My name is Enid and I'm eight years old. I'm writing this because the man with the spider badge made me promise. He told me to write it out, putting in as much of the talking we did together as possible. So this is my story, the story of the time I met the man with the spider badge.

I live with my mummy, daddy and little brother David on a farm. There are lots of fields where I live. I like playing in them with my friends, but sometimes Mr Lewis from Pendaw Farm chases us with his shotgun if we have stepped on his crops. Then he tells my daddy about it, so we don't go into his fields too often because we get told off.

George is my best friend and he lives on the farm next door to ours. It's good that we are friends, because that means we have more fields to play in together. George and I like to play games like Hide and Seek in the fields with long grass and sometimes we go into the village and play Knock Knock Ginger. That's where you have to knock on someone's door and run away before they answer it. It can be very funny, as long as you're not caught. George is especially scared about being caught because his daddy is a policeman and is very strict. He's a very nice policeman though. He lets me play with his handcuffs and the big black stick he uses to hit burglars. He's only scary when he's angry with George.


We were having breakfast in our house. Daddy was outside the door talking to Mrs Phillips from the village and I could hear them talking about a plane on fire near Treddaw, which is a village not far from ours. Lots of planes have been on fire in the sky since the war started, but Daddy said that they were always far away from us because they try to bomb bigger places like London.

He sat down at the table with me and David.

"If you two see anything strange when you're out playing, you're to come home and tell me straight away, is that understood?"

"What kind of strange things, Daddy?" I asked.

"Anything...any strange people. Don't talk to them, just come home and tell me. Clear? And you can stay near the village to play wandering off."

"Why, Daddy?" I asked.

"I shouldn't need to give you a reason, Enid," he answered, giving me the look he gives me when I've said something wrong.

Daddy thinks I ask too many questions. He likes David because he never answers back. I always answer back when I'm in trouble and I talk too much. Then I get into more trouble.


After breakfast, Daddy went to the fields to work and I went to George's farm. His mummy said that he had gone to Chepstow to stay with his cousins for a few days. So then I went to the village to see if any of my other friends wanted to play. I went to Dilys's house, but her mummy said she was busy, then I went to Charlotte's house but she had gone somewhere with her daddy. So I had to play in the fields on my own instead. I walked along the river and I found a big long stick in a hedge. I like finding long sticks, because I like to swing them and chop the heads off nettles with them. They're good for poking things in the river too, if you don't want to get wet.

I knew I wasn't really supposed to, but I went up to Mr Lewis's fields. He had already harvested his crops, so he couldn't tell me off for stamping on them. His fields are the best. They have lots of trees, stone walls and places to hide and play fun games. George and I have a rope that we hide in a bush and then we bring it out, tie it to one of the trees and swing on it. We hide it because if Mr Lewis found out we had been playing in one of his trees he would be angry and tell our daddies again.

I swung on the rope for a while and then I heard Mr Lewis's tractor. I got so frightened for a moment that I stood still like a statue. Mr Lewis can be very, very scary, especially when he has his shotgun. He has a nasty dog too, called Bertha, who barks and growls at me and makes me nervous.

I could see Mr Lewis's barn down the hill, so I decided to run and see if I could hide there. It's where George and I always hide if we hear his tractor coming. It's a big, old stone barn with bits of roof falling off it and a rotten wooden door that you have to squeeze through to get inside. He doesn't go inside it much, he just keeps lots of things in it that he doesn't want to use anymore, like old broken ladders, pipes and ploughs. It's dirty and dusty in there. George and I always ruffle our hair when we come outside to get all the cobwebs and spiders out.

So that's where I ran the day I met the man with the spider badge.


I could hear Mr Lewis's tractor getting very close and I new that if he came over the hill he would see me. So I ran as quickly as I could and forced myself through the gap in the door. It was very dark inside but I'm used to it and I wasn't frightened. I sat by the door to wait for the tractor to pass. I saw it coming down the hill.

