The Tunnel: Years 2–3
The Tunnel is a story about an unnamed brother and sister who are constantly quarrelling. She is nervous, interested in books; he likes playing outside with friends, ‘laughing and shouting, throwing and kicking, roughing and tumbling’. She is afraid of the dark and he sometimes creeps into her room at night ‘to frighten her’. One day their mother gets fed up of the fighting and bickering around the house and insists that they go out to play together. When his sister accompanies him to some waste ground, he moans that she’s ‘frightened of everything’ and then goes off to explore on his own, finds a strange tunnel and, in spite of his sister telling him he shouldn’t, he crawls down the tunnel. After waiting and waiting for him to come back, she follows him into the tunnel, which is even more scary than she had feared. She eventually emerges at the other end in a wood, filled with trees that seem to embody her worst fears – wolves, wild boars, an empty wicker basket, an axe lying beside a tree stump. She runs and runs until she gets through the wood – only to find her brother ‘still as stone’. ‘She threw her arms around the cold hard form . . .’ and slowly he not only comes back to life but is grateful to her for having come after him.