The Boggart and the Four Coins

by Marie Day. Shortlistee of the Best Short Story for Children or Young Adults competition 2021

The fallen leaves danced as though under a spell of something much stronger than the October winds. Rose picked up the coin and wiped the mud from it with her thumb. On one side was an image of a forest, which could’ve been the one she was in at that moment and on the reverse was the word luck.

When Dad said they needed to go out and find their own luck, she was pretty sure he hadn’t meant it would be lying on the muddy forest floor.

‘That you Radsid? You come for me?’ The gruff voice was not unlike the growl of a small dog. ‘Course not, you’re long gone, in’t that right?’

Rose glanced around the forest. Up until then she’d been happy to believe she had the whole place to herself.

‘What’s the point anyways? Nobody ever hears me.’

‘I hear you,’ said Rose. ‘But where are you?’

‘Am locked away. A prisoner, that’s me.’

Following the voice to a gnarled tree, she knocked on the dark wood. ‘Are you inside?’

‘I am. And you can hear me! Wahooo!’ The strange voice sang. ‘You found them, didn’t you bairn?’


‘Aye. Buried them, I did, to keep them away from…well, to keep them safe.’

The rotting bark had several holes dotted around the trunk. Rose reached her hand inside one to show the coin. ‘Do you mean this?’ 

When something cold clasped her fingers, she gave a sharp scream.

‘Am sorry, bairn. Dint mean to frighten you. It’s me luck all right. You found it.’

A deep snap came from within the tree and out popped a short creature, with pointed ears and a long nose. When he smiled his bottom teeth overlapped his top lip. ‘Am Wensley. Pleased to meet you.’