Matthew spent the entire day playing with his doll Mandy. First, he introduced her to all the other toys - Benjamin Bear, Slayer the dragon, Kanga the Kangaroo. Then he made Mandy scale up the perilous mountain that was his bed, where she encountered bears, kangaroos and dragons. Finally, just before dinner, he turned Mandy into the heroine in an awesome adventure about vampires.

Then Matthew was called downstairs for dinner. His parents were there, but they didn't look happy. Mummy was coughing a lot and drinking lots of water - at least, it looked like water. Daddy was swearing as he tried to cut up his steak. Matthew couldn't cut his either, so he left it, and for once nobody seemed to mind.

After dinner, Mummy left the table very quickly, going upstairs. Daddy grumbled and stormed off into the living room. Matthew was going to go with him to ask what was the matter - but then he remembered Mandy. He rushed upstairs to his room.

There Mandy was, lying on the bed, smiling at him. Matthew picked her up.

'I wish you were real,' he said sadly.

And that was what gave him the idea. Of course! Matthew could use magic to bring the rag doll to life - and then he'd have a real friend. One who would play with him and read him stories, and always agree with what he said.

But how was it to be done?

First, he tried asking nicely; because he knew that was the best way to get what you wanted.

'Mandy,' he said. 'Please would you wake up?'

The rag doll gave no response.

Next, he tried bargaining.

'Mandy... If you wake up I'll give you my pocket money.'

The rag doll gave no response.

Matthew had no choice.

'MANDY! WAKE UP NOW!' he yelled, shaking the doll violently, but still no response from her. There was a response from outside his room, however.

'Calm down, Master Matthew, your mother is trying to sleep!' Barbara shouted, banging a fist on the door.

'SO?' Matthew shouted in reply. If Mummy wanted to sleep, she should do it at bedtime. Sighing, he turned back to the doll.

'I guess there's only one way to make you come to life, Mandy,' he said, holding her in his hands.


Downstairs, Mummy had a red stone shaped like a heart. She'd found it at the beach years ago, and now it rested on the mantlepiece in the living room. Daddy had fallen asleep in the armchair, so it was easy to take the stone and sneak back upstairs with it. Matthew unpicked some of the doll's stitching and slipped the heart stone inside.

It was getting dark. Carefully, he placed Mandy on the windowsill in his room, closed his eyes and made a wish. Then for the first time ever, he crawled into bed without being told, and fell asleep.

The End

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