Mr. Snake had worked at the Squirrel School for a very, very long time. He was now Deputy Headmaster.
He was an unusual character that was often surrounded by clouds of smoke when he was outside the Squirrel School. However what was interesting about Mr. Snake was his secrets.
Either Mr. Snake was very lucky or had a special kind of magic as whenever one of the other staff at the Squirrel School found out about one of his secrets they vanished!
His boss the headmaster Mr. Burger had vanished over Christmas last year. There were many other people that had once worked there, but had left mysteriously once they had discovered a secret of Mr. Snake.
Two visitors to the Squirrel School, an Australian called Mr. Griffin and his friend Mr. Hobgoblin had tried to tell people about Mr. Snake’s secrets.
However many people they told about Mr. Snake’s secrets they didn’t get much further. Mr. Burger just told them they were wrong to say bad things about Mr. Snake.
Others said they didn’t understand the secrets and it was all very sad.
So many spells had been cast on the two ghosts to make them go away that they didn’t know much about Mr. Snake’s secrets.
Eventually Mr Hobgoblin got cross. He felt Mr. Snake wasn’t being fair and had too much power.
So he cast a spell called “I know” which meant the Squirrel School had to tell him Mr. Snake’s secrets.
Mr. Snake asked his good friend Mr. Journey to cast the counter-spell, “No you don’t know” instead.
And so it went on and on for a year until everyone, including those watching were quite exhausted.
ICO then told the Squirrel School to stop being so silly and tell Mr. Hobgoblin Mr Snake’s secrets.
Mr. Snake had had enough and decided it was time to go. Unfortunately his disappearing spell hadn’t worked on Mr. Hobgoblin and Mr. Griffin so he tried it on himself instead!
Marmaduke however felt sorry for Mr. Snake. So he asked his friends in the Red Gang and the Blue Gang to give him 49,000 gold coins and his pension early (at a cost of between 207,000 and 228,000 gold coins).
A promise was made to Mr. Snake that they would tell the ghosts to go away so they wouldn’t know.
However this made one of the ghosts angry, so Mr Journey told the pupils to tell the ghost that he could not talk, to just make an information request and go away!
The Head of the Yellow Gang Mr. Gilbert wasn’t happy with Mr. Snake leaving. He didn’t feel it was right. After all hadn’t Marmaduke told people the Squirrel School didn’t have any money left?
Mr. Snake left and soon found a job elsewhere thanks to his friends.
Marmaduke was Head Boy at the Squirrel School and thought he was very clever. The Squirrel School was a very strange magical school. There were no children at it as the minimum age was eighteen years old and the pupils were in charge of the School.
There were exactly sixty-six pupils. If anybody left or unfortunately died another magically appeared a few weeks later.
Thousands of people worked at the Squirrel School to keep the magic going. Marmaduke was Leader of the Red Gang, which had over half the pupils at the school in it. Because of the way the rules were at the Squirrel School it meant he and his Red Gang often got their way.
One day the member of staff in charge of the magic told Marmaduke that some of the staff had unfortunately got their sums wrong.
It was Marmaduke’s job to make sure the staff were doing their sums properly, but he didn’t want the pupils, staff and others to know this. He wanted to blame it all on the Blue Gang instead.
He’d been distracted recently as he’d been made Head Boy of all the schools in the area. However Marmaduke’s friend Joe had kindly helped Marmaduke by offering to be Head Boy of all the schools instead of Marmaduke. Marmaduke accepted this helpful suggestion and resigned.
Joe was Head Boy (and also Leader of the Red Gang) from an even bigger school that was the other side of the River of Misery from a place called Shiverpool. Joe had wanted to be Head Boy of all the schools for a very long time. He was pleased that Marmaduke finally agreed with him that this was for the best! It was exactly what he wanted and just in time for Christmas!
However back to Marmaduke.
There was another problem Marmaduke had. There were two ghosts that haunted the school. This caused a problem for Marmaduke as the ghosts told the people outside, the staff and pupils what was really happening.
So he hired an expensive ghost adviser at the Squirrel School to deal with the ghosts. Marmaduke also asked Mr. Journey for a magical spell to make the ghosts go away.
However Marmaduke didn’t have the power to make the ghosts go away on his own. Whenever he wanted to make the ghosts go away, he had to get the agreement of the other pupils at the school to do so.
Sadly sometimes Marmaduke managed to bungle the spell and the ghosts refused to leave until he got it right! He then had to ask for Mr. Journey’s help to make the spell again the right way as Marmaduke wasn’t as good at spells as Mr. Journey.
You may well ask why Mr. Journey didn’t do the spells instead? The way the magic worked Mr. Journey wasn’t allowed to cast the spell that made the ghosts go away. Only Marmaduke and the other pupils could do so.
The two ghosts were rather strange ghosts. One was called the Ghost From Very Far Away. The other ghost was called the Ghost That Walks. They were married to each other.
The ghosts had a strange magic all of their own that Marmaduke and the Squirrel School didn’t really fully understand. There were many myths and legends about the ghosts too.
Marmaduke’s problem was he couldn’t control the ghosts (apart from the spell to make them go away). They weren’t staff at the school, so he couldn’t tell the ghosts what to do.
Some people thought the ghosts must just be from another school but nobody knew if this was really true. Others thought that the ghosts were there because some naughty people at the Squirrel School had done something very bad and the ghosts were there to tell people the truth.
Marmaduke’s friends in the Red Gang thought they could control people through fear and greed. Sadly fear and greed didn’t work on these ghosts. This made Marmaduke’s friends very cross.
For example the two ghosts had told people that Marmaduke (who was Leader of the Red Gang) and Head Boy had helped his friends in the Red Gang.
Marmaduke had agreed that the Squirrel School should pay for people to drive his friends in the Red Gang to and from the Squirrel School.
At the same time Marmaduke had been telling the staff, pupils and people outside that the Squirrel School no longer had any money left!
This wasn’t the only embarrassing matter the ghosts had pointed out.
Another embarrassing thing Marmaduke had done was decide to close a school far, far away even though the Blue, Yellow and Green gangs had told him not to.
In fact even some people in Marmaduke’s own Red Gang had told Marmaduke not to, but he had just ignored them.
Not only had one of the ghosts showed that when the school far, far away was closed that the Squirrel School would sell it for millions of gold coins, but he had pointed out that the Squirrel School was paying many gold coins to the person who was telling them to close it. This person wasn’t even on the staff at Squirrel School.