Book 4 of the series is the first of 3 books which are about an attack on the city of Aletheia. The city of Truth is under threat, and, unless the plans of the Meddlers can be stopped, there will be serious consequences for everyone who lives there. All the favourite characters from the first 3 books unite to form 'The Mustardseeds' - a group of Christian kids who are determined to thwart the plans of the Meddlers. Whilst the chiefs of the city of Aletheia meet deep in the Academy of Solders-of-the-Cross and discuss the defense of Aletheia, the Mustardseeds meet in a barn on Pray-Always Farmlands and do likewise. But in order to succeed, the Mustardseeds must learn more about the power of prayer and the practical truth of Sanctification - being set apart to be used by God.
What will happen to Aletheia if the Meddlers' plans succeed and the city stops praying? If there is no prayer power in Aletheia, then the city is already vulnerable to the next attack - which follows in Book 5...
Through the adventure, this book explores the Biblical truth of SANCTIFICATION.
This book can be enjoyed on its own - without reading the rest of the series.
Published April 2015;
Written and illustrated by Eunice Wilkie;
Approximately 47,900 words;
Includes 33 illustrations;
Available as print and ebook.
This is a small sample of illustrations from THE MUSTARDSEEDS:
The Mustardseeds is available across the UK, USA and elsewhere. It is available to purchase through good local Christian bookshops, and through several websites, including through the following links:
For more information see Purchasing Books.
Read a sample chapter of THE MUSTARDSEEDS:
Jack and Zek kept watch in Mr Straw’s barn. They didn’t know about the victory at the crossing of the Water of Sound Doctrine; they didn’t know that the bridge at Unbelief Road was raised, and that Team WondERRful had been stopped. They sat in the barn and listened intently to each night sound. Their careful, painstaking research into Fretters and Meddlers had taught them that Fretters made a faint buzzing sound. They were certain they would hear if those destructive creatures came, as Mr Straw feared, to destroy the crops.
But when the first crash of thunder shook the barn, the ferocious storm drowned out the sounds of the night, and, with it, all hope of Jack and Zek hearing the arrival of the Fretters. The two boys could only huddle close together in the barn, with Hector terrified and shaking between them, and Fly the collie pressed close to Jack’s side. The only thing they could do was wait for the storm to pass. It did pass, however, and then they ventured out of the barn and took stock of the rain-soaked fields and the dripping trees. Hector was more than glad to be free. He had hated the crashing thunder and sizzling lightning, but when it was over he forgot about how frightening it had been, and scampered happily away from the barn to see if any careless rabbit had wandered too far from its hole and was up for a night chase.
At first, it seemed to Zek and Jack, as they walked through the fields close to the barn, that the dripping trees and waving grass was just the result of the storm. There were night sounds, but they were perhaps normal night sounds. The hoot of an owl; the snuffle of the newest calf in its pen with its mother; the faint sound of insects…
“Does that buzzing sound like a bee?” whispered Zek to Jack.
“It can’t be a bee,” said Jack. “I don’t think they come out at night.”
They moved slowly to the nearest tree, peering up into its branches. The branches and twigs and new leaves were wavering and moving oddly, as if bowed with a load they did not wish to bear.
Zek reached as high as he could up the tree and poked hard at a small knob on the branch. “Ow!” He snapped his hand quickly back and jumped away from the tree.
“What was it?” Jack asked breathlessly.
“It bit me!” exclaimed Zek.
“A-a Fretter?” asked Jack, aghast that their worst fears might actually be true after all.
“It must have been,” said Zek, holding his finger. “What else…?”
They didn’t know what else might be lurking amongst the fresh buds of the fruit tree; but they did know that Fretters could bite. They had two tiny, nasty, needle-sharp fangs. They had read about it in one of the musty books that Jude Faithful had unearthed for them. There had even been a picture of a Fretter bite which Jack had painstakingly copied out.
The boys examined the small bite on Zek’s finger in the light of their Bibles in the barn. They looked at their faint copy of the picture of a Fretter bite; then back at Zek’s finger again. There seemed to them no doubt about the matter. The two tiny incisions on his finger meant Zek had been bitten by a Fretter!
They left the barn again to look at the sagging trees, at the weird waving of the grass, at the drooping fresh green shoots. If they looked very, very carefully they could faintly discern the horrid, bulbous shapes of thousands and millions of clutching Fretters. Many as small as a fly, they sat on blades of grass, on shoots of oats, wheat and barley, on potato leaves, on every green sign of life in vegetable patches, and on every precious new bud in the fruit trees. They were still, and almost silent, apart from the barely detectable buzzing that seemed to have been muted or muffled, perhaps by design. The Fretters were ready and waiting to attack.
