In a sleepy little village on the north west coast of Wales there lived a little boy called Timmy. Timmy was a very good little boy and always did what his mummy and daddy told him. His room was always spotless and no one ever had to tell him twice to wash behind his ears.
Every year, on his birthday Mr. and Mrs. Tibbles would plan a party in the garden for little Timmy and his chums. There would always be fun and games and delicious little cakes, cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off in little dainty triangular shapes and lashings of lemonade and ginger beer punch.
However, this particular year Timmy's parents had been badly hit by the recession and could not afford a party for their only son. When they explained this to Timmy, he (being such a sweet tempered child) smiled sweetly and politely and said that he understood and not to worry. Mr. and Mrs. Tibbles could see through their son's bravery. They knew he must be bitterly disappointed and decided to try and think of something they could do to make his birthday a special one.
After much deliberation Mr. Tibbles had an idea. He told Mrs. Tibbles all about it.
"Wife," he said, "seeing as we cannot hold a party for wee Timmy Tibbles this year, I believe we should purchase a gift of the utmost specialness that will make him have a lovely day after all."
"Indeed, Mr. Tibbles," replied Mrs. Tibbles wearily, "But we are so poor. What can we present to Timmy that will adequately make up for his sore disappointment?"
"Wife, I tell you I do not know," sighed Mr. Tibbles stroking his ample chestnut beard, "But I have heard of a shop on the outskirts of our sleepy little Welsh village that might have just the thing." He pulled from his weathered pocket a dirty scrap of paper on which was printed the words:
All under £1.50 or your mony is bak.
"So it is you that and a son for day of born, yes?" he asked.
"Er, yes. That's right. Probably."
"Yes, I have thing that is right for born son on day of is. Please how much you spend in born and is . . . um . . . 27½p a too big amount?"
"No," replied the Tibbles', "That sounds perfectly within our limited price range. What is this thing you wish to sell to us?"
The man disappeared into the back room and came back clutching a little paper bag.
He was, by this time, beginning to wheeze rather disgustingly.
"In this bag is . . ." he lowered his voice and looked nervously over his shoulder, "In this bag is magic!" he whispered.
"Oh, what nonsense!" cried Mr. Tibbles.
He snatched the bag and pulled it open. Looking inside he gave a gasp.
"My word!" he said.