Harriet Bright in a Pickle (8 page)

BOOK: Harriet Bright in a Pickle
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SECRET squirrel

‘I've got a secret,' said Melly Fanshawe.

‘Have you?' said Harriet Bright, looking up from her science project on clouds.

Mrs Glossia was teaching them all about the weather and the different types of clouds.

Harriet Bright was making a height chart of the sky to help her remember which cloud was which.

‘What is it?' asked Harriet Bright, leaning in closer.

‘I can't tell you,' said Melly Fanshawe, looking around suspiciously. ‘It wouldn't be a secret then.'

Harriet Bright looked around suspiciously too.

Mrs Glossia was drawing a big puffy cumulus cloud on the blackboard.

She said that when these clouds piled higher and higher in the sky as if they were about to boil over,
was on the way:

Harriet Bright folded her arms.

‘So, it's a
secret then,' she said.

‘What's a secret secret?' said Melly Fanshawe.

‘It's a secret that's
secret you won't even tell your best friend in the whole world even though she always tells you everything – EVEN things that she's been told not to tell anyone!' Harriet Bright added in a rush. Because, thought Harriet Bright, a best friend in the
whole world wasn't just anyone. A best friend in the whole world was the person you
to tell everything to.

what it is!' said Melly Fanshawe, looking very pleased. ‘It's

Harriet Bright chewed the end of her pencil.

She and Melly Fanshawe always shared secrets.

Once they made up a secret language and wrote invisible notes with milk and lemon juice that nobody could read.

They couldn't read them either.

did Melly Fanshawe have a secret?

wouldn't Melly Fanshawe tell her the secret?

Why was Melly Fanshawe being so

Harriet Bright
not knowing things.

She needed more information.

‘What kind of secret is it?' she asked.

one,' said Melly Fanshawe, looking excited.

‘How big?' said Harriet Bright, looking alarmed.

‘Bigger than any secret I've ever had before,' said Melly Fanshawe, standing on tippy toes and reaching up to the ceiling.

Harriet Bright was getting agitated.

Not only was there a secret she didn't know.

It was an



Melly Fanshawe was rapidly fading from view as a secret the size of Mount Everest grew up between them.

Melly Fanshawe was on one side of the mountain and Harriet Bright was on the other, trapped in swirling mists and freezing temperatures.

Frostbite was nipping at her toes and fingers.

Harriet Bright was being
frozen out!

A secret this size was
too big
for just Melly Fanshawe.

Didn't people always climb mountains in teams? thought Harriet Bright.

Like Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

Harriet Bright had read all about them in her
Lives and Times of Famous People.
They climbed the highest mountain in the world – Mount Everest –

It was positively
to climb a mountain on your own, thought Harriet Bright.

‘Where did you get the secret?' asked Harriet Bright.

‘Somewhere,' said Melly Fanshawe.

‘Where?' asked Harriet Bright.

‘I can't tell you,' said Melly Fanshawe. ‘That's a secret too. I crossed my heart and hoped to die. Twice!'

‘Why did you tell me you have a secret if you won't tell me what the secret is?' said Harriet Bright, feeling more and more like a boiling cumulonimbus.

‘Because we always tell each other everything so I didn't want you to feel
left out,' said Melly Fanshawe.

,' puffed Harriet Bright. ‘Well … I've got a secret too.'

‘No you haven't,' said Melly Fanshawe. ‘You'd tell me if you did. You're not very good at keeping secrets. You go all red in the face like you're about to
I always know when
got a secret.'

Harriet Bright felt her cheeks.

very red and hot.

But it wasn't because
had a secret.

It was because Melly Fanshawe
had a secret.

A secret that Harriet Bright just
to know!

Tell me a SECRET

Harriet Bright walked all the way home from school thinking about

That Secret!

Even her feet were talking about it:

Maybe if I was better at keeping secrets, she thought, Melly might tell me hers.

She opened her front door and walked into the kitchen.

Her mother was experimenting with a new recipe for dinner. There were pots and pans everywhere.

‘Can you tell me a secret, please, Mum?' said Harriet Bright. ‘I need to practise keeping it
to myself. I need to be
good at keeping a secret that raging rhinos, hostile ostriches and
truckloads of triple-chocolate ice cream wouldn't make me tell it.'

‘Gosh,' said Harriet Bright's mother. ‘Well, we've got a closet full of family secrets, but I don't know if you're old enough to hear them yet. I think we'll save them for your twenty-first birthday. Why don't you see if your father's got a secret to spare?'

Harriet Bright's father was practising his golf swing on the back lawn.

‘Can you tell me a secret, please, Dad?' said Harriet Bright.

Her father stopped mid-swing. ‘What kind of secret, Harriet?' he asked.

‘Are there lots of kinds?' said Harriet Bright.

‘Well, I guess it depends on what you want it for,' said her father.

‘I want to show Melly Fanshawe that I can keep a secret
to myself so that she'll tell me hers,' said Harriet Bright.

‘But maybe it's not Melly's secret to tell,' said her father. ‘Maybe it's someone else's secret and Melly Fanshawe is just keeping it safe.'

Harriet Bright frowned. But Melly Fanshawe was
best friend in the whole world. And best friends always shared secrets.

Did this mean that Melly Fanshawe had
best friend in the whole world?

How many best friends in the whole world could one person have?

And what about the secret?

Secrets were very tricky things. The more Harriet Bright thought about them, the more questions she had:

Question no. 1
Was a secret that someone else told you their secret, or your secret?

Question no. 2
If 44, 444 people knew a secret, was it still a secret?

Question no. 3
If this secret wasn't Melly Fanshawe's very own secret, did this mean that lots of other people already knew the secret?

Question no. 4

Secrets are a lot like clouds, decided Harriet Bright. They float by high above people's heads.

Sometimes a secret might just tumble out.

Like drizzle from a stratocumulus.

Or snow from a nimbostratus.

Harriet Bright's mother said that some people walked around with their heads in the clouds.

Maybe these people just know lots of secrets, thought Harriet Bright. They have their heads in the clouds because
where all the interesting information is. They're up there hearing

Then Harriet Bright thought about the different kinds of secrets that people might have:


Embarrassing ones


Funny ones


Hurtful ones


Happy ones

Then she thought about why people keep secrets:



To make their best friend really mad.



To make their best friend feel they are really missing out on something.



To make their best friend feel like they are not their best friend anymore.

Harriet Bright decided to look up ‘secret' in the dictionary.

Mrs Glossia said this was a good place to find meaning.


done, made, or conducted without the knowledge of others (i.e. Harriet Bright).
something secret, hidden or concealed (
i.e. from Harriet Bright
a mystery (
i.e. to Harriet Bright


Then Harriet Bright saw the next word in the dictionary:


secret agent
(noun): a spy.


‘Of course!' said Harriet Bright. ‘The very
person to solve a secret is a secret agent:

Harriet Bright, Secret Agent
That's me!'

BOOK: Harriet Bright in a Pickle
3.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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