he shouted over his shoulder. âThe Edinburgh express will be coming in.'
The station platform was quiet and smelled of the soot and oil from the locomotives that stopped there, steaming and coughing and creaking. The station-master, Mr John Donald, was smart as a pin in his navy uniform with brilliant buttons. His nose wrinkled when he saw us run onto the platform. âDo you two rapscallions have tickets?' he asked.
âYes,' my brother told him.
The man took a deep breath. âWould it be possible for me to have a look at them?'
Jamie reached into his pocket and handed over two pieces of card. Mr Donald placed a pair of spectacles on the end of his nose and squinted through them. He tapped them. âThese are library tickets.'
Jamie shrugged. âYou asked if we had tickets.'
âNot yet,' I said.
But we were saved when the station-master looked towards the entrance of the station and said, âHello. What have we here?'
Eggs and legs
Strangers. A man and a woman. They wore grey raincoats and brown felt hats and fine shoes. She wore a heavy tweed skirt and thick woollen socks. The man wore a dark blue suit.
Their pale, hard eyes scanned the platform and fastened on Mr Donald the station-master. The woman took a step towards him. âExcuse me,' she said, and her voice was odd. Foreign.
Mr Donald gripped the lapels of his uniform and said, âYes, madam?'
âTell me, porter, what is the name of this station?'
Mr Donald was a short man but he stretched as tall as he could and said, âI am not a porter, madam. I am the station-
. And the names of all stations have been removed. Then if a German spy arrivesâ¦' he said very slowly, âthey will not know where they are.'
The man stepped forward. He had an accent just like the woman. âWhat a wonderful idea. Those German spies must be defeated. No?'
âNoâ¦I mean, yes,' station-master Donald said.
âWe came here to Forres for a walking holiday,' the man said. âNow we take the train to London.'
âThis is not Forres,' Mr Donald said. âThis is â '
âLossiemouth,' I said quickly. I met the eyes of Mr Donald and those eyes seemed to say, âThank you.' He had almost given us away.