Bert Smith

Bert Smith who is nine years old had toothache – really bad toothache, bad enough to make him cry.

His face was red and swollen, but he had to go on working. His ma and pa had a number of sure proof ideas of getting rid of the pain.

Firstly, ma looked through her cupboards and found a clove. She crushed this to a pulp and pressed it onto the bad tooth. And it worked - for a while.

Pa suggested something very different and dripped something out of a bottle onto a rag and pressed this against the tooth. This worked for a while too. Bert remembered the taste when he grew up and knew it was whiskey.

Next, Bert had to chew a raw onion and this brought more tears. And it worked - for a while. When the pain returned a slice of raw potato was put on the tooth. This worked too - for a while.

Bert overheard the next idea and was very nervous, he didn't like the idea at all. Ma found some cotton thread and trying not to give Bert more pain, carefully tied one end of the thread around his tooth. Pa tied the other end to the shutcabin door then pulled the door open quickly The thread should have become taut and pull out the tooth. But it didn't work, the cotton thread snapped.

The narrow boat reached a lock where there was also a blacksmith shop. The blacksmith took one look at Bert and said to his pa,

    "Take him into the house,"
and he went into his workshop.

When he came back to them he had his hands behind his back. He told Bert to lie down on the table and open his mouth. Bert did as he was told and before you knew it the blacksmith yanked the aching tooth out with the pliers he had hidden. Bert's mouth was full of blood but hespat this out and smiled, a big smile -the pain had gone.

Do you wonder if Bert has any more trials and adventures? Why not read more about young Bert and his life on a narrow boat on canals at the beginning of the 20th century? Look for my book "Towing Path Tales." You may be surprised at what else he gets up to.

And don't forget to look for my next two books about Bert due out later this year.