The villagers gossiped about Ned. Some called him wolf boy. Having spent much of his life in the depths of the forest, they guessed there was no need for a family name. Not a single person knew who his family were. When the boy was feeling better, Lord Snookington summoned him to the manor house. Ned left the lodge and walked across some meadows. As the imposing house loomed in the distance, he walked over a moat and stood before a massive oak door. He rang a brass bell and the door creaked open. A butler ushered him inside. The hallway was dark, with an oaken floor and cladding on the walls. He had never before been in such grand surroundings and looked at his own dirty, torn clothing.
The boy was led up a sweeping staircase and brought to a large room. Its windows overlooked a walled garden. Lord Snookington put a book down and approached. He stood before the boy and thought for a moment. His son, Harry, tugged at his father’s shirt sleeve and whispered. The man had a quizzical look and spoke with his son in hushed tones. Harry whispered that this boy had saved him from some bullies the year before.
“Father, I asked his name and he said, ‘I’m nobody’.”
Lord Snookington nodded. Ned recognised the boy as the one who was bullied. It felt like so long ago. Harry grinned as his father cleared his throat.
“From henceforth this boy shall be known as Ned Nobody!!”
Ned smiled and was allowed to go back to the lodge. Walking back over the fields, he thought about Harry Snookington. Given their difference in status, he did not assume they would ever become friends. But he hoped to be treated fairly. He was getting stronger by the day and wondered what the future would hold for a poor orphan boy. But he was used to relying only on himself. Things could be worse but, as he reached the lodge, Ned breathed in sharply. He still had to get through tomorrow.
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