There was once a hotel that was very popular with tourists, but it was no ordinary hotel; at least, that’s what some of the previous guests said. Matthew had gone to spend a few days at the hotel with his parents, for they were going to visit the Ordesa National Park in southern Spain, for it was one of the prettiest parks in the whole wide world.

When Matthew’s family arrived at the hotel, which had been an old stone monastery, they were very surprised and amazed at how big it was.

Matthew had a room to himself, which made him very happy, for he thought this meant he could sleep till late without anyone disturbing him. But that night as he was sleeping peacefully, a noise in the middle of the night woke him up. The young boy got such a fright that he couldn’t help screaming.

Short stories - The enchanted hotel

He jumped out of bed and switched on the light to see who had made the noise, but there was no one there. But just as Matthew was about to get back in bed, he found a piece of old cloth on the ground next to the chimney. He picked it up for a closer look and began looking around the room to see if he could find another clue.

After a while when he still hadn’t found anything, Matthew went back to bed. For a few minutes, his eyes wouldn’t close – he tried and tried to go to sleep, but couldn’t. His eyes were big as saucers and he had pulled up the bed sheets right up to his head in fear, for there were creaks and groans coming from everywhere.

Finally, just as he was about to fall back asleep, he heard another noise – just like before. In a flash Matthew turned on the light to see where it came from. Then he caught sight of a figure in a nightdress made from the same cloth he had found a little while before. He dashed out of his hotel room and into his parents’, and leapt into their bed.

“Mum, dad, there’s someone in my room! She went up the chimney!” Matthew cried, trembling in fear.

“Don’t worry, Matthew, it must have been a nightmare,” said his mother reassuringly.

“Come on Matthew, let’s investigate,” said his father.

When they got to Matthew’ room, he stuck close to his father’s side like glue. “Come on, Matthew, there’s no one here,” said his father.

But as Matthew’s father was kissing him goodnight, the same sound was heard. Matthew’s father jumped into the bed in fright and exclaimed: “What was that?! Did you hear it?!”  Matthew answered: “Yes, Dad, it’s the same noise as before!”

After a few minutes hiding under the sheets, Matthew’s mother arrived with a woman wearing the same nightdress Matthew had seen disappearing up the chimney. “Mum, it’s her! She’s the one that went up the chimney! Run, run!” Matthew cried.

Well, Matthew’s mother couldn’t stop laughing to see her fifteen-year-old son and husband hiding in the bed in fear.

“Matthew, what day is it today?” asked his mother.

“I don’t know… the 1st, I think” answered Matthew, not understanding.

That’s right, the 1st April – April Fools’ Day!!!” replied his mother, unable to contain her laughter.

Chuckling sheepishly, Matthew and his father got out of bed. They had realised why that hotel was special. The workers at the hotel were actors and depending on the time of year, you could ask them to play a joke on you, just as Matthew’s mother had done.

So Matthew learned that in any situation you have to see the funny side of things and that laughing is good for you. Because although they had been a little bit scared, in the end they laughed a great deal.