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Can you hear the school bell ringing?

There was once a very, very old town, in which there were thousands of towers. In the tallest of the towers, inside the big clock, lived the clockmaker imp. He always made sure the clock was neither fast nor slow, wound it up, oiled it, and looked after its bells. Ding, dong, ding, dong the clock would strike, and the clockmaker imp would give a smile of satisfaction.

But one day some little boys passed by the clock tower on their way to school. They looked up at the clock and gasped. "The school bell will ring any minute!" cried one of them. "We shall be late, and the teacher will be upset with us" - "All because we played hide-and-seek!" another boy said. But a third boy had a clever idea. "Let us ask the clockmaker imp to put back the hands," he said.
So they knelt down in front of the clock tower and called, "Clockmaker imp, clockmaker imp, help us please! If you put back the hands for us, we will bring you a bag of jellybeans." The imp had a sweet tooth, and he gladly helped the boys. In a flash all the clocks in the world were a minute slow, and the boys got to school on time.

Now the clockmaker imp in his tower waited in vain for his bag of jellybeans. As soon as their fear was gone, the boys forgot all about their promise. This made the imp terribly angry. "So that is the way of ungrateful boys!" he scowled, and out of spite he began to turn the hands of the clock backwards.

A fine mess this was! Everything in the world went back-to-front. People began to walk backwards instead of forwards; instead of tomorrow there was yesterday; the sun crossed the sky from west to east, spring followed summer, winter spring and autumn winter; night followed morning, evening followed night, and so on.
The old folk were naturally pleased that they were growing younger day by day, but the forgetful boys were quite upset. Instead of the third class at school they found themselves in the second, then in the first, and they were surely soon going to be little babies in diapers!

Luckily one of them remembered that they had promised the clockmaker imp a bag of jellybeans! He took a quarter of a pound of the best and went hurrying to the clock tower. He laid the bag of jellybeans down under the great clock.
The clockmaker imp got his temper under control at once, put the clock right, and made everything in the world the way it was before.
~The End

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