A Story by Peter Rogerson

Little Miss Toadstool is one lass I'm glad I never met! But I guess she gets her just deserts!


Little Miss Toadstool danced down the lane.

That lane was bordered on both sides by broad verdant verges and hedges that twittered with birds' nests and creaked with life and new growth.

Little Miss Toadstool was fresh-faced with a peaches-and-cream, complexion and she was the happiest person in the whole wide world.

She knew she was that because everyone had told her since she had learned to understand speech.

"Isn't Little Miss Toadstool a sheer delight?" they asked each other, "Isn't she the happiest person in the whole wide world?"

There had been some days when she'd been particularly joyful.

When she had been truly tiny she had run dancing across the village green and rescued a crying pigeon that had been attacked by a black and white cat and was close to death. Taking it home, she had force-fed it with worms and mud, and when it died she had wept like a watering can. But the tears didn't last long, for she buried the pigeon and performed a deeply spiritual service over its grave, and then skipped off to look for more patients for her new hospital. And people said, passers by, neighbours, Mr Patel the shop keeper, Mr Thrashem the schoolmaster and Miss Sparkle the window cleaner's beautiful wife, that she was surely the happiest person in the whole wide world even though her little life had been touched by such tragedy.

Then, when she had been older and at school and Mr Thrashem beat her for blotting her best book with a tiny drop of ink, she ran home with marks all over her bottom, criss-cross angry marks where the man had enjoyed himself, but instead of weeping like any other beaten child she laughed merrily because, she told herself, she was alive and by tomorrow Mr Thrashem would be as good as very dead indeed. Her parents, doting as ever, did what they had to do and beat her again for being beaten at school, and then they hugged her and kissed her and told her she was the happiest girl in the whole wide world when she looked beseechingly at them through big wet eyes.

Two days later she was in the Churchyard hiding behind a tree as all the grownups walked sombrely and seriously towards a deep hole in the ground, and slowly lowered Mr Thrashem's coffin into it. Nobody mourned the Schoolmaster for more than a few seconds, because he was universally the most despised man in the neighbourhood and certainly deserved to be dead. Everyone said so. Even old women with severe faces said it.

"He was a harsh master," they said. "And it serves him right that he is deader than the mythical dodo!"

Little Miss Toadstool watched the ceremony with a smile on her pretty face and when she was quite sure that the dreadful man was at last so deep in the ground that there would be no climbing back out when he woke up (and she knew he'd do that because the stuff she'd put in his beer through the window of the Fox and Hounds the evening of the day she was beaten made people sleep so deeply for two days and two nights that it looked as though they were dead, and then, after that peculiar amount of time, they slowly woke up.)

Another time she had been happily singing a pretty little song outside the Old Folks' Home in the village, and grumpy Miss Hoary opened a window and snarled at her in a very spiteful voice.

"Hush, you unpleasant child!" Miss Hoary had screeched. "This is no place for joy and laughter! This is where we can at last be as miserable as the good lord intended mankind to be! So go away with your obscene songs or I will come after you with my walking stick, and then you'll know all about it!"

All would have been well, for she skipped off, but that very day Miss Hoary's knickers unexpected melted whilst she was wearing them, and burnt her skin as the nylon they were made of dribbled in scalding rivulets down her legs, and she died of shock immediately.

The next day, whilst she was being buried in the busy churchyard, Little Miss Toadstool looked on from her vantage point high up the old oak tree, and laughed to herself.

The people frowned a little, for laughter seemed too inappropriate when an old lady is being interred in the soils, but they did suggest that she was the happiest person in the whole wide world.

When she was thirteen she went off the rails in a big way and stole a bar of chocolate from Mr Patel's shop. Now, Mr Patel was a kindly man and told her not to be so silly, he let her keep the bar of chocolate and promised he wouldn't tell anyone if she in turn promised never to do wicked a thing like stealing again again. She smiled sweetly at him and told him she would never steal from him again, which was perfectly true because she knew that he would be dead and buried long before she felt like doing any more shoplifting.

Two days later she watched the little procession walk to a big hole in the ground, carrying Mr Patel in a fancy coffin.

Everyone was weeping.

The window cleaner and his wife were weeping.

The Priest in his white surplice and fancy hat was weeping.

The new schoolmaster, Mr Thrashemharder, was weeping.

Even Miss Toadstool's loving mother and father were weeping.

There was so much weeping going on that a small river was started, and Little Miss Toadstool was confused, but took advantage of the funereal distraction by stealing three more bars of chocolate from the now unsupervised village shop. The chocolate made her so happy that she laughed so gaily and everyone, between sobs, told her that she must be the happiest girl in the whole wide world.

When she was eighteen she fell in love with Bob, the cobbler's handsome son.

Bob went out with her once, and when she asked if they were to go out the next night for more carnal fun he shook his head.

"No," he said, "we won't be going out again because I think you're a little on the mad side. When I asked you if you wanted a drink in the Fox and Hounds, you giggled and grabbed my most private parts.

"When I suggested we went on the swings in the park, you giggled, and pulled my pants down, uninvited. When I said it would be a good idea to eat fish and chips, you cackled and manhandled my hairy scrotum without a by-you're leave. Every time I suggested anything, you giggled or cackled and turned it into a most unpleasant game.

"You giggled and cackled and giggled until I got to thinking that you might send me mad!

"So we are not going out together again, and I will keep my parts safely inside my boxers by myself!"

Two days later there was a funeral because that same boy had unexpectedly passed away after suffering a mysterious disease involving an extremely swollen penis, and the cobbler was so upset with his grief that he fell into his furnace and was burned to death.

Little Miss Toadstool saw the funny side of that, all right, and she burst into peals of what under any other circumstances would have been the most delightful laughter. But with all the bad things going on and really good people dying for no good reason, and cobblers falling into furnaces, few people could see anything amusing about anything.

"Why are you laughing like that, you unpleasant child?" asked the cobbler's wife, suddenly expressing the question that was in everybody's mind.

"How can the cobbler burning to the most dreadful death ever by any way amusing?" asked the Priest, scowling in a most unpriestly way and crossing himself.

Then the people gathered around her, and there were so many of them that for the first time in ages Little Miss Toadstool was frightened out of her silly mind and stopped seeing the funny side of anything She looked from face to face and shook her ringlets (yes, brethren, she did, of course, have ringlets), and wept.

"But you have always admired me for being the happiest person in the whole wide world," she stammered. "I am just being happy, just as you like me to be!"

"Bah!" they said with one voice made up out of dozens. "We have had enough of you and your wretched giggling and puerile laughter! It is time for us to sort you out."

And that is why she was dancing down that lane on that day, and it is to her credit that she could see the funny side of it. For just in front of her was the hangman, black-caped, hooded and severe, standing next to his gallows, polished and shiny like death.

© 2016 Peter Rogerson

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It gave me creeps! Specially the way she behaved with her boyfriend (if he was her boyfriend). Maybe the girl was a sadist, if that's the proper word.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Peter Rogerson

4 Years Ago

Yet it was she on her way to the hangman...

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Added on February 24, 2016
Last Updated on February 24, 2016
Tags: happy, laughing, punishment, death, graveyard, burial, hangman


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 76 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..