This short story was published in The Creative Kids Tales Story Collection, 2017, compiled by Georgie Donaghey.

SUMMARY:  The only son of bank-robbers on the run, ‘the boy’ as his parents call him, lives in a tiny hut in the middle of nowhere. His parents treat him like a servant and his only friends are the animals who live in the forest. When his father promises his mother a real fur and a Christmas tree, he knows he needs to act quickly to save his forest friends.

EXTRACT:

I learned the truth the way a spy does, listening to whispers, low and grumbled, when my parents thought I was sleeping.

‘You said I’d have rubies,’my mother was complaining. ‘You said I’d have diamonds and furs and headbands with feathers. Look around us. We’re millionaires, living like poor people.’

I shifted quietly on my uncomfortable mattress, so I could hear them better. My mattress was cold and hard, probably because it was stuffed with cold hard cash, hundreds of thousands of dollars of it. There was even more inside the walls, to keep us warm in winter. It could get pretty cold living in the middle of a forest.