The man painting a tree was tall, with a big black beard and lots of black curly hair. He might have been a pirate except that he was painting a tree. (The Minimice had an idea that pirates probably didn’t paint trees.)
A tiny little girl sat on his shoulders. She was also painting the tree. A little dog lay fast asleep by his feet.
The man and the little girl looked round and smiled at the Minimice.
‘Hello, hello!’ they cried. ‘Come and join us!’
All the Minimice – Moley, Milly, Maurice, Michael, Mifanwy and Colin – trooped over to say hello.
The man put down the little girl and they all shook hands – and paws.
‘I know,’ said the man. ‘You want to know who I am and where you are and what you are going to do about it.’
‘That’s just what the other man said!’ exclaimed Michael.
‘That’s easy,’ said the man. ‘You are in a story. I am the Artist. For the rest of it… well, that depends on you. Have a paintbrush.’
He handed each of them a brush, waved at the box of paints and said,
‘Go on then. We’ve still got lots to do. Just look at all that white! We need to turn it into something!’
‘Oh!’ breathed Mifanwy blissfully. ‘I’d love to have a picnic!’
‘Good idea,’ said the Artist. ‘Start painting one! I’ll come and give you a hand when I have finished this tree.’
‘And can we go in a boat after our picnic?’ squeaked Colin.
The Artist laughed. ‘I don’t see why not. Paint one!’
‘I’m going to find shells!’ said Milly.
‘Of course!’ said the Artist, smiling. ‘We’ve drawn those already. Go and have a look!’
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