Jack and Zek walked across fields and through orchards, just to make doubly-triply sure. But it was the same everywhere they turned. There could be no doubt about any of it.
“W-what shall we do now?” asked Zek.
The boys had come prepared for several contingencies. They had prayed most sincerely about helping to stop the Fretters, and firmly intended to be a part of it. They had just never anticipated, in their wildest dreams, the horror of hoards of Fretters that were far, far beyond the capabilities of two small boys, if not already beyond all the combined might and power of Aletheia.
“We’ll use our jar,” said Jack decisively. “The first thing is to catch one. Then we’ll have to get Mr Straw and show him.”
“Right,” said Zek.
Both boys hesitated. For very obvious reasons neither of them particularly wanted to handle a nasty, angry Fretter, and stick him in a glass jar. The gloves they had had the foresight to bring with them belonged to Mr Wallop; but they now knew the gloves were far too big to handle a Fretter.
“I’ll do it,” said Jack bravely. Zek already had a very nasty bite on his finger, which was swelling and turning a weird shade of green.
“Are you sure?” asked Zek, sounding very relieved.
“It’s fine,” said Jack stoically. He removed an empty jam jar, borrowed from Mrs Wallop’s store, from the rucksack he was carrying. He removed the lid…
And suddenly they were in the middle of the most terrific commotion!
Hector, followed closely by Fly, flung himself upon them – a small, scruffy, white bundle; frantically excited; covered in damp soil; smelling vaguely of farm manure; with straw and twigs and unidentified paraphernalia strewn about him…and something buzzing strangely in his mouth.
“A-a-a…” Zek could barely catch his breath, as well as catch Hector, and avoid Fly who was leaping most indignantly at Hector and clearly wanted the buzzing creature for herself.
“F-f-fretter…!” stammered Jack. He flung himself into the fray and grabbed wildly at the buzzing, biting creature that was hanging from a wing in Hector’s mouth. Zek valiantly tried to restrain Hector, and Fly continued to try and grab the Fretter.
It was touch and go for a while whether Hector or Fly would just swallow the creature. It was larger than the tiny fly-like Fretters they could discern all around them, and it was clearly extremely angry. Hector, not enjoying the sensation of being bitten by small, razor-sharp fangs, and not enjoying the taste of the wing of the Fretter, was trying to eject it from his mouth. Fly, obviously thinking the Fretter was her property, snapped at the Fretter. The Fretter used tiny claws and appeared to be punching as well as biting Hector and Fly, and then, to his own considerable surprise, Jack had the Fretter in his hands.
The Fretter was surprisingly heavy and solid, with hide that felt like spiky armour. It was not a pleasant feeling, and the creature sank its nasty teeth into his fingers and thumb again and again.
Somehow Jack hung on. He got the Fretter to the jar and shook it until the creature fell in a heap at the bottom. Then, quick as a flash, Jack put the lid on the top of the jar. The Fretter rushed frantically to the top and hit its head on the lid with a thump; it slumped down to the bottom again.
“We got him! We got him!” cried Zek in triumph.
“We got him,” said Jack wearily. His hands were stinging like crazy but the next moment he forgot all about that. Hugo’s voice was calling faintly from the barn.
“Zek? Jack? Are you out there? Is everything alright?”
When Jack and Zek arrived back at the barn, the news that the other Mustardseeds had thought so important faded into utter insignificance. There was a short period of complete chaos as Hugo, Timmy, Henrietta and Josie exclaimed at the state of the two younger boys, and Jack and Zek tried to explain exactly what had transpired.
They all stared solemnly into the jar at the large Fretter who was still looking rather stunned, and extremely grumpy.
“I knew Hector could do it,” said Zek happily. “We read about a dog catching a Fretter in 1928, didn’t we, Jack? Then we just knew Hector could do it!”
“I think Fly might have caught it first,” said Jack cautiously, remembering Fly’s indignation that Hector had stolen her prize. The two dogs capered happily around the children. They seemed none the worse for the Fretter bites they had both suffered, and Fly clearly still wanted to deal with the Fretter.
“Your finger, Zek!” exclaimed Henrietta, “and Jack! Oh, Hugo! Look at Jack’s hands!”
Jack’s hands were indeed a sight to behold. There were numerous nasty two-fanged bites that were already swelling and turning the same sick green colour as Zek’s bite. And Zek’s bite was now starting to weep strange, pea-coloured pus.
“We need to get you both to the doctor at once,” said Josie.
“We need to see Mr Straw first,” said Zek. “We must show him the Fretter.”
“We can take the Fretter to him,” said Hugo kindly.
But nothing would move Jack or Zek on this point. “It’s because we know about Fretters, Hugo,” said Zek most earnestly.
“There’s something about this Fretter,” said Jack. “It’s very important!”
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