The Gatekeepers of Hushaby Land By Holly Searle
Once upon a time a long long long time ago, there lived in the peaceful sleepy realm of Hushaby Land a gentle townsfolk who were ruled by a kind King called Hector.
King Hector was married to Queen Hilly and they had twin boys called Hank and Harry.
King Hector was kind and loving and as such, he made sure that all of those that lived within his kingdom were happy of heart and kind in spirit and that they all looked after each another.
The only thing that King Hector insisted upon in his Kingdom and that he was pretty strict about, was that all of his people slept well each and every night, and that they dreamt of only of joyful things.
And for many years the good people of Hushaby Land had slept these wonderful sleeps uninterrupted by fear, worry or stress, until one spring morning, when a stranger arrived.
As Hushaby Land had no gatekeeper and as King Hector had no reason to believe that there were people in the world unlike those he ruled over, the stranger was welcomed to enter Hushaby Land without question or quibble.
But when washing started to vanish from washing lines and goods were taken from stalls in the market place, the good people of Hushaby Land started to have very bad dreams indeed.
Their sleeps weren't restful and as a result, they grew tired and stressed and grumpy.
One day King Hector said to Queen Hilly “Do you hear that?” “Hear what my love?” she answered with another question (which is always really annoying).
“I can’t hear any laughter in the streets or the sound of good cheer coming from the townsfolk. Something must be wrong!”
King Hector put on his best cloak and headed off to the village to find out what was going one.
The first person he met was Hooky the local historian.
“Hooky, what is wrong in Hushaby Land?” The King asked.
Hooky yawned and said “Oh Your Majesty, a stranger arrived, but has since departed. But while he was here, there appeared to be some issues, which in turn cause some upset. Since then,the townsfolk haven't be sleeping at all well."
“What?" The King asked in surprise “Why wasn’t I told of this?”
Hooky said “Well nobody wanted you to have a bad nights sleep as well, so we thought it best not to tell you Sire."
This made the King very sad. “Hooky this makes me very unhappy indeed. Whilst I may be the King of this land, I am still the same as every other living souls that resides here. As such, I understand the importance of a good night's sleep. Now, what I need you to advise me of, is how you think we can make sure this never happens again?”
Hooky stifled a yawn and rubbed his eyes and said “Well, these are modern times Majesty and I would say as such, although we should always welcome new visitors to Hushaby Land, we should also be aware that not everyone is to be trusted. I have heard that most Kingdoms nowadays now have a Gatekeeper, to ensure that each arrival is welcomed as well as scrutinised, prior to entering. My advice to you, is to hire one to ensure that this never happens again.”
“A Gatekeeper you say?” The King pondered.
“It should be a very special and responsible person who watches over these arrivals to the realm Sire.” Said Hooky.
The King rubbed his chin in thought and then replied “Well then a Gatekeeper we shall have! For I will never sleep well again, until I know that everyone that resides in Hushaby Land sleeps well too”.
With that, King Hector wearing his favourite cloak, returned to the Palace to think of whom would be most suitable for the post.
Now Hank and Harry were very happy to be Princes, but sometimes (and don’t let King Hector know this) they were a little bored.
They also knew it would be ages until any swanky Princesses were likely to arrive in the Kingdom (thousands of years in fact) and in the meantime they needed something to keep themselves busy. So when King Hector raised the idea of the Gatekeeper during dinner that night with the Princes, they jumped at the opportunity and said that they felt it was only right that they should fulfil their duty to their King and Kingdom by acting as the joint Gatekeepers to Hushaby Land.
At first King Hector wasn’t at all convinced, but when Queen Hilly said “Oh Hector, they only watch the Royal Telly all-day everyday and play HRX-Box, I think it will be the making of them!”
And so it was that Hank and Harry became the joint Gatekeepers of Hushaby Land.
And as there were two of them, one worked the day shifts, whilst the other took the nights so that the realm was always guarded and secure twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
And no one ever had a bad dream again.
Night night and sleep well.