Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


STORY TIME: How a bully became a toad

July 27, 2013

“OWWW!” howled Arnold. “Ow-ow-ow-ouch! Stop it, you… you….”

Billy gave a wide grin as Arnold struggled with his words and pulled his hair harder.

The children crowding around them couldn’t do anything. They were all scared of Billy and didn’t dare report him. Janet couldn’t stand it. She had to do something. There were 20 minutes left for break time to end.

Without hesitating, she sprinted to the school building, dashed up the stairs, three at a time, and darted to Mr Spencer’s room. She rapped at the door. No answer. She banged at it impatiently. Still no answer. She opened the door forcefully. The room was empty.

Mr Spencer and Janet were special friends. Janet had long ago found out that he was a wizard, with a wand, a broomstick, potions and, what interested Janet most of all, spell books. He taught science, because, as he said, science is magic! Janet had promised faithfully that she would keep his secret and they had trusted each other a lot since then.

Now, Janet looked around the room. On a table lay many books, scattered, as if the teacher had looked through them hurriedly. Janet peered at them. Most Potent Potions, Does Man Believe in Magic?, The Art of Demolishing the Mundane, and many other books lay there.

But what caught Janet’s attention was Magicke Moste Evile. It was not dusty, unlike the rest of the books. There was the picture of a skull on it and a man (Janet shuddered) who looked as if he was turned inside out.

Janet opened the book. She flipped through the pages, spotting the most gruesome and ghastly pictures you can imagine and stopped at a page which marked the beginning of a section. ‘Magicke Not So Evile’ read Janet. She flipped the page.

There was a picture of a man and another of the same man turned halfway into a frog, and then one of a frog. She read the lines under it:

“Hippity Hippity Hop

Ad omnes corde desiderium

Si musca, vel vis

Sum sunt rana


Hippity Hippity Hop

To all your heart’s desire

A fly or two if you wish

When you are a frog”

Filled with wonder, Janet copied down the words in her notebook. Shoving the book back, she ran through the corridor to the playground.

Billy had released Arnold, who was sobbing in a corner with his friend Robert comforting him. Billy, not far off, was leaning against the wall grinning. She tried to pronounce the spell, but it was difficult. So she whispered the words in English. Nothing happened.

She screwed her eyes hard, concentrated with all her might and cried out the incantation. She felt a strange, tingling sensation as the magic flowed in the air about her, directing itself at Billy.

In front of her very eyes, Billy began to shrink. He was turning greener by the second; his hair seemed to shoot back into his head. His eyes became rounder and yellow. He gave a mighty croak and hopped off into the school building, unnoticed by anyone except Janet, who was doubled up in silent laughter. Wiping tears out of her eyes, she followed him inside.

Just then, the bell signalling end of recess rang. Distracted for a moment, she lost sight of Billy. After a moment of panic, she spotted him crawling through a hole into … the science lab!

One of the senior classes rampaged into the corridor and lined up outside the lab. They were going to do frog dissections today! Filled with horror, Janet fought her way through the crowd of big girls and spotted Mr Spencer, briefcase in hand, getting ready for his class. Frantically, Janet told him the whole story.

Quickly, he ran up to the girls patiently waiting for their class to start. Clearing his throat, he said, “Ladies! Sorry to say, but class has been cancelled because somebody has thrown up in the lab.”

The corridor cleared as the students marched back to their class. Without wasting any time, the teacher burst inside and started hunting for Billy, Janet at his side. Finally, he found him asleep in an agar plate. He scooped him up, put him on the ground and murmured some strange words. Next second, Big Billy, the bully was half lying on the ground, a lost expression on his face.

“Get away from me, get away from me,” he yelled in terror.” I’ll report you both to the headmaster.”

Billy scrambled away from them and ran to the headmaster’s office. Panting, he quickly told him the whole story. “They are not normal human beings, I tell you. They are evil and know magic…”

“I know what Mr Spencer is, Billy. He is on loan to us from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the best science teacher our Muggle School ever had.”

Billy stared at the headmaster in shock opening and closing his mouth like a goldfish.

The headmaster peered at Billy from top of his glasses. “Let this be a lesson to you then, young Billy. Now you know what it means to be helpless and afraid. I hope this will teach you to be more careful about your behaviour or who knows what creature you might be turned into next.”

Nobody believed Billy’s story but they were all amazed that he stopped bullying younger children. It was not surprising, however, as Janet told him that cockroach dissection was coming up next!