As I waited, I thought I could hear something behind me. I couldn't see anything because it was dark, and Mr Lewis's tractor was coming loudly down the hill so it was hard to hear anything else. I felt my heart thumping then because it got a bit scary. The barn was dark and I was sure I could hear someone breathing. But I knew that if I went back outside, Mr Lewis would catch me, so I stayed still. Then I had a real shock and jumped because something in the barn fell over and made a noise. A man was standing there. He had light-coloured hair and wore a blue uniform with lots of dirt on it. I got very scared and tried to run out of the door, even though Mr Lewis's tractor was very close. But the man grabbed me and put his hand over my mouth. I was trying to scream, but he held me too tightly. He spoke into my ear. His voice was funny and sounded like he was from another country.

"Don't struggle, please don't struggle. I won't hurt you, I promise I won't hurt you, little one."

The less I struggled, the softer he held me, so I began to calm down. He kept his hand over my mouth.

"We must be silent, absolutely silent. I won't hurt you."

I stopped moving and we waited as Mr Lewis's tractor drove past the barn, very, very close. I knew the man was as scared as I was, because I could feel his heart beating very fast and he was breathing very heavily, like I do when I've run a long way.

We stood very still as we heard Mr Lewis's tractor drive away. The sound of the tractor got less and less, until it had gone over the hill. The man let go of me and looked at me. His forehead was wet and he had some blood on his arm and his face. I was still scared of him.

"I have to go home..." I said.

"No! No, you stay right there," he said.

He put his hands out and they were shaking. "I won't hurt you...I won't. I just need to think for a there anyone else with you here?"

I shook my head.

"Good," he said. Then he said something in a different language.

I looked at his blue uniform. He had big boots on and some badges on his jacket. One was an eagle with big wings sticking out, and the other one was a round red and white badge with a black spider in the middle.

The man walked around for a minute and then sat down on some hay, looking at me. He wiped his forehead and his breathing was slowing down.

"What's your name?" he asked.


"Enid. It's nice to meet you, Enid."

He didn't look pleased to meet me though, he looked shaky and upset. He didn't look so scary now. He looked more scared of me than I was of him.

"Do you live nearby?"

"Yes, I live on a farm."

"This farm?"

"No, another farm. This is Mr Lewis's farm. He was the man driving the tractor. I'm hiding from him because he doesn't like me playing on his fields."

"Oh I see."

"Are you hiding from him too?" I asked.


"Doesn't he like it when you go on his fields either?"

The man smiled. "No...we're...we're playing a little game of Hide and Seek."

"Hide and Seek? I like that game, I play it with my friend George. He lives on the farm next to mine."

"How old are you, Enid?"

"I'm eight on Tuesday."

"Goodness, a big girl now then. I have a son who is your age."

"Are you a soldier?" I asked him, because he looked like one in the uniform.

"Sort of," he answered.

"I thought soldiers wore brown uniforms."

"I'm a different sort of soldier."

"Are you from a different country?"

The man didn't answer my question, but he walked over to me and held my shoulders.

"Listen to me, Enid. You have to keep a very big secret for me. You remember I told you that I was playing a game of Hide and Seek? Well, it's a very...a very serious game of Hide and Seek. I need you to not tell anyone that I am here. No one can know I'm here. Can you do that for me?"

"Who is looking for you?"

"Many men, I should think..."

"Mr Lewis?"

"Yes. And your own father would be too..." he said.

"My daddy?"

"Just tell no men, no women, no one. I must stay hidden, it's a big game. Can you promise me that you won't tell anyone?"

"Yes," I said.

"And you mustn't come back here either...don't come here again, Enid. Now go. Go home."

I left the barn and ran back over the fields, listening carefully for Mr Lewis. I didn't want to give the man away when I left him in the barn. If Mr Lewis saw me, he would tell me off, but would also probably check the barn and the man would be found.

Mummy and Daddy say we shouldn't tell lies, but I thought that in a game of Hide and Seek, it would be okay not to tell where someone is hiding. Otherwise, you would ruin the game. So when Daddy asked me in the evening where I had been today, I told him I had been to George's fields, and when he asked whether I saw anything strange, I said that I hadn't.

I wanted the nice man with the spider badge to win the game.