An original story written by Andrew Wright
Harold was an English policeman and he wore a big, fat, dark blue hat. His hat was called a helmet.
Harold had a pet owl. The owl’s name was Huwi.
Huwi waited on top of the grandfather clock all day for Harold to come home. When Harold came home, he took off his helmet and hung it on the back of the door. Huwi flew down and sat on Harold’s bald head. He was very happy. He loved to sit on Harold’s head. Harold liked it as well because his head was cold.
Huwi stayed on Harold’s head all evening.
Harold ate his bread and sausage and drank his tea. Huwi sat on his head. Sometimes Harold gave Huwi a bit of sausage.
Harold had a shower. Huwi sat on his head. Huwi didn’t like the hot water but he sat on Harold’s head.
Harold watched television. Huwi sat on his head. He never moved.
Sometimes Harold watched football and sometimes his team scored a
goal. Then Harold jumped up and Huwi fell off.
Harold went to bed. Huwi sat on his head. Huwi was friendly, feathery night cap. Harold slept sitting up because he didn’t want Huwi to sit on his face.
Every morning Harold and Huwi were very sad. ‘Huwi you must sit on the clock and wait for me.’
One morning, Harold was in the bathroom. He looked up to see Huwi’s face. Huwi’s face was very, very sad.
‘I’m sorry, Huwi. I must go to work.’
Harold made his sandwiches for his lunch. He was just going to put the packet of sandwiches in his helmet when he looked at Huwi sitting on the clock. ‘Huwi. Don’t look at me like that. I am very, very sorry. You must stay there.’
Then Harold looked at his sandwiches and then he looked at Huwi and then he looked at his sandwiches again. ‘Huwi! Today, I won’t take my sandwiches! Today YOU can sit on my head inside my helmet.’
You see, English policeman often put things inside their helmets. Their helmets are like little cupboards. A policeman in Manchester once told me that in the winter he always went to the shop before going to work. He bought a hot meat pie and put it inside his helmet. The hot pie kept his head warm all morning then he ate it for lunch. The pie, not his head you silly thing!
So Harold put his sandwiches on the table and Huwi flew down and sat on Harold’s head. Then Harold, very carefully, put his helmet on top of Huwi.He tickled Huwi under the brim of the helmet with his finger.
‘Huwi, sit still. You mustn’t move! Don’t say, Tu-wit tu-whoo, the
inspector must not find out that you are in my helmet!
Harold rode on his bicycle to the police station. The sun was shining. It was a hot day! ‘Oh, no! It’s a hot day! Poor Huwi! It is very hot inside my helmet!’ Harold lifted the helmet and tickled Huwi. ‘Sit still
Harold arrived at the police station. All the policemen were standing in a line. The inspector was angry! ‘Harold! You are late! You are one
minute late! This is an important day! It is the Lord Mayors Day!’
‘Oh, no!’ thought Harold. ‘And I have brought Huwi with me!’
The policemen walked to the main street. Huwi was hot. He stood up
and he lifted Harold’s helmet off his head! Harold pulled on the helmet strap! ‘Keep still Huwi!’ he whispered. ‘Don’t stand up!’
Harold stood on the edge of the pavement. He held out his arms. He
wanted to keep the people on the pavement. There were a lot of people. It was hard work. And the sun was shining and it was hot, very hot.
Poor Huwi he slipped about on Harold’s bald and sweaty head inside the helmet.
‘I must be crazy! thought Harold. ‘Why did I bring Huwi today?’
Nobody has a pet inside their hats except me.’ Then he looked around at the people. There was one man with a round hat. He had spiky hair and a spiky moustache. ‘Perhaps he has a pet inside his hat! Perhaps it is a hedgehog!’
He looked around at the people, again. There was a comfortable looking woman. She was wearing a round and comfortable hat. ‘Perhaps she has a pet inside her hat! Perhaps it’s a rabbit!’
He looked around at the people, again. There was a small, green, wet
man. He was wearing a round and green hat. ‘Perhaps he has a pet
inside his hat! Perhaps it’s a frog!’
Then the musicians arrived, playing their trumpets and trombones and beating on their drums. And all the people came in their fancy dress costumes. Then the Lord Mayor came. He was in a golden coach. He was waving. All the people waved and shouted and cheered. All the people took their hats off and waved their hats!
Harold saw them. ‘Oh, no! He hasn’t got a hedgehog under his hat! Oh, no! She hasn’t got a rabbit under her hat! Oh, no! He hasn’t got a frog under his hat! It is only me! Only I am so stupid!’
At the end of the day Harold cycled home. He cycled past the townhall. The mayor and all the people had a big dinner. Harold saw them through the windows of the townhall. ‘Never mind Huwi! We will be home soon!’
Harold rode down the back of the town hall in a little quiet street.
Suddenly, he saw a small man. He was kneeling on the pavement. He
was wearing a long red coat and a big red hat. He was looking through
the railings into the park. He was calling, ‘Where are you my little one?
Where are you?’
Who was it? It was the Lord Mayor.
Harold stopped his bicycle. ‘Can I help you, Sir?’
‘Oh,dear! Yes, well, you see…I …I brought my little mouse with me
today. I put her in my hat. It was no problem. She is very small. Then we came to the townhall to have dinner. All the people took their hats off. I couldn’t take my hat off! My mouse was in my hat! So I went to the toilet. I took my hat off and I wanted to put her into my pocket. But she was frightened so she jumped through the window into the park.
Now I can’t find her!’
‘I think I can help you, Sir!’ said Harold. And he took off his helmet and there was Huwi. ‘Huwi! The Lord Mayor has lost his mouse. She is in the park. Please find her BUT don’t eat her. Your tea is waiting at home.’
So Huwi flew on silent wings in the darkness of the night. He listened
and he looked and he found the little mouse. He brought it back and he gave it to the Lord Mayor.
‘Now Lord Mayor. Come back to my house. I can give you some
cheese for your mouse.’
So they went back home and Huwi ate some sausage and the mouse ate some cheese.
Harold talked to the Lord Mayor, ‘I was very stupid to take my owl in my helmet today. If the inspector had found out he would have been very angry!’
‘The inspector? Angry? Because you had your pet in your helmet? No! No! No! He always has his pet in his cap!’
And what do you think it was? The inspector’s cap was a flat cap and he had a bony hard head and his nose stuck out from under his cap.
Yes, it was a turtle!
I first wrote this story and illustrated it for West German Television:
WDR. I then published it in book form with EJ Arnold in Leeds for
sale in British schools for native speaker children.
On my story telling tours I have told the story a thousand times and this text is a transcription of my oral storytelling.
While telling the story it helps to do some very simple drawings on the board to show how the shape of the hats and caps is like a visual pun with the shape of the animals inside them. You could extend this
playing with similar shapes.
As I tell it I usually ask the children to try to predict what the animals will be according to the shape of the hat.
Of course, you can also link the story to the topic of pets. Who has got a pet? How do you look after pets? What are the advantages and
disadvantages of different types of pet.