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How the Children’ s Bookroom came to be transformed:
a Fairy Story
Once upon a time there was a beautiful Bookseller’s Daughter called Sophie, with a very special father called David, who could do all sorts of things. One day, as
Sophie was exploring the far floors of Scarthin Books she came upon a door that she had never noticed before. The security lock had stopped working and the door
opened as soon as she touched the handle. Inside, sitting on an enormous pile of cardboard and torn-up books, was a strange old man, with a beard reaching down to his chin. “Who are you?” she asked?
“Why, child, surely you know, I am the KING OF THE BOOKSHOP. Many think I have abdicated or even died, but it is known that one day, in the hour of greatest need, I shall return to save Scarthin Books."
Sophie was so shocked by the idea of this grumpy geriatric interfering in the running of her favourite shop that she blurted out the first silly thing that came into her head.
“My Daddy’s a proper bookseller. He could even use all those old papers to, to, to… transform the Children’s Bookroom overnight !"
Hearing this, the King thought how profitable it would be for the Children’s Bookroom to be transformed and so he sent for David, and, leading him to the Room, presented him with a mountain of waste paper broken books, newspapers and unpaid bills.
“If you can recycle these papers and transform the Children’s Bookroom before morning, you can continue in the Bookshop, whiling away your working hours, idling indolently and lazing -about languidly, happily ever after. IF YOU FAIL, then you must return to being a TEACHER! I’ll leave the water heater on so you can make yourself a coffee."
And with these words, the King locked every door of the Bookshop and climbed the snow-covered hillside back to the luxuriously-appointed if inadequately-insulated RUIN in which he subsisted on fresh raw eggs and Brussels sprouts, the secret of his amazing youthfulness. David looked at the
heap of papers, and at the long-neglected Children’s Bookroom and he slumped to the floor (which needed vacuuming) in despair. He had no idea how to transform
the room, and furthermore he hadn’t had his dinner. Suddenly, wafted across the landing, came an aromatic aroma of baking accompanied by loud peals of laughter. There in the doorway were two outlandishly-dressed grinning girls, or
women at any rate, and in their hands were THREE take-away pizzas.
"We are KATIE & CLAIRE, Guerrilla Installation Artists. The Turner Prize has failed to short-list us TWELVE TIMES! We can transform the Children’s Bookroom for you, after we’ve eaten the pizzas and laughed a lot more. But what can you give us in return?"
"I cant promise you my first baby, but I could, er, make you a coffee, so long as it’s not a latte?”
“A deal – we’ve enough babies to be going on with.”
And so, Katie and Claire worked all night, save only for an eight hour sleep on a secret bed at the topmost top of the Shop. The Children’s Bookroom was transformed into
a white wonderland! At daybreak they vanished, though not so suddenly as they had arrived, staying on for further coffees, pieces of millionaire shortbread and even more peals of laughter. When the King returned to see what had
happened, he said, “Well, I suppose that’s alright, for a while at any rate. I’ve got even more waste books and
paper upstairs. How do you fancy being locked in Guy’s office tonight?”
With enormous thanks to Dave for his words and everyone at Scarthin Books for their wonderful world of inspiration.