Main content

Saving Harold

by William Gwynne, aged 12

Saving Harold

Read by Chris Pavlo from the BBC Radio Drama Company

"Happy Birthday," I said to my friend Alex. I was staying at his house and arrived to find him playing on his new Xbox.

"Shush," Alex said, concentrating. His presents were scattered everywhere. One caught my eye, a large cardboard box with writing on the side.

For an adventurous heart! it said.

I have an adventurous heart.

"What's that?"

"It's from my uncle. It's empty. He's mad."

Walking closer I stumbled and fell into the box! There was a roaring sound and a sucking feeling like I was falling into a deep hole that never ended. I felt dizzy and scared and opened my mouth to scream.

Suddenly I struck solid ground and lifted my mud covered face to look around.

This can't be happening.

I was on a hillside - not the bad bit - in the centre of a battle - quite a bad bit -thousands of warriors running up the hill straight towards me, brandishing spears and tear-shaped shields - the very bad bit. I looked behind me, up the hill. At its top was a shieldwall, sharp weapons poking out like a hedgehog, shields brightly painted...

Did I bang my head? Is this real?

The warriors charging up the hill screamed their battle-cries.

They sound real enough.

I jumped to my feet and ran, looking for somewhere safe, getting bashed and trampled by warriors. At the side of the hill I paused, trying to catch my breath.

Hey, I recognise this place!

I was at the Battle of Hastings. I've been to the re-enactments at Battle Abbey, and learnt about it in history at school.

This looks more dangerous and scary than I imagined when Mr Jeffery's told us about it.
At the bottom of the hill archers were lining up. At the top I saw the King of England, Harold Godwinson, surrounded by his Huscarls with their big axes and I remembered one theory of how he died.

An arrow through the eye.

I ran up the hill. Harold looked quite terrifying with fiery eyes and a long black beard. I screamed "DUCK!" as I rugby tackled Harold to the ground (my PE teacher would be proud) A second later arrows fell where Harold had been standing.

"Thank you," he said, pulling a gold ring from his grimy finger. "Take this ring and find me at the end of the battle. I'll not forget your bravery."

Then a charge of knights attacked and Harold rushed to the defence.

"RUN!" he shouted at me.

A Norman knight followed me with spear raised. I spotted the magic box and leaped head first into it. I heard the roaring sound again and I was rolling across Alex's bedroom floor.

"Stop mucking about," Alex said. "Make a mess and my mum'll kill me."

"Alex," I said, "I think I've just changed the course of history."

"Quiet, I'm concentrating." sighed Alex

Did I dream the battle? Wait, what's in my fist?

I unclenched my sweaty palm and saw a golden ring. I smiled.

More Stories