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When the promise of the school play was the perfect carrot

A dispute over a stolen unicorn saw Ruby give a stellar performance – and earned her a part in the summer production of Macbeth

The classroom's a stage and the kids sure can perform

A dispute over a stolen unicorn saw Ruby give a stellar performance – and earned her a part in the summer production of Macbeth

"If chance will give me actors, why, chance may cast them, without my stir."

Something wicked came our way. Dylan tried to blame Jaydon (who gets blamed for most things anyway) but Jaydon was immediately proved innocent. When the theft took place, he was being held at Ms Rottweiler’s pleasure for blocking sinks with tissue paper and trying to flood the boys’ toilets. By a process of elimination the only person in the classroom at the time of the theft was Dylan himself.

But why would he steal Anjelica’s unicorn? If he was going to steal anything, why not Jamel’s lightsaber (left unattended in his drawer) or Mitchell’s boxing gloves (that were hanging on his peg)? It’s unwise to attach gender-specific labels to children’s toys, but the very idea of Dylan stealing a cuddly pink Unicorn didn’t ring true.

And it’s not only a lack of motive that’s a problem. If Dylan stole Anjelica’s unicorn, where is it now? Why is it not in his possession? Why is it not in an obvious hiding place? Did it flap its little pink wings and fly away? Did it use magical powers to become invisible and disappear up its own mythology? "I bet he nicked it and gave it to his girlfriend," said Henry.

Though Ruby turned as red as her name and protested far too much, the pair might yet have got away with it had their pleas of innocence not been undone by Henry disappearing out of the room and returning seconds later with Ruby’s rucksack. Before she could grab it from him he pulled out a pink unicorn identical to Anjelica’s.

"That’s mine!" screamed Ruby, as she dragged it from Henry’s grasp and hugged it to her chest. Angry tears and intense declarations of honesty, made for a convincing performance. I half expected her to threaten to pluck its horn from its plastic head and dash its brains out on our display of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, if she didn’t swear she was telling the truth.

Even when Dylan (who doesn’t possess Ruby’s strength of character) admitted to having stolen it for her, she continued to deny guilt. With barely a flicker of hesitation, she nailed her courage to the sticking place and admitted that, on reflection, Anjelica’s unicorn is identical to the one she has at home. Maybe Dylan thought it was hers and took it by mistake.  

It is only January but my mind is already on our school summer production. This year the children will be performing an all-singing, all-dancing comedy version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. But Year 6 timetables are already filled to overflowing with Sat's practice sessions, and audition opportunities are going to be limited. Unless…

"Fair is foul and foul is fair." Out of the fog of confusion, an idea takes shape. Anjelica has her unicorn back, apologies have been made and no real harm has been done. "So today I’m going to ignore what you did and thank you for admitting the truth," I tell Dylan and Ruby. "Now promise you’ll keep out of trouble and you might both get a part in our summer production."

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