Seal Secret

'You swear,' Gwyn said in solemn tones, 'to keep my secret
and tell nobody ever till I say you can. Swear.'
'Now listen,' Gwyn said, full of seriousness. 'We have to be
quiet now. I don't want to scare it. Okay?'
William nodded, trembling from cold and excitement.
Gwyn eyed him. 'Don't forget, Billy-Will. You swore not
to tell. Not anybody. Ever.'
'I know, I know,' William said through locked teeth. 'Get
on. I'm perishing.'
Indian fashion, Gwyn leading the way, they stalked into
the cave.

'We should have hired a caravan, like we always do,' said William when he saw the Welsh cottage his parents had rented for their summer holiday. He didn't like the cottage. He didn't like Gwyn, the boy from the nearby farm the adults thought would be such company for him. He was thoroughly bored and fed up. Until Gwyn led him down the cliffs and along the beach to see 'the thing' Gwyn had found lying in a cave. Gwyn knew exactly what he was going to do with it. William knew he had to stop him. And this was something William had to do secretly and alone.

'For me the strength in this excellent little story is not the ecological tale but in the murmuring undercurrents of aggressive emotion. The fears and selfishness of all in the tale, adults and children alike, are finally quieted but not fully tamed. There is a tugging tension throughout the story that causes it to move along most satisfactorily. A super book for all children of ten or more to read alone or in groups. There is a lot to think about and discuss.' CL in Books for Keeps.

Dutch Silver Pencil Award 1985

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First published by Bodley Head, 1980

Latest edition, Red Fox pbk, 1999

All contents are ©Aidan Chambers unless otherwise stated.



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